AskPatty.com's CEO urges dealerships to rethink their strategies for reaching the powerful female auto consumer market, and offers tips to gain their trust and, in turn, their business.
The advent of the internet has enabled women to find the resources and information they need to take charge of their own finances and buying decisions, and give voice to their needs and preferences. With this rising tide of the economic power of women, car dealerships and automotive retailers need to devote time, resources and budget to gain a larger share of this huge market.
By 2010, women are expected to control $1 trillion, or 60 percent of the country's wealth, according to research conducted by BusinessWeek and Gallup.
Women purchase more than 50 percent of all new cars, and in some brands up to 62 percent. They purchase 48 percent of all used cars and 40 percent of all new trucks.
The solo woman's market -- defined as never-married women, ages 25 to 44 -- will approach $200 billion in consumer purchases by 2006, according to Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com.
According to a recent study by BlogHer and Compass Partners, more than one-third (35%) of all women in the U.S. aged 18 to 75 participate in the blogosphere at least once a week. According to eMarketer, female usage of the internet in the U.S. has risen 12.4 per cent since 2000, compared with 3.2 per cent for males. In 2011, 109.7 million U.S. females are projected to be online, amounting to 51.9 per cent of the online population.
In a study released on the eve of the annual International Consumer Electronics Show, American mothers revealed some surprising technology habits, including the fact that moms of school-age kids use the Internet more than their children do. These moms report that they're on the Internet for three hours a day, while their children are logged on for two.
"Mothers, now more than ever, are using technology like video, blogs and wireless devices to multi-task through their busy days," says Maria Bailey, industry exert and author of the book, Mom 3.0: Marketing with Today's Mothers by Leveraging New Media & Technology. "2009 stands to produce a record number of tech-savvy mothers bridging devices together to create everyday solutions."
Digital Divas by the Numbers
• 22% shop online at least once a day
• 92% pass along information about deals or finds to others
• 171: average number of contacts in their e-mail or mobile lists
• 76% want to be part of a special or select panel
• 58% would toss a TV if they had to get rid of one digital device (only 11% would ditch their laptops)
• 51% are moms
Source: Mindshare/Ogilvy & Mather
Here are the basic steps and tools you will need in order to market effectively to women, gain their trust and, in turn, their business.
1. Integrate the message. Make sure the woman-friendly message is consistent across your brand, from the showroom to the service drive, your website and your internet sales department. Signal to women in your marketing and advertising you are thinking about them and their needs and are striving to win their business.
2. Polish the approach. Treat and picture women as capable and professional in your online marketing and advertising efforts. Our society recognizes many valid roles for women, but this isn't always reflected in ads-- seldom are women shown in work settings, business roles or positions of responsibility and authority. Use real women rather than the runway model as the benchmark for these graphic depictions of women. Girls and women in ads are often presented as beautiful, but these ads offer a very limited, narrow view of beauty.
3. Emphasize information. Having a blog that provides information about your dealership, employees, events, special offers tips and community activities will help women learn more about how who you are and how you can serve her needs.
4. Focus on relationships. Create relationships with your women customers by providing information and content on your websites and in your marketing programs designed specifically for women. Set up a two-way approach, answering her questions, speaking her language and listening to her needs. Provide content that interests women consumers-- car seat safety, crash test ratings, car care tips and so forth.
If 51 percent of car buyers are women and 85 percent of all vehicle purchases are influenced by women, what percent of your marketing and advertising budget are you willing to devote to attract, sell, retain and increase loyalty with this majority of the American auto buying market?
Jody DeVere and AskPatty.com are featured in the January 2009 issue of Oprah Winfrey's O Magazine and website and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org