Traditionally, automobile advertising is heavily slanted towards price. This is the customary way dealers advertise, as it has been an effective way of differentiating them from the competition. In recent years; however, the automobile buying demographic has shifted to include more women buyers. Women buyers make up more than half of auto sales, and women influence over 80% of auto deals. It makes sense to shift advertising methods to accommodate this powerful market sector.
It is certainly a reasonable assumption that price will be a differentiator for car buyers. Price is a major competitive factor. All customers want the “best” deal possible. In fact, 7 of 10 women report that price is a top factor in purchasing a particular vehicle.
New Research Shows price isn’t always the top reason to buy
When women are asked why they purchased a car at a particular dealership, the ‘sales advisors’ take over the number one spot. “Price” and “dealership reputation” tie for second place. What does this mean for dealerships? It means that applying “softer” factors can improve the overall messaging effectiveness in traditional TV, radio and print advertising. Improved effectiveness increases reach and provides more advertising dollar value. For women and families, the “softer” factors are pricing, combined with:
- A comfortable atmosphere to shop, buy and service a car
Here are four ideas to increase the effectiveness of your advertising campaigns
Idea #1: Ensure your traditional TV, radio and print advertising conveys reputation, trust and respect.
Traditionally, automobile advertising is heavily slanted towards price. Yet, when women are asked why they purchased at a particular dealership, the ‘sales advisor’ is the #1 spot. “Price” and “dealership reputation” tie for second place.
Include reviews and scores by customers. Reviews and scores are subtle forms of advertising that are ongoing, persistent and pervasive. Furthermore, reviews and scores create an evidence-driven reputation. Numbers speak louder than words. Emphasize your dealership’s rankings and how you compare with others in your brand category and geographic area. Consider using:
- Customer Testimonials. These are authentic and local and will personalize your advertising and convey a customer-centric approach.
- Reviews, especially reviews from women. Women are 50% more likely than men to read reviews, and prefer reviews written by women.
- Statistics to convey reputation, e.g., “#1 in customer satisfaction” from reputable ranking sources.
- Positive words that convey a high level of customer service (happy, comfortable, delighted, surprised, pleasant, etc.).
- Supportive Digital content. Make sure your web site conveys inclusion, with women as an identifiable demographic. Be sure to sell your customer service, including your service center for ongoing business. Include more reviews, especially reviews by women. Showcase these reviews on your home page.
Idea #2: Supplement your competitive pricing with specifics that speak to your demographic.
Show people, especially women (happy women) in your ads. Include a broad demographic, including single women, moms with kids, grandmothers, same gender parents, and any demographic you wish to reach. Photos speak volumes and convey emotions. Remember, 50% of car buyers are women. This is a very clear demographic.
Idea #3: Show that your dealership is more than a showroom full of cars.
Be sure your advertising includes:
- Showcasing your service center. Mention the courtesy car, and any other amenities that show the value you place on customer loyalty and an ongoing business relationship. Ensure your advertising promotes the message “when you buy from us, you receive a good price, PLUS you receive great service.”
- Showcasing your great customer service. Let women know you are there before, during and after the deal, providing trusted advice when buying a car, fair negotiation and pricing practices and trusted, reliable service.
Idea #4: Extend your advertising.
Advertising is more than what you put in the newspaper in the auto section. Think about the other ways your dealership is “advertised.” Consider:
- The Showroom – How does it look? Is it welcoming and friendly to women? Does it invite walk-ins?
- Posters at the dealership – are they about people? Do they show a balanced demographic? Consider posters where the woman is “in the driver’s seat” even when she is with her spouse.
- Women shoppers who leave your dealership – How did they perceive their treatment? Will they return? Will they rave about what they saw to their friends? Advertising continues with an interested shopper even after she walks out of the dealership. Be sure to get her contact information and that you understand what she wants. Make any follow-up conversations with her relevant and an invitation to return to the dealership.
Putting these ideas into practice
Using the ideas shown above may mean a fresh conversation with your creative group or advertising agency. Let them know what you are trying to convey as you reach out to women buyers.
Ultimately, your best advertising is a happy customer who raves about the deal she received and the supportive, ongoing service at the dealership. A comprehensive advertising program is the best way to start the process of customer engagement. Including and targeting your most powerful buying segment in your advertising will increase your overall advertising success, provide more value from your advertising budget, and drive more dollars to your dealership’s bottom line.