Women influence over 80% of the car buying world yet marketers spend only a small amount of time talking to them. So why is this a still a problem?
Something that never ceases to amaze me with marketers - even though they have the data and the statistics, they chose to ignore it. So I love the fact the The Australian Women’s Weekly, a well regarded magazine, has presented some interesting facts to the advertising industry.
Since 1933 The Australian Women's Weekly has been guiding, empowering, educating and entertaining women in all facets of life ranging from royal babies, to everyday heroes and recipes for the family.
They know women and their longevity in publishing proves it. They have stayed relevant and and present in a space that has seen many others fall.
As one would expect, been a specialist in women’s media, they have some rather impressive insights into this market and released jaw dropping findings into advertising to women.
After scanning over 20,000 advertisements from their magazines over the past 80 years they came up with some interesting statistics on the way women have been targeted (or not targeted in this case).
They point out (and this isn’t anything new) “women drive 70-80% of all consumer purchasing through a combination of their buying power and influence”. We have all heard this before, right?
However, it was shocking to read how poor the state of advertising has been in speaking directly to this target market. For example, even though in 2019 women make up a fair percentage of the workforce there are virtually no financial ads that target this market. In contrast, alcohol ads to women more than doubled once they were allowed in Australian pubs back in the early 1960s.
But it is this little chestnut from the research peaked my interest the most:
“Since the 1980s, car advertising to women has dropped 85%, even though women today influence over 80% of car purchases.” Media Week.
First Hand Blues
I experienced this statistic first hand just recently while in the market for a new car. I have a VW that I have loved for many years and wanted to add another one to our family. You know what they say about repeat purchasing? Its is easier (and cheaper) than getting new customers.
I was getting work done to my old car and spent a couple of days over the course of a month at the dealer in the service department.
After dropping off my car each time, I would check out all the new cars. I roamed around the new models. I would sit in them and a couple of times I threw all my kids into all the seat configurations to see how they would grow into it. I read all the specs on the windows and was an expert on fuel consumption. I picked up brochures. I even used the bathroom and asked for a bottle of water. I was stalking this place for sure.
So how many times did anyone actually approached me to offer the lines “can I help”? None. Zero. No one. Not a soul.
What about the number of times I was approached when I visited with my husband?
About 10 seconds!!!
Yes folks – you guessed it – having a male looking around the car yard obviously meant there was a deal to be made. “Can I help you” came fast!
Even though I did the majority of the talking with the dealer it was my husband they wanted to converse with. I am (not so) happy to report that in 2019 the statistic from the Women’s Weekly is true in regard to car sales. It’s very 1960s in there.
Now I am brand loyal. I still love my VW EVEN after their emissions scandal. I can’t recall any part of my life that I have been this brand loyal, so this little slice of market research was actually really soul destroying.
I felt cheated on and used.
I was naïve in thinking it wouldn’t turn out like that. Something I truly believed in, stood by and defended just kicked me in the guts. How’s that for gratitude?
For now, I just want my “Pretty Woman” moment; the scene in the movie where Julia Robert’s character walks back into a luxury Beverly Hills boutique where she was initially refused service due to the way she was dressed. After showing off all shopping bags she bought elsewhere she says to the staff “you work on commission, right? Big mistake, big mistake!!” I just need my Lamborghini to drive in to the VW dealer first for it to really give me gratitude!!
Automotive advertising in Australia rose by almost $47 million in the 2017 financial year as part of a record total ad market spend of $7.1 billion.
What is to learn about marketing to women?
So we moved on from VW and visited other dealers. The female dealer at Mazda was amazing and attentive. But I had my husband with me. She had the perfect opportunity to get our details and to book us in for a test drive but failed to follow through.
The Hyundai dealer was great and informative and directed many of his answers to me and not my husband, however asked for my details but never actually followed through. These are simple marketing techniques that can make the difference between a browser and a buyer.
According to Automotive Car Dealer Magazine, in 2017 there was a record $7.1 billion total ad market spend in Australia - an increase of $47 million! Car dealers are at the coalface of pushing through a deal and if there isn't an integrated marketing campaign it is money wasted.
Has the industry moved on and learnt anything? Do they actually use data to guide marketing strategy?
When will they learn the power of the purse? Women are earning the bucks and they have a hell of a lot of power in the decision making process? The proof is in black and white and we have an 80-year-old women’s magazine to thank for it.
Now stand up and take notice.
Click here for access to the full article and be prepared to be annoyed.