Simple and Clear at the Head of the Spear

Jim Bierfeldt

Jim Bierfeldt is the founder and chief strategist at Logistics Marketing Advisors, a marketing firm that helps logistics businesses define and communicate their value, and then translate that value into revenue.

When I talk about brand positioning and marketing message strategy with logistics company clients, I sometimes use the metaphor of a spear.  You know, that pole with the dangerous, pointy thinrealistic 3d render of spearg at the end.

Spears are probably the most commonly used weapon in history.  (At least according to my unassailable source, Wikipedia). They tend to be quite long.  Warriors in Ancient Greece used ones that measured 7 to 9 feet.  But let’s face it, the part that really matters is pretty small.

So it is with marketing messages for logistics businesses. There’s lots you can say.  But your best chance of cutting through the clutter in the crowded logistics space is to keep your primary promise simple and single-minded.

I write about it in the article Play Your Position.

But companies have a hard time prioritizing what messages really matter most to the prospects they are chasing.  So they adopt a more-is-more strategy.  Why lead with just one feature or benefit, when you can lead with them all?

It’s like that old “spaghetti-on-the-wall” strategy for sharing company features during a sales call: throw as much stuff on the wall as you can, then hope at least one sticks.

But loading up the head of your marketing spear with a string of features tends to dull the point so that it simply can’t penetrate anything, much less the mind of a busy logistics executive. These executives are bombarded with thousands of messages every day. In the crowded logistics sector, where many service providers look and sound the same, it’s hard to get noticed with a “here’s 15 reasons you should use us” approach.

In logistics industry marketing, to cut through the clutter you need a simple, clear message that helps you stand out.

Not to everyone. And that’s an important point. Just to that targeted set of prospects that aligns best with your value proposition.

Volvo helps you drive safely. But, depending on the model, the company also promotes styling, roominess, luxury and other features. But the essence of the brand still revolves around safety and durability.

Your marketing “spear” is long enough that you can hang many, many messages off of it. But keep it simple and clear at the head of the spear.  Define your brand positioning strategy – that core benefit you can provide to your best prospects – and lead with that.


Free eBook:

Play Your PositionPlay Your Position: Marketing Lessons 3PLs Can Learn from Youth Soccer

Logistics companies often make the same mistake as the six-year-old soccer player. They want to be part of every play. But in an increasingly competitive market, a “we’ll do anything for anybody” message won’t cut it.

Download the eBook



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