When I was an account supervisor on the Volvo Truck account, I flew out to Ogden, Utah where Volvo had a production facility.

I rode in a Class 8 Volvo TTES truck all the way back to Greensboro, North Carolina. At the time, this was Volvo’s most luxurious truck.

Over the course of my five-day trip, I had in-depth one-on-one interviews with truck drivers on the road, via CB radio, and while parked at truck stops. Ethnographic research at its best.

The cab of a heavy truck is the truck driver’s home for 11 out of 12 months of the year.

The brand of truck they drive, and how it looks, says as much about the driver as anything they do or say.

What I learned from those one-on-one interviews was used to refine Volvo’s marketing plan whereby we targeted the trucks to corporate buyers who were more concerned with the safety and productivity of their company drivers.

Owner operators saw Volvo as a “foreign” truck that they did not want to be seen driving. Owner operators preferred the chrome and glitz of Peterbilt, Kenworth and Western Star.

They didn’t want to drive Freightliner either; however, that was a function of old quality perceptions versus the fact it was “foreign” since it was owned by Mercedes.

The knowledge gained from those interviews led to much more relevant and targeted marketing communications that helped Volvo Truck gain share for three consecutive years for the first time in the brand’s history, with less than half of the marketing budget of the competition.





Tom Smith

Experienced marketing professional who has worked with more than 120 clients in 18 different vertical industries. ♦ Differentiate products and services by improving UX and delivering memorable CX to create an emotional connection to the brand. ♦ Obtain insights from analytics to solve business problems and drive revenue. ♦ Develop and implement marketing campaigns that double traffic and leads in three months. ♦ Certified Marketing Automation Professional ♦ Certified Voice of the Customer (VOC) Professional