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By Justin Zohn

Building Your Own Marketing System

In 2000, Havill & Company published a nationally syndicated market research study entitled: “The Commercial Fleet Market Forecast: 1999-2001”[1].  The research found that of the 37 billion gallons of fuel consumed by U.S. fleets with four or more vehicles, nearly one-third, 11.9 billion gallons are dispensed from on-site private refueling facilities. 

Like the fleet market in general, the private on-site refueling population is very fragmented.   All types of businesses operate on-site refueling facilities.  For example, the chart below profiles the active underground storage tank (UST) facilities operated by private businesses in the state of North Carolina.

Based on the North Carolina UST[2] database, there are an estimated 2,000 active facilities with underground gasoline and/or diesel storage operated by private companies.  When thinking of private on-site refueling facilities, typically hauling companies such as UPS, Yellow Freight, CSX and others come to mind.  But as the statistics show, such companies account for only 8.8 percent of the facilities in North Carolina.  Government and utility businesses comprise a significant portion of the UST facility population, 30.8 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively.

But the largest group of UST operators are other industrial commercial businesses including the construction, manufacturing, wholesale, retail, and service sectors.  These businesses account for 51.4 percent of all the private facilities in North Carolina.


North Carolina Non-Retail Facilities by Storage Capacity




Gasoline & Diesel Gallons Stored On-Site













Business Type











8 8 3 5 4 0 0 0 28

% of total

2.5% 2.3% 2.1% 0.9% 1.2% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 1.4%


54 87 36 152 132 123 27 8 619

% of total

17.1% 24.8% 24.8% 27.6% 40.0% 51.5% 43.5% 42.1% 30.8%


1 4 2 91 41 29 9 1 178

% of total

0.3% 1.1% 1.4% 16.5% 12.4% 12.1% 14.5% 5.3% 8.8%


202 215 88 279 138 80 24 9 1035

% of total

63.9% 61.3% 60.7% 50.6% 41.8% 33.5% 38.7% 47.4% 51.4%


2 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 4

% of total

0.6% 0.0% 0.0% 0.2% 0.3% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.2%


49 37 16 23 14 7 2 1 149

% of total

15.5% 10.5% 11.0% 4.2% 4.2% 2.9% 3.2% 5.3% 7.4%


316 315 145 551 330 239 62 19 2013

Are you getting your fair market share?

As a business-to-business marketer, one would have to ask, "Am I getting my fair share of the opportunity within my market?"  To be actionable, this market opportunity data must also be available at the regional and local levels.  In North Carolina, as an example, successful marketers need information on each of the 2,013 private facilities, including storage capacity and demographic business information.

Unfortunately, most marketers do not have an accurate measure of the opportunity available to them.  As a result, marketing and sales efforts are shortchanged.  Sometimes marketers focus primarily on the biggest accounts while missing the small and medium sized businesses that aren’t as visible but represent a substantial potential nonetheless.  Other times, entire business segments are excluded simply because “no one thought to market to those types of businesses.”

Understanding your market potential is half the puzzle.  Identifying the characteristics of your profitable customers is equally important.  A variety of business demographics can be considered when profiling your good customers including:  credit ratings, number of employees, years in business, SIC codes, etc.  Once you have identified common characteristics among your profitable customers, you can then solicit prospects within your market that “look like” your good customers.  To see these ideas put to action, read Building Your Own Virtual Marketplace. 

[1] Research findings were based on a survey of 1,600 fleet operators across the country.  The results were projected to the national population using federal vehicle and fuel consumption statistics from the Census Bureau and the Federal Departments of Energy and Transportation.

[2]  The North Carolina database of Registered Underground Storage Tanks is compiled and maintained by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources Division of Waste Management UST Section.

In 2000, Havill & Company published a nationally syndicated market research study entitled: “The Commercial Fleet Market Forecast: 1999-2001.”  As a courtesy, you are receiving an excerpt from this syndicated study because you serve the transportation industry.  Please refer to our privacy policy if you do not wish to receive these market research report excerpts.

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