The Marketing Retrofit 101

The Marketing Retrofit 101
Dr.Yekatherina Brobova - "Dr Retrofit"

Academic Analysis You Can Use To Scale Your Retrofit Business

If you are in the retrofit business, one of the hardest parts of what you do, is getting your solution to reach an audience. It's a big audience.

There are different estimates, between 23 and 29 million homes, they reckon, need retrofit before 2050 to meet our Net Zero deadline. That and the fact it would be great to get millions of people's homes warmer, more efficient and safer to live in.

Not forgetting. Retrofit will need maintenance, whether it's ground source heat pumps or insulation, not everything fitted today, will be left alone.

So with all that potential business to work on, how would you feel about a formula that helps you connect to customers. Interested?

Marketing And Harry Potter

Marketing techniques and product sales is considered a black art.

Marketers tend to be ephemeral creatures who operate in the unknown.

With social media as the anchor, you can break through and get into a purple patch. Help is always a good thing though? Otherwise you wouldn't be reading this article.

Help is at hand.

A hard working academic and her team have been doing some of the legwork for you. And because we at Refurb and Retrofit want you all to succeed, we spent a ton of time unwrapping their research to deliver this 'solution pack' to help you out.

Here's the first mistake you might be making.

Being Logical Is Boring

Stop focussing on the benefits of the solution you provide.

If you make great windows, the u-value is important but it's won't turn opinion.

Install heat pumps?

Great, but the projected savings aren't going to stir anyone, well hardly.

It's time to get emotional. Truly get in touch with some feelings.

The thing that many. Possibly most marketers concentrate on. Is.

Cognitive motivations - the logical reason to use a product.

They're great but. They need to be entwined with a message that appeals to a homeowners emotional needs.

We'll explain this in detail first.

A meme based lie about what the home is

Personal Space

Retrofit takes place in one of the sanctuaries that people have.

A bad day can be resolved at home.

A difficult conversation can be slept on and worked out.

At home. Broken hearts, remorse, loss, regret - they all get a bunch of healing at home.

The space that you're trying to work in to retrofit - is private and sacred.

That means decision making in the home - it has a different value system to when a person interacts in say a casual exchange in the street.

If you position your thinking right now - to how you feel at your home, it might help you understand the concepts people value when they make decisions about retrofit.

a living room filled with furniture and a large window
Photo by Minh Pham / Unsplash

The Home Experience

In your own home, you like the control you have.

If you can, you control that space in way that enhances your health and well being so it can make you happy, every day. That gorgeous leafy plant, that warm radiator, a door that shuts a draught.

Almost everyone is concerned about the climate but even if they aren't, they want to be known amongst their closest kith and kin - as caring, and by association, that means they care about their environment in the home.

Every adult in the UK must be aware of what their living arrangements cost them, as a homeowner or renter.

In fact now, most people are acutely aware if what things cost.

So feeling able to manage and build financial resilience to maintain and stay in that safe space, the home, is vital to everyone.

These ideas come together in a concept known as the Home for the Common Future.

Graphic From Home for the Common Future (HCF): The use of home-meanings to promote domestic energy retrofit
Hygge book on blanket
Photo by Stella Rose / Unsplash

The Emotions Of Home

The theoretical concept shown in the diagram needs to be applied to what you need - to market to a person.


Try this technique to understand how you can create your own way of connecting to people.

Spit ball (disgusting term but google it and then do it) with your team.

Ask them what do they think is the emotion they feel, when they think about home? Here's some prompts;

  • Comfort
  • Security
  • Peaceful
  • Welcoming
  • Serene
  • Sanctuary
  • Cozy
  • Tranquil
  • Safe
  • Content
  • Homely
  • Blissful
  • Inviting
  • Harmonious
  • Nurturing
  • Relaxing
  • Refreshed
  • Loved
  • Connected
  • Happy

If these are emotions that people feel about their homes.

See what part of your product or service can support the emotion described. Here's some examples to help;

The wrong way.


Our heat pump the SASQUATCH 2000 can save you £300 over 5 years.

A different way.

Arrive home to a silent hug with a SASQUATCH 2000, (no matter what the forecast said).

red and white house surround green grass field
Photo by Luke Stackpoole / Unsplash

What A Home 'Means' To Your Customers

The research we delved into had coordinated a collection of other studies which wanted to define how people thought about their home, the meaning of home - some examples where;

Shelter (materiality)
Adobe (place)
Hearth (warmth)
Heart (love)
Privacy (control)
Roots (source of identity)
Paradise (ideality, sense of spiritual security)

These ideas then create a framework, to which you can pin emotions next to the experiences people could feel in retrofitted home. To develop this, here's an example pulled apart from one of the parts of the framework of home meanings.

closed white display cabinet
Photo by Arthur Edelmans / Unsplash


The fact.

Heat pumps can regulate temperature for a sustained period without fluctuations or surges, much more efficiently than GHG fuel sources.

The connection.

Previously periodically unused rooms like a dining room, or the bedroom at the back, or the kitchen. Are always useable.

The emotion.

Get comfortable, in any place, as a safe place, any time, with a ground source heat pump.

Now apply this to the activities that take place in homes, at different times or recurring and go through the thought process again;

The fact.

Our culture. Families often have relatives round for festivals and celebrations - they go into the spare room or reception rooms rarely used.

The connection.

It's an expression of love and welcome to make the spare room/reception area an included and comfortable space.

The emotion.

Each [insert your festival] aunt/uncle/grandad/nanny always asks for us because a welcome - is who we are.

That sense of JOY and PRIDE you get when your family LOVE the fact you have a comfortable welcoming home, you might not like it ( I can feel my Mum ruffling my head from the ether) but that does make you feel good inside.

In the research carried out by Dr Yekhaterina and her colleagues;

The analysis focused on homeowner retrofit motivations5 and identified five core themes of positive6 perezhivanie (emotional and cognitive experiences) associated with low-carbon7 dwellings: (i) control over one's environment; (ii) health and well-being & happiness in everyday life, (iii) climate concerns & caring identity, (iv) financial considerations & future-resilience; (v) a full integration between and individual and their environment.

Which they helpfully applied to a graphic which does a great job of explaining the connections;

There are therefore, according to this study, emotional connections to the physical changes brought about by retrofitting your property.

woman wearing pink top while holding mug
Photo by Amanda Lins / Unsplash


We decided to train a GPT on how to use this study and see if you could get some actionable marketing advice from AI with the HCF framework. You can can go and play with it now.

Use some prompts like this;

My target customers are XXX in the are of XXX in the UK. The services my company offers is this, how do I use Perezhivanie to connect to them?

If at this point you're asking yourself, what should I do to improve my company marketing. Have no fear, we're doing the research for you.

This article is going to be a two parter as we follow up with the Dr on her next release about connecting retrofitters, but in the meantime. Listen to her explanation of emotion in retrofit marketing;