Logistics and marketing go hand-in-hand. Like most businesses, logistics service providers need to find ways of attracting new right-fit clients, and a clear marketing plan is the best way to do that. As you Google terms like “how to get clients in the logistics business,” you’ll find various potential solutions—building an in-house team of marketers, outsourcing to a logistics marketing agency, or a mix of both. These options come with widely varying budgets and capabilities, but what they have in common is the goal to find help logistics companies acquire new business by meeting their audience where they’re at.
Potential logistics customers overwhelmingly use online search tools, social platforms, company websites, and digital publications to find and research suitable logistics service partners. No matter how you handle your marketing efforts, your overall strategic marketing plan should include market research, strategies aligned to business objectives, and marketing tactics in the digital space.
For logistics companies that transport goods from point A to point B, developing a logistics marketing plan is a similarly sequential and detailed process. Many links work together to make up a dependable and efficient supply chain, but various obstacles threaten to break the weakest among them. A strong logistics 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 planning process.
Here are 6 steps logistics companies should follow to develop a sound logistics 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 essential to establish a clear offer to avoid overpromising and subsequently under-delivering your sellable services to your clients. To define your service offer properly, develop a Brand Strategy that cohesively outlines 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, your markets will be dictated by your capability and capacity for material handling, production, packaging, inventory, transportation, warehousing, and security.
Establishing your primary and secondary market focuses and reassessing the market opportunity each year are crucial. 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 adjust your marketing budget and goals better and, in effect, increase your ROI.
3. Identify your competition
Who are your tier-1 and tier-2 competitors? Are there specific 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 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 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, consider reevaluating 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. An excellent way to start is by asking: What do our most satisfied clients say about us? This frame of mind will help you better understand and address your target market.
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
When marketing logistics companies, determine how much money you want to spend on marketing and how to segment it. Will you disperse the budget across certain markets, or will it be spent promoting the company as a whole? Your logistics marketing strategy and goals depend on what your primary marketing focus is, which is why it’s crucial to establish a clear perspective and match budget early in the process.
According to the 2023 B2B Marketing Mix Report, 62% of marketers shared that they’ll allocate more money to their marketing budgets, with major event marketing and SEO efforts. Check out the 2023 B2B Marketing Mix Report for updated facts and figures about B2B marketers and other interesting tidbits and tips for establishing a logistics marketing plan and budget.
6. Develop a tactical marketing plan
Once you finalize your budget, determine what marketing channels you’ll 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 brand trust into sales? Having a clear, agreed-upon tactical marketing plan going forward is paramount to your logistic company’s success in the coming year, and an integrated marketing approach is most often the best methodology.
Through integrated marketing, CLX Logistics, a world leader in the chemical logistics space, providing managed transportation services, TMS technology, and supply chain consulting services, increased website conversions by 376% and brand impressions by 60% in six months. They operated on a tactical marketing plan to address their unique audience through multiple channels to great results. CLX has seen record lead generation and continues to be a market leader in the industry through effective logistics marketing
“We have seen great success in working with Sagefrog to boost our digital presence. The integration of marketing and logistics with 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 primary marketing channels is functioning to the best of its ability is also essential when planning for the new year or improving upon your marketing efforts. Rather than searching for quick fixes, take the time to review your current strategies and note what’s working and what’s not. Compare your branding, website development, 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 our expert B2B marketing agency and test the effectiveness of your company’s strategy and performance against industry best practices. Get professional observations, custom recommendations, and tips for improvement.