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.
By targeting your online marketing efforts to women and recognizing and responding to the way that women buy, you can influence her decision to purchase. Women are 28 percent more likely to buy from a retailer that she knows is trained to address her specific needs (source: "How to Get Rich Selling Cars and Trucks to Women" authors Maddox/Smye).
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Emphasize information. Having a vehicle configurator on your dealer website or detailed information about your inventory is important. J.D. Power states in its recent Online Automotive Review that women are more likely to research for a vehicle purchase directly on the dealer website.
- 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 is president of Ask Patty.com, Inc. .