Owner-operators are a surprising segment of the trucking industry. They have larger purchasing power than many marketers realize, and they can be a lucrative audience for the right company. However, it’s not an easy task to reach these small business owners.
Owner-operators range across the trucking industry, carrying a variety of hauls and working for both themselves and leasing onto fleets. Some even have more than one truck operating under their business authority. And each has different needs and equipment requirements.
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Putting together a plan to reach these valuable prospects can be quite complicated. You know there are different ways to get an ad in front of them, but are they actually seeing your message?
This raises another, more complicated question: should you focus on digital or rely on other, more traditional methods to get your message out. There is no simple answer. Digital can be an extremely effective and efficient marketing method, but you can’t overlook the power of print for this audience.
Print: The Ethos of the Owner-Operator
If you think print is fading away, you’re wrong. Print is still a strong medium for reaching niche audiences across many industries. This is especially true for older audiences, like the vast majority of owner-operators.
Our research shows print is still an important medium for owner-operators.
Print magazines are listed by owner-operators as their most frequently used source of information for trucking industry news. They average around 7.4 points on a scale of 1 to 10, about .6 points higher than fleet executives. The next closest source is email newsletters and radio/satellite radio, both coming in at around 2 points lower.
When you look a little deeper, you find even more surprising information. Our research has also shown that about 53% of owner-operators indicated they would choose print magazines as their sole source of trucking industry information.
By far, print is the most engaged medium for an owner-operator audience.
The Bottom Line
Owner-operators are adapting to new technologies, but slower than most audiences. Statistics show this audience is aging and still fully invested in more traditional methods of advertising.
If you’re going to reach owner-operators, you have to build marketing campaigns that match their media habits.
While millennials may be lowering the age of company drivers, they haven’t yet begun to fully transition into owner-operator roles. They’re on the right track, but we won’t see a drastic change in media usage habits for quite a while. Until then, reaching owner-operators requires an integrated approach.
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When owner-operators see your ad in a respected publication, they’re more likely to trust you later in the buying process.
Print can’t be overlooked as a medium for reaching owner-operators. You know how much they value print as a source for industry news, and you need your ads to be seen by these small business owners.