Marketing in Transportation and Warehousing

2020 has seen logistical disruption and rapidly evolving consumer behaviour as a result of COVID-19,  which has necessitated a closer look at supply chain management and a reconsideration of business as usual. By and large, supply chain professionals have stepped up to the plate, demonstrating their expertise and societal value in a time of desperate need. 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. Successfully doing so is a matter of both internal reflection and external communications.

Transportation and Warehouse Value Proposition

As ecommerce rates increase dramatically, so too does the demand for warehouse space.

“With more people clicking “buy” instead of venturing to the mall, demand for industrial real estate could reach an additional 1 billion square feet by 2025,” according to a new report by JLL.1

Companies are making quick decisions, placing a premium on flexibility, transparency and speed with regards to both transportation and warehousing. For companies operating in this sector, knowing what they can provide today, deciding upon priorities to invest in for tomorrow and identifying their target audience are part of a process that informs marketing efforts.

A manufacturer who is streamlining their product line and working to diversify their storage options will appreciate flexible policies from warehousing and shipping providers. Automation investments will increase speed. Cold storage capacity will expand the market. If such capabilities currently exist within your company, communications efforts would be a wise investment.

Consumer expectations for shrinking delivery times has placed ecommerce companies under the gun, making accurate tracking vital, and has led to an increased level of integration between marketing and supply chain efforts.2 Meanwhile, increased scrutiny on ethics have placed additional importance upon an accurate accounting of the entire supply chain. Companies that have invested in optimizing their transparency and tracking technology should highlight this as well.

“The longer the supply chain is in terms of geography and complexity, the more likely it is that bad things will happen somewhere along the way,” says the Harvard Business Review.3

Since shipping and warehousing companies are a vital part of the supply chain, any positive initiatives they undertake should be heralded proudly.

As Colin Rose, of Vancouver’s Rose Agency, tells us, transparency in marketing can create value.

“We’ve been hearing a lot about transparency marketing as we make our way through the COVID crisis” says Rose.  “As we plan communications tactics, one thing that has resonated for me is how some brands have been picking and choosing what they’re going to be transparent about. Companies that are operating in a thoroughly transparent manner – from the inside out – are well positioned to leverage that in their marketing strategies and I believe consumers are going to be looking for that.”

Demonstrating Expertise Through Social Media

A robust online strategy is an excellent way for companies to demonstrate specific information about their services and capabilities, as well as general expertise relating to their industry. A sustained and well-managed social media effort will create exposure, helping to create top of mind awareness for the company. Promotions and offerings, personalized staff profiles and re-sharing of industry news and information from media outlets are all great ways to stay active.

Blogs and white papers relating to best practices, new technologies and industry trends can gain traction and help establish your staff as thought leaders within the industry. Recently, Goldbeck teamed with third party logistics operator Canadian Alliance to provide a white paper on consumer views and industry trends relating to the food production industry. Such industry specific research reports provide support for the business development team and provide customers a reason to stay in touch.

While none of these will eliminate the need for good old fashioned relationships, they are all good strategies for an increasingly digitized world.

Websites For Transportation and Warehousing Companies

A good website is, of course, a given for any company that wants to utilize the internet for business development. For a website to be effective, it must provide quality information about the company and their offerings, while also serving to facilitate good communications.

In addition to this, the website should be findable, which means implementing a good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. Hallmarks of a good SEO strategy include the usage of keywords, a user friendly navigation strategy and the regular updating of content.

Your sales team will appreciate a website that is built to compliment their efforts, utilizing a good sales funnel to engage prospective clients.

As the winds of change blow through the entire logistics industry, marketing becomes an essential ingredient in capitalizing upon new opportunities. Whether done internally or in collaboration with an outside agency, supporting the sales team with a solid marketing plan is paramount to success.

Cited Sources
1 Laurenthomas. “U.S. May Need Another 1 Billion Square Feet of Warehouse Space by 2025 as e-Commerce Booms.” CNBC. CNBC, July 9, 2020.
2 “Why Marketing and Supply Chains Need Deeper Alignment.” WARC. Accessed July 17, 2020.
3 Bridget Satinover Nichols,  Hannah Stolze and Jon Kirchoff. “Are You Prepared for Bad Press About One of Your Suppliers?” Harvard Business Review, July 10, 2020.