This year, the Squirrel Works Team decided to make our way to Las Vegas for the 39th annual TIA Conference, to take full advantage of the many industry-based opportunities that it offers. Our founder, David, shares with us some of the highlights from this year’s event.
What were some the highlights from TIA Con 2017?
This year’s annual conference broke attendance records and was the largest event yet, with over 1200 attendees. Held in Las Vegas, The 2017 Capital Ideas Conference & Exhibition delivered 3PL business intelligence, networking opportunities and a first-hand look at new and upcoming technologies.
What I always find most fascinating about this event is that almost everyone in the room is competitors, who are trying to fight for the same customers, yet they are able to leave all of that at the door. The result is that everyone is happy to talk shop, share best practices and offer sincere business advice.
I, personally, love talking to new people and getting to know them. I find it very interesting hearing more about how others run their businesses, and how they manage to put their own “spin” on the way that they do things. After speaking with over 300 different owners from brokerages, I have found that even though there are only a few ways to broker freight, not all freight brokerages are equal, and there are so many variables involved in creating a successful business.
Which session did you enjoy the most and why?
I enjoyed the TIA Game Show the most. The format is informal and encourages active participation from the audience. The topic this year was How do we integrate “Social Media” into our business? There were around 40 people who shared ideas on how their company is using Social Media.
Although very well meaning, some of the answers that we heard were shocking. A common theme that we are seeing is that most companies still don’t understand social media and the power that it can have, for your company. Most still seem to see it as “I guess I’ll get a Facebook page since everyone else has one.” I think that the majority of transportation companies, who are attempting social media, don’t have a true strategy in place and are inadvertently wasting resources.
As the head of a digital marketing agency, I see a lot of opportunity with this, but I also feel that it is my job to educate my customers on the importance of social media and that there is actually a true ROI involved. Through customer interviews and speaking with other marketing companies it is clear that social media adoption is just going to increase. Social media provides a unique opportunity for real time collaboration and to market your company in a genuine way, that helps cut through the noise of email and other more traditional methods.
What lesson did you learn from TIA Con 2017, that you will be applying in your own business?
My biggest take way from the TIA Convention was that the Uberization of freight is not going to destroy this industry. I have no doubt that it will change it, but as long as people are investing in technology and automation, while continuing to develop meaningful relationships with their customers vs. always being focused on the profit, there is plenty of freight to go around.
I love this industry because it is so fast-paced and nimble, that you really can make a huge difference to your bottom line by implementing incremental changes.
I came away from the show more energized than ever before. It is quite clear that there is a definite need for AMT Squirrel Works, in this space. Capacity is loose right now, and trucks are somewhat plentiful. It is hard to get new business and shippers aren’t looking to add any new providers, so in order to get their attention and stand out, it is more important than ever to take a look at your current marketing efforts and make sure that you are setting yourself up for success by asking yourself questions like, have you looked at your website lately? Have you googled your company or your services? Do you have Social Media? If so, are you being consistent with your sharing?