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EP.11 Show Runner – Jody Devere

EP.11 Show Runner – Jody Devere

•Marketing & Selling to Women for Increased ROI•

Jody is an expert at marketing & selling to women and an internationally recognized speaker, trainer, and spokesperson for the automotive industry in the women’s market.

Jody is a champion for both women and the automotive industry; her company AskPatty.com, serves as a place for women to learn about buying, owning, and servicing their cars. She has been featured in the New York Times, NPR, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fox Business, Forbes Women, Parenting Magazine and O, The Oprah Magazine to name a few.

I met Jody at the Women in Automotive Conference – the best learning and networking opportunity I have ever experienced.

Jody Devere, CEO of AskPatty.com

Lessons you will learn from this podcast:

  • How the blogosphere’s coming of age changed the voice of female consumers; why and how you should be using this information to increase your bottom line
  • How to create gender parity that generates more sales and loyalty
  • Why marketing to women is not political, but a business conversation about increasing your business with a segment that is currently under served and has lots of potential for growth
  • What Proctor and Gamble and Dove have learned and why they continue to update their marketing approach
  • Where to find case studies and research on effective marketing to women
  • How to avoid a “one size fits all” approach when taking on the women’s market, which is very complex and full of subtleties
  • How to navigate through the current highly-sensitive atmosphere, jump over roadblocks and avoid common mistakes that brands are making right now in communicating to female buyers
  • Why the data you are using to target women may be wrong and where to find the right stuff
  • How both male and female mentors can help women rock and build confidence and courage
  • Why hiring, recruiting, developing, and retaining women in a male dominated industry results in gender parity that is good for business

Listen to Next Episode

TRANSCRIPTS

Kathy: Hi everybody. Welcome to The Show Runner Network. It’s Kathy. Today, we’re networking with Jody DeVere, CEO of askpatty.com. She’s an expert at marketing and selling to women. Jody is an internationally recognized speaker, trainer and spokesperson for the automotive industry on the women’s market. She’s been featured in New York Times, NPR, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fox Business, Forbes Women, and wait for it, Oprah Magazine and Parenting Magazine, just to name a few. Jody is a champion for both women and the automotive industry. Her company, askpatty.com, serves as a place for women to learn about buying, owning and servicing their cars. She also works with retail locations across the United States and Canada, and trains them on how to attract, sell, retain and increase the loyalty of female buyers. Her message, if you can create an experience that wows women, it’s going to increase your market share, drive ROI, and differentiate automotive retailers. Great message. Jody is also a mentor to many, and supports the automotive community in recruiting, retaining and developing female employees as leaders. I met Jody at the Women in Automotive Convention in December, and I have to say, it was one of the best learning and networking opportunities I’ve ever experienced. Jody, thank you for that, and welcome to The Show Runner Network.

Jody DeVere: Thank you, Kathy. It’s my pleasure and honor to be with you today and talk about my favorite subject.

Kathy: Well, you have an impressive background. I know in speaking with you, you’ve been doing this for over 17 years. Your website, askpatty.com, is impressive. You know, I hate to say this, since I’ve been in marketing for so long, but it’s a unique idea, and that boggles my mind that I say that. Tell us a little bit more about your journey and your background in marketing to women and those that market to them.

Jody DeVere: Well, thank you. Actually, some people who go after the women’s market in automotive do it for reasons like they got mad because they had a bad experience at a dealership or at a service center. That’s not my story. I was in [High Tech 00:09:55] for 30 years, got a little bored with the ups and downs and the transactional nature of that business and decided to sell a business in 2000 and start a consulting firm. It just turned out that many of my clients were in automotive. I fell in love with the automotive industry, and I started to get involved with women’s groups. One of the first that had started 20 years ago is the Women’s Automotive Association International.

