Consumers Energy: Consumers Energy Advisor

The Challenge

Consumers Energy faced a familiar dilemma: how do you continually engage more customers in more energy efficiency measures? Shelton Group, with partner Fiveworx, stepped into the picture with a new idea for driving behavior change and increasing participation in energy efficiency programs.

The Insight

In our Pulse studies, consumers who’d made five or more energy efficiency improvements told us they’d seen utility bills go down, while those who’d made fewer improvements weren’t as likely to notice the payoff for their efforts. We also knew from experience that tapping into individuals’ drivers and values via the right messaging and offers made them more likely to engage in efficiency. What would happen, we wondered, if we combined these insights?

A brand new online engagement platform, that’s what. Instead of using the same old efficiency program model (get five customers to each participate in one program), it championed a new method: get one customer to keep participating in efficiency so they wouldn’t lose faith after one improvement. The best way to hook them and keep them on the line, we determined, was via email.

The Solution

We piloted the new customer engagement platform – Consumers Energy Advisor – to empower and continuously engage customers through a personalized action plan of five-plus improvements. Those plans were served up to customers in language that fit their energy consumer segment and changed based on the activities they completed.

We created a drip email campaign to recruit customers before handing the pilot off to Fiveworx. We experimented with bold creative while leveraging Consumers Energy’s existing brand to build trust. (The subject line that won A/B testing for the initial launch email was “Pay us less. Seriously. And get a $10 gift card to do it!”)

The program launch achieved 38% open rates (compared to industry norms of 15%), click-through rates of 5% (vs. 2%), and an overall conversion rate of 7% (vs. 4%). Over 80% of customers who engaged with the platform enrolled. Two months after the launch, over 10% of participants had already reported completing one or more measures from their lists.


open rates (vs. 15% industry average)


conversion rate (vs. 4% industry average)

Subject Line: Pay us less. Seriously. And get a $10 gift card to do it.


Segment Action Plans


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