Enterprise Shipping Decision Makers: Psychographics

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Enterprise Shipping Decision Makers: Psychographics / Media

Despite the diversity of job titles connected to the role of decision maker for shipping within enterprise-level companies, we have gleaned several important details for the psychographic profile of the "average" decision maker: He is most likely a white male in his 40s with 15 years of experience in shipping and/or logistics; however, it is unlikely that he began his career intending to enter that role. He is likely to be active on social media, especially Facebook, though more interested in news and keeping up with family rather than self-promotion. Moreover, he is very likely to consume more traditional than social media, particularly traditional television, newspapers, and radio. He will be independent and hard-working (and expect the same of those under him), and likely include "diversity, self-reliance, practicality, informality, work/life balance, flexibility, and technology," among his core values.
Below is a deep dive into our findings.


In developing a psychographic profile, it is important to first pin down how a particular role is categorized, which job title or titles best describes it, in order to locate information about those engaged in the profession. It turns out that there is some confusion in this area, as different industries and different companies use different titles. Some refer to the field of shipping as logistics while other refer to supply chain management, and there is an ongoing discussion about to what degree (or even if) these job titles indicate different roles. For our purposes, we will side with those who see a high degree of overlap in order to get the most complete picture possible.


Only about a quarter of those working in transportation and warehousing are women and only a third are people of color, so our decision maker is most likely a white male. He will be an average of 48 years old (a Gen Xer) and have at least a bachelor's degree, but is surprisingly unlikely (only 19%) to have a degree in logistics or supply chain management. This is because while other career paths have defined maps for success, "in supply chain management - as with mountaineering - there are any number of paths that can reach the summit." This means that our typical shipping decision maker may have spent as much as 88% of his career in 4-5 positions outside of the supply chain domain across three different companies. "He (or in some cases, she) is a life-long learner who is engaged in advancing his career and the profession." He is most likely affluent, making about $150,000 per year.

While that describes our "typical" shipping decision-maker, diversity initiatives mean that this is no longer a given. Even so, lacking other criterion, we will continue to assume that the shipping decision maker is a white male of Generation X as we build our profile.

With an average of 15 years experience, he is likely knowledgeable in his field. A successful and experienced shipping decision-maker is in an advantageous position in the job market, as companies are currently trying to hire "highly experienced specialists and managers from the competition--and even from other industries."


As a member of Generation X, he's not as prone to thinking about his own uniqueness as a Millennial in the same position--and for that matter, is unlikely (41%) to even think of himself as a Gen Xer. Despite the myth to the contrary, he is every bit as tech-savvy as the Millennials who work for him. He's likely to be active on social media, spending seven hours a week there, especially Facebook (81%), which he uses mostly for "keeping up with the news and his kids rather than for self-promotion." He is only 40% likely to use Instagram, 33% likely to use LinkedIn, and 27% likely to use Twitter.

Our typical shipping decision maker will spend 32 hours a week consuming traditional media, particularly traditional television (85%), reading newspapers (62%), and listening to the radio (48%). In terms of what he's watching, his top three categories are likely entertainment, healthy living, and world news, in that order. Despite a thorough search of entertainment media and marketing reports, we could not determine the most likely shows or even genres for our typical shipping decision maker, however. Our sense from the existing data is that the well-noted independence of Gen X results in a great diversity in their interests and entertainment choices, and the fact that shipping decision makers come from equally diverse professional backgrounds does not narrow down their viewing habits.


Being of the latchkey kid generation of rising divorce rates, he is individualistic as well as "independent, resourceful, and self-sufficient," and dislikes micromanagement of either his time or his efforts. He has a "work hard/play hard" mentality and as a manager, often incorporates "humor and games into work activities." While he isn't inclined to building workplace friendships, he's likely to mentor those under him but does so in a way to encourage their own independence, preferring to leave them alone to get the job done. This "can be a challenge for their millennial counterparts and direct reports who often crave more feedback and interaction."

Finally, he is very likely to use a third-party logistics (3PL) firm for shipping; if so, he most likely (91%) considers the relationship to be successful. His most important concern is the cost of shipping, and is willing to change any part of the supply chain to lower costs and improve services.


He saw the incredible proliferation of technology from the first commercially available video games to personal computers to the modern internet, the fall of the Iron Curtain, and both Gulf Wars. The uncertainty of his times has made him adaptable, but skeptical. His core values will likely include "diversity, self-reliance, practicality, informality, work/life balance, flexibility, and technology," and his performance will suffer in situations where his values are ignored. He is likely frustrated that brands routinely ignore his generation, especially given his likely affluence.
Note that we considered fleshing out our psychographic profile with specific examples, case studies, if you will, taken from LinkedIn and other social media. However, the aforementioned diversity in job titles made it difficult-to-impossible to identify the decision makers within any one company, and the nearly 550,000 results found when we looked for people involved in shipping in general made gleaning details from the profiles unfeasible within the space of a single Wonder request.


By its very nature, a psychographic profile is dependent on many factors beyond one's job and likely age, sex, and race. Which part of the country our prospective decision maker hails from and which part of the country his work is in would have a huge impact on his profile, for example. Even so, just knowing his job and likely age and experience, we find a number of distinct habits in both lifestyle and professional style which are likely for a shipping decision maker in an enterprise-level company, though diversity initiatives mean that this profile must be used cautiously.


  • "When the question was posed in an Inbound Logistics article, the answers varied based on the functions of a supply chain (or logistics) professional handled. Some thoughts from their readers: “There isn’t a difference today,” said Wayne Johnson of American Gypsum. “Supply chain management incorporates the field of logistics and logistics is a number of sub-processes within SCM,” said Michael Kirby of National Distribution Centers. “A ‘supply chain management’ company is generally a third-party operator managing the total overall movement of product whether inbound or outbound,” said William Behrens of Associated Transport Systems, Inc."