As another year 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 previous 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 many obstacles that can cause that link to severe or break. A strong marketing plan holds together all of the tactics, or links, in a company’s marketing effort to help things run smoothly and guarantee success in the form of qualified leads, higher ROI and more sales.
But what if your planning is out of practice? Or what if no one is steering the ship? Bring your internal marketing team back on track or work with an outsourced marketing agency to improve your logistics marketing plan.
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 overpromising, and subsequently under-delivering, your sellable services to your clients. To define your service offer properly, 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 or liquids? For new companies, determining your markets will be dictated by your capability and capacity for 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 and goals and in effect, increase your ROI.
3. Identify 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 differently 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 or 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 products, 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.
Then broadcast these differentiators through great branding efforts that permeate all avenues of your company from the inside out. If you already advertise your value propositions but have no luck attracting qualified leads, find out where you are on the spectrum from a great brand to a brand that isn’t so great and make adjustments from there to get up to speed.
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 marketing strategy and goals depend on what your primary marketing focus is, which is why it’s crucial to establish a clear perspective and matching budget early on in the process.
According to the 2019 B2B Marketing Mix Report, nearly 40% of B2B companies spend 10% or more of their company budget on marketing. Check out the 2019 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 and 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 and an integrated marketing approach is most often the best way forward.
Through integrated marketing, CLX Logistics, a global provider of transportation management, technology and supply chain consulting services, was able to increase website conversions by 376% and brand impressions by 60% in six months. Because they operated on a tactical plan that combined multiple marketing channels to boost results, the company saw record lead generation and came out a market leader.
“We have seen great success in working with Sagefrog to boost our digital presence. The integration of social media marketing, website development and SEM tactics have supported a new brand identity that unites our team and better serves our clients.” –CLX Logistics
Don’t forget to review all marketing channels
Ensuring that each of your main marketing channels is functioning to the best of its ability is also important when planning for the new year or attempting to improve upon your marketing efforts. Rather than searching for quick fixes, take the time to review your current strategies and take note of what’s working and what’s not. Compare your branding, website, SEO, public relations, social media and content marketing efforts against your competitors and the industry standard to see how you can improve.
If you need help assessing a specific channel, request a free marketing audit of your choice to get insights from the B2B marketing experts at Sagefrog and test the effectiveness of your company’s strategy and performance against industry best practices. Get professional observations, custom recommendations and tips for improvement. Request your free audit today.