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Should B2C marketing strategies take rising fuel costs into account?

Delivering a course on marketing strategy at Lancaster University Management School today, I was surprised at how few B2C businesses were preparing for the effect that fuel price rises will have on the 2011 customer.

Every business had factored their own fuel costs into their budgets but ignored the impact that it is likely to have on their target market.  We are developing a full PEST analysis for each industry sector but responding to immediate issues regarding retail and tourism:

Retail

Footfall is likely to be down.  Focus on e-commerce, ensure that your online business is a truly rewarding experience.  Take the opportunity to delight the customer in their home environment by ensuring that receiving and unpacking delivered items is a delight.

Tourism

Domestic tourism will change.  People will become doorstep tourists, looking to take short breaks and daytrips nearer to home.  There is a huge opportunity to be creative here and drive people to revisit where they live but it will mean that tourism authorities need to take a completely new focus, not easy we know when budgets and staffing levels are down.

Possible marketing solutions

In both cases, social media, guerilla marketing and customer engagement would be the centre of our strategic focus – where you see lost customers we see the opportunity to attract new ones…