Better know what women want

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Kicking back over the Labor Day weekend, we tuned in some old movies, including Mel Gibson’s “What Women Want.” The comedy reminded me of something more serious – the results of a recent study by Nielsen, the data analytics company, that examined that very question. The results should give us pause to consider how our dealerships, sales presentations and customer service are aimed at women ... or not.

When we talk about women, we’re aiming at over half of the U.S. population. Moreover, they’re accountable for more than $39 trillion dollars. That puts them in charge of 30 percent of the entire world’s wealth, and that number is growing.So, when women are called a dynamic audience that is influential, educated, entrepreneurial and committed to the continued growth of society, we’re talking about a driving economic powerhouse. The question is, how can you get them to spend some of that in our dealerships? The answer may not be simple, but it’s worth pursuing.

According to Nielsen’s research, the answer should be about “conscious consumption.” Most women, regardless of age or ethnicity, prefer to spend their money this way. Even more, multicultural women in particular support companies that are recognized as firms “that give back to and do no harm to their environment, community, family, and health.” Whoa, isn’t that boating’s strong suit?

Getting more specific, 58 percent of African-American women are willing to pay more for products that are considered environmentally friendly. In addition, 62 percent of Hispanic women say they buy products “based on quality, not price.” Eighty-six percent of Asian-American women agree that they are always looking for new ways to live a healthier life. But women of every age and ethnicity bring distinctive values and priorities to the world of consumption.

If we want to reach women with our message of healthy family recreation, we have lots of options, according to Nielsen. “Women are prodigious consumers of video, internet and radio. Like most Americans, women watch a lot of TV, too. But Nielsen says consumers in general, and women specifically, are spending increasing amounts of time with digital devices. No surprise there.

As an interesting side note, if you have the budget and women consumers are a target market for you, try radio ads. It may be surprising, but women spend nearly two hours a day listening to the radio. More importantly, women are also prodigious consumers of video and internet. Indeed, generally, Nielsen reports American adults consume almost 76 hours of content per week across all devices but are spending more time with digital devices. That’s especially true of women.

So how does a dealership respond? First, it’s a given that the woman in a family has enormous influence on any buying decision. So every member of the sales team must understand that and, more importantly, be sufficiently knowledgeable to discuss the things a woman sees as most important (family health, community, environment). Indeed, a dealership that has a woman on the sales team may have a solid advantage.

Since digital media is a key to reaching women, every dealership should reexamine its website from a woman’s perspective. For example, does it show enough woman enjoying the boats? A woman at a helm? A boatful of women enjoying a girls’ day out? Women fishing? Lots of kids? Clear pictures of families having fun aboard? If you don’t have such good photos and videos, go to and take advantage of the wide-ranging Image Gallery of professional photography that can be yours absolutely free.

Is your showroom woman friendly? The auto industry has clearly set this pace. Today, they have set aside a small kid’s area to entertain and occupy the little ones. Closing offices have been redecorated with contemporary colors and materials known to appeal to women. In addition, here’s one thing you might never think about: in today’s auto dealerships, the remodeling of the ladies’ rooms is a priority, making them distinctively inviting and luxurious.

Unlike auto dealerships, boat dealers have a built-in advantage. Autos struggle to have a message of family unity, health and enjoyment. Boats have it built in. Therefore, we must understand our advantages and know them so well that they’re second nature in our sales presentations, promotions and dealership images.


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