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Opinion: General Trends Don’t Tell the Whole Story

General trends are the worst. While they seem to tell you everything you need to know, they actually tell you very little.
But that’s counterintuitive, right? How can a general trend tell you nothing?

It’s simple. A trend tells you general information about larger populations and industries.

As a trucking industry professional, you don’t need to know about general trends. General trends will cause you to make very bad decisions. Instead, you need to know very specific information about very specific populations.
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Print media is an example of bad general trends.

Below you will find a graph from the Pew Research Center’s 2013 State of the News Media report. This graph shows growth in print media ad revenues until 2006. After that year, print has declined in ad revenues and is finally beginning to flatten out.
print ad revenues
The Pew Research Center does great work. However, this graph tells you a very skewed story. Actually it only sets a national narrative across a number of different print news media formats and industries.
For trucking industry professionals, here are a few graphs you should be looking at.

Fleet Owners




Company Drivers

These graphs represent fleet owners, owner-operators, and company drivers respectively. More importantly, these graphs tell you the story you need to hear.
Instead of seeing that print media is declining, these graphs show that print media is an important part of these audiences’ media usage. In two of the graphs, print event takes the top media slot. You would completely miss this information if you’re only looking at general trends. To reach these audiences, print is still an extremely valuable channel for your marketing campaigns.

If you are only seeing general trends, you could be making decisions that could have detrimental effects on your marketing or recruiting campaigns.

General trends are terrible. Instead of telling you specific information you can benefit from, you are seeing a small part of the story. Next time, instead of relying on general trends to inform your marketing or recruiting, next time look for research that can actually help you.