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Marathon Petroleum Piloting New Mystery Shop Program

Refiner-marketer partnering with Ipsos to assess performance of branded stations
Photograph courtesy of Marathon Petroleum Corp.

FINDLAY, Ohio —Marathon Petroleum Corp. is launching a new mystery shopping program, Marathon Insight, designed to monitor and enhance the retail customer experience.

Marathon Insight will assess the performance of jobber-supplied Marathon- , ARCO- and Tesoro-branded stations across the country. The balance of 2022 will be spent designing and building the new program for pilot in the fourth quarter, to go live in January 2023.  

“Customers are central to everything we do including marketing our branded fuels,” said John Rice, manager of brand marketing at Marathon. “We aim to make visits to our retail stations as customer-centric as possible. To do that, it is vital that we have accurate and reliable feedback in order to know what we are doing right and what we can enhance.”

Marathon is partnering with Ipsos Channel Performance, Lewisburg, Pa., to build the new program.  The research company provides customer insights in the form of site evaluations, effective feedback and analytics.

“As the largest provider of mystery shop and site audit solutions in the convenience and mobility space, Ipsos will leverage deep experience and expertise to ensure Marathon’s stakeholders not only receive timely and critical insights to drive site-level action, but also the consultation and thought leadership to inform and support strategic decision making,” said Christopher Koetting, senior vice president at Ipsos Channel Performance.

In June, Marathon Petroleum rolled out “Endurance,” a new image for Marathon-branded gas stations to represent the retail brand. 

Marathon Petroleum is an integrated, downstream energy company that operates the nation's largest refining system. The company sells refined products to wholesale marketing customers domestically and internationally, to buyers on the spot market, to independent entrepreneurs who primarily operate Marathon-branded gas stations and convenience stores, and through long-term supply contracts with direct dealers who operate locations mainly under the ARCO brand. As of Dec. 31, 2021, Marathon petroleum had 7,159 primarily Marathon-branded jobber outlets in 37 states, the District of Columbia and Mexico and 1,086 primarily ARCO-branded direct dealer locations primarily in Southern California. It sold its more then 3,800-unit Speedway retail gas station and c-store network to Irving, Texas-based 7-Eleven Inc. in May 2021.

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