Monday, June 25, 2012

Harley Has What Women Want

Since the 1920’s Harley-Davidson, America’s extremely macho motorcycle brand, has realized that focusing on women delivers the best to everyone.
There is a disconnect between how marketers view women and women’s perceptions of themselves. Most women feel advertisers don’t understand them and this has something to do with the fact that creative departments within companies are dominated by men. It is so easy to put women’s ‘needs’ data through a male filter and get it wrong. One of Harley’s communications managers is female, Amanda Lee.
Looking at what women want, you will see they are demanding more out of brands. They want companies to reach out to them, keep in touch, and come up with a tailored marketing campaign towards them. A brilliant way of incorporating these needs is in an informative website. Harley has a website dedicated to women.  Thousands of women are interested in riding but do not know where to start; the internet is where they are going to look for further information. Harley’s website does not disappoint; it is educational and inspirational for all types of women.
Social Media is a productive way to reach out to women; fifty-two percent of women "friend" a brand they like on Facebook. Harley-Davidson is using social media to promote realistic female riders in its communications. You see a lot of real women in Harley’s marketing — and it comes off authentic. These women are not just the stereotypical ‘biker chick;’ a butch woman or a supermodel. The company is building awareness of its women riders, and women are responding positively.
Women have control of their own finances and have more spending influence than men. Before expert marketers even realized focusing advertising on women was an impressive idea, Harley knew they had to gear marketing efforts towards women because they are such a profitable segment. If you meet the needs of these women, you will exceed those of men. All in all, Harley-Davidson does it right!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Women And The Auto Industry

Coming out of the economic crisis, the auto industry is finding unique and powerful ways to connect with consumers. Getting the consumer through the door and into the showroom is the bottom line. But figuring out how to get their attention is not the biggest dilemma; it is who they should focus their attention on.

  • Women make 62% of new car purchases
  •  Women make almost 80% of the purchase decisions
  •  American women have the purchasing power of over $5 trillion
  •  Women make 65-80% of the service and maintenance decisions

It has always been a golden rule in the automobile industry that you don’t sell cars to women simply because it’s always the man who buys a car, even if it’s going to be hers. This has completely changed and in order for dealerships to bring those buyers through the door, they need to focus on women. 

The car industry, as a whole, has realized they need to focus on women’s needs. An entirely new category of vehicle, the crossover, has evolved largely from women's desire for a vehicle that is sportier than a minivan but handles better than a truck.  The car dealers and brands are making cars for women, the dealership needs to be able to match that and successfully market to women. How can a dealership do this?

Recently, Volvo launched their own line of nail polish to match the colors of their new car models. This successfully gained a substantial amount of media coverage. Women really responded to this, and in fact, Volvo is in the top 3 brands that women purchase. This is not saying car dealers have to offer cookies and manicures to improve the buying experience. The most important thing they can do is change the way they market themselves.

In a business that is owned and operated by men, there is very little indication that the auto industry is trying to understand what types of communications women respond to. Let us help. BBG&G is a woman owned marketing firm that is very familiar with the purchasing patterns of women and has experience working in the automotive industry.

Moving into the Future: Social Media and the Auto Industry

Social media is the new hot marketing platform many businesses have begun to embrace. It can work for any niche. The key is to do it right. A rather conservative industry, the auto industry, is beginning to adopt new media as part of their marketing strategy.

Research indicates that thirty-eight percent of buyers will use social media for research when considering their next car purchase. Forty one percent of those who used social media while shopping said that they saw a post that caused them to add a brand to their consideration. If you are not present in the social media world, these potential consumers are not going to even know you exist.

Other research indicates that 84% of all U.S. vehicle shoppers use Facebook. Even though they may not be researching cars and the auto industry, they can still be influenced by your brand. Being active in social media can lead to sales. The auto industry just needs to communicate transparency and establish trust through these media outlets.

What sort of information are people searching for? Most consumers, when using social media for research, look for price range, features and technology, after sales service, identifying and narrowing down dealerships and finding out where to have service on their vehicle. Make sure this info is readily available for consumers to find.

