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“How to effectively market your maritime business” … special article

by on September 25, 2018 in Business, Digital Marketing, Latest News, Lead Article, Lead story, News you can use, Nuggets

“How to effectively market your maritime business” … special article

The British maritime industry is believed to add over £37bn to the UK economy, and this means that there’s plenty of jostling for position among the businesses that constitute the sector.

In order to get ahead and become a leading name in the maritime industry, though, it’s important to invest in marketing: if you don’t do this, then you’re likely to find yourself falling behind.

But where do you start? Some of the most effective forms of maritime marketing are also the most expensive, and they can quickly set you back. While more modern forms of marketing, such as social media, may at first glance not seem suitable enough for the business-to-business approach often required to attract clients in the maritime business, there are definitely some platforms that you can use to your advantage. This article will look into the dynamics of marketing a maritime business – and how you can make it work.

Trade publications: targeted

The maritime industry has a number of trade publications, including the Maritime Journal and the Seatrade Maritime Review.

Placing an advert in one of these sorts of publications is an obvious way to market your firm, as it’s targeted: only others in the industry tend to read them, so it makes it a much smarter move than simply taking out an ad in a broadsheet newspaper. In advertising, though, it’s often the targeted adverts that are more expensive – so you should be prepared to have to pay.

Going down the advertising route is also not nearly as simple as paying up and submitting some artwork to go on a page. It requires the conceptual development of a brand first – and that’s easier said than done. You’ll need to think about your unique selling point. Will you emphasise speedy delivery times, for example, or go for on-ship security? You may also need to commission market research to inform branding decisions, so it could be a long process.

As well as offering opportunities for paid advertising, publications frequently like to interview leading industry figures and profile them for the benefit of readers – so it may be worth giving your firm’s CEO some media training and finding them a slot. Over the years, Evangelos Marinakis and other well-known maritime business figures have worked on the assumption that building a profile within the industry is a smart move – and it has certainly paid off.

 Social media: modern

 For many maritime industry marketers, the idea of taking to social media to promote something seems a little ludicrous. With so much of social media’s business potential seemingly tied up in leisure-focused platforms such as Instagram, shipping and logistics may simply seem not appealing enough. However, there are plenty of ways that firms can use social media to their advantage.

Platforms such as LinkedIn, which are specifically aimed at businesses, can often be a great source of new business or strategic contract wins. Investing in LinkedIn Premium, for example, can enable you to directly message fleet managers and other key stakeholders and speak to them about working together.

Stakeholder outreach: relationships

 Yet despite the potential that new-fangled advertising methods such as social media hold, there’s still a strong case for using some of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to maritime industry marketing – and that’s stakeholder outreach. If you’re looking to expand your supermarket client base, for example, then why not consider going along to a grocery contractors trade event and opening a stall?

Failing that, it may be worth reaching out to these companies over the phone and offering to take their supply chain managers out for coffee. In the modern age, there’s sometimes a bit of a reluctance to go down these kinds of stakeholder outreach routes – but with physical interaction unable to trump screen-mediated interactions, they’re still as essential as they always were.

 Working on a maritime marketing project, then, is something that requires quite a bit of dedication. This is an industry with a number of complex challenges, including a highly specific and expert operational environment as well as a business culture that is perhaps a little outmoded compared to some of the other industries out there. However, this doesn’t mean that a successful maritime business marketing campaign can’t be developed.

By focusing on key influence channels such as fleet manager outreach, advertising slots in trade publications, and even the more B2B-friendly social media platforms such as LinkedIn, it’s possible to get the exposure your company deserves.
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