Lorraine Schultz, the founder, took me under her wing. What really makes a great company is you observe a problem that is not being solved, and then you come up with a solution. I began to observe a gap between the experience that women were having, specifically at that time women car buyers and the dealerships and the relationship that they were having. I also saw a big gap between automotive manufacturer advertising and marketing programs and women, even though even at that time, women were about 50% of the car buying … Making the decisions, it was really kind of an underserved demographic. Because I came from the .com environment, I thought, “Well, I’ll launch a space online where the automakers and dealers and women can have a conversation together and talk about that and also support women by offering them advice, woman to woman, about the automotive industry.”

It’s kind of a long explanation, but the lights really went on for me that really this … By the way, this was right about the time that the blogosphere was becoming very prominent. For the very first time in history, really, women were getting a voice about how brands were advertising and promoting their products. And their voice was being heard and responded to because the blogosphere and the internet had grown to the point, and they were gathering in groups to amplify their voices. This is when Ask Patty launched, really, right at the beginning of that. Of course, timing is everything. It was another industry that women felt underserved and not related well to, and I became a voice for those women along with my automotive expert women and the work that I was doing. So this is how things began, and it really took off. In fact, I was featured on the front page of the business section of the New York Times within seven months of launching my business. I’m very proud of that, not because of the accolade, but because I had sort of hit the mark. This is when you know a business is, you’ve got that right idea.

Actually, the business plan that I wrote is the same business plan, the same basic business plan that I operate under now, because it is such a challenging market, and needed so much growth. It’s also there’s been a lot of longevity for Ask Patty. Then, other voices have joined, other important women’s sites in automotive and bloggers and Snapchatters, and Youtubers that are women. I see these all as a big family that we all need to raise our voice for the change that’s necessary in automotive to come on gender parity, and to understand women better and how they want to be portrayed, and how they want the experience to go for them at the automotive retail location, be it a dealer, in tires sales, quick loop, so forth and so on. I believe that I

have made a lot of progress and also been sort of a lightning rod for the industry to pay more attention. I’m very proud of that, and there’s a lot of room for growth still, so I have big plans for 2018. We could talk about that more later, but that’s how I got started.

Kathy: Wow. That’s amazing, because it hit at just the right time, like you said, that when the blogosphere was coming-of-age, we were all the sudden hearing what the consumer had to say, and specifically the female consumer, about how brands were presenting themselves. So what you’re saying is that your business identified that problem, the problem that women felt they weren’t being understood and related to at the point-of-sale, and so you solved that by helping these retail establishments, I love this word, be gender-prepared, and to build an experience at the retail level that these women could relate to.

Jody DeVere: Yes. In fact, we’ve certified well over 4,000 automotive retail locations. We provide the Certified Female Friendly, that’s trademarked training and certification program, and ongoing training, which is so relevant to today’s discussions about having the right culture for consumers.

And since women now influence 80 to 85%, depending on the statue of automotive purchases, and this includes cars, tires, service, windshield wiper blades, and so forth, it’s important that the individuals and the culture of these retail locations respond correctly to women buyers and understand them better, communicate more effectively with them, not only at the counter or on the showroom, but also in their marketing and advertising in ways that resonate with them better, okay?

Kathy: That makes so much sense. So not only at the point-of-sale, but also in their messaging.

Jody DeVere: Yes, and social media. I could go on and on. I think that because … And it’s not the guys’ fault that the automotive industry is so male testosterone. It grew up that way. Very often, the decision-makers, those persons who are making the decisions about marketing and advertising are a room full of men, with no female input. Sometimes, that can go really wrong, or they don’t … They really are not hitting the nail on the head, and this is where I could be of great service to these companies to help them understand better how women shoppers see it. In fact, one of the things that I did way back when is I got very involved in the international Marketing to Women and Marketing to Mom’s Conference, which is held in New York every year. It’s very interesting because the only time an automotive brand goes there is if I invite them. These are all major women’s brands, Procter & Gamble, you know, all of the things that you would think about coming with their agencies and presenting all the fresh ideas and case studies of what’s working well with women.

