Earlier, most logistics companies didn’t invest in marketing. All marketing activities were limited to trade shows and publications in the press, some companies did some email marketing, and that’s it. The industry is still profoundly reliable from referrals and outbound sales even today.

Though the trend is changing as many logistics companies are starting to realize that marketing is helpful for their business and that it’s not enough to rely solely on outbound sales tactics or referrals anymore. Organizations began to understand that they need to start some inbound content marketing activities, that they need to be found on the internet, and need to be active in social media.

So now logistics businesses are hiring marketing managers or are outsourcing their marketing activities to a third party; this trend is seen at almost all the most prominent service providers.  And with the right team on hand, companies start blogging, publishing content, optimizing their websites, creating newsletters, etc.

Unfortunately, there is still a lot of bad marketing out there. Organizations need to understand that different approaches are found in marketing logistics services compared to marketing to B2C customers to avoid costly mistakes. There are plenty of marketers who are earning their bread from consumer goods, but not many marketers specialize in logistics and supply chain services. That’s why it’s easy to find bad advice which will not generate or can even hurt the business.

With this article, we would like to draw your attention to the significant differences between marketing logistics services and consumer goods. Knowing the differences is crucial to avoid bad marketing decisions.  We will provide some peace of advice as well.


  • When marketing logistics services, organizations need to focus on value provided

    The central ethos for B2C marketing is saying: that you need to market the slobber instead of the steak, as for consumers’ pleasant experience, and the “wow” factor is on top of consumer goods buyers’ minds (exception low-cost utility products). We have a completely different story with logistics services as value is the most important thing for this type of buyer.

    Advice: Be aware that it doesn’t work when someone tries to pitch the emotional approach for your marketing campaign. Although, it’s essential to no sound boring with your communication.

  • Buying decisions are made by groups, not by individuals

    The buyer of a consumer good decides by himself, whereas logistics services can include multiple decision-makers. Logistic services marketers must influence numerous people at various stages of the buying process, and each of these individuals has different priorities. Some decision-makers are price sensitive; some prioritize increased turnover and some the quality of delivered service. Marketers need to find common ground with all those attributes.

    Advice: Organizations marketing their strong sides (value proposition) need to be sure that everyone in the prospect’s company sees the positive attribute in the same way. For example, a low price for the logistics manager and supply chain director can have different meanings. Marketers need to find ways to justify their value propositions.

  • Longer buying cycles

    There are different logistics service providers in the market; some have short buying cycles (like moving services or packaging services, etc.),  but most have longer buying cycles (like stevedoring companies, technology companies, etc.). Longer buying cycles are related to higher costs and sophisticated services. Most logistics service providers are chosen carefully as a wrong logistics provider can negatively impact the bottom line.

    Advice: Companies need to choose wisely which type of content or sales and marketing message to provide at each stage of the customer’s journey map. If a marketing agency or manager will say that you need to create one type of content, it’s a red flag, as this will not work.

  • The buying decisions are more like commitment

    When companies decide to work with a logistics provider, most of the time, it involves investments, long-term agreements, or a learning curve. Therefore it’s tough for companies to change service providers; the change will happen when they are looking for a replacement already, and they will choose the successor who can deliver as they believe.

    Advice: Only 3 % of customers are ready to buy when you are reaching them out; therefore, nurturing becomes one of the greatest weapons for acquiring the customer. Organizations need to find ways to stay in the minds of a prospect for a long time.

  • Service level and support are essential decision factors

    Customers won’t wait on hold for thirty minutes when their cargo or some other operations are delayed. They expect their problems to be solved when they need them solved. Logistics service providers need to understand this simple truth and provide the necessary support and market the errorless (if they measure error rates and can deliver) factor as the most important one.

    Advice: The service level and errorless approach (or the ability to reach and solve issues fast) are crucial decision metrics for most businesses. Companies can win a lot if they find creative and not dull ways to market those approaches.

  • Logistics services have a lot of moving parts

    Most contracts are custom bid within logistics, may include bundled services, discounts, and detailed schedules. This process involves extensive communication between different departments of both organizations and openness at the beginning of the relationships.

    Advice: If your company doesn’t have value-added services, they need to think of something fast, as many cross-selling possibilities are lost. Remember, companies want to optimize their procurement. Therefore a partner who can provide bundled services is a valuable asset.

  • Relationships play a critical role

    In some cases, responsible specialists who procure logistics services bet their careers on the choice they make. Therefore it’s essential to understand that the buyer’s success is as necessary as making the sale.

    Advice: You need to create extraordinary services and differentiate from the competition with your approach. Furthermore, pay attention to long-term nurturing, as you never know when the situation will change, you need to become the first option to call to.

  • Use outright channels

    You need to find the best channels to market your services. For each service, the media are different. For example, if you are a last-mile provider, you may do more social advertising than a freight forwarder, the content and nurturing sequences will be different as well.

    Advice: I see many great organizations are failing at marketing and don’t receive the best possible ROI when choosing channels that aren’t meant for your segment. Do not listen to advice from those who haven’t sold logistic services as this can hit your reputation immensely.

  • Marketing during and post CODIV-19

    Covid-19 has put much personnel in the home, and most likely, a hybrid working model will be seen post-covid-19. Furthermore, we will not see business travel for at least one more year, and the post-business traveling will be different. The man sitting at home consumes more online and email content, spends more time on social media, and is harder reachable by desk phone; new online meeting tools are rising.

    Advice: It’s becoming easier to reach decision-makers online. Therefore a digital sales and marketing strategy and policy is a must. You need to adjust the earlier used sales and marketing tactics for digital. Please note that every decision-maker needs to adapt your content, story, and messaging for all decision-makers; one-fit-all strategies hurt your business.


We have looked through all the significant differences between B2C and logistics service marketing and have provided some advice. There are massive possibilities that can be gained for logistics service providers, which decide to invest in marketing activities, as most of the competition is still relating to old tactics, which do not cut anymore. Nevertheless, it’s essential to do it correctly by choosing the right platform, creating the right content, and distributing them at the right time.

Please note that digital is not a panacea; old tactics and methods (Cold calling) are still important. The best result can be achieved using out omni sales strategies and tools.

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