I love the excitement around logistics start ups and technology. But… it’s hard to understand the actual use case for ‘disruptive’ logistics technology sometimes. I am not sure if this disconnect is a failure of these companies’ marketing, PR that is too good, or offering a solution that is not fully baked. Or maybe it’s me.
The issue seems to be these companies are not articulating the connection between the value of their products and their market audience. This is a problem across logistics and probably most other industries.
The good news for a lot of companies is their new technology is better than what companies are doing now. But, I question whether many of these solutions are solving real pain points for the customer on a big enough scale to move the needle and drive broad adoption.
If they do, it’s not coming across in their marketing.
For example, it seems like a new load booking portal comes online every day. From experience I can say these sites attract a lot of small shippers or people simply looking to benchmark costs. The problem is that shippers with any volume understand the necessity of working with an established freight forwarder or 3PL – or directly with carriers themselves. Another problem is that the rates offered by these types of portals are usually not close to being competitive with what any medium sized shipper can get on its own.
There’s no doubt many of these new applications look great, but technology for technology’s sake doesn’t change anything if the market audience is too small or progressive enough to embrace new ways of doing business. There is some good PR at work behind the scenes making many of them seem like world changing solutions. Then again, maybe this disconnect I sense is a failure of marketing to convey the full value of the solution for the marketplace.
If I am right, the answer for these companies seems obvious – create and share better use cases. Customers need to see themselves using a new technology and realizing the benefits. This is Marketing 101.
Companies that are successful know they need to target narrow markets and segment their marketing the same way. Marketing must clearly articulate a solution’s value to a specific type of customer.
Right now, many logistics technology companies are spending too much time talking about the idea of technology and themselves – but not making the connection to how it really benefits their customers. They think they do, but they do not.
Change comes hard in the logistics industry, especially with technology. The pathway to user growth comes with confidence in the value a new solution can provide, rooted in well explained stories of how other companies have benefited from it. The logistics technologies that can do this best will be the most successful.