Tuesday, June 10, 2008

$4.00 Gas & Some Other Thoughts from the Nerd

So, gasoline is hovering around $4.00/gal. and it had me thinking how marketeers can somehow make a positive out of this negative. Not in a stupid way like the way car dealers are advertising the obvious, like mpg/fuel economy on compact cars and hybrids or by trying to give away free gas when you buy a car. These are all basic or gimmicky and are short term solutions. What I'm asking is how can we take a product like, ohh ... let's say apartments for example, and help market them as a positive for fuel consumption.

For example, maybe an apartment community could have signs or something that say, "If you lived here you'd save at least $80/month instead of driving 15 miles further to get home." Just one pretty cheesy example, but that $80 is another tank of gas in your gas guzzling SUV brotha.

That has me thinking again about housing (as that is my biz). I recently was interviewed for an upcoming article in a local free publication called House & Home. The article is about housing development in the downtown Indianapolis area. One question I was asked is if we thought that having the Super Bowl come to Indy would make a positive impact or change the way we look at our business. Although my response was that we currently have not had a rush on our apartment community, The Waverley at 151, we're optimistic the game will have some type of influence on our community that's just a few blocks away.

Now, you might be asking, "What the hell does that have to do with $4.00 gas?" It actually has me thinking that the bigger impact for a property such as The Waverley could be the increasing prices in gas and not something that will come and go like a Super Bowl. A convenient location of a home or business could become a critical selling point, if not a main feature or amenity. Do real estate developers and businesses consider fuel consumption in a proforma or a business plan? Will it over the next few years become something that is a key component to starting a business, getting a loan, or just conducting business in general. As a society will the majority of businesses just ignore the issue and continue to raise prices or add fuel surcharges, or will we actually take a step as marketeers to help companies develop a marketing/business strategy that effectively promotes fuel conservation in order to maintain favorable pricing to the masses? What is your company doing?

- Mark

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