Monday, March 15, 2010

Solar in the Mainstream

There is an unfortunate fact about emerging technologies and markets that can cause great frustration for anyone offering something "new." The solar industry is a perfect example.

Most people do not view something new as "in the mainstream" until they see someone exactly like themselves using it.  So a homeowner in Iowa with a 2000 sq. ft. house located on a hill, wants to see another homeowner in Iowa with a 2000 sq. ft. house located on a hill using solar before he describes solar as available here and now. You can have millions of people using solar in other parts of the world, on many types of different buildings, and it means NOTHING to the guy on a hill in Iowa.

This peculiar market-behavior pattern applies to anything new or innovative that is introduced into a marketplace. In every case, the secret to achieving mainstream market acceptance is: focused vertical marketing. In other words, focus on one vertical market segment at a time because mainstream buyers/users will only accept information from people who are identical to themselves.  And it's impossible for solar suppliers to serve the vertical needs of all segments at once.

Any technology that is considered mainstream today, had to go through a phase of focused vertical marketing to get there. And with maybe one or two exceptions, I'm not seeing many suppliers do this yet in the solar industry.


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2 comments:

jrandyv said...

Good point. This simply speaks to the fact that we should market these systems with tons of "testimonials".

In other words- many others who have put these things up. Show folks "on a hill," and "in a valley" and in Kentucky, etc. Testimonials work everywhere.

Thanks for the insight.

Randy
www.SimpleEnergyWorks.com

John Robert said...

Envision Solar Stockholder here who believes that Solar Trees are going to be BIG moneymakers!