Archive for the "Supply Chain" Category

10 Resources for Supply Chain Marketers

10 Resources for Supply Chain Marketers

Our resources for supply chain marketers include step-by-step DIY guides, industry reports, marketing templates, and case studies.

Here at Fronetics, we specialize in digital and content marketing for supply chain and logistics businesses. We understand the unique needs and challenges facing these companies, particularly when it comes to the consistent, strategic creation of content.

I try to provide regular tips, updates, and how-tos on this blog for those of you hoping to improve your marketing efforts. But sometimes our readers need a little more in-depth guidance. That’s why we have created a number of different resources for supply chain marketers.

Below, you’ll find a list and a summary of our 10 most popular resources. Included are step-by-step guides, industry reports, templates, case studies and more. These resources offer information on subjects from building a content strategy to creating better content to social media use among supply chain businesses.

I hope you enjoy! And, as always, if you don’t see what you’re looking for, please email me and let me know. I’m always seeking new ideas for content that will be helpful for supply chain marketers.

10 resources for supply chain marketers

Use these 10 resources to create a multi-channel content strategy that maximizes your digital reach. After all, a well-developed content strategy and social media presence will help prospects to find you, buyers to know you, and customers to trust you.

1) How the Logistics and Supply Chain Industries are Using Social Media

Fronetics conducted a survey of individuals within the logistics and supply chain industries. The objective of the survey was to gain insight into the use of social media within these industries. Specifically, to learn more about why companies within the logistics and supply chain industries are using social media, the benefits they have realized, and challenges they have encountered.
Download report

2) Social Media and the Logistics and Supply Chain Industries 2016

Companies within the supply chain and logistics industries have begun to recognize the value of social media — and are starting to reap the benefits. Both large and small businesses alike can profit from the use of social technologies as part of their marketing strategy, and they can reduce their marketing costs by doing so. This white paper defines social media and social technologies, identifies users and usage patterns, and describes some of the benefits that companies within the logistics and supply chain industries can realize through participation.
social media white paper download

3) 3PL Cerasis Acquires 98 New Customers through Content Marketing

This case study looks at Cerasis, a leading freight logistics company. Despite realizing positive growth for 15 years, Cerasis was not attracting larger and more sophisticated shippers, brand awareness was low, and most importantly, they were not perceived as a leader within the industry. A content marketing strategy — inclusive of participation in social media and content creation, curation, and distribution — led to 14% increased revenue, 14% increase in lead-to-customer conversion rate, and over a 1000% increase in web and social traffic.
Get the case study

4) Monthly Marketing Reporting Template

Tracking and monitoring certain marketing metrics helps you quantify the progress of your marketing program. But you can also measure the ROI and make changes to your strategy to make it more effective. Use this report template to optimize your strategy, produce monthly reports, and create presentations.
Get the template

5) Content Use in the Logistics and Supply Chain Industries

Content marketing has transformed the way businesses connect and share relevant information with their audiences. The publication and distribution of content is a strategy now widely used by supply chain companies to build trust and influence among peers, prospects and customers. Through a survey conducted on the use of content within the logistics and supply chain industries, this report offers broad insight into the overall role and influence of content.
Get the template

6) Content Marketing Guide for the Logistics and Supply Chain Industries

Despite all its benefits, content marketing isn’t so easy. In fact, supply chain and logistics companies report that creating and executing an effective content marketing strategy is a top challenge for their businesses. In response, we developed this guide. It will help you create a strategy that will attract your target audience and drive profitable customer action.
Get the guide

7) Content Strategy Template

An effective content marketing strategy is one that is aligned with your company’s business goals and objectives. Furthermore, an effective content marketing strategy focuses on attracting and engaging prospects. All created, curated, and distributed content should target your ideal customer. Use this template to help develop and drive your content strategy.
building a content strategy

8) On Writing Good Content: A Guide for the Logistics and Supply Chain

27 million pieces of content are shared every day. And most if it isn’t worth reading. To attract readers, your content must stand out. You must be strategic about how often you publish, where you distribute, and, most importantly, the quality of the content your produce. This guide will help you learn the basic principles of good content. It will also help identify content creators within your organization and brainstorm ideas for original and effective content.
Get the guide

9) Blog Editorial Calendar Template

This template is designed to keep you on track as you develop content that will attract and engage your prospects and customers. It will help you map out your content in a strategic manner, maximize productivity, and keep you organized. It includes weekly and monthly worksheets, as well as an ideas worksheet for tracking blog post ideas.
Download template

10) 12 Elements of an Effective Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. Interest in content marketing has climbed steadily since 2011, but a 2017 survey of 6,000+ global marketers found that 71% considered it their primary approach to marketing (76% in North America). This slideshow walks you through 12 elements of an effective strategy to achieve the best results for your business.
Get the slideshow

Archive for the "Supply Chain" Category

5 Steps Toward Digital Supply Chain Management

5 Steps Toward Digital Supply Chain Management

This post comes to us from Adam Robinson of Cerasis, a top freight logistics company and truckload freight broker.

