Know Your Target Market: Mastering Success in Transportation and Logistics

How many conferences and events have you attended in the transportation, logistics, or other supply chain industries? Undoubtedly, these experiences helped you better understand your market.

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However, over time, memories of the events become intertwined.

 

Can you pinpoint precisely when and where you gained valuable market insight that you applied to marketing your product or service more effectively?

 

When you take action after an event, it seals the details of the memory. Such was the case for many industry leaders who attended the Truckload Carriers Association conference in Las Vegas in March 2013. A speaker said something that many acted upon.

 

Why did the speaker’s words resonate so well with the audience? This blog reveals the answer and explains how to make your messaging and content more captivating to your market.

The Unforgettable Moment

A few months before the TCA annual conference, Richard Stocking, the president and COO of Swift Transportation, spoke at the Qualcomm user conference in San Diego. Swift was coming off its best year in history for operating ratio and earnings, only a few years removed from being on the brink of financial disaster.

 

During his presentation at the Qualcomm Vision conference, Stockton explained how Swift’s business and leadership strategy resulted in one of the most drastic turnarounds the trucking industry has ever seen. He said Swift raised its leadership bar with a new vision, purpose, and strategy that empowered people to give their best. This helped the company eliminate $250 million in costs while increasing utilization and return on assets.

 

Stockton repeated similar themes at the TCA conference during a panel discussion with Robert Low, CEO and founder of Prime, Inc. Stockton again spoke about setting “wildly important goals” (WIGs) and implementing systems to create a “hyperfocus” and “cadence of accountability” for achieving WIGs.

 

“Richard, you should write a book,” said Low, drawing laughter from the crowd. He wasn’t joking. After the conference, many companies implemented the same program Swift used, called the 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX) by Franklin Covey.

Setting Your Target Market

Transportation, logistics, and supply chains are competitive industries with very compressed operating margins. When business leaders hear of a solution giving their competitors an edge, especially competitors who are market leaders, they feel compelled to act.

 

“Fortunes are not made in the boom times,” Stocking said. “That is merely the collection period.”

 

Why did Stocking’s words resonate so well with the audience? People love hearing a turnaround story about something they can apply for themselves. When Stocking spoke, many companies were climbing out of the Great Recession and looking to accelerate.

 

What industry problems and pain points are you focused on solving for an industry or segment? More importantly, will your messaging resonate with customers and prospects in your target market?

 

One mistake technology vendors often make is to create solutions in search of a problem. Their messaging usually follows suit and misses the mark to captivate those they are trying to reach.

Making the Right Connections

Fortunately, you don’t need decades of industry experience to know your market. Plenty of information is available online and through various databases and tools to define your total addressable market (TAM) and identify prospects who meet your criteria.

 

Experience helps with the nuances of industry segments, such as truckload, LTL, and final mile, or various types of equipment and operating characteristics.

 

Yet data and experience only get you so far. Getting up-to-date, relevant insights will require conducting in-depth interviews with various stakeholders to capture their attitudes, concerns, objections, and other essential characteristics to help reach and influence the buying decisions of the right people.

Building Blocks of Success

In an industry with compressed profit margins, your solutions must give companies a competitive edge and be easy to understand and implement. To ensure your messaging is on point, it helps to develop expertly crafted:

 

Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs)

Expertly crafted ICPs are a solid foundation for effective marketing campaigns. Writing directly to individuals, not a general audience, is essential and requires having a fresh and current understanding of market dynamics. Assumptions always prove outdated.

 

The problem is that ICPs are not typically written in a way that makes them actionable. To do this, you will also need:

 

Buyer personas:

This will identify the people you intend to reach, from the CEO to the decision-makers, influencers, and blockers at all levels. Each persona has different lenses and needs various pieces of information from suppliers. Understanding that and crafting messaging relative to these personas is the first step to influencing the buying committee.

 

If the ICPs and buyer personas are accurate, you can create messaging that truly resonates with your market. Right now, everyone in transportation and logistics is trying to survive a freight recession, so be extra mindful not to promote solutions in search of problems. How can your product or service help companies survive and position them for success when the market turns?

 

Authentic storytelling:

Finally, as tempting as it seems to let large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT craft your messaging, remember that people want to do business with people. Offer customer testimonials, real-life examples, and quotes from companies succeeding because of you.

Ready from Day One

Knowing your market is critical to developing effective marketing strategies and messaging that resonate with buyers. Deeply understanding your target market can drive demand by standing out among less-attuned competitors.

 

Do you need help transforming your marketing strategy and captivating your audience? Contact Virago Marketing today to learn how our decades of expertise and deep connections will steer your success in the competitive transportation, logistics, and supply chain industries.

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We are well-versed in the best practices for elevating your brand and marketing strategy. Reach out now to understand how market insights can improve your messaging and captivate your target audience.

 
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