Auto Dealer Marketing and Women: Catering to the Female Demographic

By: Felicia Savage

We hate to break it to you, but most customers would rather not set foot on your car lot. It’s nothing personal, though. Today’s consumers want to do whatever they can do online to expedite the process of buying a car. For example, an Autotrader survey of 4,002 consumers found 72 percent wanted to complete their financing paperwork and credit application online.


Your marketing needs to take into consideration the evolving needs of modern consumers. And not only do you need to understand what they want, you need to know who they are. Traditionally, automotive marketing campaigns have been focused on a male car buyer, but women are increasingly the ones making purchasing decisions on car lots.


Unfortunately, there are many dealerships out there that have been relatively slow to address the needs of female consumers. Although men and women hold a lot of the same jobs and do a lot of the same things, there are just certain activities that women do more often — therefore, their needs aren’t necessarily the same as those in the male demographic.


If you’re trying to figure out your 2017 marketing budget, you may want to devote a portion of that to campaigns designed specifically for female demographics.


Female Purchasing Power

According to CNW Marketing Research, in 2010, women accounted for 44.1 percent of primary vehicle buyers. By early 2016, 68 percent of all new vehicle buyers were women. So, the value of marketing to female consumers is obvious. However, making the wrong assumptions about what female consumers want could actually hamper your marketing efforts.


By early 2016, 68 percent of all new vehicle buyers were women.


United States Census data shows that in 2014, 47.6 percent of women aged 15 to 44 had no children. So you might want to avoid a marketing campaign based on the concept of a doting stay–at-home mom who needs a car solely for getting groceries and carting kids around.


CNW reported that three-fourths of women feel misunderstood by carmakers. If you’ve never conducted a focus group, this is the perfect time to do so – ask women what they look for when car shopping. Don’t assume you know what they want.


What the Research Says

Women under age 35 are more impressed by fuel economy than a flashy exterior, according to Slate magazine. A marketing consultant told Slate that women do extensive research before ever visiting a car lot, so by the time you meet them, they already have a pretty clear idea of what they want.


When they ask you to explain subtle differences between cars on your lot, that doesn’t mean they’re buying based solely on superficial qualities – they’re just trying to decide between equally appealing choices.


When they visit a dealership, women want salespeople to treat them respectfully. But that’s not the experience many women have. They feel talked down to, and as if a salesperson thinks women know nothing about cars.


One obvious way to make women feel more welcome? Hire female sales professionals. Or, in your advertising, include images of women driving and car-shopping at our dealership.