Insights - May/June 2018 - 33
That can be more complicated as some shippers divide transportation functions between procurement and operations, leading
to decision-making that has tended to treat transportation as a
commodity. As managers rotate through the logistics role as part
of their careers, relationships have become more transitory.
"If you are a carrier can you really trust [that] the next person
in a rotational role will follow through on today's promises?" Van
Selling intermodal to customers in today's market requires
some skills that are well-recognized in the business world, several
'Execute and Deliver'
"It is important to understand and convey the value proposition your company is presenting to a customer," according to Van
Kirk. "It is equally important to make sure your team can execute
and deliver the service that value proposition is based upon."
At the same time, Van Kirk acknowledged that customers can
certainly gain substantial information through websites and other
"Customer relationships have changed dramatically," McDuffie
said. "The customer is a lot smarter and has a lot more information
at hand to make astute decisions. There is more of an educational
type of relationship between customers and 3PLs."
Today's relationships emphasize quality of contacts, compared with past relationships that often were built around the
quantity of contacts, such as lunches or dinners.
McDuffie cited a critical difference between business-tobusiness relationships and selling to consumers that has to be
A consumer, he said, may want to know delivery times or other
information that can be gained from a website or personal contact,
but human interaction is critical in a business relationship.
"If you think about it, when the business is on the line, and
a plant is about to shut down or there is
a [product] rollout for retail store, that still
requires human interaction - the hot touch.
It still requires hot touch mentality, because
for the person shipping that product, their
job is going to be on the line."
will be fully autonomous trucks as the norm in my lifetime."
Whether or not either of these changes occur, technological
advances present other potentially valuable opportunities to mold
the customer relationship.
Benefits of Video
Samuel Thimothy, vice president of digital marketing for
OneIMS, said on a May 8 Transportation Marketing and Sales
Association webinar that video has emerged as an important
technology to reach customers.
Part of the reason, he said, is that it can be a "one-to-many"
tool that reaches multiple potential customers at the same time,
instead of the one-to-one approach that is more traditional.
Video can offer particular value at a time when buying habits
are changing, he explained, citing statistics from marketing company Gartner that found customers do 74 percent of the buying
process before they contact a company for a specific purchase.
Because of that, Thimothy said, "You have to ask yourself
how to meet the buyer at the early stage of the process."
Another important step is to consider other studies that have
found 98 percent of potential customers who land on a website
don't take action, essentially because the information on the
webpage isn't effective.
"There is no doubt that video has increased the amount of
converting, watching the content instead of reading the info written on the page," he said.
Video can work well to attract customers, he said, because it
can be more engaging than written content, and help to convert
those potential customers into active buyers.
While he stressed the value of video, Thimothy also made
an overarching point. "The number one thing to keep in mind," he
said, "is to know your audience. You have to fixate on that before
spending any money. Knowing your buyers will make you align
your product properly."
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Metzler offered another real-world example of personal interaction's benefits.
"Technology can enable the automation
of routine functions (e.g., mobile tracking
instead of check calls), but there will always
be a high value for the human touch where
things like doing a favor now because you
know it will come back to you later."
An example, he cited, "is cajoling a
driver to take a [difficult] load in exchange
for knowing you will take care of him down
the road. I don't know how you put that into
He also offered the perspective that
he does not believe "there will be a fully
automated transportation and logistics
relationship any more than I believe there
American Journal of Transportation
May/June 2018 | Intermodal Insights
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Insights - May/June 2018
Operations & Maintenance Business Meeting 2018 Recap: Creating the Future of Intermodal
Intermodal Is on a Positive Path in 2018
Chassis Market’s Evolution Blends Promise, Challenges
Identifying the Missing Link in Chassis Maintenance
ELD Mandate Lessons: Opportunity, Compliance, Tech Issues
ELD Mandate Effect: Opportunity Beckons for Intermodal
Ocean Carrier Realignments Trigger Significant Change for Intermodal
Build Awareness of Intermodal to Attract Job Candidates
3PLs Adopt Technology to Enhance Customer Relationships
As Technology Changes Business Relationships, Personalization Still Matters
Voice of the Shipper
Insights - May/June 2018 - Cover1
Insights - May/June 2018 - 2
Insights - May/June 2018 - 3
Insights - May/June 2018 - IANA News
Insights - May/June 2018 - Operations & Maintenance Business Meeting 2018 Recap: Creating the Future of Intermodal
Insights - May/June 2018 - 6
Insights - May/June 2018 - 7
Insights - May/June 2018 - 8
Insights - May/June 2018 - Intermodal Is on a Positive Path in 2018
Insights - May/June 2018 - 10
Insights - May/June 2018 - Chassis Market’s Evolution Blends Promise, Challenges
Insights - May/June 2018 - 12
Insights - May/June 2018 - 13
Insights - May/June 2018 - 14
Insights - May/June 2018 - Identifying the Missing Link in Chassis Maintenance
Insights - May/June 2018 - ELD Mandate Lessons: Opportunity, Compliance, Tech Issues
Insights - May/June 2018 - 17
Insights - May/June 2018 - ELD Mandate Effect: Opportunity Beckons for Intermodal
Insights - May/June 2018 - Ocean Carrier Realignments Trigger Significant Change for Intermodal
Insights - May/June 2018 - 20
Insights - May/June 2018 - 21
Insights - May/June 2018 - 22
Insights - May/June 2018 - Freight Report
Insights - May/June 2018 - Build Awareness of Intermodal to Attract Job Candidates
Insights - May/June 2018 - 25
Insights - May/June 2018 - 26
Insights - May/June 2018 - 27
Insights - May/June 2018 - 3PLs Adopt Technology to Enhance Customer Relationships
Insights - May/June 2018 - 29
Insights - May/June 2018 - 30
Insights - May/June 2018 - As Technology Changes Business Relationships, Personalization Still Matters
Insights - May/June 2018 - 32
Insights - May/June 2018 - 33
Insights - May/June 2018 - 34
Insights - May/June 2018 - Government News
Insights - May/June 2018 - 36
Insights - May/June 2018 - New Members
Insights - May/June 2018 - 38
Insights - May/June 2018 - 39
Insights - May/June 2018 - 40
Insights - May/June 2018 - 41
Insights - May/June 2018 - 42
Insights - May/June 2018 - Intermodal Calendar
Insights - May/June 2018 - Cover4