It appears there may finally be some light at the end of the tunnel! Restrictions are being eased in states that meet guidelines set forth by the White House and CDC and it appears that we may actually be on our way to recovery, or at the very least reopening and beginning the process.
That’s why I want to make the case that now, as in right now, is exactly the time you need to double down and do what you can to reach drivers and establish a relationship with them. Even if you’re not actively seeking drivers at the moment, you can’t afford to fall off the map completely!
Trucking Should Learn from Lessons of the Past
Recessions aren’t a new thing. Businesses have had to grapple with the reality of shrinking revenue in tough times ever since commerce began. Conventional wisdom would seem to indicate that when you generate less revenue, you trim the fat and cut spending wherever possible. And to some extent that is true. You obviously can’t sustain a business if you routinely spend more than you take in (unless you’re the federal government of course, but I digress).
What you may find surprising, however, is that your marketing budget should NOT be one of the areas you reduce spending in. I know that sounds counterintuitive, especially when much of the marketing budget for those of you reading this, is earmarked specifically to reach drivers who you may not even need at the moment. But hear me out.
Not Cut Spending? TACO Bout Crazy!
Back in the early ’90s, the United States was experiencing another recession. The dominant fast-food chain, a little place you may have heard of, McDonald’s, decided to reduce marketing spend during the downturn. The competition meanwhile, more specifically Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, took the opposite approach. They actually increased spending to try and make up ground on the fry juggernaut. And it worked! When it was all said and done Taco Bell increased sales by 40% and Pizza Hut grew their sales by a staggering 61% How did McDonald’s fare after playing it safe and cutting marketing? They saw sales drop by 28%. Ouch.
That’s not the only time we’ve seen this idea of maintaining or increasing marketing and promotion during lean times lead to success. Toyota managed to become the top-selling imported automobile in the 1970s by refusing to cut promotional costs during yet another recession. Amazon grew by nearly 30% during the Great Recession, and even back in the Great Depression itself, Kellogg’s overtook their rival Post, becoming the leading cereal manufacturer in the process, by DOUBLING it’s advertising spend.
What Does This Mean for Driver Recruiting?
Growing sales with advertising during rough times is one thing, but the same idea could apply to driver recruiting. Why were all of those companies able to grow their market shares and sales? When everyone else decided to try and wait it out before spending, companies like Toyota, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Kellogg’s decided staying top of mind was more important.
These companies were able to position themselves as the go-to brand because they never let the public forget who they were. That’s the most crucial aspect to consider when we talk about this in relation to driver recruiting.
Times may be lean now, but eventually, freight will rebound, fleets will once again be competing for drivers, and drivers will be looking for jobs. That’s why what you do right now is so important.
The Overdrive and Truckers News Connectivity reports illustrate just how important staying in front of drivers could be for your recruiting. 29% of Overdrive respondents (owner-operators) and 56% of Truckers News respondents (company drivers) resort to internet searches to find a new driving job.
When drivers do begin searching for jobs, which fleet will they be more likely to pursue? One that remained current and active with driver outreach? Or one that went radio silent during daunting times?
Even if you aren’t actively seeking drivers now, you need to make sure that when you’re ready to hire again, drivers know who you are, what you’re about, and are ready to talk with you. You must do all you can to stand out and stay top of mind.
One way to keep driver eyes on your fleet is through content marketing. Put out content that drivers find interesting and informative. That could be in the form of newsletters, articles, or even video content created by your current drivers. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated. If you’re not sure how to get started, let us know. Our team here at Randall-Reilly can help you figure out the best path forward for your fleet.
Another option is to really focus on your fleet’s branding and how it is perceived. Use social media to build up your brand and connect with current or potential future drivers. Both content marketing and branding outreach can help you accomplish the same goal: getting driver eyeballs on your messaging and make sure they know exactly who you are and what you stand for.
The whole idea is to connect with prospective drivers now so that when your fleet is ready to kick things back into high gear you have a pool of primed prospective drivers and leads.
Stay top of mind and provide drivers with content they want and like, and firmly establish a brand identity; while at the same time giving your fleet a huge advantage over any fleets who choose to drastically cut spend during this time. Learn from the past and take this opportunity to set yourself up for the future. Invest in your fleet, grow driver relationships, and see your recruiting prosper when we put the coronavirus behind us.