The digital supply chain is basically a term that defines a supply chain whose foundation is built on web-enabled capabilities. At the moment, many systems are hybrid, meaning that supply chains normally use a mix of paper-based and IT-enabled processes. In its definition, real or true digital supply chain management goes beyond the conventional hybrid system and makes use of connectivity, system integration, and the information-producing capabilities of its key components.

In essence, digital supply chains aim to minimize waste and bring greater profits, whilst being a truly efficient system. Just remember, like asking for writers’ help to minimize the waste of your time, such a system will bring about benefits — like savings in basically every area, meaning better utilization of time and money, not forgetting a drastically reduced environmental impact. Unrivaled efficiency and better client connection will be realized by the employment of technology to aid the functionality of such a system. Examples of such technologies are GPS tracking, barcodes, radio frequency identification (RFlD), smart labels and wireless sensor networks. In such a setup, performance and data security are key, and, as such, cloud technologies working with web services to provide efficient collaboration and trade partner visibility.

In the course of operation, the business is exposed at multiple points across its stages of supply chain. Complexities are evident even in highly integrated organizations, which can have thousands of suppliers, with the range of transactions making it really difficult to track what is being supplied and when, making supplier risk management limited. With such a situation, there is poor visibility of risk areas, and the impact of such if not properly handled poses a threat.

Below are the easy steps that will help one take a relatively easy and flexible approach in making your digital supply chain management balanced and resilient. The result will enable companies to have a fully modeled network that helps you deal with disruptions in the supply chain, even anticipate them. It will enable adjustment of the system as conditions change, making it flexible and adaptable.

For a truly successful transformation of the existing system into a digital one, development of an orderly process to implement and integrate the necessary technologies is key. This is to avoid unnecessary delays and interruption in the delicate process of upgrading an existing, operational system.

Follow these steps for digital supply chain management

1) Understand your starting position and the risk involved.

This is the very first step. It is important to realize the current situation of the supply chain, what risk each supplier brings, and assess feasibility. The significance of each potential risk is weighed, and you have to formulate solutions on how such possible complications can be offset. Once you properly understand the risk involved, it becomes much easier to take proactive steps and set up preventive frameworks in a timely manner.

At this stage, you will assess the maturity of your suppliers and the overall risk posed.

2) Define your strategy and be open from the outset.

At this point, you will have known about the effects of potential changes, and you then encourage dialogue with the business entities involved and create a comfort zone where they can be honest with the common goal that you want a system that will benefit both sides. The use of dialogue will show inclusiveness and build the existing trust and confidence between you and your business partners. This exchange will also shed some light on what is likely to work for both sides and provides the basis for how the foundation should be set.

These early discussions will also ensure that the digital management system will suit your needs and the needs of the suppliers and other business partners. At its core, it is a system that will not be a square peg in a round hole. Understandably, suppliers will be concerned about the risk of losing you as a client if they voice concerns and potential risks. Therefore these initial discussions are critical, as they put everyone at ease and are all-inclusive. The suppliers will also broaden your idea on what the system needs and what components need to be in place for it to be a resounding success.

3) Have a sustainable, long-term approach.

Have measures in place that will aid your system in the long term. Take proactive steps to ensure system stability over time and in varying business and financial conditions. A reactive approach is susceptible to interruptions, delays, and, at times, system shut down. This cautious and forward-thinking procedure safeguards your business from such unnecessary unpleasantness.

It is important to realize that the incentive to save money can prompt individuals and organizations to introduce measures that pose significant risks whilst focusing on the short-term benefits. It is, therefore, very important to cover all bases and see the bigger picture, as sustainability is a core value of all good business entities.

4) Conduct proper research and analysis.

A good supply chain is resilient and delivers the desired and expected returns. It is therefore of vital importance that you invest time in supplier analysis. Set up a contract with proper knowledge of just how aware your suppliers are of the potential risks involved. As much as suppliers are expected to do their own risk analysis, it doesn’t mean that they necessarily are.

All questions about expectations and mutual obligations should be answered by this point.

5) Segmented roll out and capability development

After the digital supply chain management system has been formulated, it is brought into action in phases, employing all the various insights acquired. A pilot project is set up and its success reviewed. After a successful pilot, the roll out should start with those supply chains where expected returns are the highest to ensure maximum returns right from the start. It is important to note that system capabilities will be expected to evolve over the course of the roll out due to the dynamic nature of today’s business environment.

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Archive for the "Supply Chain" Category

Supply Chain Companies Can Offer Personalization at Scale

Supply Chain Companies Can Offer Personalization at Scale

As B2B buyers expect customized sales experiences, sellers can use these 3 tips to offer personalization at scale.

