Roel de Kok – energiedirect.nl

Roel de Kok – energiedirect.nl

Roel de Kok is Manager Branding at energiedirect.nl, a Dutch energy company that supplies electricity and gas to private customers. The marketing department consists of three teams, the digital team who is responsible for the front end of the website, the marketing activation team who is responsible for all propositions and services, and lastly the branding team who do anything related to the brand, from commercials to positioning. The teams work together closely in sprints, alongside multiple other disciplines within the company.

Main KPIs for growth

According to Roel, the most important brand KPIs are spontaneous brand awareness and brand consideration: “We noticed that on our overall awareness, we were relatively well positioned within the market. As our funnel analysis showed the biggest growth potential in spontaneous awareness, we shifted our focus and decided to move further down in the brand funnel. We changed our campaign proposition to: ‘Niet cheap, wel goedkoop’ (not cheap, but affordable). With this new proposition we are integrating customer reviews so we could provide more information into what makes us ‘not cheap’. Alongside that, we changed our media deployment slightly to drive spontaneous awareness more, such as TV, radio, online video and display banners, OOH and TV billboarding. We buy our online media in-house, so we can react very quickly when something changes or doesn’t work as well.”

Role of data

The company uses a brand tracker to scope the growth opportunities and uses marketing mix modelling to look at the drivers for conversion and what the impact of other media is on sales. Roel: “We have been doing this for quite some time, but we notice that the impact of tv and radio on the final action of consumers can be better integrated, so we are working on optimising that. We do this together with a partner, and the tool also allows us to integrate our media- and broadcast schedules, GRP pressure, and for example price comparators, to see what the correlations are between our media usages and our website activity. We look at our entire structure and journey to link the actions of consumers to our marketing efforts.”

“We can extract a lot of data and insights, but ultimately, it is also about what you can do with that data to keep people excited about something like energy where they are not naturally interested in.”

“4,5 years ago we made a bold move at the time by becoming the main sponsor of PSV football club, as we wanted to increase our brand awareness”, Roel continues. “We did a lot of activities in partnership with PSV that have contributed to our growth, not just among supporters of the club, but also among the broader public. We have grown a lot since then, which is also partly due to the changing and developing market we are in. Nowadays, with price comparators playing a bigger role, people are switching more often, as it pays to look beyond your current energy supplier. Being in that favourable price range contributes to our growth, alongside our marketing activities. A big driver was the PSV partnership, and we are still sponsoring them to this day. Now we need to work on filling that brand funnel more and continue to develop.”

Integrating data

When it comes to data, energiedirect.nl has a large data analytics department, Roel: “They look at the developments in terms of customer behaviour and customer characteristics. These components are also integrated into our proposition development: we look at the needs in the market, and pilots are set up to measure its impact on sales within certain groups. We pay a lot of attention to data and I think that we have integrated data-driven decision making in the organisation well. We have taken steps in this space that are not yet evident to everyone.”

Roel shares his thoughts on the main challenges in data: “You are dependent on the models and tools that are out there, and it is quite a search to uncover the exact impact of your marketing spend on revenue. I think many companies are searching for that, as there is simply not one universal truth. A lot of time goes into setting up those models, and then there is the question of whether that model is correct because the technology itself is also still developing. You are also dependent on what happens in the market, and that is also reflected in the figures, so the impact comes from both sides. Next to that, we are in quite a low-interest category. We can extract a lot of data and insights, but ultimately, it is also about what you can do with that data to keep people excited about something like energy where they are not naturally interested in. So, it comes down to testing. We test in the concept phase, development phase, and ultimately test the impact of the final campaign. Campaigns are expensive, so we want to have more grasp on their effectiveness before they go live. It is easier to trial and error online and conduct a/b testing, but for major creative productions, there is more research involved.”

Moving forward

Last year, energiedirect.nl switched to a new creative agency, Roel explains: “Because we have a lot of online knowledge in-house, you also want an agency that can deal with that large digital component in your marketing strategy, interpret it and advise you on those next steps. There is no getting around the fact that a lot of things are happening digitally, and if you were to work with an agency that could not interpret the figures or didn’t understand the dynamics surrounding online, you would fall behind at a certain point. This was a big motivation for us to look for an agency that can support us in this digital space moving forward.”