Prosper Business Development Corp., a Columbus, OH-basedconsulting and marketing firm, released an addendum to a previousreport on deregulating energy markets yesterday, citing a new listof pitfalls in the changing energy environment. The report,”Accelerating Energy’s Challenge to Change,” is intended to enhanceenergy marketers’ profitability as they enter deregulating markets.

The addendum points out three new problems energy marketers haveto overcome. The first challenge marketers face, according to thewhite paper, is understanding today’s retail market. “Utilities andtheir deregulated energy marketing subsidiaries have missed out onthe retail marketing wars of the last two decades. In fact, they’vebeen so far removed they haven’t even participated in the wargames. As a result, they lack the basic understanding of theconsumer market that can only be acquired under the fire ofcompetitive market battles.”

To fix this problem, marketers need to simplify their processes.”The energy marketers who can simplify the choice process, make itconvenient and enjoyable will win.”

Another problem today’s energy marketers are facing is thechanging market landscape. The Internet and e-commerce have causeda revolution in economic models of retailing, the report said. Tosolve this problem, the report suggests immediate action. “Sincethey have never had to be nimble or had to move quickly in reactionto market changes, utilities and energy suppliers who can’t respondto the Internet challenge will find themselves being left behind.Those companies that can respond and overcome the forces of inertiawithin their ranks will reap the promise of e-business- increaserevenues, improve customer service and broaden market share.”

The last problem the report points out is the lack of marketingleadership currently existing among the ranks in the energyindustry. Due to regulation, many companies are full of highlyskilled people who don’t know how to grow market share throughcatering to customers’ needs. “Sound, cost effective marketingprograms are sorely needed. Programs that can generate profits notjust sales. Eventually, competitive marketers will change the waythe industry conducts retail business and how they interact withand are perceived by consumers,” the white paper said.

The original report, “Energy’s Challenge to Change” waspublished in April 1998. It outlined other market problems andsuggested solutions. Another white paper “Utilities Next Challenge;Deregulating the Organization” is due to be released later thismonth. To order either report, visit the company’s Web site

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