Elaborated Business Model of DHL | IIDE

Updated on: Sep 22, 2021

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DHL is currently the largest logistics company in the world. It is also the world’s only courier company that delivers to sanctioned nations like North Korea. It delivers over 1.5 billion parcels in a year. It has one of the best business models in the industry which helps it stand out in the market. Thus this makes us keen to know the business model of DHL.

In this blog, we have discussed the business model and other related factors for its success.

Before we start with its business model let us first know about DHL as a company.

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About DHL

  DHL Logo | Business Model of DHL | IIDE

DHL’s journey from its inception in San Francisco to its global prominence today is a testament to its innovative approach in the world of international courier and package delivery. Founded in 1969 by Adrian Delsey, Larry Hillblom, and Robert Lynn, DHL initially focused on offshore and intercontinental deliveries, carving a niche in the logistics landscape. However, it was the success of FedEx that was the reason behind DHL’s expansion into the intra-US market in 1983.

As a division of the German logistics giant, Dutch Post, DHL’s reach spans across borders, serving numerous countries, including Iraq, Afghanistan, and Myanmar. However, there are strict Limitations for delivery in North Korea, as the country does not have friendly relations with the West.

Apart from these, DHL also stands out for its people-first approach. The company’s commitment to its workforce shines through in its employee-centric practices, such as incentives, bonuses, and frequent holidays. What makes DHL’s operations even more astounding is its vast workforce, comprising over 350,000 dedicated employees. This diverse team is the backbone of DHL’s ability to provide tailor-made solutions for virtually any logistical need you can imagine.

Whether you’re shipping packages across continents or seeking efficient supply chain solutions, DHL’s comprehensive range of services has got you covered. From express deliveries to freight forwarding and even specialized logistics for unique industries, DHL continues to shape the world of global logistics.

DHL Truck | Business Model of DHL | IIDE

Recent News about FedEx 

  • DHL’s recent ad showcases how they’re keeping up with the changing e-commerce landscape. Their focus on smooth logistics and adaptability shows they’re on top of the game.
  • By getting into the cricket fever during IPL, DHL made smart moves to connect with fans. Through fun contests on its social media platforms, DHL is amplifying its brand presence.
  • DHL just got playful with their recent Instagram game. By tying it to their speedy delivery theme, they are engaging users in a playful package-catching experience.

Let us now see the business model of DHL.

Business Model of DHL 

DHL’s business model revolves around providing international shipping and courier services. From delivering small parcels to managing complex supply chains, DHL offers a wide range of services. What sets it apart is how it seamlessly combines air, sea, and land transportation while also ensuring that packages are delivered efficiently.  

DHL operates in over 220 countries and territories which helps it in efficient cross-border shipping. It caters to both B2B and B2C markets, ensuring that businesses and individual customers receive timely and reliable services. Additionally, DHL invests heavily in technology and sustainability, focusing on digital transformation and eco-friendly practices to enhance operational efficiency and reduce environmental impact, positioning them as a forward-thinking player in the logistics industry.

Services of DHL

DHL offers a variety of services tailored to meet different shipping needs of different individuals. Their Customs services simplify the complex process of clearing goods at borders, making international shipping easier. On the other hand, if you’re looking to send packages across borders quickly, DHL’s Express Import and Export services are a great way to go. 

For time-sensitive shipments, they offer the Same-Day Delivery service that is available 24/7, 365 days a year. They also offer unique services like Durian Express for flexible shipping of perishables such as greengroceries and supermarket items. 

Apart from these, DHL also offers a Medical Express service that ensures careful handling of sensitive items like medical equipment. It is especially valuable for healthcare providers and laboratories, guaranteeing that critical medical supplies reach their destination safely and promptly. With these diverse options, DHL effectively caters to a wide range of logistical requirements, solidifying its reputation as a versatile and reliable shipping partner.

Target Audience of DHL

DHL caters to a wide and diverse target audience. Primarily, their services are aimed at businesses of all sizes, from small local enterprises to large multinational corporations. These businesses often require reliable and efficient shipping and logistics solutions for domestic and international markets. 

DHL also offers its services to companies involved in e-commerce, manufacturing, technology, and healthcare sectors, where timely and secure delivery of goods is critical. The company’s extensive global network and expertise in customs and trade regulations make it a preferred choice for firms engaged in cross-border trade.

