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Marketing to women can yield great sales potential

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CHICAGO—Staggering numbers outline that women are a strong purchasing presence in the automotive sector, but most women still feel their voices are not heard.

According to a 2010 report in Forbes magazine, women continue to have poor experiences when trying to buy a car despite the fact they buy more than half the new cars in the U.S. and influence up to 80 percent of all car purchases.

This dichotomy stretches into the automotive aftermarket where women also request 65 percent of the service work at dealerships and independent repair shops and spend more than $200 billion on new cars and mechanical servicing of vehicles each year.

“Women are economic opportunity number one,” said Nan McCann, president of PME Enterprises L.L.C. and co-founder of Marketing 2 Women (M2W) conferences. “They can be your biggest advocates for growing your business.”

It's not that men communicate poorly or less than women, Ms. McCann explained to Tire Business. They just communicate differently. The key is trying to figure out how to make your business attractive to the busy woman. There are different ways—one is to reach her online or socially. Another route could be storytelling, a popular trend that is coming back, she said.

“Women love to be able to talk about their experiences—good and bad,” she added.

Women like to speak with others about their purchasing experiences. They like to share good deals or bad service, she said. If there is something she really likes, the female customer will recommend it to her friends.

“She becomes a megaphone for your business,” Ms. McCann said. “This is a powerful (voice) of advocacy to harness.”

Ms. McCann explained that throughout the M2W conferences, she has seen the automotive sector presence growing year after year.

“People want to learn not just how to market to women, but how to sell to women,” she said.

Understanding the differences between men and women is important to marketing to them. Ms. McCann said that for a woman, a business is not just selling a product but selling an experience. Educating them is important. Today's woman is expanding her roles in the home and in the workplace. Women's leadership is growing, not diminishing.

Ms. McCann said crafting out-of-the-box partnerships and marketing campaigns can help with business. For instance, the goal of the M2-Moms conference, Oct. 22-24, is to speak on the expansive nature of this segment. She noted that “Back to School” is the second most important shopping event of the entire marketing year.

“Is there a place for tires in that?” Ms. McCann asked rhetorically. Yes, she said, because with taking the kids back and forth, especially with carpooling situations, everything must be up to par on the car.

“The car better be safe because she's not only taking her kids, but the kids of other families,” Ms. McCann continued.

She used this example while speaking with Tire Business to showcase that those types of marketing campaigns by a service shop, for instance, can trigger positive thoughts for women. If she is driving down the street and sees a “Back to School” special for an oil change or tire repair, she can start to associate that time of year with a shop.

She would then tell the other moms in the carpool about a shop's special offers and possibly encourage them to also take advantage of them. Those types of marketing geared toward women could make today's potential female customers understand a business cares about her priorities—which could be very beneficial for that business, she said.



To reach this reporter: jkarpus@crain.com; 330-865-6143.
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