Meet the Kalibrate Team: Marianne Hillhouse
At Kalibrate, we believe our success is driven as much by our people as our technology. So, as part of our new meet the team series, we’re showcasing some of the talent and expertise within the Kalibrate family.
Marianne Hillhouse is our Senior Sales Representative for Single Site Analysis. Marianne is highly-experienced with a history of working in the tech and services industries. Her top skills include site assessments for gasoline and convenience store retail, account management, leadership, and strategic planning.
Marianne gave us personal insight into her life at Kalibrate, explained why she genuinely loves what she does, and shared her knowledge on the fuel retail market overall.
What is your role at Kalibrate?
My role sits within the sales department for Single Site Analysis. I regularly speak to marketers and retailers who need site evaluations to help them understand the volume potential for their locations. Our model can forecast volume for new sites, sites being viewed for acquisition, or sites where major capital investment is being considered.
Some clients haven’t purchased their land yet. Others have obtained the land and they believe it’s a good location, but they want reassurance. Some are wanting to know if they should change fuel brands, or make significant capital changes to their facility. The possibilities are almost endless.
My goal is to understand the scope of a project, explain the benefits of Single Site Analysis, and ensure we deliver the best insights for their business. Once this is accomplished, the project is then turned over to an analyst who does the modeling and runs the simulations.
What does a typical day look like?
Firstly, in my line of work there’s rarely a “typical day”.
I am office-based so I spend a good deal of time reaching out to clients, taking incoming calls, and speaking to folks about their site needs.
A number of clients have a specific site problem that needs solving, and have proactively approached us. They want to understand how we, at Kalibrate, can help them uncover the insights and knowledge they need. So I spend plenty of time on the phone, explaining who we are, what we do, and how our insights can help them.
What do you love about your role?
The thing I love most is talking to people, and helping them achieve their goals.
I particularly like working with people that are new to the industry. They are so excited to see their plans come to life. These clients have never built a site before, so for them it’s a considerable learning curve. I get to help them understand the nuances of their market, their potential competition, the passing traffic, the demographic makeup of their trade area, and so on.
It’s all so enlightening and valuable to them, and I find that incredibly satisfying.
Why did you choose to join Kalibrate?
Well, actually, I joined a company straight out of college called MPSI whose HQ was in Tulsa. The company was dynamic and quite young at the time, which really appealed to me. I wanted to work somewhere that offered something unique, and MPSI was exactly that: very few businesses did site evaluations and we were the market leaders.
It was an international business and a fun place to work, so I really enjoyed being part of the MPSI team. Then, several years later, MPSI was purchased by KSS Fuels and we changed our name to Kalibrate.
Even now, so many years after I joined MPSI, I still feel like we offer something unique to our clients. The industry has changed and our technology and insights are greatly enhanced, but the basics of what we do, and why, remains the same.
What do you think are the greatest challenges and opportunities in the fuel retail sector?
I think finding the right locations is the trickiest hurdle for fuel retailers.
Put it this way; you could build the Taj Mahal of gas stations, but in the wrong spot it won’t perform well. A fuel retailer has to understand the local competition, the demographics, and the passing traffic to get the best idea about its potential performance.
The Single Site Analysis model considers all these components and more, and from that helps forecast a site’s volume. This level of insight goes beyond the human mind — it’s impossible to comprehend the combination of all of these components without the help of analytics, data, and machine learning.
And the opportunities for fuel retailers? I think it’s having a market expert like Kalibrate assist them with these location challenges, and to help them recognize their potential. That’s what brings it all together, and turns a challenge into an opportunity.
Where do you see the fuel retail market heading?
From what I’ve seen, margins in fuel retail are dwindling. So, retailers are looking for ancillary offerings like car washes, high-quality food services, and premium products to get customers on the lot.
In the future, this could be achieved through a higher number of cobrandings, to attract a different demographic. Or perhaps in addition to offering indulgence food, an inclusion of healthier eating options and fresh food, to cater to a more health-conscious demographic. I think these things are in the pipeline in the USA, and beyond. At Kalibrate, we’re ready to help retailers stay ahead in these uncertain times.
Kalibrate’s Single Site Analysis provides accurate predictions of a site’s potential performance in an easy-to-digest format, with enhanced market data and additional commentary to make decision-making more straightforward. Get in touch with Marianne, or one of the team at Kalibrate for more information about the new Single Site Analysis report, or request a free sample.
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