AskPatty.com, Inc., reaches her first anniversary with above target
revenue and an established brand presence leveraged by Web 2.0 best
practices and venue in Second Life.
The AskPatty.com, Inc. brand and Female Friendly Certified concept has
been enthusiastically embraced and supported by women and her
automotive industry peers. Ask Patty, the Automotive Advice for Women blog,
launched on May 21, 2006, with its introductory post written by
President Jody DeVere. Before that day one year ago, AskPatty.com, Inc.
was just an idea; the attempt to make car buying easier and more
pleasurable for women all over the country.
As the blog and business grew, the main hurtle was to get in front of women as well as provide enough resources to make it worthwhile for those women to visit AskPatty.com. AskPatty.com, Inc.’s innovative launch on a Web 2.0 social media platform as a blog, Ask Patty - Automotive Advice for Women, garnered their first press mention as a featured blog on SixApart Typepad. Leveraging social media within the blogosphere achieved a quick and strong brand presence.
The idea behind AskPatty.com, Inc. is to be a safe place for women to go to get automotive advice and ask questions about anything and everything automotive related. In order to field the types of questions consumer women had relating to cars and trucks, DeVere created the Ask Patty Advisory Panel of Automotive Expert Women, which is chaired by Deborah Renshaw, top ranked professional female NASCAR driver. The panel was launched in order to make AskPatty.com, Inc. a truly unique forum for women. There weren't—and still isn't—any other auto web site out there that promises a live answer from other expert women in the industry. Plus, Patty promises an answer within about 24 hours, making it a truly valuable resource for women.
Answering questions and writing automotive articles is one thing, but what about when it comes to buying that car or truck? Now you are armed with information and you are the most educated gal on the block in car shopping, financing, insurance, and car maintenance, and it ends there.
Not for long. AskPatty.com, Inc. launched their Female Friendly Dealer certification program on September 1st, 2006, just over three months after the initial start of AskPatty.com, Inc., by placing a certified dealer search tool on their site. The concept was to provide dealers with training on how to properly sell cars and trucks to women, and then upon completion of the training and testing, AskPatty.com, Inc. would certify the dealership as “Female Friendly.” The next important step was to provide marketing expertise and tools for the dealership so that they could properly promote the new and valuable certification. The AskPatty.com, Inc. Program has two major components: the training element and the marketing tools.
Female Friendly dealer certification program was co-designed and is
administrated by training partner MaddoxSmye, LLC, a premier diversity
training company, headed up by Rebecca Maddox and Marti Smye. Merrill
Lynch, State Farm, Mitsubishi, Nissan and General Motors highlight
their list of Fortune 100 clients. The AskPatty.com, Inc. training is a
comprehensive, 12-month program that provides the tools for dealerships
to attract, sell, retain, and increase loyalty with women consumers.
The AskPatty.com, Inc. marketing program was developed to provide the tools necessary to effectively communicate with female consumers. The program includes a private-labeled AskPatty.com, Inc. web site that integrates with the dealerships’ traditional web site. This co-branded page provides an opportunity for the dealership to announce that they are certified and then provide information and advice to the consumer. Presently over 75% of shoppers turn to the internet prior to visiting a dealership and this AskPatty.com, Inc. portal provides the dealership a forum to provide information to the female shopper in a non-threatening, low-pressure fashion.
The program also includes email, phone and fax tools that improve the communication between the consumer and the dealership. This function also provides a method for AskPatty.com, Inc. corporate to survey the consumers to ensure the integrity of the certification. The program provides guidance for the dealer on how to effectively advertise and communicate with the female consumer, a demographic of critical importance.
The AskPatty.com, Inc. program has been embraced by dealerships nationwide including some of the largest dealer groups in the country. Some of their premier dealers include Penske Toyota, Ricart Ford, Crown Automotive, and Asbury Automotive Group.
AskPatty.com, Inc. received its first large industry nod with an article in Automotive News. Shortly after, on October 29, 2006, AskPatty.com, Inc. was featured on the front page of the Business section in the New York Times in an article titled "What Do Women Want? Just Ask" and thereafter was featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Feature articles in the Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and Detroit Free Press followed. While attending the 2006 SEMA show in November, Jody DeVere was a guest on National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation" with Marti Barletta of TrendSight. DeVere has also appeared on Motor Trend Radio, and the Jean Chatzky show on XM's Oprah and Friends Radio Network.
In January of 2007, DeVere appeared on Fox11 Morning News in Los Angeles on "Ask the Expert" with Jean Martirez. AskPatty.com, Inc. Founder and CEO Peter Martin has also appeared in a local Fox segment in Florida, where the company is based. Since the beginning of this year, AskPatty.com, Inc. has been featured in not only many large newspapers nationally, but on CBS, NBC, and Fox in major markets across the U.S. and her content articles are syndicated widely in the blogoshere and traditional media outlets. Most recently, DeVere appeared on iVillage Live in Orlando on May 15, 2007. AskPatty.com, Inc. continues to be the darling of the press and media, driving a 30 - 40% growth rate in new visitor traffic each month.