One of today’s biggest challenges facing B2B sellers is the increasing expectation of personalization as part of the buying experience. The seller’s task of offering personal experiences for all leads is a daunting one, particularly with limited time and marketing budgets.

As companies become increasingly focused on risk-mitigation in the buying process, they are far more inclined to trust vendors who can demonstrate that they understand and can address their specific needs and risk factors. According to Demand Gen Report’s 7th Annual B2B Buyer’s Survey, 89% of respondents stated that winning vendors “provided content that made it easier to show ROI and/or build a business case for the purchase.”

While the task of personalization may be daunting, it’s not impossible. And it’s certainly worth the effort. Here are three strategies your business can use to personalize sales pitches and make your marketing dollars work more efficiently.

3 ways to offer personalization at scale

1) Target smarter

We all know that social media platforms offer a wealth of demographic information. One of the most valuable insights it offers is intent signals: things like job changes, social posts, and hiring patterns, all of which can help your sales team identify the right time and strategy for reaching out to a potential buyer. You can use social media features built into the platforms themselves, like advanced filters and lead bots, to identify qualified leads.

Beyond identifying leads, smart targeting involves well-written and targeted online ads. According to Demand Gen’s report, “Online ads are shaping early behaviors and opinions of B2B buyers. 63% of respondents said they noticed ads from the solution provider they chose during the research phase.”

2) Demonstrate your understanding

Justin Shriber, vice president of marketing for LinkedIn sales and marketing solutions, reports that “80% of buyers don’t believe that the salespeople they deal with understand their business.” Most of this perception, Shriber says, is driven by the way salespeople converse with potential buyers. Using generic openers, and talking more than listening, reinforces this negative perception.

Set yourself apart by making sure that your opener lets the potential buyer know that you are paying attention to his/her particular needs and challenges. Make use of the information you’ve gleaned from social media to open the conversation by addressing a need or question the prospect has recently voiced.

3) Engage more closely

An important aspect of the personalization B2B buyers and consumers alike have come to expect is ongoing engagement. “When sales professionals are unable to provide ongoing value,” says Shriber, “the buyer feels no obligation to maintain a dialogue.” Continuing the conversation throughout the buying cycle is key to keeping the potential buyer invested. In addition, the most effective sellers use technology like email tracking and PointDrive to gauge whether the information they’re sharing is hitting the target. These technologies provide sales professionals with a feedback loop that they, in turn, can use to tailor future interactions.

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Archive for the "Supply Chain" Category

Will “Autonomous Stores” Drive the Future of Retail?

Will “Autonomous Stores” Drive the Future of Retail?

How will self-driving, autonomous stores impact the retail industry and the supply chain?

This guest post comes to us from Argentus Supply Chain Recruiting, a boutique recruitment firm specializing in Supply Chain Management and Procurement.

Here’s another dispatch from the far-flung realms of emerging technology that will transform the Supply Chain – how products are brought to market, and how customers acquire those products.

We’ve written before about the upheaval Amazon has wrought on the Retail industry – whether it’s the company’s move into brick and mortar retailits acquisition of Whole Foods Market seeking to improve its Last Mile Delivery, or its proposed use of drones to deliver products. We’ve also written about some emerging technologies – like augmented reality – that are blending the world of eCommerce shopping and a more traditional brick and mortar experience.

Suffice it to say, the retail industry is going through some major convulsions. With dozens of major U.S. retailers shutting down, and tons of new startups entering the eCommerce market, the landscape looks different than it did even five years ago. Companies are looking to the bleeding edge of technology to revolutionize the last leg of the Supply Chain, imagining the best ways to deliver products to consumers in 2020, 2030, and beyond.

Now, an idea that’s been explored in theory is seeing testing in Shanghai, a city known for its leadership in the mobile payments space, as well as its Blade Runner-style futurism.

Self-driving, autonomous stores

Analysts have touted autonomous drones and self-driving trucks as disruptive technologies to Logistics and Retail. Now, a great recent article in Fast Company profiles a startup called Moby which is testing a model of autonomous stores that drive around, seeking customers based on traffic data. Customers can “order” a store to drive to them, similar to how we order Ubers today. They then enter the store using an app and pay for goods with mobile payments. When the store is out of products, it drives back to the warehouse, or connects with another store that has excess supplies of, say, milk, to restock. Like a food truck, but one that also sells toothpaste, and replacement phone chargers, and apparel – using only robots.

Check out the video:

Pretty cool, no?

Produced in partnership between Swedish-based startup Wheelys and China’s Hefei University, the Moby Stores are electric, solar powered, and allow customers to order products for their next visit based on voice activation. Wheelys’ background is in making mobile coffee carts for entrepreneurs, and it’s extending that manufacturing experience towards these new prototypes, hoping (perhaps optimistically) to eventually build the stores for $30,000. It’s planning to start commercial production of the stores by 2018.

