Do you really need a specialist cleantech marketing agency?
Cleantech marketing can often be challenging for non-specialist agencies. Here’s why:
You need to build a greater awareness of your innovative technology, the benefits it offers, the problems it solves and how it works. People don’t search for cleantech products that they aren’t aware of – which essentially renders ads and inbound marketing funnels less effective.
You may have long and complex sales cycles. This results in delayed feedback as to what works and what doesn’t. Cleantech marketers are more experienced and know what works and what to look for.
You need to invest in proper channel development and perhaps work closely with EPCs. These are typically internal marketing functions that most agencies don’t understand.
Your cleantech solutions need to spread their wings internationally. This requires expertise in market selection, entry mode decisions, channel development, push/pull strategies and so on. These are skills usually found in multinational businesses and rarely seen in a typical marketing agency.
Unrealistic expectations. Experienced cleantech and renewables marketers know that relying on breakthrough tech and game-changing benefits is not enough. Proper commercialization is important.
Poor tactical and strategic planning. Integrated marketing communications including ads, PR, social media and SEO aren’t enough (these are typical agency services). Without a data-driven, creative go-to-market strategy, almost any cleantech project is doomed to fail.
Marketing renewables and cleantech is more like B2B marketing than B2C, even when selling to end consumers. Solar PV, heat pumps, inverters, battery storage, are all high-involvement purchases where the buyer looks at the investment ROI, payback period, financing options etc.
Having an agency with specialized cleantech marketing experience will make a world of difference in the results that you get. That’s why you should consider reserving a free marketing consultation with us to see what we can do for you.
What can a marketing agency specializing in the renewable energy and cleantech industry do?
Identify the best route to market for your cleantech business
There are many different paths to get your cleantech offering to market. An experienced cleantech marketer can offer perspective on which are the dead ends and which are the most promising. This experience can help you refine your marketing strategy and produce a realistic go-to-market plan.
Raise awareness of your cleantech brand and solution
To raise your brand awareness and strengthen your voice you need a marketing team that understands your solutions and the market for them. Taking the time to understand the technology, its benefits and limitations is necessary to increase visibility. Content marketing is part of this and can raise awareness through thought leadership, white papers, presentations, video, and high quality content.
Develop your distribution channels
It is so strange how one of the greatest growth drivers of cleantech marketing is neglected so much. Whether you use an agency like us or go it alone, developing your partner and channel network should be a priority. A good cleantech marketing agency can help tap into existing distributors or even build you a new partner channel from scratch.
Produce synergies through the right partner networks
Sometimes it’s not about what you know, but who you know. Having a powerful network of partners, clients and other clean tech companies in the sustainable energy sector provides opportunities for research, collaboration and new partnerships. At Texentric we have our own network of tens of thousands of cleantech businesses that we use as a springboard for faster client growth. We can also build your own network for you.
An experienced cleantech marketing agency can help you get the most out of lead generation. Whether you’re offering micro hydro turbines, climate solutions, agritech, recycling, solar PV, heat pumps, IoT or SAAS platforms, leads are the lifeblood of your business.
From increasing website traffic to landing page design and conversion optimization, being on the forefront of cleantech marketing pays dividends. Having a steady flow of leads in your sales pipeline will contribute to your growth, fortify your cash flow and attract investors.
Expanding into new markets is a natural milestone for most cleantech clients. As a disruptor your offering will be valued in other markets, but you need to build a distribution platform to take it abroad. We can help with the planning and execution of your international market expansion.
Develop your own marketing competencies
It’s OK to rely on your marketing partners to execute the marketing plan. You should however build some internal marketing competencies and systems. This will reduce risks and foster better collaboration with your marketing agency. Product development is an area where cross-functional collaboration can be really fruitful. A good marketing partner will help you do all this while bringing the specialist tools required for the job.
What should you look for when evaluating potential marketing agencies?
A partnership attitude – Cleantech marketing requires a long-term perspective, so you need to have good working chemistry with an agency or consultant.
Non-conflicting interests – Check there are no client conflicts (two solar PV manufacturers shouldn’t share the same agency). These aren’t always as clear as the example so paint with a broad brush when considering their existing clients.
Experience with similar sustainable tech or markets – your technology may be unique but not all marketing tactics are. What marketing campaigns have they put together? Check out clients, case studies or sample work to get a better feel.
Willingness to experiment – Each new cleantech offering often has opportunities and constraints that require marketing experimentation. The creative aspect is only one part of innovation; creativity should be used to break through obstacles and to create opportunities.
