warm thoughts


Written on: April 11, 2022

Marketing professionals from all over the United States gathered on the 50th floor of the IDS Center in Minneapolis April 5-6 to discuss some of the latest strategies for delivering a message that resonates with propane customers and prospective customers. With over 115 participants, the Conference provided a keynote speaker, six one-hour sessions with participants choosing programs from a menu of 12 options led by marketing experts, and a reception for networking with fellow retail propane marketers and other industry stakeholders.

“The Energy for Everyone Marketing Conference was a fantastic experience to meet with marketers from all over the country working towards the common goal of changing the narrative around propane,” said Lindsey Stansfield, director of marketing & communications at Paraco Gas in New York. “The keynote speaker and author of Beyond Grit, Cindra Kamphoff, offered perspective on a high-performance mindset that can undoubtedly help us during turbulent times. I loved how she broke down the word GRIT into an acronym that we can all use in our professional and personal lives to continue to turn the dial-up on our goals. The Conference was the perfect mix of networking, learning, and fun. The true benefit will be having more marketers consistently sharing the environmental message and broadening propane’s message and voice.”

“Working in public relations and marketing, I really enjoyed Christina Mozaffari’s Practical Media Training Class,” said Kirsten McAlpin, director of marketing & public relations at Conger LP Gas in Georgia. “Her strategies were great things to be reminded of as we are all spokespeople for not only our respective companies but also the propane industry as a whole.” She also noted she personally got a lot out of Dave Meyer’s session about Google. “He gave examples of several things that can be implemented instantly to really make an impact on a business’s presence on Google which leads to more brand awareness and easier access for current customers and potential prospects.”

“I thoroughly enjoyed the Energy for Everyone Marketing Conference,” McAlpin added. “Not only did marketers get to learn from industry experts on various marketing topics, but we were also able to meet like-minded people who are doing the same thing we are but in various parts of the country. For example, as someone from South Georgia, I was able to sit at a table with other propane marketing personnel from Michigan, New Jersey, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania to share ideas and experiences while creating friendships that I can now bring with me to Conger LP Gas. That in and of itself is invaluable.”

Brian Brooks, who serves as vice-president at Brooks Gas in Missouri as well as president of the Missouri Propane Gas Assocation, felt the biggest takeaway from the conference was “not to be afraid”. He said marketers were encouraged not to be afraid of thinking outside the box for marketing ideas. “It is ok for an idea or marketing campaign to fail,” he said. “Just be sure to learn from what happened.” Also, he noted the need for a retailer to have their IT infrastructure secure. “We may think we’re small potatoes and off the radar, but we’re not. We’re an industry that has historically lagged behind in adopting technology, never mind the fact that many of us have a gold mine of personal information on each of our customers.”

“I think it was worth the time and expense 100% to attend the PERC conference,” Brooks said. “The overall energy of the group was great. The attendees seemed to be removed a step or two from the C-suite and excited to learn about where the industry was headed. We were all eager to find ways to stay relevant in a market segment that is increasingly under attack from not only other energy sources, but also various governmental agencies.”

Propane Resources’ marketing & brand manager, Tammy Day, felt the marketing conference was a great success and a great benefit to her. “With many people being shuttered over the past two years, there was a definite positive-energy vibe,” she said. “The presenters even commented on how happy they were to be free of the webinar scene and be able to present live and in person….and it showed. The presenters were energetic and articulate. I was very impressed by their caliber and the quality of information they shared. I returned to work invigorated by what I learned.”

Day said she was initially motivated to attend this conference because the topics that were presented were directly related to current projects she has in the works. “We’re delving deeper into SEO, paid web ads, keywords, writing for websites, blogs and social media,” she said. “Making better use of all Google has to offer, all of which was covered, is critical. Already within the first two days of returning from the conference, I’ve put some of what I learned into action. I’m looking forward to using more of my new-found knowledge in the very near future.”

Representing Crystal Flash of Michigan, Marketing Manager Scott Miller said he found a ton of value and had a fantastic time at the Conference. “While I also enjoyed the NPGA Southeastern Convention in Atlanta last October, as a Marketing guy, I found the presenters and topics of the sessions in Minneapolis to be much more aligned with my areas of interest/responsibility. He agreed with others the networking was top-notch and he made great connections he feels will be beneficial in the future. “Overall, it was certainly time well spent!”

“In his opening address in Minneapolis, Tucker Perkins mentioned that PERC has no plans to increase the frequency of these Marketing Conferences,” Miller noted. “Having them take place only every few years feels a bit like an opportunity lost, in my opinion. For that reason, I don’t think these occasional one-offs can have the type of impact on the industry….education, best practices, customer growth, etc….that they really could. In fact, some of the new industry friends that I connected with have already mentioned having our own virtual meet-ups to swap ideas on a more frequent basis, so all credit is due to PERC’s Marketing Conference for making that possible as well.”

“I have not taken so many notes from any conference in a long time – including conferences that our clients host and our staff operates,” said Derek Dalling, president and CEO of Kindsvatter, Dalling & Associates, Inc. which manages several propane state associations. “One of the biggest takeaways was also one of the simplest. While Google may not share its search algorithm, the best way to be found and optimized is simply to be helpful. Provide answers to questions online and through websites. Provide solutions to problems. This simple lesson applies to those of us operating propane associations, but it absolutely applies to all propane retailers providing heat as well. I believe our firm already does that well, but I certainly intend to emphasize and stress this with our client services.”

“Every single one of the sessions I attended was outstanding. Our PERC staff needs to be commended for assembling these speakers and hosting this conference,” Dalling said. “The speakers provided a number of tremendous tips and made them easy to implement for the attendees. I was really impressed with ideas and enthusiasm I heard from fellow Marketing Conference attendees. I hope the propane companies that sent staff to this Marketing Conference also plan to send them to state association meetings, NPGA meetings, and/or PERC meetings. The entire industry can benefit from the fresh ideas that the attendees of the Marketing Conference possess.”