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Study: Selling Solar to Women

04/03/14

  07:40:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 499 words  
Categories: Solar Economics, Residential Solar, Ranting

Study: Selling Solar to Women

What do women want? That’s a question that has confounded men for… ever.  But this is a solar blog, not advice for the love lorn, so we are really concerned about something more specific: What do women want when it comes to solar?  Since most of the folks in the solar industry are guys (sadly), we have tended to create marketing approaches that would appeal to… guys.  Which, when taken to frat boy extremes, can lead to disasters like the one perpetrated by the folks at RECOM.

So how to overcome this inherent, genetic limitation?

Well, perhaps listening to what some really smart women have to say on the topic would be a good start.

Shining a solar marketing light on womenWhich brings us to the work, released today, by two of the smartest women in solar that we know: Raina Russo and Glenna Wiseman.  Their study, titled “Shining a Solar Marketing Light on Women,” consists of 20 questions that track the “5 Stages of Buying” that women use, according to marketing researcher, Marti Barletta.  Compiling results from 34 different states, Russo and Wiseman have produced an analysis that should be a must read for any solar company trying to improve their kitchen table discussion with that all important “Chief Purchasing Officer."  After all, as they note, women actually initiate 80% of all home improvement projects and they are the driving force in deciding whether to go solar, and if so, with whom.

Yet much of the time, “women do not feel the solar industry is reaching out to them in techniques they will respond to or are speaking their language,” a trend that we continue at our economic peril. 

From today’s press release:

Solar industry marketers are encouraged to purchase the survey and then participate in the upcoming #SolarChat to get further insights from the experts.  The survey will be discussed on #SolarChat April 9, 2014, where a host of leading marketing to women experts will be featured including Marti Barletta of Trend Sight, Leah Segedie of Bookieboo LLC and Mamavation.com, Andrea Luecke of The Solar Foundation, Krystal Glass of The National Women’s Business Council and Glenna Wiseman of Identity3 and Women4Solar.  The panel will be moderated by Raina Russo, recently ascribed by The Energy Collective as a top 10 woman in solar.

A portion of the survey proceeds will go to Heather Andrews Scholarship Fund at Solar Energy International (SEI) to further its mission of women’s solar training. The SEI Women’s Program provides in-person, technical workshops in a supportive learning atmosphere to bring more women into the renewable energy field.

Count us in.  And we love the contribution to the Heather Andrews Scholarship Fund - I’m sure she’s smiling at the thought of helping to educate women in doing solar by educating men on how to speak to women about solar.

Oh, and if you are still casting about for a solar hero or two to nominate for the White House’s Champions of Change program, you’d be hard pressed to find two more worthy candidates than Raina Russo and Glenna Wiseman.

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Jim Jenal is the Founder & CEO of Run on Sun, Pasadena's premier installer and integrator of top-of-the-line solar power installations.
Run on Sun also offers solar consulting services, working with consumers, utilities, and municipalities to help them make solar power affordable and reliable.

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