As you know, I closely followed Maria Shriver’s special report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything, on NBC this past week. Among other topics related to females, Shriver discussed how women’s purchasing power affects bottom line. Sounds like She-conomy, right?
Jody DeVere, who I met on Twitter and got to know even better at the 2009 Marketing to Women Conference in Chicago, created www.AskPatty.com, a safe environment for women to get automotive advice tailored to their needs. She’s been following California’s first lady too. In fact, Jody was invited to be on the panel of a live blogger podcast for the online launch of A Woman’s Nation. It’s a privilege to host her as a guest blogger.
Guest Blogger: Jody DeVere, CEO and President of AskPatty.com
As a She-Conomy reader, I’m sure you know that women control 85 percent of all brand purchase decisions. Believe it or not, that number holds true when it comes to cars.
Women influence more than 85 percent of all automotive sales in U.S. households.
Beyond the initial purchase of a vehicle, women comprise 50-65 percent of the customer base at service centers and buy 60 percent of all passenger tires. According to the Yankelovich Monitor, even though females are the majority of the market, 74 percent say they feel misunderstood by automotive marketers.
Bottom line: women say the experience of visiting an automotive retailer is akin to having a tooth pulled. I’m convinced this is a result of the disproportionately low number of females who work in the auto industry.
For example, the promotion of Susan Docherty to General Motors’ top U.S. sales position last week marks the first time a woman has held that position in the automaker’s 101-year history. Docherty’s promotion means she will become the first and only woman on CEO Fritz Henderson’s newly formed nine-person executive committee. Susan is now the highest ranked woman working at an automaker. Congratulations, Susan! (It’s about time, GM!)
Although this is a reason to celebrate, Susan is only one of the 13 percent of women top executives in the auto industry. That statistic stands in staunch contrast to findings on overall employment listed in the Shriver report. “For the first time in our history, half of all U.S. workers are women. Mothers are the primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of American families,” it states. So why are there so few females in leadership positions?
Unfortunately, in the past five years I have witnessed several top automaker executive women leave for non-automotive industries.
To combat their low representation, women’s automotive associations and organizations have sprung up or grown tremendously. Scholarships to fund programs for women seeking automotive careers in various roles are growing. Still, less than 1 percent of all National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence certified technicians are women. In new car dealerships, women are about 20 percent of the overall employee count and only 7 percent are working in front-line management, sales or service advisor positions. Less than 7 percent of new car dealerships are woman-owned and operated.
Automotive retailers frequently ask me how they can find and hire more women.
They tell me women just aren’t applying for the positions and they want to hire more females. The answer is simple. It starts with creating a culture where women customers and potential employees feel safe and comfortable. Offering not only full time employment but flexible work place policies such as part time, work-at-home, team selling, job sharing for everyone not just women will increase your odds of hiring more women. After all, work/life balance is an issue for everyone.
To become an “Auto Industry Women’s Nation,” the high percentage of men at the helm need to grasp that women consumers hold the automotive purse strings. They need to work to create a culture that embraces female employees, create an environment where women feel comfortable spending their dollars and reach them with advertising campaigns that are “spot on.”
I strongly recommend automotive retailers address their female audience or lose market share to competitors who are speaking to the rapidly changing landscape and purchasing power of women. ~ Jody DeVere
Thank you so much Jody for your helpful insight into these automotive related issues. And just to recap, I have highlighted several of the significant statistics below.
Female purchasers in the car industry:
- Women influence more than 85 percent of all automotive sales in U.S. households
- Women comprise 50-65 percent of the customer base at service centers
- Women buy 60 percent of all passenger tires
- 74 percent of women say they feel misunderstood by automotive marketers
- For the first time in history, half of all U.S. workers are women
- Only 13 percent of top executives in the auto industry are women
- Less than 1 percent of all National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence certified technicians are women
- In new car dealerships, women account for about 20 percent of the overall employee count
- Only 7 percent of those working in front-line management, sales or service advisor positions are women
- Less than 7 percent of new car dealerships are woman-owned and operated
Data Sources: •M2W Fast Facts: http://m2w.biz/fast_facts.php •Road & Travel Female Buyer Study: http://www.roadandtravel.com/company/marketing/femaledemo.html •National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence http://www.ase.com/ •National Automobile Dealers Association http://www.nada.org/Publications/NADADATA/ •National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence http://www.ase.com/ •Tire Review Magazine http://tirereview.com/ •Forbes Auto ‘Most Influential Women in the Auto Industry’ http://www.askpatty.com/page.php?ID=1701Title=AskPatty