This has helped me really keep my pulse beat on the woman’s market from an international point of view, and also distill that and deliver it to my clients in the industry because I also work with brands, not just retailers, automotive manufacturers, and other aftermarket brands to help them tone their messages with women as well.

So I think that that has been a real great part of my journey in really understanding the woman’s market and brands who are getting it right with women, and really understanding those strategies, and also developing … Part of being successful as an automotive retailer is staying one step ahead of the competition. If you can get it right and stay ahead with women, I think you’re going to make the men happy too, right?

Absolutely. Let me make sure I understand this right, so this convention that you go to in New York is with general products like Procter & Gamble and how they’re marketing to women?

Jody DeVere: Right, or other brands that are doing beauty. It could be food. It could be restaurants. It could be fashion, healthcare. So all of these international and major brands that are agencies come and showcase case studies of how they got it right with women.

A good example would be Dove. I’m sure, as a woman, you see what Dove has done, and the beautiful way that they portray women, and how they have really captivated women in their product line by their amazing products, product lines, and how they depict women as empowered and beautiful without makeup. All the ways that they have gone about it is … You have to really say that it’s just splendid marketing to women that we love. So we fell in love with Dove again, which is a very old brand, really an aging brand. This new messaging that they came out with a few years ago and have continued has reinvented that brand with women and made it quite a favored brand. They’ve seen tremendous growth in their sales as a result of that. When you look at automotive advertising compared to these case studies of how they’re looking at things, there is a gap. So my job is to give my clients a strategic advantage, and also the industry at large a strategic advantage. A great example is … Super Bowl Sunday’s coming up.

Kathy: Yes.

Jody DeVere: So there is a group of women that actually rate the Super Bowl commercials on how well they’re getting it down with women every year. It’s a tweet up. There are several of them …

Kathy: Fantastic.

Jody DeVere: … And rate those commercials. During Super Bowl, there are many car commercials and automotive commercials. I will say, they are improving over the … I’ve been doing this for several years now, but sometimes they get it wildly wrong, and hear about it right away in their Twitter, Facebook and now Instagram and all the feeds, immediate feedback on whether they … It was sexist, or whether they were portraying women as idiots, or whatever they’re doing, and it’s all happened. And women get aghast. So I love participating in things like that, hearing non-automotive women, the not working in automotive, how they see it, and really getting their feedback and sharing that with our industry so that they can do a better job. I mean, we’re all in it to win it, right?

Kathy: Right.

Jody DeVere: We all want to capture that market. I don’t like to say target women. It sounds like a hunter. I like to say … Yeah. I like to say that the women’s market is extraordinarily complex. I think this is part and parcel why the automotive industry struggles with it, because one size does not fit all.

Because there’s such a really refinement that needs to happen, it depends on what group of women you’re trying to reach, and what demographic, what age group, what their lifestyle is, what their income bracket is, what … Women are diverse. I’m very opinionated about this. I’m sure this is coming across, that white, blonde, blue-eyed women are overrepresented in advertising and commercials. Instead of criticizing that, what I say is that they’re overlooking a whole group of women that could be their customers by not marketing well to them, and not understanding some of the subtleties that … I’m not saying they do it on purpose. It’s subtle. They don’t understand it. So sometimes, they really make a mistake without getting more women involved in reviewing and developing these marketing plans, both at the agency level and at the decision-making level, because statistically most of the decision-makers in all … Even in these agencies that are marketing to women, most of the final decision-makers are men, and need to be compelled to understand what works with women.

Kathy: Well, you bring up so many great points in that. Yes, I can tell that you’re very passionate about this. It’s great because I think that there’s so much opportunity here for retailers to listen to you and what you’re saying. One of the things that I learned at the conference for Women in Automotive is that the women that work in automotive is … About 13% of the employees of the automotive industry are women, is that right?

