Maersk Line - Social Media Marketing by a B2B company

17 March 2017
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What is Maersk Line
Maersk Line is actually the biggest sea shipping company of the world, delivering good around the globe. It counts 306 offices in 114 countries and deploy more than 21 600 workers in ports. Its fleet is composed by 639 conteniner ships and more than 7 600 seilors.

Maersk Line seems like one of many shipping companies operating in the B2B market at a first sight, with whom the consumer will never get in contact. Instead, Maersk Line is a real and true communication case study and it can be taken as one of the best example by marketers all over the world. 

Social Media Strategy
Everything started in the last quarter of 2011 when Jonathan Wichmann, Head of Social Media of the company, created and got operational a social media strategy for Maersk Line with precise goals: raising brand awareness, customer loyalty and its workforce engagement, develope analysis on customers and check the news flow.

[facebook url=https://www.facebook.com/MaerskLine/posts/1249468655108518]

The original creator of the plan was Wichmann himself, simple employee of marketing department at the time, being literally the only one working on the social media project. Also, he had to fight against difficulties typical of a brand new B2B project and his own collegues and seniors, skeptics about commiting time and energies for a "boring company no one likes".

Numbers tell he was absolutely right.

Today Maersk Line has 1 100 00+ followers on Facebook, 128 000+ followers on Twitter, 63 000+ followers on Instagram, almost 23 000 subscribers on its Youtube channel and 192 000+ followers on Linkedin. The actual marketing team working on this is split between Copenhagen HQ, the Mumbai one and the Manila one and shares content on more than 30 global and local media.

A success: the reason why
One of the most important thing about the Maersk Line' strategy is that it is not a simple charm offensive but it has clear and defined goals and even ROIs for every container sold, with this meaning how much new shippings are affected by social activities. Because of the strong connection between communication share and shipping sale, the social media team reports to the sale division of the company.

[facebook url=https://www.facebook.com/MaerskLine/videos/1223624877692896/]

Every marketer of every marketing office has access to data used also by Maersk Line in its decision process, but data would have not being enough if it was not able to understand them: in B2B market, between 57% and 70% of people working in purchasing office decide which supplier contact even before commercial offer. Looking at shipping companies, you will find the average customer engages with average 10.4 pieces of online content even before the first phone call. How can this be helpful for Maersk Line? First, producing and sharing the most part of those 10.4 pieces of content; secondly, B2B and B2C marketing have their own and different rules, but it will always be a person acting as decision maker at the end of the day, so it will be on persons and feelings you should work.

[facebook url=https://www.facebook.com/MaerskLine/videos/1236297089759008/]

To confirm this and the good work done by Maersk Line, two facts: from a survey made among companies making use of transoceanic shipping, 67% of respondent said socia activities improved the perception they have of Maersk Line; more important, 15/20% of its Facebook followers are also customers: it means more than 150 000 persons.

The future
The first phase of Maersk Line social media strategy was textbook example: Jonathan Wichmann started by engaging company's own workes, exploiting their social connections to raise followers. The rest is history: top quality contents were the match winner, thanks to the 14 000 pictures of the company photo archive but soon shared by social users too; thanks to infographics of daily activities; and thanks to the stories of many people that made Maersk Line a global reality with 48 billion dollars value.

The future is still to be written: studying budgets spent by the marketing team until today, you will discover that they have never been higher to 200 000 $, which means followers grew up organically; furthermore, Jonathan Wichmann left the company to be a social media consultant for the biggest advertising agencies of the world. But there is no doubt that Maersk Line still has much to teach.