Panelists at 2019 EMC Houston
Successful Channel Partnerships panel at EMC Houston 2019

Executives from the retail energy industry attended the 2019 Energy Marketing Conference in Houston, TX on April 2. A portion of the event included several panel discussions, one titled Successful Channel Partnerships and presented the following executives from 8 different companies:

An important theme during the discussion was the fact that technology has changed the landscape of the energy industry. Analytics and data mining are now more important than ever before, and compliance monitoring and customer acquisition methods are atop the national discussion.

Panelists focused on the importance of choosing channel partners that place an emphasis on the quality of customer acquisition and compliance. They also emphasized the impact of digital marketing on an energy company’s’ ability to offer cost-effective options for consumers.

An important issue raised during the discussion on partnerships was how companies can protect themselves against reputation-destroying issues with channel partners. Most agreed that finding partners that are invested in companies is a great way to address that issue. Industry veterans also noted that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a major benefit and should be built into the technology models. As an example, when a new energy representative makes five sales in a day, an AI solution should flag the action for review. Incorporating this capability could further ensure process integrity.

When asked what the most successful channel partnership will look like in the future, David Leone, Vice President with Constellation, opined, “Today, successful partnerships are configured as pull relationships rather than push relationships. Smart devices and smart homes are the future of the industry.” Other panel members believed that one-stop-shop partnerships will meet consumer demands in the future. Strategies that overlay with these types of partnerships will be very successful, according to Jennifer Ohlman, Director Of Business Development with Eligo Energy.

Leone also cited community solar gardens, where a community solar array provides power for residences and businesses, and sells the excess to the grid, as having great potential in the future.

Panel moderator Kendall Tucker, Founder & CEO of Polis, Inc., offered her thoughts on how channel partnerships enhance efficiency when serving customers, stating,

“Companies don’t want to put a huge initial investment into acquiring customers, but everyone wants to grow. If they use data and technology to effectively decide who to contact and how, then they can mitigate risk and increase efficiency.”Kendall Tucker, Founder & CEO of Polis, Inc

Tucker also mentioned that because the energy industry is largely based on customer demand, there are many players coming into the energy provider side as deregulation continues. With that in mind, she added, “We are seeing a lot of consolidation right now and it will be very similar to Uber, Lyft, and Airbnb, where it democratizes the space. As long as smaller groups are willing to take that leap and start to work with more channel partners, there is a bright future.”

Lavelle is a journalist and professional photographer based in the Houston, TX area. He holds a MBA in Finance and is a decorated US Army Veteran. Lavelle is married to his wife, Dr. Gabrielle Lemonier and they have four children and two grandchildren.

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