Jody DeVere: Overall, and we’re counting auto makers, people working in manufacturing, in the aftermarket, at dealerships and so forth, it’s about 25%.

Kathy: Okay.

Jody DeVere: Where you get those smaller numbers is, for instance, less than 2% at dealerships, less than 2% of employees are in managerial positions. I think that 12% number is about women working in jobs other than accounting, bookkeeping, or back-office jobs. So, it’s a very small percent at dealerships that are working in what I would call frontline or managerial roles, extremely small percent. But still, 25%, that’s definitely not gender parity. Certainly, from a decision-making or influential role on how they’re going to go to market, it’s a very small percent.

Kathy: Yes. So the people who are making the decisions about the messaging and the advertising are coming from a male-dominated industry. And if you look outside and you bring in some of these opinions, like you’re saying these women from even outside the automotive industry that are looking at how the messaging is going out, you can really learn a lot.

Jody DeVere: You can. There’s a question that you put forward for me to review that … What is the most important thing for marketers today when … Looking at the women’s market today, how do I get started? I’ll tell you, it’s pretty counterintuitive to what you would think. Listening is the most important thing. I subscribe to many women’s publications. I subscribe and pay very close attention to what’s happening, what women are talking about, what’s interesting to them, because what worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. It’s a dynamic, ever-changing market of what’s relevant and important to her. And you need to keep on top of it. The nice thing for marketers today is that we have tools available to us that 10 years ago, we did not. Twitter is a great way to pay attention. Facebook is a great way to pay attention, not your own feed, but what people are … What’s relevant, reading women’s publications, and also understanding the diversity of opinion that is out there. Currently, the women’s market is pretty upset right now about a lot of things. It’s important to understand in context how you are presenting. There’s a lot more sensitivity over certain issues right now that are very loud, because … The way I like to explain this is when you go to the airport or the supermarket and you’re a man and you’re looking to buy a magazine, you go to the magazine, right? Have you ever noticed that they’re divided male and female?

Kathy: Yes.

Jody DeVere: There’s the men’s side, and women’s side. I doubt too many men go to the side that has Good Housekeeping, and Woman’s Day, and all of that, and even reads the titles. When you think about it, women are spending millions of dollars purchasing those magazines or reading them online. Take a vote of how many men visit BlogHer or SheKnows, who by the way, about 100 million visitors a month go there to read their … Of these women. So they’re really out of the loop on what is happening in the women’s market even from that point of view because that doesn’t interest them.

In life, it doesn’t interest them, unless they’re paying attention. So I would say to get started is to start paying attention and investigating and really making … And you can do it by visiting popular women’s websites like SheKnows, or BlogHer, and some of the other … Come to Ask Patty, or some of the other really viable woman’s magazines that women in the age group and approximate demographic are reading to find out what’s interesting to them. Right now with the sexual harassment and some other issues that are broiling up in the women’s market, I feel like we’re in the ’60s again. We’re all going to burn our bras or something, right? But it’s a really defining time for women. Men need to be aware of it and understand how to respond to that appropriately, both in their workplaces, but also being very sensitive about how they market and advertise and the photographs that they use of women. Women are highly sensitized right now about some of these issues, so there’s some cautions that you need to not blow yourself up over, inadvertently displaying women in sexually suggestive photographs, which happens quite often, by the way.

Kathy: Good. You’re bringing up some tremendous points. So looking outside the industry with regards to automotive, what are some of the other brands doing? You brought up the example of Dove. They’re doing a great job. Then the other thing that you’re bring up too is that just because you are looking at how to advertise and message to women and how to serve them when they come into your place of business, one size does not fit all. There’s a diversity amongst the demographic, the age, and the lifestyle. Are there any other misconceptions regarding marketing to women that you’re seeing out there, Jody?

