Case Study: Intermodal Transportation Industry

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CASE STUDY

Intermodal Transport

A Spotlight on
Aspirin Transportation and Reload Transportation Services

INDUSTRY BACKGROUND

In the spring of 2021, people around the world followed the story of the 200,000 ton Ever Given cargo vessel lodged in the Suez Canal. The vessel blocked maritime traffic for six days on one of the world’s busiest trade routes.

Overnight, international audiences grew acquainted with the importance of intermodal freight transportation. Each day the canal remained blocked cost global trade $9.6 billion. That figure and impact do not surprise Mike Perlut of Aspirin Transportation.

“Freight keeps economies flowing,” Perlut says.

Intermodal transportation is the use of two or more carriers (like truck, rail, or ship) to transport goods (freight) from shipper to consignee.

Perlut’s operated Aspirin Transportation since 2015 from the Chicago suburbs and is in the process of obtaining ownership from its current Texas-based owner, Mary Beth Guilbo. He focuses most of his energy on attracting commercial truck owner-operators to grow the business. He currently employs a team of 15 drivers who don’t have to live on the road. They are typically home each night and have a nice work-life balance. While the current owner maintains a healthy company, Perlut’s bringing Aspirin to a new competitive level starting with rebranding efforts led by Distinct.

Not far from Aspirin headquarters is Vincent Aguirre of Reload Transport (dba Cowan Intermodal Group). Aguirre’s name may sound familiar to those who know the team at Distinct. Vincent Aguirre owns Distinct Marketing. Vincent Aguirre of Cowan Transport is his uncle.

Aguirre started Reload Transport in 2007 with a group of business partners. Together they opted to become a franchisee of Cowan Systems, a national transportation and logistics company.

“My partners and I have a lot of transportation experience. We saw a real opportunity to start our own endeavor with better business practices. Now, Cowan is our parent company and we use their Safety, Contract and Legal departments, but we still conduct business freely and independently.”

This business freedom allowed Aguirre and his team to develop and grow his company with the marketing advisors of Distinct.

Aspirin Transportation

Distinct’s advising has been a game changer for Aspirin. We use our website differently now. It’s attracting new high-end customers.

Mike Perlut, Operations

Reload Transportation

Our leads jumped 10,000%. As a result, we’ve gone from one new hire per month to 15 new drivers monthly. I had to bring on staff just to process the applications.

Vincent Aguirre, Owner

WHY DISTINCT?

Distinct meticulously partners small businesses with local advisors who understand the community and clients they serve. 

1. Advisors honor your time

Distinct Advisors know that you have plans and dreams for your business. Their commitment is to support you with the marketing tools that will achieve them. Distinct’s skilled team will deliver tasks on time and when you need them. If your goals are long term, they’ll keep pace.

“I intend to keep growing with Distinct. They’ve advised us to deepen our marketing with geolocations which will help us find more drivers. That is on our list of projects. We’ll get there.”
Mike Perlut, Aspirin Transportation

2. Advisors bring their specialized skills to your team

Maybe you don’t have a designer on your regular payroll who can create the new logo you need. Perhaps your website needs a refresh and TLC, but your team is swamped. Distinct becomes a part of your team and delivers the results your business needs. From graphic design to web support, Distinct invests in your company’s success.

3. Advisors value what matters

Distinct is committed to strong community. They work hard for small businesses. Working with Distinct means you are teamed with local advisors who know and understand your community. For companies like Aspirin Transport and Reload Transportation, it matters that their drivers spend most nights in their own beds not on the road. Together, advisors and transportation companies develop marketing plans to generate leads that keep the hiring funnel full and the workers rested, content and close to home.

commercial truck
SHARED STRUGGLES

Both Mike Perlut and Vincent Aguirre share the same goal: to grow their companies. In the intermodal transportation industry, businesses need a steady influx of capable and vetted commercially-licensed (CDL) drivers. A full hiring funnel impacts their viability.

Perlut is acquiring full ownership of Aspirin while prioritizing hiring and directing the brand in a new direction.

The first task to accomplish: Design a new logo.

The original owner selected a simple stock image for the company logo. Perlut considered that a missed opportunity that he planned to correct because attracting new leads (drivers) is vital to his vision for growth.

