Well, I for one thought I had heard it all. From “dolly converters” to “body jobs”, where we specialize in the industry, we have a pretty good vocabulary as it relates to the world of trucking. I came across a new one the other day though, “Non-asset freight pimp”.
Let’s face it; freight brokers still have a bad rap. Maybe it’s jealousy because the broker doesn’t have to make the heavy investment into their business that carriers do. Maybe it’s presumed or documented unethical behaviour. Either way, most freight brokers don’t want to be called freight brokers and many carriers would like to see them wiped off the face of the planet. Why? They have been successful in capturing freight that used to belong directly to carriers at a higher rate. Brokers can provide a lower rate and they are a contributing factor to the erosion of freight rates for the carriers.
We did a website for a small broker a couple of years back. He was happy with the results and referred us to one of his flatbed carriers in the region. When we met with that well established carrier, he was extremely frustrated. “How is it I keep losing out to a freight broker? He gets the freight and then I move it. I don’t understand.” I didn’t understand either, so I spoke to the broker in question. My assessment, after a brief discussion, was that the broker in this case, was a more confident sales person and he offered the customer a choice between several carriers, at several price points. Customers like choice.
It’s a funny world. There are many carriers that fill their trucks with broker freight. Brokers are their sales force and these carriers have very few relationships with customers directly. There are carriers that successfully outsource key lane segments to other carriers, like the corridor between Windsor and Quebec City or Ontario to Atlantic Canada, without a hitch. The message I get from that, is the shipper is mostly concerned about getting the job done, not how it gets done.
Lee’s quote for the day
“In the music business, there is a saying that the side men all want to be front men and the front men all want to go home. In the trucking business, it seems most carriers want to play in the “freight pimp” world and most “freight pimps” have the dream of building up key lanes so they can put on their own equipment. Whoever orders their new Cadillac first, is the winner!”
As we were trying to put together some interesting facts about social media for B2B marketers, we discovered this interesting video. Then, we decided why would we tell you something, when we can show you instead. So, enjoy it.
B2B companies are ahead of their B2C rivals when it comes to social media adoption
Source: Business.com – 2009 B2B Social Media Benchmarking Study (http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1007404)
And the FTSE 100 are just plain running scared of Twitter
Source: Virgin Media Business (http://ow.ly/1gDTf)
But CIOs could well be the biggest blocker to social media adoption
Source: Robert Half Technology (http://rht.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=131&item=790)
Use of social media by B2B companies is validated by B2B buyer perspectives
Source: Cone Inc – Social Media in business (http://ow.ly/1dLqJ)
And that’s because the B2B buying process is fundamentally changing
Source: DemandGen Report
Source: Buyersphere ebook, Enquiro (http://ow.ly/YbQm)
Source: Forrester Research, How to take B2B relationships from Indifferent to Engaged: Jan 2009
Yet there are differing opinions as to where search comes into play in the buy cycle
Source: DemandGen Report (http://ow.ly/1d82N)
Source: Marketo (http://bit.ly/9O6pix)
If you think C-level executives aren’t active online, you’re sorely mistaken
Source: Forbes Insight – The Rise of the Digital C-Suite (http://www.forbes.com/forbesinsights/digital_csuite/index.html)
Client marketers are warming to the idea of social media, but many are still to act
Source: The B2B Barometer (http://www.b2bbarometer.co.uk)
The relationship between Marketing and Sales in B2B organisations still remains fractious
Source: 2009 CSO Report (http://bit.ly/7EbaHS)
Source: The New Rules of Sales Enablement (http://tiny.cc/jXRxX)
Source: The B2B Barometer (http://www.b2bbarometer.co.uk)
And if you still don’t get the whole social media thing, it’s worth bearing in mind…
* Note: We have used and abused the above information, as the author insisted. A special thanks for the folks at Earnest Agency.
What I have heard the most from my fellow marketers is the statement “use the social media or be left out of something big.” I am always cynical about this statement, especially in the B2B environment. If you are operating in a B2B environment, you have probably noticed that everyone is caught up in this new trend. Before you dive into the social media, and believe it will fix all your problems, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Who are your clients / customers?
Many of our clients are operating in a very niche market, with only one or two customers. Why waste resources and time on the cyber space, if you can have an old fashioned face to face communication with them, especially when the client prefers it this way.
2. Do you have resources for it?
Social media will help you to generate leads, but only if you do it properly. If you are not conveying the right message to your customers, the chances are you are conveying the WRONG message. Frankly, if you are conveying the wrong message, you are better off doing nothing at all. What does it take to do it properly? Marketing specialists on social media, time, and money. Many people think social media is cheap. Don’t get me wrong, it is. Social media a free platform for businesses, but marketing specialists and their time will cost you money, just like any other marketing campaign.
3. What is your short-term business objective?
Will social media help you drive sales? It will. But if you want it to happen tomorrow, forget about it. Social media is a very cost-effective channel for you to reach prospective clients; it is not a salesman however. Even if you are using the social media properly, it will take some time before it generates positive ROIs. Why? Because “creating transactional opportunities on the web takes trust, but trust takes time to establish” (Chris Brogran, Co-author of Trust Agent Says). If you are thinking of using it to drive short-term sales, there are better methods to leverage your efforts, such as direct mail, price incentives and enhanced sales support.
I am not suggesting that social media is not good for B2B, instead I am suggesting that your reason to use social media shouldn’t be “because everyone else is doing it!”
If you find your situation is not as outlined above, or you believe you have a very unique experience with social media in the B2B world, let us know.