I haven’t been writing as much lately, for a number of reasons; sold our condo, doing a major house Reno, got a new pup, recorded a full length CD and busier than crap at work. Anyway, I thought I should send one more out for 2012.
It was a good year for us and the industry too. Caution is still King but not as many complaints around…everyone has made the adjustments needed to cope with what seems to be “the new economy”.
The driver crisis hasn’t brought the industry to a standstill yet and somehow the folks at the helm of the various trucking operations will find their way through it. It’s a tough business but one that I have enjoyed supporting, in my small way, for what seems like a lifetime… 2013 is our 25th year!
There was a record turnout at the recent Toronto Transportation Club dinner and Don Cherry was certainly a factor in the increased attendance. Sports and transportation have always seemed to go hand in hand…a guy thing I guess. Still, more and more ladies are making their mark on the industry and they were well represented at the event.
We added a person in Montreal and it appears to be a tough market to crack for an English company, even though our guy there is French. I’ve spoken with some English carrier customers and they have found it equally difficult. We’re still working on that one. The reverse scenario appears to be true for our Quebec customers breaking ground in Ontario. If anyone has some tips on that one, they would gratefully be received by all.
We added an account manager in Toronto too, which has been a great help. We had continued to run a bit too lean coming out of the recession. We’ve seen many of our carrier customers start to add bodies as well…a good sign I hope.
We’re adding a young gal in the New Year to help with social media. As mentioned when I spoke at the recent Transportation Summit, Canadian transportation has some catching up to do in this area and we are gearing up to help further with this in 2013.
When I looked over our account list for 2012, I saw many loyal customers that have been with us for decades and something new…a high number of good size accounts that came as a result of our web marketing. The web in 2012 was good news for smaller companies. A shift is occurring, with more and more buyers sourcing on the web. Resource to resource, a 1 million dollar company can get as many opportunities from web marketing as a 200 million dollar company… if they are willing and able to create the same amount of content and use proper search engine optimization.
I’m still amazed when people today, running great companies, don’t put much stock in the power of the web to build their business, help with recruiting, or simply make a favourable impression on customers, suppliers and their carrier partner network. More than ever, it’s not “a” or “b” when it comes to choosing the best way to market, it’s “a, b, c, & d”. That will be our core message for the upcoming year. Add to your relationships and referral business, with the new techniques available…add to, not replace!
Best of the holidays to everyone and we’ll see you in the New Year.
Lee’s quote for the day
If you take a survey of top executives in the transportation industry, how many would say that marketing their company is important? I think most would agree that it is required. I would also suggest that most don’t make the budgets or time available to make it happen.
Typically, a sales and marketing VP has their hands full managing reps and their share of major accounts. They may have a flair for marketing but probably very little training on the subject. The biggest synergy between sales and marketing disciplines are they both have to tell a compelling story and communicate the unique reasons why their product or service is the better choice for prospective buyers. Maybe that’s why they have been lumped together in the B2B transport sector, while they are very much separate functions in consumer products.
My experience with the owners and presidents of transportation companies is that very few are marketers. I would say they are typically deal makers, know their numbers, great at attracting the right people to their team, and workaholics by either necessity or nature. In my 23 year career, I would say the original owner of Concord, and the folks heading up Challenger and MSM have been the biggest believers in using marketing to grow their business.
Sometimes it can be a little thing that gets you noticed. A good example is when CN recently adopted the paint scheme from their train engines to their highway tractors… simply brilliant!
We find many companies think about it, want to do it but the reactive nature of the business keeps them from taking the steps necessary to make it happen. Other things take priority and the marketing that’s required is put on hold waiting for a better time to address it.
Here’s the deal. The time to address it is now. We’ve seen a dramatic change in the last year and a half with the ROI on web marketing. The transportation industry is behind. Especially in web marketing. The primary focus is on existing customer shipment visibility. That myopic view is limiting opportunities. It doesn’t cost that much to take greater advantage of the power of the web across these additional 4 areas:
Lee’s Quote for the Day!
If you haven’t already ventured into the online world of social media and marketing, there are probably only a few reasons why:
These are reasonable responses to the question of “why?” but with a little further research, I think you may just change your opinion as many businesses have, including us!
It can be a little difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel, especially in a business to business scenario. There are several benefits, so maybe now is the time to jump in!
You don’t know how to – It can be a little overwhelming if you don’t have an understanding of what it takes to get involved in social media. The best thing to do is search for one of your clients on these social media platforms, or even one of your competitors to see what they are doing and how they utilize Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Word Press, LinkedIn, etc. Read, read, and read… it will give you more insight in how to join the online world as well as keep you up to date on what is going on in your industry. Who knows, maybe you will have something to say right away. Commenting on other businesses blogs and pages are great ways to introduce yourself and share your knowledge on the web.
You don’t have the time to – You don’t have to dive into everything at once. Maybe you are already more familiar with Facebook than any other site. Start there. If not, just pick one to start with for the first few months and you will gradually gain the confidence to implement others. Setting up a Facebook or Twitter account will not take you long to accomplish, just get it done and you can do some tweaking later. There are actually a lot of great blogs out there that will walk you through the entire process of creating these accounts.
The best in the business are posting and tweeting multiple times a day. They most likely have the resources to have an employee dedicated solely to social media. You should shoot for at least once every couple of days and if you start up a blog, try to start by posting relevant news to your company or your industry once a week, or at a minimum, bi-weekly. The more you do it, the better you will get and thus, take less of your time to create frequent posts.
You don’t think it will benefit you – It is true that social media is more effective for B2C companies but that doesn’t mean that it is not beneficial to B2B. The idea behind social media is to first of all, create more brand awareness on the web. The more websites your company is listed and active on, the easier it is for people to find you, understand you and learn what specifically sets you apart from the rest. These sites show up on general searches through Google and other search engines, so if you post quality content, rich in industry keywords, you will get a higher ranking. It’s all about posting good content as regularly as you can to try to get people involved in your business and your industry. Start a dialogue, talk to people that you otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to, drive businesses to your website, and ultimately make a positive impact on your business. We’ve seen it work.
Remember— If you do want to get into social media and even after your research you don’t think you will be able to pull it off, you can always outsource it to a trusted company.
15 Benefits of Social Media:
A Few Points on Social Media Sites