Octopus Energy

A customer-centric approach to sustainable energy

Having entered the market as a challenger in 2016, Octopus Energy now counts over 350,000 households as customers and ranked 4th out of 31 energy firms in the 2018 Which? customer survey. Part of the Octopus Group, the brand owes its £46m turnover largely to its dual strategy, jointly prioritising renewable energies and instant customer service to entice a younger demographic. It will continue this consumer-centric strategy next year – which involves removing exit fees, launching instantaneous access to account details and more intuitive cloud-based billing and service platform (named Kraken internally).

NPD spells major marketing push: This year, the brand trialled “Agile” – the UK’s first time-of-use tariff, which informs customers of the cheapest time of day to use energy and reduces demand on the national grid at the busiest times of day. Electric Vehicle (EV) owners were reportedly the biggest users of this feature during the trial, reducing peak-time consumption by 47%. The National Grid reports that there could be 11m EVs in the UK by 2030, and it won’t be able to cope with demand if people charge cars at the same time of day, making EV owners a key market for Octopus’ Agile tariff. With consumer interest in sustainability growing, driving the number of UK EVs, it is expected to invest heavily in its Agile product’s marketing strategy alongside other eco-friendly innovations.

The brand has launched several new partnerships this year to demonstrate its commitment to renewable energy. It recently teaming up with Silicon Valley tech company IFTTT to allow customers to automatically adjust energy usage based on changes in price and inked a deal with Shell this month to supply the energy giant with power from its 70.5MW portfolio of unsubsidised Italian solar assets.

Promotional activity to influence CRM investment: With the difficulty of account switching still a core barrier to acquisition in the market, the company is currently running a referral incentive scheme to encourage switching. Similar initiatives are expected to remain central to its strategy, outlining its superior understanding of customer pain points. Factoring this into acquisition marketing proposals will be key, with promotional specialists advised to consider its skew towards a younger, digitally-native consumer. As the company accelerates customer acquisition, it’s likely to invest more in CRM and customer segmentation capabilities. This will also tie into future app development, where it is currently seeking its first native android engineer to bring its Android apps from “idea through to production”.

B2B: The brand has seen considerable B2B wins this year as it allocates further budget to high-value business account acquisition. The constant focus on customer experience saw it bring on M&S as a customer, with the retailer citing Octopus’s “digital-first customer service” as a key driver for its split from SSE after a nine-year relationship. While its message will remain consistent for B2B and B2C customers, tailoring it to the needs of a larger corporation will naturally be crucial. B2B marketing and content specialists should consider reaching out as it targets a larger chunk of the business energy market.

Agencies: Other, MPC Creative

Key decision-makers:

Marketing & Product Director Rebecca Dibb-Simkin – connect

Marketing Manager Max Mcshane - connect