CAMPAIGN DIRECT: ON THE RECORD. Independent gas supplier Calortex offers discounts on British Gas. Is there a catch? By Eleanor Trickett

Since the British gas industry was deregulated in April 1996, a free-for-all was created whereby any Tom, Dick or Harry could supply the fuel. There are now 13 suppliers, including British Gas, various electricity companies (gearing up for the deregulation of their own industry) and a handful of independent operations.

Since the British gas industry was deregulated in April 1996, a

free-for-all was created whereby any Tom, Dick or Harry could supply the

fuel. There are now 13 suppliers, including British Gas, various

electricity companies (gearing up for the deregulation of their own

industry) and a handful of independent operations.



Calortex, which was born of Calor Gas and Texaco, is one such supplier -

the largest independent currently operating - and it is Matthew

Eastlake’s job as its loyalty marketing manager to enlighten punters as

to what his company offers.



What exactly is your product?



Gas. It’s the same stuff that you’ve always had from British Gas,

through the same pipes owned by Transco. You can choose to have your

meter supplied by us, British Gas or any other supplier.



Who are your rivals?



The national player, British Gas, regional electricity companies,

independents like us and, finally, the big energy producers and

generators including Scottish Power. However, anyone can supply gas -

Tesco, Sainsbury’s, even yourself.



Campaign Gas? Hmm. So why should we use yours?



We operate at a rate of around 20 per cent cheaper than British Gas.



About 25-30 per cent of potential customers have switched away from

British Gas so far.



What marketing tools can you use that will make people pay attention to

a fundamentally unsexy area?



Door-to-door selling is best for customer acquisition. We only need to

raise interest momentarily and bring our discounts to people’s

attention.



Home energy may be low-interest, but people still subconsciously think,

’I don’t want to screw this up.’



If it’s all door-to-door work, where does Wunderman Cato Johnson fit

in?



We need to work out the value of the customers once we have them, and

that’s where we need an agency such as Wunderman. The industry has been

owned by just one player up until now, and there are no databases

available for purchase. We need to analyse the demographics of

customers, once they’re on board, and how much we need to spend to keep

them.



Are you looking at brand extensions and incentives, such as a credit

card, for example?



There are some peculiar companies tying up to create these products.



What are people actually buying? We’re not looking at a credit card, but

ultimately we are thinking about financial products to do with the

home.



Replacing a boiler is a huge expense and we already have a maintenance

programme.



Do customers know enough about the deregulated market to make critical

decisions? Or is it just a race between you lot to get the potential

customers first?



That’s the big one. There are two opposing answers: either the ’first

one in’ wins, or people are truly discerning and want more information.

Keeping it simple is paramount.



Topics

Become a member of Campaign from just £46 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content