Marketing is a core component of any business. The marketing function encompasses advertising, promotions, public relations, product pricing, packaging, distribution and sales. A marketing plan serves as a guide to exactly who a company serves, how it serves them and how it communicates with them, as well as how marketing activities are funded. Creating a marketing plan for a delivery service can help you to spread the word about your services and build a client base quickly.
The first priority of a marketing plan is to identify and analyze the company's target market. Delivery companies must identify the geographic market that they will serve, whether it be local, statewide, national or international. Delivery services also can choose to focus on either business or residential customers. Services focused on businesses are more likely to focus their marketing efforts on establishing high-volume, long-term contracts with clients, while delivery companies focused on residential customers are likely to serve a wide range of customers for small, periodic jobs.
Include detailed descriptions of all your services in your marketing plan. Specify which transportation methods you will use, whether trucking, shipping over sea, air transport or rail. Also specify any specialties or limitations for the types of goods you transport. Determine whether you will offer shipping for items such perishable goods, livestock or biological hazards, for example. List any additional services or perks you offer, as well. You may offer a packaging service if you serve residential customers, for example, or you migft offer an electronic bill of lading system installation service to reduce time for business customers. List anything that gives your company an edge over competitors.
Take the time to create strategies for each of the five elements of the service marketing mix: advertising, promotions, public relations, pricing and sales. Consider placing advertisements in trade journals for business customers in manufacturing industries, or on TV and the Internet for residential customers. Offer a loyalty program as a promotion to encourage repeat customers. Offer price discounts for high volume to encourage large customers to use your services. Use direct sales in person, over the phone or through email to target shipping managers in potential client companies.
Include a detailed budget that outlines the costs involved in executing each of your marketing strategies. Include expenses for marketing research efforts such as surveys and focus groups, bonuses for high-performing salespeople and allowances for loyalty program giveaways and other promotions. Add 5 to 10 percent on top of your marketing budget to cover any unplanned marketing expenses. The marketing department can often incur more unplanned expenses than any other department.
David Ingram has written for multiple publications since 2009, including "The Houston Chronicle" and online at Business.com. As a small-business owner, Ingram regularly confronts modern issues in management, marketing, finance and business law. He has earned a Bachelor of Arts in management from Walsh University.