Developing the US Biomass Residential Heating Market: Insights From Research

Developing the US Biomass Residential Heating Market: Insights From Research

Adee Athiyaman (Western Illinois University, Macomb, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/IJSESD.2018100102
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The objective of this article is to help biomass heating industry in its marketing tasks, by helping the industry segment its consumers so that marketing efforts can be targeted at households that will purchase and use biomass home heating. To achieve this objective, the author classifies US households using structural characteristics (for example, year the home was built) and function or behavioral features of the households (for example, life goals or values of the head of household). Gaining social approval, living an active or exciting life, and a mature understanding of life are the primary motives that influence biomass equipment purchase. One-in-three households in the nation possess these values and hence are the ideal targets for the industry. Since not all geographical locations are equally attractive, the author has developed an interactive computer application that insures that managers target households that meets business goals. Future research on home heating can build on this approach to deduce theorems about consumer purchases of green-energy products.
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2. Background

Extant research on consumer purchases of biomass home heating equipment suggests that the percept, biomass heating, is represented in the mind of the consumer substantively as the object shown in Figure 1. In addition, its properties are conceptualized as “green” and “efficient” (Athiyaman, 2015d). In terms of Aristotle’s form and matter classification the form of biomass heating is the wood stove (Figure 1) and its matter is its adjectival properties.

Figure 1.

Biomass heating: Percepts and concepts


Our aim is to analyze customer segments for biomass home heating products. Since analysis without “construction” is trivial, we build this research using extant research on consumer purchase behavior of green energy products. We break this knowledge down into empirical truths (for example, green consumers are college educated (Gershoff & Irwin, 2011)) and systematic truth (for example, to assert the ‘need’ for market segmentation we contend that a firm’s differential advantage is contingent on the firm varying its marketing mix to suit different customer needs (Hunt, 2010)).

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