Let’s have a look at the buyer’s persona of DHL given below:

Buyer’s Persona

Name:

Rahul Jaiswal

Place:

Kolkata

Age:

34 years

Profession:

Supply Chain Manager

Motivation

  • Enhance supply chain efficiency
  • Reduce shipping-related costs
  • Maintain strong business partnerships

Interest & Hobbies

  • Traveling 
  • Reading and Researching 
  • Networking and Attending Industry Events 
  • Technology and Gadgets

Pain Points

  • Customs clearance delays
  • Tracking and visibility issues
  • Unexpected shipping costs

Social Media Presence

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter / X
  • YouTube

Business Strategy of DHL

DHL initially started by providing services for the people who have to wait at the port for their parcel to arrive to fill the documentation. It was so that the longer you stayed at the port the more charges you had to pay, so DHL came up with the idea that it brought the documents of the parcel before the ship arrived by air and prepared all the documents beforehand and keep them ready. They made a huge success in it and then targeted large companies for their setups in new places with cheap delivery of items.

Today DHL has crafted a smart business strategy that taps into what today’s global market demands. They’re all about growing their international reach and making sure their customers get top-notch service. They are also focusing on sustainability, aiming to reduce emissions and implement eco-friendly practices.

On the marketing side, DHL is taking a multi-channel approach. They are engaging with customers on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. They are also using search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) to increase their online visibility. Additionally, DHL uses email and content marketing to keep customers updated on industry news and company developments. These digital strategies help DHL strengthen its brand and reach a broader audience.

Let’s look at some of the most prominent digital marketing strategies used by DHL in recent years.

Digital Marketing Strategies Used by DHL in Recent Years

‘Keep Up With the Clicks’ by 180 Amsterdam

In response to the rapid surge in e-commerce, especially due to the COVID-19 era, DHL launched its campaign “Keep Up With the Clicks.” It was created by 180 Amsterdam with an aim to show how DHL stayed adaptable as the world of e-commerce changed dramatically in just a few months.

Voiced by Tom Hollander, this ad takes us on a journey from the early days of online shopping in the mid-90s to the slick and flexible delivery systems we enjoy today. The ad was all about showcasing how DHL helps businesses handle the speedy growth of online shopping.

Here are some key goals behind this campaign:

  • Highlight DHL’s Adaptability in E-Commerce
  • Demonstrate Seamless Logistics Efficiency
  • Reflect Rapid Digitalization and Growth in E-Commerce
  • Showcase DHL’s Role as a Logistics Expert
  • Connect with E-Tailers and Consumers
  • Enhance Brand Image and Trust

All in all, this campaign was DHL’s way of saying, “We’re right there with you in this fast-changing digital world.” It underlined the importance of reliable delivery for both online sellers and buyers when everything about shopping and shipping is changing so quickly.

DHL Match Ke Star

During every IPL season, DHL Express India releases many engaging campaigns as a part of their campaign mix. These campaigns revolve around the idea of bringing cricket stars closer to the fans. They are specifically tailored to the Indian market and focus on leveraging the immense popularity of cricket in the country. 

One of these prominent campaigns is #DHL Match Ke Stars. It is a contest where participants were invited to predict the top three performers from the Mumbai Indians (MI) cricket team. The contest is primarily hosted on online platforms such as Facebook and Instagram which allows easy access for a wide audience.

Business Model of DHL - DHL Match Ke Stars Contest.pngw3.webp

Source: DHL India’s official Instagram channel

Impact of this Campaign:

Fan Engagement: This contest creates a direct connection between the fans and the game, making the DHL brand a part of their match experience.

Brand Visibility: Aligning with a popular team like the Mumbai Indians helps DHL gain significant visibility among the cricket-watching audience. It also helps them in gaining lots of followers on their social platforms during each IPL season.

Data Collection: This initiative also provides DHL with valuable data on customer preferences and behaviors, useful for future marketing strategies.

Overall, this #DHL Match Ke Star is a great campaign by DHL Express India. It not only increases the brand’s visibility among cricket fans but also creates a sense of community and excitement around the IPL season. By integrating itself with the popular sport of cricket in India, DHL successfully enhances its customer engagement and reinforces its image as a reliable and swift delivery service.

DHL Catch The Deliveries

DHL Catch The Deliveries is another innovative and engaging marketing campaign by DHL Express India, which took advantage of the growing popularity of AI filters on Instagram stories. 

The game was designed around the theme of catching deliveries (cricket ball) which mirrors DHL’s core business of logistics and package delivery. The rule of the game is to catch as many packages as possible within a set amount of time which also reflects the efficiency and speed of DHL’s delivery services. 

