Step 7: Determine Loan Marketing Channels
Integrating financing into the overall energy efficiency marketing campaign is essential to accelerating program participation. Although financial services can be marketed directly to your financial partner's current mortgage holders or businesses, it will be critically important to include the efficiency program managers as part of your financial program outreach team. Working closely with the organizations that are delivering energy efficiency services will provide for opportunities to structure loan terms so that the dollar amounts of the estimated energy cost savings offset the amount of the monthly loan payments, thus generating immediate positive cash flow.
In addition to integrating marketing into the overall program plan, you should consider additional loan marketing channels and alliances:
- Existing customers: The selected financial partner(s) should be expected to market the financing program to their existing portfolio of residential and business customers. As part of their responsibility, financial partners should commit to identifying customers, making contact with them, and presenting the benefits of financing energy efficiency projects. Existing customers will also need to be prescreened for loan eligibility.
- Mortgage refinancing: With new and existing customers, opportunities often exist to piggyback energy efficiency investments with mortgage refinancing and to incorporate the project investment into the new first mortgage principal, provided the project can be developed within the refinancing timeframe. Financial partner(s), therefore, should include strategies for incorporating energy efficiency and renewable energy generation into eligible mortgage refinancing applications.
- Loan aggregators: Depending on the nature of the MSA, energy efficiency programs and loan offers can and should be marketed to third-party loan aggregators. Many aggregators have established networks of loan officers and interface with a large number of eligible borrowers. These aggregators can leverage their network to increase the number of energy efficiency loans, and therefore, this approach should be included in the financial partner's marketing plan.
- Large property investors and managers: Most financial partners will have close relationships with large property investors and managers that may be interested in implementing significant energy efficiency projects. Accordingly, the financial partner should leverage its relationships with these property investors and managers to encourage them to implement energy efficiency projects.
Consider co-branding a financing program with incentive-based programs on the Web and in program materials. Or provide energy professionals with the tools and information to present the cash flow benefits of financing energy efficiency to prospective consumers. Energy professionals are a critical resource and can help originate loans and provide assistance to consumers. Thus, when an energy professional visits a customer's site and recommends a series of efficiency measures, he has financial information to share and can demonstrate how financing will affect the customer's cash flow.