Marketing Budget Priorities Shift during COVID

During the COVID crisis, marketing professionals in the transportation and logistics industry have dramatically shifted the focus of their marketing dollars. Before the COVID crisis began having a significant impact on the North American economy in February of this year, a significant portion of marketing budgets in transportation and logistics were focused on customer acquisition and lead generation. In fact, according to the 2020 TMSA Marketing & Sales Metrics Study, approximately 33% of marketing budgets were focused predominantly on customer acquisition and lead gen. Another 24% of marketing budgets were focused on brand awareness, according to the study.

The Transportation Marketing & Sales Association just released its fourth biennial study, which helps sales and marketing practitioners and business leaders gain a better understanding of key sales and marketing metrics specific to this industry, how these metrics change over time, and best practices for marketing and sales success. The complete study is available to TMSA Corporate, Individual and Affiliate members as part of their membership.

Survey participants in the 2020 version of the study represent third-party logistics companies (65.5%), which include truck brokers, freight forwarders and intermodal marketing companies (IMCs); motor carriers (33%); technology innovators (16%); and parcel/home delivery/last mile companies (8%). A significant number of companies involved in the intermodal industry (railroads, ocean carriers, and port authorities) also participated.

"But then COVID hit and marketing professionals in transportation and logistics did a hard pivot with the marketing budgets," says Brian Everett, CEO of TMSA. "In fact, in the initial weeks of the COVID crisis, virtually all marketers said they were focused to some degree on on brand awareness, reputation-building, and being a good steward of their brand. Approximately 70% also were focused on the Customer Experience (CX) and 40% were focused on demand generation among existing customers. Only roughly 30% were doing customer acquisition activities because it was considered by many to be insensitive to ask for new business during the initial phase of the crisis." These statistics were established by participants in TMSA's COVID-19 Town Hall meeting polls that the association hosted each week throughout the month of April 2020. Approximately 75 marketing professionals in the industry participated in these town hall meetings.

Everett points out that as the COVID crisis has eased and the curve has flattened, marketing professionals have begun to resume their focus on lead generation and customer acquisition.

Other Key Data Points Found in the 2020 Metrics Study
In addition to the use of technology in marketing and sales within the transportation and logistics industry, other key metrics covered include:


  • Staffing and Talent Management
  • Financial Resources and Budgets
  • Digital Marketing Metrics
  • Measurement of ROI
  • Marketing Outsourcing Practices


  • Staffing, Recruiting, Training
  • Performance Measurement and Compensation
  • Financial Resources and Budgets
  • Sales Measurement and Success
  • Reasons Driving Loss of Business
  • Lead Generation Strategy

> Download the 2020 TMSA Marketing & Sales Metrics Study
(Available at no cost only to Corporate, Individual and Affiliate members as part of their membership. Virtual members do not have access to this report. Join now to receive the full study).

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