The Driver Shortage Is For Your Competition
Take the term Driver Shortage out of your vocabulary. It’s an excuse not to grow your fleet. There is a Driver Problem, but not a Driver Shortage. Think about it — when you filled up your tank, was there gas at the station or a line around the block? When you went to the grocery store, was there milk on the shelf or did you have to go to seven stores desperately scouring the refrigeration section? Did your kids get picked up in school bus this morning or were they left stranded again? Freight and people are moving - it’s not rotting at the docks and they’re getting where they need to go.
Despite market conditions, there will always be someone to deliver the next load. We recognize it’s hard getting harder out there:
- Unemployment is at 4.1%
- Average age of a truck driver is 52 years old
- Millennials aren’t interested in a driving career (yet)
These market forces are real and only make this journey more challenging. However, there are plenty of transportation companies who have ignored the “driver shortage” and doubled and tripled their fleets in the last five years. How? They have a unique and superior driver brand.
- Creating your Driver Personas
- Testing and refining the new pitch to make sure it stands out
- Turning it into compelling advertising
Stand Out In a Sea of Sameness
The good news is that transportation in general is horrendous at driver marketing, so you have a great opportunity to better than the average bear. Go look at the racks of cards recruiting drivers at the Pilot Flying J - of the dozens there, how many actually stand out? (Hint: 0)
Take a look at one of your ads and put a logo of your competitors on it. Cross out any of words that apply to both companies to see what’s actually unique about you.
A platitude is something anyone can say and they don’t need to prove it. You can’t prove you have the “best pay” or “great equipment”. It’s a subjective claim like the World’s Best Cup of Coffee sign in Elf. You need to create specific claims that someone other than Buddy the Elf believes.
Create Your Driver Personas
To create a unique message, you need to deeply understand your drivers. Don’t assume you already do. Create a persona for each job you offer (i.e. OTR, Regional, Local, Motorcoach, Paratransit). Use Stay and Exit Interviews to dive into each persona’s background, goals, and challenges. Your pitch to each persona hits them at their core, demonstrating that you understand their pain and have a solution to help them achieve their career goals. Need a template for your personas? Download our Driver Personas template here.
How to Get Specific
After going through the persona exercise, write down three reasons why a driver would join and stay with your company. Write each reason on a Post-It note to keep it concise (one Post-It per reason). Then study your top 5 competitor’s job ads and career page to document their three claims. Put the Post-It notes on the wall to visually display which of your claims is different from the competition. Remove any of your Post-It’s that could apply to the competition or refine them to be more specific so one else can claim it. Repeat the exercise for each driver persona.
The Advertising Equation
Regardless of the media you choose (social, jobs boards, Craigslist), we follow a simple equation:
- Call to Action
Interrupt is our hook or most powerful Post It note from above. Our ad is one of hundreds of images a driver is going to see on Facebook that evening. A quick swipe up gets our ad out of his way. We’ve got .2 seconds to capture his attention. When we have them on the hook, we hit him with our #2 Post It to engage them further. Then we educate them with a simple description of the job. And finally a low risk call to action to request their contact info. Make it so easy to say I’m interested in only requires a one click from their left thumb on smartphone.