Third-party logistics businesses and freight-forwarding companies often struggle to drive growth. A lot of time and effort goes into mission-critical tasks and day-to-day operations, especially in the midst of unprecedented supply chain and logistics disruptions, delays, and barriers.
Logistics companies are adaptable, however. They know how to improve processes, streamline operations, maximize efficiency, and refine supply chain management to keep business moving forward against a sea of challenges.
Unfortunately, those skills don’t often transfer over to the growth aspect of the business. That’s where growth marketing comes in. Numerous brands have harnessed growth marketing for success, including huge brands like Dropbox and Airbnb, which have grown their customers from a few to millions – or hundreds of millions – using only growth marketing strategy.
This strategy can be applied to logistics companies, too. Here’s how.
The Principles of Growth Marketing
Traditional marketing techniques use consistent, long-standing techniques to reach and engage with customers, such as paid ads, organic social media marketing, and email campaigns. These marketing techniques are effective, but they’re focused on any number of different goals.
Conversely, growth marketing is focused entirely on growing a business. That’s the sole goal and purpose.
The approach with growth marketing is also more science-based. It uses experiments with different techniques, strategies, and channels to determine what’s working, then continually refines and optimizes campaigns. The experiments and analyses continue to improve efforts and increase the customer base in a fast and cost-effective manner.
The principles of growth marketing may include:
- Designing experiments to optimize processes
- Conducting A/B testing
- Prioritizing strategies to test and optimize
- Experimenting to find areas for improvement and new opportunities
- Analyzing the results of experiments and planning the future experiments
Marketing is always scientific in its approach, though it may include some intuition and creativity. Growth marketing is more analytical and relies on the data to support marketing efforts and continually improve the results.
Growth marketing may include:
- Advertising with paid promotions, like ads, to increase exposure and presence
- Product marketing to promote specific products and increase sales
- Content marketing to improve brand awareness and exposure
Why Is Growth Marketing Important?
Traditional marketing is effective, but it faces two main barriers:
Cross-collaboration Between Teams Is Virtually Non-Existent
Companies often structure teams in layers of the marketing funnel:
- Awareness: Attract the target customer
- Interest: Show your viable solution to the problem
- Consideration: Convince the audience that you’re the best solution
- Action: A prospect becomes a customer
- Loyalty: Customer continues to give you business over time
- Advocacy: Customer recommends your brand to other people
In general, the marketing team owns the top of the funnel — the awareness and interest stages. The sales team owns the middle of the funnel – consideration and conversion. The product team owns retention — loyalty and advocacy.
Each team has a metric for success at each stage, but each team is optimizing for their own metrics, rather than the entirety of the funnel.
For example, the marketing team may have a goal to attract a certain number of leads. If the leads are low quality, that impacts other teams because low-quality leads are harder to convert and retain.
In addition, teams don’t always communicate and collaborate with each other. They miss opportunities to find new solutions or guidance to market new features or change the approach of a campaign or pitch.
Growth marketing solves the problem by focusing on the entire funnel and how each stage impacts the others.
Marketing Teams Don’t Always Know What’s Working
The second issue is that traditional marketing is hard to measure. Despite being scientific, it’s not always clear where leads are coming from or what’s working. Marketers rely on science and information, but it still comes down to intuition and some educated guesses.
Growth marketing brings the science, the methodology, into the marketing process. It provides tools to generate experiment ideas, measure if they’re working, and redirect resources that aren’t serving the needs of the company.
Does Growth Marketing Work for Logistics Companies?
Logistics companies are unlike other companies in that they rely on customer lifetime value and long-term customer relationships for continued growth. The goal isn’t only to attract new customers, like a retailer selling one-off novelty products, but to attract valuable customers and engage and retain them.
Growth marketing is focused on attracting, engaging, and retaining customers through experimentation and a customer-centric approach, which is marketing gold for a logistics company.
But that’s not all. Growth marketing offers insights and reveals opportunities that allow logistics companies to optimize processes and systems, develop new services, and emerge into new markets.
Aside from the overall goal of growth, the goals of growth marketing may include:
- Core business growth
- Growth or expansion into global markets
- Growth or expansion of the value chain
- Ventures into adjacent industries
Growth Marketing Framework
Growth marketing is intended to grow a business as much as possible without spending a lot on ads or promotions. Businesses can get maximum results with minimal marketing spend, rather than a broad marketing strategy that can cause unnecessary waste on ineffective methods or channels.
A growth marketing framework is necessary for growth marketing strategy. Companies may take a different approach to their own growth marketing framework, but it still follows a basic design.
- Outline the objectives and desired results: Framework is based on the current position of the company and its future objectives and desired outcomes. This offers a foundation to guide the marketing strategy and goals to track and analyze performance.
- Leverage data analytics: Growth marketing is all about data and strategy. All data must be collected and analyzed to find the best areas to develop and target, as well as opportunities for growth.
- Prioritize ideas: Growth marketing involves highly focused efforts. Prioritization ensures ideas are streamlined to keep the marketing spend at the minimum. Only the best and most concrete ideas are entertained, producing favorable and valuable results.
