2020 has brought about tremendous change in many aspects of life, and supply chain management is certainly no exception. Covid-19 has accelerated – and in some cases prompted – realignment with changes in demand driving new practices. For companies operating within the supply chain, such as trucking and transportation outfits, it’s a period of reaction that requires careful consideration of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. In many cases it’s not enough to make these changes, it’s equally important to communicate them effectively.
So what exactly should you communicate?
Look to Trucking and Transportation Trends for Content Ideas
Covid-19 exposed the dangers related to centralized supply chains, and many companies have taken steps to diversify their supplier networks while decentralizing their warehousing. While social distancing measures have proven costly for retailers, ecommerce has seen explosive growth. Last mile and home delivery have become an increasingly important piece of the puzzle. These trends, of course, impact what is being shipped where, and how.
Tracking technology is improving, and both businesses and end users are coming to expect more sophisticated and easy to access machinations for knowing the real-time whereabouts of their product. Meanwhile social distancing measures, combined with a desire for convenience, has led to a more touchless, digital society, where contracts and other administrative tasks are performed remotely and hands-free.
“Covid-19 has fundamentally changed how trucking companies work, all the way from 20 truck carriers up to 2,000 truck carriers,” says Steve Divitkos, CEO of document management software company Microdea. “Technology adoption is increasing across the transportation industry as companies look for new and efficient ways to run their back office remotely and to minimize contact between their drivers and staff.”¹
Target Marketing in Transportation
Communications don’t exist in a bubble. Before a transportation company can effectively target new business, they must determine their strategic objectives and with whom they are trying to communicate. What do they have to offer and who needs this service? A company should avoid attempting to be all things to all people. If a company is on the cutting edge of technology, this should be expressed. Companies lacking in the latest tech capabilities, but with a proud record of reliability and good business practices will want to accentuate this instead. Referring back to your SWOT analysis will provide a starting point for crafting a solid marketing plan.
“For warehouses and transportation companies, the time is now to assess their value proposition and share it effectively through coordinated and well-targeted marketing efforts,” writes Julia Sustakova for Goldbeck Recruiting. “Successfully doing so is a matter of both internal reflection and external communications.”²
Marketing Channels for Trucking and Transportation
Maintaining relationships is still a major component of marketing in established industries such as trucking and transportation, as are traditional channels such as trade shows and industry publications. What’s important to remember is that augmenting these efforts with online communications is an increasingly vital part of the marketing mix, a trend that will only grow in the future.
Social media offers companies an opportunity to tout successes, communicate strengths and remain top of mind. Knowing which platforms are most frequently used by your target audience is key to success, as is strategic hash tagging and community involvement. Social media platforms and search engines offer a level of targeting that could have only been dreamed about by marketers from previous generations, and a well executed campaign can pay dividends if it results in new business.
Prompting satisfied customers to provide positive reviews and referrals can be a difference maker and newsletters are a time tested way to stay front and center. Content marketing, such as blogs, videos and podcasts offer a way to creatively showcase your company and personalize your staff.
While all of these tactics may not be appropriate for every company, the key is to build a marketing plan that suits your scale, budget and objectives.
Digital Marketing as a Recruitment Tool
Digital marketing and communications are not only used to find clients, but employees as well. Efforts to attract young candidates to the industry in general, or your company specifically, can be boosted by showcasing the benefits of life in the transportation industry. Showcasing technology and training opportunities prove enticing for those who are looking to pursue a career in a modern industry. One young woman showcased her path to becoming a truck driver through a series of YouTube videos³ which is an excellent usage of the medium.
As Joshua Stanley explains in Forbes, it’s important to showcase “a technology-enabled career that could be more associated with a "truck driving technologist" than the "body in the seat" image that currently feels easily replaceable in an autonomous future.”⁴
Whether recruiting clients, employees or just maintaining an industry presence, digital marketing is an indispensable tool in the transportation industry, just as it is elsewhere. By identifying your target market and meeting them where they live with relevant and interesting material valuable connections can be gained and maintained.
1 “The Great Acceleration: 3 Trends Rapidly Transforming Trucking Companies Today.” Transport Topics, May 25, 2020. https://www.ttnews.com/articles/great-acceleration-3-trends-rapidly-transforming-trucking-companies-today.
2 Sustakova, Julia. “Marketing in Transportation and Warehousing.” Goldbeck Recruiting, July 21, 2020. https://www.goldbeck.com/expertise/marketing-management/marketing-in-transportation-and-warehousing/.
3 Marsh, Joanna. “FreightWaves Carrier Summit: Strategies to Attract Younger Drivers (with Video).” FreightWaves, August 20, 2020. https://www.freightwaves.com/news/freightwaves-carrier-summit-strategies-to-attract-younger-drivers-with-video.
4 Stanley, Joshua. “Council Post: Trucking Trends 2020: The Modern Driver.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, February 26, 2020. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2020/02/26/trucking-trends-2020-the-modern-driver/.