While the press was ringing the phone lines and filling up the email in-boxes, AskPatty.com, Inc. was busy making their site even better for women. In February, the company launched their car configurator, powered by Chrome Systems. This feature allows women to comprehensively research cars and request quotes from Female Friendly dealers, as well as do side-by-side vehicle comparisons.
In March of this year, AskPatty.com, Inc. launched an Online Garage, powered by MyCarPage, a service to help make the automotive ownership experience more enjoyable. MyCarPage is a place where women can "park" their vehicle online and receive automatic service reminders, recall notices, local traffic reports and gas prices, as well as local dealer coupons and a tool that allows the user to schedule service appointments with their local Female Friendly dealership.
April of 2007 was a big month for AskPatty.com, Inc. with the launch of the dealer-facing monthly eNewsletter, the Ask Patty Advisor, which is the automotive industry’s first eNewsletter designed to provide dealers with advice and tips on how to better serve women. AskPatty.com, Inc. assembled an award winning group of experts who now provide advice to dealers and help them better serve the women’s market. Before the month closed, the company announced a $50,000 Automotive Shopping Spree for women. Women can sign up for the contest through the AskPatty.com, Inc. site and participating dealers.
In May of 2007, AskPatty.com, Inc. partnered with AutoTrader.com to provide visitors with access to AutoTrader.com's tools and features, which include a direct link to the company's industry-leading used and certified, pre-owned vehicle listings. In addition to AutoTrader.com's placement on AskPatty.com, select AskPatty.com articles and stories will also be featured in AutoTrader.com's "Research and Compare" area. The articles will provide in-market, women car shoppers the opportunity to gain further insight and tips on the car-buying process from the AskPatty.com experts.
AskPatty has developed a truly unique company, building a business that caters to both the consumer and retailer simultaneously. Through the AskPatty.com, Inc. web site and the panel of expert women, they provide expert information and advice to women, as well as a network of Female Friendly certified dealers. The AskPatty.com, Inc. dealership certification and training program provides the automotive retailer with the tools and training necessary to provide better service to women.
The founders, President Jody DeVere and CEO Peter Martin, both have extensive backgrounds in advertising and marketing and the retail automotive industry.
Jody DeVere comes to AskPatty.com, Inc. with more than twenty-five years of achievement as a successful entrepreneur focused on sales and marketing leadership including ten years developing web based business solutions across diverse industries. DeVere is currently the President of the Woman's Automotive Association International , the premier women's organization for women automotive professionals, a member of the Car Care Council Women's Board , a member of the California State Advisory Board for SkillsUSA, Chairperson of the United Spinal Motor Sports Committee, and a member of the SEMA Businesswomen's Networking Association .
DeVere's background includes leadership positions as National Director of Sales for the Automotive Division of CallSource, National Director of Sales and Marketing for HemaCare, Director of Sales and Marketing for RiverOne, Inc., a subsidiary of I2, founder and Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Memory Network a division of MediaGrif Interactive, Inc. and National Director of OEM Sales and Marketing for Packard Bell, CalABCO division.
Peter Martin is the founder and CEO of AskPatty.com, Inc. Peter started his automotive career in 1987 with the Ricart Ford organization and was part of the team that took the dealership to the Number 1 Retail Dealer status with the Ford Motor Company. His extensive background in the automotive industry provides him with a keen insight into advertising and marketing and is a regular speaker and trainer for the NADA and other automotive organizations.
Peter Martin has been engaged in a wide array of diverse advertising and marketing ventures, ranging from introducing eMail Matching to the auto industry, pioneering the development of the first Video eMail Technology, to development of multi channel marketing which incorporates Direct Mail, Direct eMail and telephony services to increase campaign response rates.
Prior to launching AskPatty.com, Inc., Peter held the position of Business Development Director of DME, one of the largest Direct Marketing Firms in the country. Peter had also held the position of Director of the ZLEADS division of Zimmerman Advertising, where he developed the special finance lead generation program. Peter has also owned and operated his own advertising and marketing firms, as well as having performed in top level positions in some of the nation's top automotive advertising agencies.
The AskPatty.com, Inc. staff shares a passion for the automotive industry and carry with them extensive experience in email marketing, business development, public relations, and customer service. AskPatty.com, Inc. staff members come to the company from positions within Eastman Kodak Company, Motor Trend, and Automobile Magazine.
AskPatty.com, Inc. is a privately-held company that is looking to expand. In fact, DeVere and Martin say they are poised for rapid growth and are seeking additional capital to fund their expansion into other vertical markets.