Players with high scores were also eligible to win e-vouchers worth INR 5,000. This added a competitive element to the game, encouraging repeated plays and engagement.

All in all, DHL Catch The Deliveries is not just a game but a smart blend of technology, marketing, and user engagement. It cleverly integrated the core theme of DHL in its gameplay which is delivery and speed.

Click here to experience this unique AR game for yourself.

Key Takeaways for Marketers: Learning from DHL’s Recent Digital Marketing Campaigns

Adaptability in E-commerce: DHL’s “Keep Up With the Clicks” campaign showcased the brand’s adaptability during the rapid growth of e-commerce. Marketers should emphasize adaptability and flexibility in their strategies to resonate with the evolving landscape of online commerce.

Utilizing Popular Events for Targeted Campaigns: DHL’s #DHL Match Ke Stars campaign during the IPL season illustrates the effectiveness of tailoring campaigns to specific cultural or regional events. Marketers can leverage popular events to enhance brand visibility, engage with the audience, and create a sense of community.

Tailored Regional Campaigns: DHL’s localized campaigns during IPL seasons targeted the cricket-loving audience in India. Marketers should consider tailoring campaigns to regional preferences and leveraging popular local events or trends for increased engagement.

Utilizing Interactive Tools: DHL’s “Catch The Deliveries” game on Instagram utilized an AI filter, engaging users with a fun yet relevant experience. Marketers should explore interactive tools and technologies to create engaging content that reflects their brand’s core values or services.

Data Collection for Future Strategies: These campaigns provided DHL with valuable customer data. Marketers should capitalize on such initiatives not only for engagement but also for gathering insights into consumer preferences which can help them in future marketing strategies.

Top 5 Competitors of DHL

FedEx:

Founded in 1971, FedEx has made a significant mark in the express transportation field. Its strong air fleet and efficient tracking system give it an edge in fast deliveries, especially in the United States. If you want to learn more about FedEx, check out our comprehensive case study on the Business Model of FedEx.

United Parcel Service (UPS):

United Parcel Service (UPS) offers a range of logistics services including transportation, warehousing, and distribution, to optimize businesses’ supply chain operations. Leveraging advanced technologies and a global network, UPS provides efficient, reliable, and customized solutions that enhance visibility and streamline the flow of goods for businesses worldwide. Their expertise helps businesses meet customer demands, reduce costs, and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.

Amazon Logistics:

With its e-commerce platform driving the need for efficient and reliable delivery services, Amazon Logistics has emerged as a major competitor of DHL. Amazon’s control over its supply chain and its emphasis on customer experience such as rapid delivery options sets it apart from traditional logistics companies like DHL. To learn more about how it competes with other logistic brands like DHL and FedEx, check our detailed guide on the Business Model of Amazon.

USPS (United States Postal Service):

While not a direct competitor in the same sense as private courier services, USPS competes with FedEx in various segments, especially in domestic mail and package delivery. With the help of its vast infrastructure across the United States, USPS offers more economical shipping options, especially for small and lightweight packages.

DB Schenker: DB Schenker is a global logistics and transportation company offering a wide range of supply chain solutions. With a vast network and expertise in freight forwarding, warehousing, and distribution, DB Schenker provides efficient and reliable logistics services to businesses worldwide. Their focus on innovation and customer-centric approach makes them a trusted partner for optimizing supply chain operations.

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Conclusion

In the analysis of the Business model and other related factors that help DHL improve in their business, we know that DHL has the best business model in the industry.

It started by just helping the people save their time and money on the port by bringing the related documents by air and doing all the related work before the shipment arrives and charging them for their services.

Now they have developed and have been collaborating with companies to set up their businesses by transporting all their required assets to the destination in one contract.

From the marketing mix of DHL, we have seen that it provides many services to its customers and charges differently for every different service. 

They provide the customers with ease in transportation with their well-distributed branches all over the world and they promote their services using different channels and by sponsoring different events.

Wasn’t it interesting to know the Business model of DHL? Learn how to grow your business using digital marketing, check out our website for more information.

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Aditya Shastri

Lead Trainer & Head of Learning & Development at IIDE

Leads the Learning & Development segment at IIDE. He is a Content Marketing Expert and has trained 6000+ students and working professionals on various topics of Digital Marketing. He has been a guest speaker at prominent colleges in India including IIMs......[Read full bio]

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