5 Tech Trends to Influence Your Logistics Marketing in 2021

It’s expected that 2021 will be the year of continuous change in digital marketing in the transportation and logistics industry. Here are five trends to leverage.

Digital Marketing has become a major part of modern B2B marketing. More and more, practitioners in B2B supply chain marketing are providing authentic and customized content, leveraging chatbot technology, using social media marketing to a greater degree, and creating an engaging user experience. These are key trends in 2021.

Be sure to understand which trends provide the greatest benefit to your organization, as well as which trends you should avoid based on your business. While many marketing principles remain consistent year over year, the analytics, tracking, and automation tools that transportation and logistics companies use to achieve business results vary greatly.

Interestingly, according to the recently 2020 TMSA Marketing & Sales Metrics Study just last year, an overwhelming majority (87.5%) of companies in this industry segment use CRM/marketing automation technologies.

Some of these technological advances are most commonly used among larger enterprises, but now even smaller businesses can learn much from the marketing strategies bigger firms are using.

1. Authentic content marketing is Becoming More Commonplace.

For small organizations with limited financial budgets and small staffs, providing authentic content can be powerful. By adding a blog to your website, you can create interest in your services and value while establishing your brand as a thought leader in the industry. Writing about topics that interest your customers is a great way to build brand awareness and customer loyalty. By showing you care about more than a sale to your target market, you can build trust.

Whether it’s a social media post, a blog, or an email blast, make sure there’s a good balance between highlighting your value and providing actionable, relevant information or advice.

Key Takeaway: Authentic marketing – providing content your followers are interested in – is a great way to boost interest and engagement among your audience.

Best Practices Feature (TMSA Members Only)
LeSaint Logistics: “Blog Program Fuels Social Media Campaign, Raises Awareness and Generates Leads” (Recipient of 2020 TMSA Compass Award

2. Demand for Chatbots is On the Rise.

According to Salesforce, 69% of U.S. consumers prefer using chatbots when engaging with brands, since it often yields a speedy response. This also translates into the B2B transportation and logistics marketplace. Yet most small enterprises surveyed said they didn't use the technology. A chatbot running on your website can answer customers' basic questions at all hours of the day or night, even if you're focused on different tasks.

AI-powered chatbots can be used for customer support, expanding contact strategy dramatically with a controlled message, says Mike Kaput, Director of marketing AI Institute and presenter at the 2020 TMSA Logistics Marketing & Sales Conference last fall. He says these chatbots have become so lifelike that many barely know the difference, but they offer the added benefit of being able to gather, analyze and provide actionable data that can be used to improve the customer experience."

Key takeaway: Customers respond positively to AI-powered chatbots, since they often provide quick responses 24/7.

3. Voice search is gaining traction.

With mobile devices and voice services increasing in popularity, such as Amazon's Alexa, voice search is a primary area where your organization can stand out among competitors. If you’re like many companies in transportation and logistics that are seeing an increased amount of interaction via your digital ecosystem and website, there's an increase possibility of people who will find your website or content marketing materials via voice search in 2021.

A simple marketing and branding technique you can apply is to provide answers to questions that customers frequently have about your services and value on your website.

Key takeaway: With voice-controlled devices gaining in popularity, transportation and logistics marketers should focus their content strategy on providing answers to FAQs that their target markets ask about a company's products or services.

4. Data analytics remain crucial for success.

Whether it be larger brands like FedEx, UPS or XPO Logistics or mid-sized enterprises such as AAA Cooper, FSL Group, Bennett International or Southeastern Freight Lines, many brands of all sizes and reputations make data analytics a priority. But marketers in transportation and logistics still have a ways to go, according to the 2020 TMSA Marketing & Sales Metrics Study. In fact, according to the study, only 24% believe they do a good job in tracking ROI by channel and only another 24% perceive they do a good job in tracking the ROI of their website and SEO strategies.

“It’s important that marketers in our industry learn how to better use the data that they collect," says Brian Everett, TMSA’s CEO. "In B2B, customers constantly feed personal information to the companies they engage with – from purchase behaviors and buying rationale to the best ways to reach them through advertising and marketing efforts. With this data sharing, customers are looking for some sort of return."

Key takeaway: Data analytics can provide must-have information about the buying behaviors of shippers, including their intent. Use information you can gather from your website, and leverage it in your marketing strategy.

5. Social media marketing will be a top priority.

Social media will continue into 2021 to be vital to successful transportation and logistics companies' digital marketing efforts. However, expect to see companies emphasizing one-on-one communication with customers via social media and using their social media platforms as living embodiments and representatives of their brand. That said, some believe that two-way communication via social media will be the name of the game in 2022. "Companies engaging with customers on social media will make the them more authentic and will open a channel for them to listen to their customers. It's a radically different approach in customer experience (CX), since you'll be focusing on your customers via social media."

Key takeaway: Customers value the ability to communicate one-on-one with brands via social media, so offer that as an option with your social media accounts.

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