“Women are the fastest growing consumer group,” said Marc Bland, vice president of diversity and inclusion for IHS Automotive. Automakers “can’t help but make them a focus of marketing efforts,” he said.
Many are doing that. Buick, for instance, partnered with the Food Network and displays cars at food and wine festivals that skew female. Last year, Ford forged a partnership with Rent the Runway, a dress-rental business, with a sweepstakes contest to promote the Ford Fusion. Others are active on TV programs and channels that have largely female audiences, through product integrations and placements.
Yet a study by Greenfield Online for Arnold’s Women’s Insight Team shows that three quarters of women feel misunderstood by carmakers. Jody DeVere, CEO of AskPatty.com, a Web site that provides automotive advice for women, said that while some automakers are “making wonderful progress” in reaching women, “others are still in the dark ages,” overlooking segments such as baby boomer women, a group she says has the strongest purchasing power but is nonetheless underrepresented in advertising.
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