It’s a wild idea, to be sure – with significant manufacturing and regulatory hurdles still to clear – but pie-in-the-sky technologies have transformed retail before.

There are a few cool implications for this model from a Supply Chain angle, beyond the obvious convenience of having a store that comes to consumers:

  • It potentially changes the approach to last mile logistics, possibly eliminating the human component in delivery – similar to drones, but with product selection.
  • These stores combine the convenience of eCommerce with the tactile experience that’s still brick and mortar’s strength in areas like apparel.
  • They will allow retailers to compete in the brick and mortar space without paying for rent / real estate, which is a huge barrier to entry and carrying cost making brick and mortar uncompetitive. Of course there are maintenance costs to consider, as well.
  • By allowing customers to “order” a mobile store to a nearby location similar to how one would order an Uber, this model can allow a very fast form of same-day delivery, something that’s been a “holy grail” for companies like Amazon.

We know that startups don’t always translate into industry-redefining enterprises, but even if Moby itself isn’t the future of Retail, it’s very possible that wandering stores will be a big part of the autonomous era.

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Archive for the "Supply Chain" Category

Infographic: Back to School 2017 Supply Chain

Infographic: Back to School 2017 Supply Chain

Record spending, online shopping, and free shipping are hallmarks of back to school 2017.

With consumer confidence on the rise, the National Retail Federation predicts that back-to-college and back-to-school spending will hit $83.6 billion in 2017. That whopping total is an all-time high for back-to-college dollars, and the second highest on record for back-to-school spending, and represents and increase of more than 10% from last year.

If you started your shopping three weeks to one month before school starts, you likely found the longest lines: 46.7% of shoppers report that that’s when they planned to hit the shelves for back-to-school shopping, and 34.6% for back-to-college.

The top destinations for back-to-school shoppers are department stores (57.1%), discount stores (54.1%), and clothing stores (46.0%), while back-to-college shoppers prefer online shopping (44.1%), with discount stores (40%) and department stores (38.5%) following in second and third place. A whopping 90.5% of back-to-school shoppers plan to take advantage of free shipping services, with 88.7% doing the same for back-to-college shipping.

Per household, overall back-to-school spending has risen from last year’s average of $674 to $688 in 2017. The NRF predicts that 64% of that total will be spent on apparel and electronics.

Check out our infographic with some interesting facts from the NRF’s 2017 survey below.

Back to school 2017 supply chain infographic

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Why Supply Chain and Logistics Businesses Need Content Marketing

Why Supply Chain and Logistics Businesses Need Content Marketing

Supply chain and logistics businesses need to be about more than themselves, and content marketing can help them get there.

While conventional wisdom tells us that content marketing is useful and important for any business, there are still some in the supply chain and logistics industries that remain unconvinced. It’s an understandable conundrum: Content marketing requires significant time, labor, and resources, and it can take quite some time to start reaping benefits.

The bottom line is that studies have shown that of companies with a documented content marketing strategy, 86% find their efforts to be successful in generating new leads, creating lasting relationships with customers, and increased ROI.

How can content marketing make my business better?

Consider this: Content marketing helps a company become more than just another business to customers — it can become a valuable resource for everything related to their products and services.

A good content marketing strategy is about understanding the questions and concerns that are particular to your customer base, and offering quality information and analysis that answers those needs. In the words of River Pools & Spas co-owner Marcus Sheridan, “The moment we stopped saying, ‘We’re pool builders,’ and started saying, ‘We are the best teachers in the world about Fiberglass pools and we just happen to install them as well,’…that was one of the most prosperous days of our lives.”

It’s worth noting that Sheridan was discussing his company’s turnaround from near bankruptcy to becoming a global leader in its field. He attributes this success to switching his company’s mission from selling its product to educating potential buyers — namely, content marketing.

Your business is more than its product.

Recognizing that your business has more to offer than its primary product or service is at the core of what content marketing is all about. Kirk Cheyfitz, CEO of Story Worldwide, puts it this way: “Like a decent human being, brands need to be about more than themselves.”

Start thinking about your business this way. You have a team of people with a tremendous aggregate of experience, expertise, and perspectives. That means that you can offer your audience far more than simply your primary product or service: You can offer them knowledge. Your audience is, in turn, far more likely to become buyers as you provide value — which builds trust and cultivates lasting, fruitful relationships.

What can I do to implement an effective content marketing strategy?

If you’re just jumping on the content marketing bandwagon, it’s an exciting time for your business. You might want to check out our Twelve-Step Guide to a Content Marketing Strategy and other resources to help you through the process.

A visual content audit is a solid first step. The main thing to keep in mind is that you have valuable resources at your disposal that you can offer your audience of potential buyers — start sharing!

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