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April 26, 2007

"900 Car Dealers ASK PATTY How to Become More Female-Friendly

Jody_devere I first met Jody DeVere, the President of Ask Patty, a year ago. I joked that I'll know when this "Marketing to Women" thing is working if car sales people become female-friendly. Thanks to Jody and thousands of her new best friends, the car industry is turning in the right direction. Over 900 dealers are interested in learning how to better serve women customers. Thank YOU "Patty"! (Patty, by the way, is a persona for all women)
If anyone knows cars and women, it's Jody. She is 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
Askpatty_logo She launched Ask Patty  May 21, 2006 as a way to help  women through their car buying and servicing angst.  The site started as a blog with a few links to experts who could answer questions. It's gone from a handful of women logging onto the site, to thousands coming through daily. Traffic has been increasing by 40% each month.
Some of the new traffic comes from word of mouth or promotions, but most of it comes from having excellent user-friendly and useful content. If you haven't visited recently, besides answers to your most car challenging questions, you'll find:
My Car Page. Log in your car and Ask Patty will send you reminders on when to get your car serviced based on manufacturer recommendations.  Jody told me, "Those recommendations really are mandatory for the car. Even if you don't drive it often, oil still breaks down, parts dry out and wheels start going flat."

Find Your Dream Car (without the pain and suffering shopping clause) Women can configure exactly what they want in a car and send out a Request For Quote. That puts them in the purchasing driver's seat.

• A $50,000 automotive Shopping spree. Is a new car out of your price range? Until July, you can take a chance at being able to pay cash for that dream car. [Did I fill out the form? You bet!]

• Ask Patty has a Second Life. If you're not one of the 5 million people who are already part of Second Life's virtual world, click here to be teleported inside. (You'll have to create your own fake version of yourself before being able to virtually walk around, but that's the fun of it.)
Out of all the offerings, what has the most traffic?
"About 80% of our questions are on repair and service issues," say Jody. "Women are coming in for reassurance that they are doing the right thing. We're more of a third base coach in that respect.  The second most popular spot are the Frequently Asked Questions section. We're not a complaint site," she stressed, " we're a problem solving site. Dealers need to grow in how they in how to better serve women, but women need to learn how to take better care of their cars as well. They can't ignore regular maintenance and then blame the dealership when things break down."
What about the green issues. Is Ask Patty tracking them? "I'm impressed with what GM is doing," Jody responded, "They just brought in Beth Lowery as the VP of Environment and Energy.  She's responsible for everything up and down the food chain and GM's dedicated a whole site to the sustainable movement." [That means that not only is the car "green" but they are working at making the entire system for producing that car sustainable.]
What's down the road for Ask Patty?
"This summer we're  launching a feature for employment in the Auto industry. We've partnered with auto schools and universities and also dealerships," says Jody. "Jobs in the car industry are good, high paying jobs and with the increase in women buying car related service, women are also sought after as new hires." [73% of the people going through Service are women] 
She continued, "These 2-year, vocational programs are a great place to start an automotive career, whether it's on the tech side, sales or management. A master tech in LA can make over $100,000 without doing the heavy lifting. Cars are getting less greasy and more computerized."
Jody’s been a busy women. All that in less than a year because she knows how to leverage the power of women sincerely helping women in the marketplace. With her leadership, she is helping women, change products, change services and literally change the world.
What are the take aways from this?
1. If you're a women getting ready to buy a car, everything you will ever need to know going in and going forward is available to you on Ask Patty. You'll never have to wonder if you made the right decision.
2. If you're a marketer in a traditional field and wondering how to break into Social Media, follow Jody's lead. Get out there and mix with women's groups. Never dismiss any individual woman as being too "small" to talk to, you’ll never know who they know or what they'll write on their blog.
3. If car sales people are throwing away the plaid suit coat stigma, what is your company's sales force willing to do to earn the trust of their women customers?

In Jody We Trust!


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Wow! Great thorough post. Here is a del.icio.us link for you called a Wonder Link for all things Ask Patty.


Go there to find other blog entries, videos, press releases, podcasts and more about Ask Patty.

Be sure to visit my blog too. I keep a good eye on AP.

well it is just about time to get us women involve in this male dominated industry. i mean we are also drivers and passengers alike right?


Cars need to be more femals friendly because it is proved that womens find it hard to drive a car and are more prone to accidents

Ask Patty was not launched by a woman. It was started by a group of men who have a woman as their front person. Ralph Paglia passed this information on to me, so don't let women be fooled by false information and a group of men looking to exploit a woman for their profit.

Dear Elizabeth, I'm not sure where you got your information, but Jody Devere is the real McCoy! She is one of the most passionate, sincere, hard working and knowledgeable women in the automotive industry I have every met. She is working to help women and advance the automotive industry and deserves a standing ovation.

I have been involved with AskPatty.com for a long time. I am one of the expert women who answer questions, and have had the pleasure to work for Jody Devere on two occasions. I saw her in action and was amazed at how much time and energy she was willing to spend on behalf of women everywhere. I was also lucky to spend time with Jody last summer at the Women's Car Care Council board meeting in Canada. I consider her a teacher and mentor. Please don’t go spreading rumors that could hurt all the work this fine women has accomplished.

Amy Mattinat
Owner of Auto Craftsmen Ltd
Automotive Expert on AskPatty.com
Board member of The Women’s Car Care Council
Member of Women Automotive Association International

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