In total, about $11.9 billion, or 38% of industry spending will be for online formats. Local dealerships need to maintain their traditional media while integrating social media strategies, providing a wider consumer reach.

Call June Bisel or Richard Kurisko at (845) 291-7399. Let’s sit down and discuss some simple ways we can help you communicate more effectively to a market that is craving attention from their local auto dealerships.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Pinterest IS for Every Business, Even Yours!

The purpose of Pinterest, as they state, is to ‘connect everyone in the world through the things they find interesting.’ A person’s Pinterest account is a concept of their life-style. A business’s account should also display the content of its’ lifestyle. Pinterest encourages businesses to promote their brand creatively to truly bond with the user base. You cannot use Pinterest solely for a self-promotion tool.
This craze about Pinterest has sparked a lot of interest in its use for a marketing tool. I mean, from December 2011 to January 2012 the unique visitors increased by 155%, companies should be looking into how this can help them. Businesses have been enabling users to ‘pin’ their content (this is similar to sharing on Facebook or re-Tweeting on Twitter), and this is a great start, but the brands that have been the most successful are creating a Pinterest account and getting in on the pinning themselves.

Don’t know what your business could possibly pin? Start out with your company. Create a board for the head executives/owners with their picture and a mini bio. If you have a smaller company you can do this for the employees as well. Already have blogs? Use images from your blogs and create a board for them. Make sure they link back to your blog to increase that traffic and readers! Infographics are all the rage right now. Find ones that are relevant to your industry or even just silly ones that you know your fans will enjoy. Customers’ using your products is a great way to create a positive sentiment around your brand. Yala, a clothing company out of Oregon, has a board for customers to ‘pin’ what they would like to see next from Yala and also a board of photos of customers wearing Yala.

 The main concept is to highlight your best visual content! Dutchess County Tourism does a remarkable job by displaying pictures of local food, weddings, events, etc. Showcase your business personality, humanize your company and people will respond. The key is finding out how your products or services fit into the lifestyle of your target audience. Once you make this connection, you will see a ROI. 

Managing You Online Business Reviews

Working in the marketing field, I am frequently approached with questions from people I meet through friends and family.  Recently, I was asked if I felt it was ok to have a company’s employees leave positive reviews online in order to make the bad reviews seem less relevant.  My response — absolutely not!
Upon further discussion with this individual, I learned more about the situation.  Apparently there had been some issues with the company’s online ordering that was available on the website.  When customers were not receiving their orders on time or in some cases at all, they started giving bad reviews online through sites like Yelp and Bing.  As traffic started to decrease due to the site, managers started making up profiles to leave positive reviews and also asked the employees to do the same.  This is not only a bad business practice, but it has also made the employees feel very uncomfortable.
There is no reason to cover up bad online reviews by pushing them further down the list with positive ones.  First of all, it is very difficult to put yourself in the mind of the consumer and write a review about yourself.  Oftentimes people can tell it was not something an actual customer wrote.  Secondly, it’s just bad practice.  What would people think about your business if they knew that you actually placed your own positive reviews online?
Of course when we see a bad online review, we automatically panic and think the worst.  Don’t freak out.  You can actually turn a bad review into your best ally.  You cannot just let the bad review sit there.  Respond to it and address the situation.  Most times when the person who wrote the bad review sees that you have responded and that you care about them as a customer, they will show their appreciation for that and interact with you.  Even if you do not make that person happy, the public can now see that you have made an effort to rectify the situation, which will in turn, gain their trust.
There are also inevitably those customers that you just cannot satisfy and it seems like they are just complaining for the sake of complaining.  If you have done all that you can to address the situation and they still post a bad review then you should respond accordingly.  People can tell which reviews are justified and which are not.  Take this review from Prime Pool Market for example:

They have obviously reached out to this customer and were unsuccessful in making them happy, so they felt that they should respond accordingly.  You can also see by the review just below it that not everyone feels the same way.

It is so important to come across to your customers as genuine and authentic.  They will see right through a fa├žade, which will only turn them off to your business, and possibly spread the word to other potential customers.