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.
Which 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.
This week marks the InterSolar North America conference in San Francisco. Given that Solar Power International is way across the country this year, we are opting to attend InterSolar instead. We are looking forward to checking out the exhibitors and learning the latest to bring back to our clients. (Last year at SPI we discovered the LG solar panels which have been such a huge hit so far this year!)
If you are going, we would love to meet up with you. What are you hoping to see at this year’s show? Please let us know in the comments.
Also, there will be a TweetUp for lunch on Wednesday at the Thristy Bear - great chance to meet the Twitter Solar Tribe - and we will also raise a glass in honor of our departed colleague, Heather Andrews.
You can RSVP for the TweetUp here.
We will report back on all the goings on upon our return!
Today a friend of mine, and a friend of the solar industry, died.
Heather Andrews was a fierce advocate for solar power - so much so that her Twitter handle was PVAddict. That is how I met her - on Twitter and via subsequent TweetUps at solar conferences. She was a frequent commenter on this blog and on our Facebook page, but more than anything else, she simply loved the idea of installing solar and doing it the right way.
Indeed, Heather was a stickler for doing it the right way - she was a proud member of IBEW and she taught classes on how to properly install solar power systems. Whenever anyone had a question about how something should be done, Heather was happy to chime in with her insights - always in a positive and supportive way. Unlike some who want to lord their knowledge over those still struggling to figure things out, Heather was happiest helping others. She exemplified the very best in our industry - smart, dedicated, and a joy to be around.
She fought her illness these past few months with the same courage and tenacity that she brought to the solar industry. Sadly, this was one obstacle that she could not ultimately overcome with her love and optimism. Still, she remained positive through all of her pain and difficulties as demonstrated by one of her last tweets:
Promise that when things settle a bit I’ll get back into the full swing of the Twitterverse and openly show my adoration for #solar…
It is now up to the rest of us to carry forward her “adoration for solar” and to help fulfill the destiny in which she believed: a world powered by clean, renewable energy - installed the right way!
I love you Heather and I will try my best to be true to your vision. Rest in peace.
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