How Fleet Industry Product & Service Providers Get the Most Value from Branding & Marketing

Branding and marketing are two essential elements for any successful fleet supplier’s business’ growth strategy, but they are often misunderstood and confused with each other. While branding and marketing are related, they are two distinct concepts with different goals. Understanding the differences and how synergies can be found through the proper combination can make any fleet supplier achieve its growth goals.

Branding: The Foundation for Successful Marketing

Branding involves creating a unique identity for your company and its products or services. It is about what you want your targeted prospects and your customers to think of when they hear your name.

A brand is more than just a logo or tagline. It is the sum total of all the experiences that your customers have with your company, from your website to your customer service. A strong brand is one that is consistent, authentic, and relevant to your target audience.

When you create a strong brand, you are creating a connection with your customers. You are telling them what your company stands for and what they can expect from you. This connection can lead to customer loyalty, which is essential for any business.

In the fleet industry, there are many examples of significant branding initiatives. Through the years, there have been several initiatives by merged fleet management companies.  Also, many start-ups have combined to create new identities with subsequent branding strategies having to be implemented. 

    Setting Selection Criteria

    When creating a Request for Proposal (RFP) for marketing services, several vital criteria and components need to be incorporated:

    • Project Background and Goals: Clearly define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and goals.
    • Scope of Work: Provide a detailed scope of work.
    • Budget: Disclose your budget.
    • RFP Timeline and Vendor Deadlines: Specify the RFP process timeline and vendors' deadlines.
    • RFP Requirements: Include minimum qualifications as well as submission and evaluation criteria.
    • References, Project Portfolios, and Case Studies: Request for references, project portfolios, and case studies.
    • Technical Capabilities: Evaluate the technical capabilities of the vendor.
    • Vendor Experience: Consider the vendor's experience in the field.
    • Vendor Approach: Understand the vendor's approach to the project.
    • Total Price & Breakout: Consider the total price quoted by the vendor with an unbundled breakout of costs by service.
    • Customer Success Practices: Evaluate the vendor's customer success practices.
    • Reputation and Customer References: Check the vendor's reputation and customer references.

    Suppliers in every industry operate differently, so there's always the chance you won't be able to find a marketing service or product supplier that perfectly checks every box. Know which traits are dealbreakers and which are expendable to help you quickly separate the wheat from the chaff.

     The key to a productive marketing services RFP is clarity. Be clear about the goals and define the specific KPIs and SLAs. The more accurate and complete the RFP, the more likely vendors will respond in kind.


    Whether employing an RFP or pursuing a less formal method, "best practices" in selecting a vendor begin with developing a list of criteria the vendor will need to meet.

    The right suppliers can transform an organization's performance. Companies that rely on the best strategic partners have been shown to generate significant competitive advantages. A cutting-edge vendor can help companies differentiate their products and boost their market share.

     In a changing economy where product and service lifespans are getting shorter, fleet industry suppliers need the ability to rapidly identify and onboard new, more flexible supplier partners who understand the specific market conditions.

     With all bids in hand, the business must compare each supplier's RFP to determine which meets the defined budget needs and quality standards. A vendor that overcharges cuts into the profit margin. However, a vendor that misses deadlines, or whose quality does not meet expectations, also negatively impacts ROI.

    In most cases, a chosen vendor decision is only the beginning of negotiating the contract terms. Agreed-upon projects, the vendor account team, tactical timeframes, KPIs and SLAs, and more must be put into writing. If this process drags on, a short-term contract or a specific tactical pilot program might become an intermediate step.

    Monitor Supplier Performance

    Establishing KPIs and SLAs sets up an early-warning system for under-achievement by a vendor. Use this data to work with the vendor to improve processes and quality. If that fails, termination of the contract can alleviate a drawn-out unsatisfactory relationship and speed up hiring a new, better vendor.

    Monitor cost efficiency over time. Just because the deal you negotiated a year ago was good doesn't mean it's a good one now. Be candid with the vendor about changing needs and performance metrics. Most vendors will be willing to work with a business to re-negotiate a deal that satisfies both parties.

     Learn more about "best practices" that should be adopted to find the best fleet industry marketing vendor for your business targeting the fleet industry; reach out to the only fleet-specific marketing team, Fleet Management Weekly's Brand Acceleration, by clicking here or calling Ed Pierce at (484) 957-1246.

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