Jody DeVere: Do you see your female customer the way she sees herself?
Featured in AutoInc. November 17, 2020 Jody DeVere
Sandwiched between a Toyota Tundra 4Runner and a Jeep Rubicon, my 2017 Jeep Renegade Desert Trail Hawk and I navigated slick rock and soft sands, on my brand-new BF Goodrich K02 AT tires, to ascend the plateaus of Moab, Utah during our recent week-long adventure with Charlene Boyer and the Ladies Offroad Network (LON).
I’ve been all over the world, but the beauty of this region was absolutely breath-taking; however, nature’s magnificence wasn’t the most spectacular part of my trip. The best part was all the bad-ass women I met and created memories with. We came from various backgrounds, but we shared an obvious commonality – we’re all adventure-seeking females.
Here’s the thing: a group of women engaging in such a gnarly off-roading adventure isn’t nearly as unique as you might think. Modern women, especially the younger generation, want to see themselves portrayed as capable and empowered, not as intimidated by the idea that an activity is “for boys.”
Not all women go to the extremes of off-roading, but the extraordinary women of LON come from all walks of life and are representative of female consumers in today’s automotive market; your female customers also want to be seen as strong and able. Can we all just stop assuming that women are afraid of challenges and don’t want to have big adventures?!
More and more women dream of being adventurous, fearless and capable. This plays out in the careers they pursue, as well as in their recreational choices. Women ride motorcycles, raft whitewater rapids, live the “Van Life,” and more. Today’s woman has the benefit of seeing other females confronting previously unfathomable situations, and they believe, “I can do that too.”
Assumptions about women’s lifestyles, car ownership dreams, and how they see themselves change your approach to them and your interactions with them. A large number of women believe they can do anything they want, with the right training, equipment and support, so it’s time that you start believing it, too! Adjust your approach by taking time to get to know your female customer, so you can see what she sees – capability and strength.
There’s this tragic myth that strong women can’t get along. If that claim was factual, the Alpha women of LON wouldn’t have been able to get along or trust one another, but that couldn’t be further from the truth! Everyone was super supportive and encouraging, and we all learned from each other. Everyone observed COVID safety guidelines, wearing masks and practicing social distancing, in a show of respect for other participants. I felt safe and supported throughout our entire journey.
The growth of female off-roaders in recent years is remarkable – the interest was there, and all those women needed was a teacher, someone with a little more experience to show them the ropes. Charlene Bower, the most bad-ass woman in a group of bad-asses, founded Ladies Offroad Network to guide, educate and motivate other female off-roaders to achieve their goals.
This is just a microcosm of what’s happening today – women are gathering virtually and in-person to share knowledge. Social media groups allow female techs who’ve established careers to help other women find their path. Official organizations, like Women in Automotive, offer numerous opportunities for younger professionals as we seek to empower, develop and advance women in the automotive community. With growing frequency, experienced female automotive professionals are coaching the next generation of women, helping them develop their skills and offering guidance.
Why don’t commercials depict women in their BMWs, racing along the Audubon at 170 mph? This assumption that women don’t like speed and adventure has been repeatedly dis-proven.
In 2019, Jessie Combs gave her life while attempting to break the women’s four-wheel land speed record, and her speed of 522.783 mph led Guinness to award her the record posthumously; Jessie drove right through the glass ceiling and inspired other women to reach for the same heights.
There are countless aspirational women doing amazing things, yet somewhere along the way, nearly all of them were told they couldn’t do it, that they couldn’t achieve their dreams.
To market effectively to women, you must understand their desires. Women want choice, the freedom to see themselves achieving their desires and exploring their diversity. They don’t want someone to dispel their self-vision. Drop your preconceived notions, and ask questions to figure out what she wants. When she believes you see her the way she views herself, you will inspire her loyalty.
Moab was the perfect location for my adventure with LON – the combination of beauty and danger is representative of today’s woman. Each woman is multi-faceted, and she just may surprise you if she’s allowed to show her true self.
When you respond to women according to who they are, you can navigate the narrow trails to reach the plateau to view the entire landscape, and I think you’ll find, as I did, that it’s awe-inspiring and can take your breath away.
Learn more about the Ladies Offroad Network at ladiesoffroadnetwork.com.
Jody DeVere, CEO of AskPatty.com, is an authority on marketing to women, as well as an automotive journalist, car-care expert and safety spokesperson for the industry. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.