How to Master Automotive Digital Marketing to Women
Women spend more time researching vehicles than men, and approach high-consideration purchases with more caution
The number of women in market to buy a car has been on a consistent and steady rise. Women are very often the top influencer or key decision-maker in a household, so understanding their priority set is the key point of entry for automotive marketers.
In fact, according to CDK Global and Kelley Blue Book research, women influence or directly make 85% of all automotive buying decisions—but 91% of them say that brands don’t understand their needs.
Automotive marketers now have the tools to change that. With the proven brand targeting, marketing methodology, and data-driven options available, it’s time to take full advantage of the opportunity at hand.
Women shop differently
Marketing to women starts by understanding that women shop differently than men. For example, a marketer should consider that women are more skeptical of ads, and take a longer amount of time to build up brand trust.
Once brand trust is built, however, women are more likely to be brand-loyal than men, and more likely to become brand evangelists—particularly on social media. That’s why nurturing the consumer journey with one-to-one communication is key.
Crafting a buying experience to a woman’s needs—and delivering the appropriate message across channels at the key time—is essential to winning women’s market share and maintaining brand loyalty.
Today’s marketing tactics, when executed well, are more thoughtful and proactive in engaging women throughout the buying process than those of the past. Marketers can leverage data-driven insights to convert women to a lead and sale.
These carefully crafted messages fall short, however, when it comes time to buy and then the dealership experience is viewed as negative, especially by women. This creates fragmentation and a disruption in experience from the online to off-line world.
To solve that problem, manufacturers and dealers are deploying full online buying experiences and concierge test drive programs that alleviate the negative perceptions, and create a seamless purchase experience.
Let’s take a closer look at today’s digital options for marketing to women.
Although most automotive marketing has evolved into a more integrated approach, the marketing winners take it a few steps further. How?
First, they adopt a data-driven approach, using marketing technology to target, engage, and convert consumers. They understand that branding—even if it resonates emotionally with women—is not enough.
Women spend more time researching vehicles than men, and approach high-consideration purchases with more caution. On average, women take 75 days to make a car purchase, from initiation to completion of the sale.
This presents an opportunity to take time to nurture the buyer by creating awareness through higher-funnel channels and messaging.
Marketers can also drive consideration and conquesting tactics to win new sales from their competition. The stage can then be set to build a customer for life with loyalty programs.
In order to optimize your marketing to women, the capacity for measurement is your superpower. As you diversify your marketing mix and campaign across platforms to engage your best consumers, using multi-channel and attribution analytics to drive effectiveness and profitability is key.
Attribution can also be used to more wisely distribute your media spend based on where women are within the buying cycle—keeping in mind that women normally take longer than men to make a high-consideration purchase decision.
Clever uses of automation
Top automotive marketers simply use digital differently to win. They’ve gotten more clever with their digital campaigning. What do they know, and how do they act on it, that sets them apart?
What they’re doing is using automation to engage with women consumers at precise moments in the buying cycle with personalized messages. These message are based on the understanding that women spend more time researching and comparison-shopping a vehicle than men, and also value safety and fuel efficiency.
In other words, these top marketers are automating messages targeted toward women’s values.
And finally, loyalty
Women are more likely to remain brand-loyal than men once trust is won, which makes it even more important to maintain frequent, relevant communications with them after they purchase a vehicle.
That purchase is not the end of the customer life cycle, however, but rather the beginning of a new chapter. Follow-up opportunities can come in the form of geotargeted service offers, email updates on lease renewals, and more.
Ultimately, customer loyalty—and repeat purchases—should be the goal. Considering that women are more likely than men to become brand evangelists and advocates after a positive experience, it’s a safe bet for automotive marketers to deliver digital marketing to women based on the unique way they shop and buy.
Global director of strategic accounts with IgnitionOne, Rachel Pierson works closely with the marketing teams of major automotive manufacturers and their agencies to develop strategies and solutions to increase marketing performance. A graduate of Central Michigan University, Rachel has 14 years of automotive marketing and advertising experience. She currently resides in Detroit.