One huge, affluent segment wields more spending clout than any other; Baby-Boomer women born between 1946 and 1964 represent a portion of the buying public no marketer can afford to ignore. With successful careers, investments made during the “boom” years, and inheritances from parents or husbands, reports indicate they are more financially empowered than any previous generation of women. MassMutual Financial Group reports that senior women age 50 and older control a net worth of $19 trillion and own more than three-fourths of the nation’s financial wealth. 2.5 million of them have combined assets of $4.2 trillion. More than 1.3 million women professionals and executives earn in excess of $100,000 annually. 43 percent of Americans with more than $500,000 in assets are female. Can a shop afford not to market to these ladies?
For shops that focus on luxury automobiles, a marketing emphasis on mature women can pay off. Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing, says the mature luxury consumer places the highest priority in making memories and experiences. They don’t buy things to have more things; they want the experience to go along with it. Luxury consumers expect superior quality and are extremely discerning. The 55 to 75 year-old female has seen her role change from homemaker to purchaser of security, convenience, and luxury items. Once the college bills are out of the way and children launch their own households, the discretionary spending power of 50-plus women soars. They spend 2.5 times what the average person spends. Women are the primary buyers for computers, cars, banking, financial services, and a lot of other big-ticket categories. The shop that emphasizes security and convenience as part of the repair will be more likely to capture the attention of this customer segment.
Shops that focus heavily on Internet marketing should be aware that affluent working women with family incomes of $75,000 or more are growing in number, and 94.3 percent access the Internet during an average month. “Ten Marketing Trends to Watch,” an article by Kim T. Gordon on Entrepreneur.com, stated that about half of these women are now considered heavy users of the Internet, while heavy use of radio, television, newspapers, and direct mail has declined within this group. A female focus on Internet and social media sites could well pay off.
Although it is generally assumed that a focus on sports is a male-oriented activity, 47.2 percent of major league soccer fans are women as are 46.5 percent of MLB fans, 43.2 percent of NFL fans, 37 percent of NBA fans, and 40.8 percent of fans at NHL games. Women also purchase 46 percent of official NFL merchandise. Women are also involved in motorsports. Surprisingly in a motorsports survey, 74 percent of male respondents and 62 percent of female respondents agreed that “women racers bring fans out to the games.” Additionally, 40 percent of female respondents and 21 percent of male respondents stated that they would be “more” or “much more” likely to follow motorsport races if more females were involved. Shops that sponsor or tie marketing into motorsports should add a female focus.
Women also rely more on word-of-mouth and sharing of experiences with friends than men do. A couple of shops I’m familiar with have brought in a woman to help with marketing. These new female marketers promptly joined some women’s networking groups and sought out opportunities to speak to women’s groups on accident avoidance and long-lasting quality repairs. Another shop added a female estimator and found her closing rate to be one of the best. She kept photos of her children and pets on her desk and had small toys for kids that accompanied a parent whose car she was estimating.
When calling women customers about customer satisfaction, the big question shouldn’t be “were you satisfied with your repair,” but rather would she come back for cosmetic work or a self-pay repair if her insurance company had originally referred her? Few women would be willing to risk a loss of face with friends if she just recommended a shop that provided an average or mediocre repair. To get a referral from one of today’s more discriminating females, a shop has to provide an exceptional service experience!