A Call to Action (For Fleet Providers): ‘Earning’ a Great Reputation Through Promotion and Education

Before leav­ing last month’s top­ic of “earned” media (mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions your com­pa­ny pays to deliv­er in media that reach your prospects and cus­tomers), here are a few con­sid­er­a­tions that I promised to address in greater detail: First, let’s talk about form and style of pro­mo­tion­al mes­sages by spe­cif­ic media tac­tics beyond adver­tis­ing, which I spoke about last month.

By Ed Pierce, It’s The Arts Mar­ket­ing

As I did last month, I am bor­row­ing con­cepts from some of our industry’s best sales­peo­ple, but estab­lish­ing an effec­tive rela­tion­ship with a prospect or cus­tomer  — espe­cial­ly in a B2B mar­ket — is adap­tive. A great sales­per­son can shift eas­i­ly from one type of sales approach to anoth­er based on the envi­ron­ment (exhib­it floor, customer’s office, home office vis­it) and on-the-spot cus­tomer feed­back.

Like­wise, effec­tive mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions must adapt to the sit­u­a­tion. Last month, I not­ed that an effec­tive ad pro­vides a snap­shot of prod­uct val­ue in terms that are impor­tant to the fleet man­ag­er. But an ad can only promise val­ue, it can­not pro­vide enough sub­stan­ti­a­tion to close a sale (again, in B2B mar­kets). Direct mar­ket­ing and trade shows also con­strain the mes­sage.

Answer the Ques­tions that Fleet Man­agers Want to Know

Enter pub­lic rela­tions and, in this dig­i­tal age, native adver­tis­ing. They are the per­fect oppor­tu­ni­ties for com­pa­nies to explain the val­ue propo­si­tion of their lat­est prod­uct or ser­vice in detail. These are the mar­ket­ing tac­tics that build on the ad, exhib­it hall dis­play or the direct mail piece.

Why does this new telem­at­ics prod­uct bring greater val­ue to the fleet man­ag­er? What are the appli­ca­tions for the prod­uct? What is sig­nif­i­cant about the tech­nol­o­gy? What oth­er com­pa­nies are using it? How much have they saved? What is the ROI and how does that com­pare to oth­er alter­na­tives?

Answer the ques­tions that fleet man­agers want to know. Give them the ammu­ni­tion they need to sell up their orga­ni­za­tions. The objec­tive of these types of com­mu­ni­ca­tions – case stud­ies, white papers, how-to arti­cles, spon­sor-fund­ed arti­cles or video, is to pro­vide proof that is mean­ing­ful for each tar­get­ed mar­ket seg­ment! In oth­er words, a case study on a telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion company’s work truck fleet won’t mean much to the phar­ma com­pa­ny with a sales fleet. Focus your mes­sages!

The Ben­e­fits of Edu­ca­tion Rather than Pro­mo­tion

In addi­tion to prod­uct val­ue, fleet man­agers final­ly decide on a pur­chase based on the com­pa­ny behind the prod­uct or ser­vice. Do they know your com­pa­ny by name? Do they know oth­ers who are sat­is­fied with your ser­vices? Are you rec­og­nized in the indus­try for per­ti­nent strengths? Have they read any­thing in the fleet press or trade asso­ci­a­tion mate­r­i­al to help them bet­ter under­stand a fleet prob­lem, solu­tion and alter­na­tive solu­tions? If so, the com­pa­ny name, or brand, can help close the sale.
Although mar­ket­ing is seem­ing­ly all about pro­mo­tion, it is about effec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tions. In some sit­u­a­tions, edu­ca­tion – infor­ma­tive, objec­tive arti­cles – is the best approach to improv­ing the com­pa­ny name.

Here are fleet spe­cif­ic oppor­tu­ni­ties to edu­cate and make your com­pa­ny look like a thought leader: NAFA I&E cur­ricu­lum or CAFM pro­gram guide involve­ment or chap­ter speak­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties, NTEA resource con­tri­bu­tions, AFLA white papers or Tech Notes. The pro­mo­tion may be lim­it­ed to a byline or con­trib­u­tor acknowl­edge­ment, and there can­not be no overt prod­uct ref­er­ences, and there can­not be no overt prod­uct ref­er­ences. How­ev­er, your next new cus­tomer may very well con­nect the les­son you offered when he or she makes the deci­sion to buy.

In the next col­umn, we will delve into the expand­ed oppor­tu­ni­ties avail­able to fleet providers in the world of “owned” media. Just send an email to EdPierce@ItsTheArts.com. If you have a spe­cif­ic mar­ket­ing issue or ques­tion, call me at 610–585‑0801.


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