6 Steps for Logistics Marketing Planning

As 2017 comes to a close, many B2B companies, including logistics businesses, are focused on planning for the year ahead. For some companies, that means developing a marketing plan or enhancing their plan from the past year with updated strategies and tactics that increase efficacy.

For logistics companies that are responsible for transporting goods from point A to point B, developing a marketing plan is also a sequential and detailed process. There are many links that make up a dependable and efficient supply chain, and likewise, many obstacles that can cause that link to severe or break.

Here are 6 steps that logistics companies should follow to develop a sound marketing plan.

1. Define your service offer

Do you deliver raw materials to factories or finished products to consumers? What modes of transportation do you use? Do you transport goods domestically or globally? What type of technology and tracking services do you provide?

These are all crucial questions to ask when chiseling out a concise definition for your service offer. It’s important to have a clear offer established to avoid over promising, and subsequently under delivering, your sellable services to your clients. To define your service offer properly, start with a Brand Strategy which will cohesively outline your positioning statement and messaging platform.

2. Determine your primary and secondary markets

Are you managing the logistics of physical items, such as food, materials, electronics, equipment and/or liquids? For new companies, determining your markets will be dictated by your capability and capacity including material handling, production, packaging, inventory, transportation, warehousing and security.

It’s important to establish your primary and secondary market focuses and reassess the market opportunity each year; markets shift over time, and so might the demographics that need your logistics services. By reevaluating your primary and secondary markets, you’ll be able to better adjust your marketing budget, marketing goals and in effect, increase your ROI.

3. Identity your competition

Who are your tier-1 and tier-2 competitors? Are there certain companies that you consider to be a best practice reference? What do you offer that your competitors don’t? How can you offer it different or better? For example, does your competition use their own shipping department or a commercial carrier – and what are the benefits or challenges of each?

As a key rule, every company has competition, regardless of how specified or niche their services or markets may be. Even if your business can’t identify direct competition, contextual competition still exists. Taking the time to thoroughly analyze any competition that may be lingering on the sidelines unnoticed can help your logistics company refine its vision and focus.

4. Articulate your value proposition

Once you evaluate the competition, determine what makes your company stand out and articulate it in such a way that customers will understand. Is it lower prices, newer technology, operational efficiencies, guarantees?

What really makes your business stand out in a field that’s flooded with companies offering similar products or services? If you can’t think of obvious examples that highlight your business’s advantage, stand out processes or deliverable product, you need to reevaluate your value proposition and the aesthetic it projects to your customers. For many business leaders, it’s difficult to remove yourself from the day-to-day operations to think strategically about your value propositions. A good way to start is by asking the question: What do our most satisfied clients say about us? This will get you out of your own head and into the minds of your target market.

5. Allocate a marketing budget

Determine how much money you want to spend on marketing and how it will be segmented. Will you disperse the budget across certain markets or will it be spent promoting the company as a whole? Your budget, strategy and goals will all differ depending on what your primary marketing focus is. It’s crucial to establish a clear perspective and matching budget, early on in the process.

According to the 2018 B2B Marketing Mix Report, one-third of B2B companies spend 10% or more of their company budget on marketing.  Check out the 2018 B2B Marketing Mix Report for updated facts and figures about B2B marketers and other interesting tidbits and tips for establishing a marketing plan and budget for your company.

6. Develop a tactical marketing plan

Once your budget is finalized, determine what marketing channels you will use to promote your value proposition to your target markets. For example, where will you advertise, what industry tradeshows will you attend?

What are your goals when it comes to marketing; are you generating brand awareness, building customer interaction with your business or working on converting familiarity with your brand into sales? Having a clear, agreed upon tactical marketing plan going forward is tantamount to your logistic company’s success in the coming year.

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