The logistics industry, in most cases, is sales-centric. As a result, the marketing function in most logistics organizations is absent or viewed as a department that creates nice-looking documents, takes care of social, and, in some cases, does lead generation. This may be precisely why at such organizations, we see some hype communication in media; I’m talking about milestones, birthday cakes, and other things that don’t bring any tangible value to the organization. This happens because some organizations have not yet discovered the full potential of marketing. Moreover, marketing logistics services have few differences from other consumer goods marketing or low-ticket service marketing.
This article will shortly underline the logistics industry’s essential marketing functions.
1. Competitors analysis
One of the critical functions of the marketing department is to do competitor analysis. And this task is more challenging in logistics compared to consumer goods marketing. In the case of consumer goods, you can look at competing products’ functionality, check the price online/store, look at messaging, and then look for the blue oceans of your product. In logistics, it’s not so easy, as prices, service levels, and perceptions aren’t so visible in most cases.
Therefore, the analysis is more complicated, and you need someone with experience in logistics procurement to do this efficiently. However, still, this is a must for any size organization, and the best at this are guys or gals from marketing.
2. Creating marketing and branding strategies
The sales department, operations, and CEO at most logistics organizations play a key role in choosing new markets, adding new services, choosing the direction for a company, or even branding. And it’s okay because sales feel customers’ needs, operations understand what’s possible, and the CEO knows the direction. Although, keeping in mind that this kind of initiative is costly and knowing that humans are keen on many heuristics ( I recommend a great book on this topic, you can find it here.), there is a big chance that the judgments can be wrong.
Therefore, it’s crucial to involve marketing in this field, who will do excellent market and customer studies to prove the idea’s viability. Moreover, marketing will help to enter new markets or add new products faster with the help of the right marketing mix. And, of course, marketing will help to create supporting strategies and mutually created directions for an organization.
3. Helping to identify or create key differentiators
Suppose you ask any logistics business owner or someone working in sales of logistics services how different they are from competitors. You will likely get the following answers: our service levels are the best, we do everything for our customers, flexibility, we are there 24/7 for customers, etc. Vague? Yes. And I agree that finding differentiators for a logistics business is not easy, but still possible.
And here, the marketing team can help you get the answers and look for ways to prove and document those key differentiators so that they would sound authentic and the sales team would be confident presenting them.
4. Helping to build prospecting messages
The other function where marketing can be handy is creating sales messages. We do not talk only about presentations, case studies, and other marketing material but also about prospecting messages. As marketing guys usually know what’s essential for your customers and how different your organization is; therefore, they can help you build customer-centric messages instead of feature-centric ones.
Some in sales will disagree with me because of the constant fight between sales and marketing. I just wanted to let you know that this fight is not necessary. A remarkable synergy is possible here if done opositelly.
5. Helping to build outstanding logistics services
Usually, the quality of services in consumer goods or other low-ticket services is separate from marketing and is taken care of by the account management or quality departments. But in the case of logistics, where outstanding or dedicated services serve as a competitive advantage, it’s wise to involve marketing as well. Marketing in this process can help your organization increase sales and improve service levels. Because with this knowledge, marketing can create far better with customers resonating messages.
6. Employer’s branding
Positioning your organization as a great workplace and building a best-fitting organizational culture becomes essential because of the need for more employees in the industry.
The marketing department, in synergy with human resource and communications departments, can help to create employers’ branding and communication strategy
7. Tactical marketing
And last but not least important, marketing is responsible for all the tactical things of supporting your organization’s strategy by choosing the proper media channels, creating ads, visuals, etc.
In conclusion, the marketing department can support logistics companies in many ways. So we wish companies who have yet to invest in marketing and public relationships to start doing this today, as this is one of the best times to start. And we wish for those who have a marketing department to check whether they get all the synergies values that we talked about in the article.
And if your organization is looking for someone to manage marketing and public relationships, please contact Supply Chain Services Bureau. We work both on the tactical and strategic sides. Moreover, we only serve logistics service providers and those who sell to the logistics community.
About the Author:
Thomas Ananjevas is a supply chain professional with 15 years of experience purchasing and selling Logistic services and building a supply chain from scratch. He founded a consulting, training, and marketing company that works exclusively with the logistics industry. Thomas is helping logistics companies implement the necessary changes to ensure business growth and continuity. You can schedule a time to talk with Thomas about possible synergies by clicking here.