- Use testing: All experimentation and marketing efforts with growth marketing should be tested continuously to determine their efficacy. The process follows a scientific approach of hypothesis, methods, supporting information, and qualitative and quantitative data.
- Choose the best ideas: After experimentation and testing, only the best ideas should be moved to implementation. Once they’re in motion, they can be tested to see if they’re working or if different methods are needed. This should take around 30 to 90 days.
- Analyze and refine: After the different solutions are implemented, the results should be analyzed to determine if testing and analysis is needed. In some situations, new options may be preferred.
- Create a system: The growth marketing framework isn’t a one-off tool. It’s intended to be repeatable and systemized for future growth marketing efforts.
How to Formulate a Growth Marketing Strategy
Use a Growth Marketing Framework
As mentioned, the growth marketing framework is a necessary component of growth marketing. The systemized structure of growth marketing serves as a foundation for all strategies, ideas, and experiments that will make your efforts successful.
Growth marketing frameworks can take on different models, but pirate metrics (AARRR) is one of the most effective.
- Acquisition: Find the best channels for marketing efforts to reach the ideal prospects
- Activation: Determine the steps that the customers take when they interact with your brand for the first time
- Retention: Consider the churn rate to see which efforts are working and which aren’t
- Revenue: Determine the best revenue streams by evaluating the money that flows into your business
- Referral: Explore options for referral programs or incentives and look for opportunities to enhance the current referral process or program to gain new customers and ramp up word-of-mouth promotion
Set Clear Goals
Like any other type of marketing, growth marketing relies on specific goals. Sure, the goal is growth, but you also need more targeted goals with deadlines and both long- and short-term goals.
SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) are important for ensuring you’re approaching your goals with the best likelihood of success.
Check your goals against the SMART construct. Are they specific? Can your progress and success be measured, such as attracting a certain number of leads or reducing a churn rate by a certain percentage? Are the goals realistic and relevant to your business? Do you have a set time to reach your goals? Is it too easy or too challenging?
Comparing your goals against this framework, you can develop ideal goals to improve your efforts and track your progress.
Some sample goals may include:
- Converting X viewers into subscribers in [timeframe]
- Improving reach and engagement by X% in three months
- Promoting view to attract X new leads in one quarter
Know the Audience
Developing a deep understanding of your audience is necessary for successful growth marketing and improved engagement and retention. Analyze your target customers to learn their demographics, locations, preferred channels, and online behaviors.
You should also segment the audience to ensure you’re targeting messages appropriately for different facets of your customer base and their motivations. The more you can define your audience, the more specific and compelling your messaging will be.
This analysis should continue as you grow. Keep track of your customers and make improvements to your knowledge or customer profiles as needed. You should encourage customer feedback to improve your personalization and targeting efforts as well.
Partnering with other related companies can enhance your growth, especially if they have a large and loyal user base with an overlapping audience. You could also partner with other businesses in a referral network, which continually attracts new customers for both parties.
Better yet, you can set up an affiliate program with a network of businesses or individuals that can promote your product in exchange for a percentage of the sale. This puts a product or service in front of a lot more people without upfront marketing costs.
Use a Tech Stack
A software or tech stack is valuable for growth marketing in logistics companies specifically. Some of the options to consider include:
- Landing page tools for better conversions
- A/B testing tools to evaluate the most effective campaigns
- Social listening tools to monitor customer sentiment and feedback
- Retention tools to monitor churn rate
- Analytics tools to evaluate customer data
- Referral tools for a robust referral program of customers and industry partners
As mentioned, retention and long-term relationships are vital to growth for logistics companies. Here are the best metrics for logistics companies to monitor and track:
Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC): Customer acquisition is among the most expensive of all strategies. CAC refers to the cost of attracting and onboarding new customers, which may include sales interactions and lead generation. The goal with this metric is to understand how to attract high-value customers for minimal costs.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): Customer lifetime value is another key metric for the success of a logistics company. This metric refers to the revenue gained from each customer. With the repeat business and long-term relationships of some customers, it’s important for logistics companies to know where they get their revenue.
Average Recurring Revenue (ARR): The recurring revenue is where a logistics company gets revenue from a repeat customer. Volume density is intrinsically connected to profit for logistics companies, so this metric is essential for evaluating volume accounts and how many customers are needed to reach desired business outcomes.
These are just a few of the most important metrics, but they’re not the only ones to monitor. Consider these metrics and other metrics to see which are best for evaluating the success of your growth marketing strategy and the unique aspects of your business.
Find Continued Success with Growth Marketing for Logistics Companies
Logistics companies may have been adaptable and agile in the face of ongoing supply chain challenges, but on the marketing front, that may not be enough. Growth marketing is a valuable marketing strategy to fuel business growth in key areas and create a stream of sustainable income. Though it may be difficult to implement initially, having a repeatable, streamlined growth marketing process will make it simpler and more effective as your company learns and grows.