A quick starter project – Get started working on a small project first before committing to a lengthy contract. See if the agency can tackle an issue or deliver an objective according to your requirements. We often require this from clients as a first step before signing a contract. It enables us to test our chemistry while finding solutions to a specific problem. This way your team members can collaborate with us before committing to a long-term partnership.
Network reach – How well established are they with other cleantech businesses? Do they work with any cleantech clients that you would like to partner with? Can they bring any other synergies to the table?
Leadership – The ability of the agency leadership to work with leading cleantech clients at a senior-level. This links back to the chemistry I mentioned before and is a sign of commitment to success.
What marketing skills do you need to look for?
You will need to ascertain what skills are crucial to your own business before assessing your options. Here’s a list of common skills some cleantech clients look for:
The ability to understand your technology, its benefits and your business environment. The ability to research more technical topics or industry trends such as decarbonization, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), national subsidies and so on. Industry knowledge is certainly a plus. I think this is crucial for positioning your brand properly.
In-house lead generation and content marketing. These activities, while quite common for most agencies, are often more demanding and face more challenges across the cleantech landscape. Cookie-cutter approaches often fail here.
Digital marketing skills are widespread. Specialist experience in cleantech for areas such as content marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), advertising and social media management makes a difference.
LinkedIn deserves a special place in the agency’s toolkit – I have yet to come across a cleantech client that hasn’t seen great value from it. From networking with venture capital, potential partners, infrastructure organizations and key institutions to finding clients, talent and keeping up to speed.
Public relations and Cleanteh PR-related skills such as expert media relations and crisis communications, editorial relationships. PR is generally overrated for many cleantech communication endeavors, but it has its merits for some very specific applications.
Building your internal marketing infrastructure. Especially for cleantech startups, you probably need a partner who will help you build out your marketing tool stack and workflows.
Market research. The sustainability and clean technology sphere has often seen many basic marketing assumptions fail. Due to the uniqueness of the space, not all established tactics, strategies and theories work. Having the ability to validate these assumptions through hands-on primary research not only reduces risk but also increases the chance you will come across an opportunity in the way you market your business.
What should cleantech clients do to accelerate growth with their agency?
Accept that you can’t rely on innovation only.
This is the “if you build it they will come” fallacy. Having innovative technology, VC backing, and a top PR agency on retainer isn’t enough. You will need a marketing edge in getting your offering to the right people. Too many great patents have been bogged down by poor commercialization.
Invest in a long-term approach.
Even if your offering is great, nothing in the clean economy became an overnight success. You need to formulate plans, test, refine, re-develop and finally deploy at a large scale – rinse and repeat!
Test your chemistry with your new partner agency early on.
Behind each successful technology company and sustainability innovator are great partnerships. The greater the chemistry, the greater the work produced. The faster you find your star partners, the better.
Benefit from knowledge transfer.
Learn from your experience working with your agency. A consultant that cares about your growth will instill knowledge, share skills and invest in the resourcefulness of your business.
Allocate a reasonable budget.
Results require investments. Methodical planning will give you a good idea of where the sweet spot for your budget should be. Before you get there though, you need to experiment.
Have weekly calls.
Everybody hates long, boring, pointless meetings. So, why do we require a weekly call for all our clients? They help us produce the right content as we build a better understanding of each project. More importantly, it creates a shared understanding of the situation and our objectives. It’s the only chance we get to celebrate our successes and set our sights on our next move. That’s a far cry from being pointless or boring!
Include your leadership and provide unfettered access to the agency.
Decisive action requires the authority to make decisions. We usually require access to the C-suite because it accelerates decision-making and allows us to tailor our work to a better fit. Disruptive cleantech businesses with ambition always get their top team involved in marketing.
Establish clear objectives that everyone is agreed on.
From your positioning and brand identity to communications strategy and campaign goals, we need to agree on clear objectives. These shouldn’t be arbitrary though; they need to be based on facts and experience. Having a weekly call and regular reviews will help keep the project on track.
Be willing to experiment.
You innovate with your tech, so why not with your marketing? Experimentation will help us find creative solutions to unique problems. It will also help us optimize our activities to get better results.
Why you should consider working with us
At Texentric we have more than a decade of experience specializing in international growth for climate tech companies, alternative energy industries, sustainable technology owners and EPCs.
We have a reputation for using experimentation to solve complex go-to-market problems and working with a very restricted client roster so as to provide the level of attention required to get results.