In 2020, the Brexit transition period deadline was approaching. Negotiations for future arrangements were ongoing, with no agreement yet in place between the UK and the EU. Many businesses were apprehensive about the integrity of their supply chains and operations.
Dealing with customs officials, complying with new shipping regulations, and hiring and training additional staff to handle increases in paperwork became key concerns for companies during this time.
DDC FPO, a business process outsourcing (BPO) company in the freight and logistics industry, recognized this as an opportunity to enter the UK/EU market with their Customs Brokerage Processing services.
Their services, which focus on facilitating the timely clearance of international shipments through customs, include offerings like declaration data capture, tariff classification, declaration submission and management, invoice returns matching, customer contact and general customs consultancy. It was designed to help companies prepare for Brexit without the need to hire additional in-house staff — enabling them to spend less time on administrative work and more time managing their core business.
DDC had an existing relationship with Salted Stone North America and decided to expand that relationship to our EMEA office with a 6-month strategic program (which was eventually extended into a 12-month program).
Salted Stone was tasked with researching the market landscape and supporting the launch of DDC’s Customs Brokerage Processing services in the UK/EU market.
DDC FPO wanted to grow brand awareness and increase leads in the UK/EU. With that in mind, we set out to achieve the following goals:
- Increase UK/EU web traffic
- Grow the UK/EU marketing contact list in HubSpot
- Generate new content engagements/impressions
DDC FPO provides a number of services worldwide, but prior to the launch of their Customs Brokerage Processing offering, they were not established in the UK/EU customs brokerage services market. This meant we were starting from a point of near-zero brand awareness.
Additionally, the UK/EU landscape was changing rapidly due to Brexit’s loose ends. An agile approach would be required in order to keep up with the constant fluctuations in the trade agreement status and resulting business concerns for the freight and logistics industry.
Salted Stone's approach
To help DDC FPO craft and execute a B2B brand awareness strategy around the launch of their new service offering, we researched the landscape and suggested a multifaceted approach based on our understanding of the industry.
We provided the following services as part of this campaign:
Partnership research, advertising, and event coordination
Our strategy relied on leveraging relevant industry organizations to gain brand awareness. We researched the appropriate organizations, helped DDC to become members, and coordinated events and advertising with those organizations.
We launched a Google Search and Display campaign targeting DDC’s core audience throughout the UK/EU. The focus of this campaign was to increase brand awareness of DDC FPO’s Custom Brokerage Processing offering and subsequently drive qualified users into the conversion funnel.
SEO strategy and inbound content creation
To reach DDC’s audience at all stages of the buyer’s journey, we crafted a comprehensive, interconnected content strategy.
Targeting high-value keywords where applicable, we created the following content:
- A landing page to accompany the paid media campaign
- A comprehensive blog post on the evolving Brexit landscape, which we updated continually as regulations evolved
- A series of blog posts on topics related to customs processing
- An online guide to international shipping and customs brokerage processing
- An industry survey and the corresponding whitepaper exploring the effects of Brexit on freight and logistics companies in the UK and EU
- A landing page and email campaign for a webinar in which DDC discussed the results of the industry survey
- An email-based online course covering specific aspects of post-Brexit international shipping, like VAT and the Northern Ireland Protocol
- A case study illustrating how DDC’s Customs Brokerage Processing services helped a global transport and logistics provider successfully prepare for Brexit
This email-based online course had a 2.5% conversion rate.
Campaign analytics and reporting
As part of the services we provide for DDC, we report quarterly on the engagement of all of the ongoing activities. We use a variety of tools to create a holistic view of the performance of strategies we’ve implemented.
The DDC website is built on HubSpot, and we use the tools in Marketing Hub Professional to create and track campaigns including landing pages, forms, email workflows, and lists. We’ve also connected DDC’s social channels and digital ad accounts to allow for a more comprehensive view of conversions.
For quarterly reporting, we use the HubSpot reporting dashboards to track the following KPIs:
- New contacts by region (identified based on the default HubSpot IP Country and Country fields)
- Target account activity
- Content campaigns
- Monthly digital ad metrics
HubSpot’s Target Accounts tool has been instrumental in identifying which new conversions are a part of DDC’s list of target companies in the EU/UK region. These leads are routed to the sales team with priority.
“Salted Stone has been an essential part of the team. They’ve demonstrated an impressive ability to gain an understanding of the landscape and introduce our service to a new market.”
– Madison Conway, Global Marketing Director, The DDC Group
With Salted Stone’s support, DDC FPO was able to achieve each of their core goals: increasing UK/EU web traffic, expanding their UK/EU marketing contact list, and driving new content engagements/impressions.
Here’s a quick look at the results we achieved:
UK/EU website traffic, Q4 2020 to Q4 2021
increase in new users
increase in new sessions
UK/EU marketing contact list, Q4 2020 to Q4 2021
increase in new marketing contacts
new contacts from Target Accounts
Unique engagements with new content
Customs Brokerage Processing Online Course
Brexit Impact Survey
Brexit Impact Whitepaper
Brexit Impact Webinar
The strategic program was successful in establishing DDC FPO as a knowledgeable, reliable BPO partner for companies in the UK and EU — particularly those who need support as they adapt to post-Brexit changes.
Madison Conway, Global Marketing Director for The DDC Group, was particularly impressed with how quickly the Salted Stone team was able to build expertise on Brexit and its impacts. “Salted Stone has been an essential part of the team,” says Conway. “They’ve demonstrated an impressive ability to gain an understanding of the landscape and introduce our service to a new market.
Kaley Deneen, Account Director at Salted Stone EMEA, is pleased with the results of the program, noting that it lays the foundation for further opportunities in the region for DDC. “This campaign helped the client establish brand awareness in the UK and EU, which will give them more confidence to launch additional offerings there in the future,” she says.
In the coming months, Salted Stone will continue to work with DDC FPO to grow their brand awareness, qualify and nurture leads gained through the campaign, expand their offerings in new regions, and support their Sales Manager with sales enablement materials.
Ready to launch a new service offering or expand into new markets? Let’s build a plan together. Contact us.