He says, “The business previously had no strong brand presence. The logo was simply an aspirin tablet. That image doesn’t really fit with what this company does or grab drivers’ attention. Transportation is flow and movement. Drivers can be fickle. Our website was basically just a landing page. But, I know if I can get a name and a number, I can convert them.”

Over at Reload Transportation, the goal was modernization. Not only did the logo require a refresh, so did the marketing plan. In the long term, Vincent Aguirre, wants to expand into western states, as well as, both the southeastern and southwestern United States. As part of Cowan Systems, he has access to hubs in multiple states.

Just having his feet in different regions, however, is not enough. He needs the labor force. He needs a strong recruitment plan. His marketing was in no way digital; he relied on newspapers. Consequently, each month he’d attract no more than 5 applicants and extend a job offer to only 1 driver on average. At this hiring rate, he would miss his mark widely unable to scale his services.

DISTINCT'S SOLUTION

Both Vincent and Mike discussed their vision and goals with Distinct’s team. Despite their long relations, the Distinct Advisors did not take the professional relationship for granted. They listened and customized plans with the same results-driven commitment afforded any client.

According to Mike Perlut, “I’m good at what I do and Vince (Distinct) is great at what he does. I knew I needed help with technology in order to start taking the company where I wanted it to go.”

Perlut shared his vision of Aspirin’s identity. Distinct designed a new logo that reflected the professional services of the company clearly with a new sleek truck design and tagline. It was a thorough process that left Perlut heard and satisfied.

“We went through about 30 different logo designs. We kept narrowing down the options and after that 4 or 5 revisions. And finally, I got the logo I wanted.”

He also knew he wanted his tagline to be “Keep Freight Flowing.” Distinct’s designers cleanly incorporated the text.

They didn’t stop there.

“Our website is basically just a landing page. I just need a place to collect interested drivers’ names and contact info. Distinct added a nice form to our page. They’ve helped in so many other areas too.”

Distinct manages Aspirin’s website support and email hosting, as well as, Google services (including Cloud platform).

“It’s working out great with Distinct. I pass on my technology needs and the support is there. This frees me and allows me to focus on my drivers and grow the business.More drivers are finding us. Customers find our site too through Google even though it’s not geared towards them.”

Not only has Distinct shaped better business tools for Aspirin, Mike Perlut allows the advisors to help shape his future too.

“I intend to keep growing with Distinct. They’ve advised us to deepen our marketing with Geolocations which will help us find more drivers. That is on our list of projects. We’ll get there.”

Reload Transportation also experienced positive marketing results since working with Distinct’s personal advisors and Aguirre tells others – including the competition!

“I tell other transportation professionals, small business owners, nonprofits, anyone about the work done by Distinct. I trust them. They respect proprietary information, so I have no problem telling anyone about results they’ll deliver.”

Like Aspirin, Reload received a new look with a fresh logo. The new look didn’t only please Aguirre (Reload), drivers and even non-industry people responded well to it. “Distinct recommended we explore merchandising the new logo. It worked. All sorts of people wear my company name on their hats and shirts. I love it. They’re walking around advertising for me.”

The biggest result for Reload was driver recruitment by digitizing their marketing. Once Distinct made improvements to the website and applied sound SEO, Aguirre (Reload) saw his monthly applications average from 1-5 to over 100. Every month!

“We saw a 10,000% increase in applications and nice increase in job offers. Instead of bringing on one new driver each month, we brought on 15.” With the leads and conversion rates Aguirre now sees, his goals of national expansion seem much more obtainable.

RECAP

The intramodal Transportation Industry requires a durable labor force able to commit to long hauls and extended schedules. Both Aspirin Transportation and Reload Transportation Services used print media and underperforming websites to attract truck owner – operators to their respective companies. Neither method increased their driver pool effectively.

Distinct advisors worked with both companies to update their brands – they redesigned logos – and introduced digital marketing tools -and healthy SEO strategies – that guaranteed wider reach among truck operators. The results have been spectacular.

Reload saw a 10,000 % increase in applications and high-end clients have initiated service calls with Aspirin attracted by their new look and site.

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