Jody DeVere: Yes. It revolves around pink, this whole thing about pink. There was a book written a few years ago by one of my friends called Don’t Think Pink. Really, if anyone’s out there’s listening, pink can only be useful to you during October. It’s breast cancer month. It’s okay. Or maybe Mother’s Day, a little, and Valentine’s Day. Otherwise, if you go to pink, it is very demeaning. You’re going to get the exact opposite reaction. Please don’t paint the walls pink and then say, “I got it down with women.” That is a mistake I see. The other thing is that, “Okay, because a lot of my clients, or potential clients do a lot of cause marketing,” I think women, it’s a very beloved practice amongst women for you to support brands they support. So we do the breast cancer thing once a year, and then they say to themselves, “Okay, I got the women’s market covered. I did it.” This is a mistake because it has to be a long-term plan with a lot of subtleties.

When we’re talking about how complex it is and how diverse it is, you have women of color. It really all depends on your local market. If you do not understand the makeup of the demographics of women in your own market, like there’s a lot of discussion about the Gen Z, this is that younger generation of women that are 18 to 20 … 16 to 20, somewhere in that range, or younger millennials, they expect different things than say baby boomer women, or more understood demographics.

Really, that doesn’t matter, because if those women are not really your primary customers … And that’s another thing. I just got a [rec 00:32:20] from a very … I won’t mention their name … From a very large automotive brand. They had already predetermined who the women were that were going to buy their product. I looked at this information and I went, “I don’t think that’s right.” I spoke up, because I didn’t want them to spend a lot of money going after a demographic of women that probably isn’t the right one. I explained and brought data in to show them that “I don’t know where you got this information, but actually it’s this and this and this,” and they went, “Oh.” So, they’re going to move in a different direction. I think what happens is there’s a lot of assumptions that happen, and so it’s always good to go to the experts, and to really understand that what your woman’s market is, because again, the women’s market is very complex and vast, and complex. So, what is the market for your business, very specifically, because there are cultural differences between for instance, you mentioned San Diego, women living in and around San Diego, and what that makeup is, and New York City, or downtown LA, or Orange County, California, or Waukegan, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Seriously. So those subtleties need to be embraced in how you go to market.

Kathy: Well, I’d like to ask you a question about what you just said, because I think it’s really interesting. You touched on market research. You said that dealing with one of your clients, they had used some sort of information to predetermine who they believed their female customer was. Then you came in with some other kind of research that said, “No, what I’m seeing is this.” Can you talk a little bit about the research they may have used or where they got their ideas, and then what sort of resources are you using to bring some additional or new information to the table? Jody DeVere: That’s a great question. In this case, they based it on the women that had bought their product for the last 10 years. First of all, it was 10-year-old data. And just because that was the women who had purchased it, was it the right ones that could be purchasing them, right?

Kathy: Okay.

Jody DeVere: So I also am very involved with SEMA which is the Specialty Manufacturers Association, which is the large … It’s the largest automotive industry event in world actually for the aftermarket. It’s an industry-only event. They produce a lot of data on who’s actually buying what type of product. So, I utilize their data. Sometimes they use NADA data. Of course, the Marketing to Women Conference provides a lot of case studies and studies on, for instance, who is buying the most online. Well women. 58% of all online spending is women. So obviously, doing a great job online is important with women if they’re buying 58% of their … Doing that 58% of the online spending. So understanding data, and then because they’re not marketing internationally or to the whole country unless a really major auto group, it’s super easy to do a demographic study of your local market because the data is collected by the government. You can find out how many women or men, what their age groups, what their income, it’s all online. It’s so easy to get that data to understand the mix of women in your market.

Kathy: Well, that’s interesting because a lot of times, we do use “Your best customer could be your next best customer,” but what you’re saying in this case is that you could be marketing to the women that aren’t currently buying, and that there’s a whole opportunity there?

Jody DeVere: There is. By the way, there aren’t enough studies and statistics about women’s spending habits in automotive done regularly. In fact, if you start researching for major studies, they’re usually aged, because they don’t do enough study, which tells you something right there if they’re not doing studies. I know a couple of new ones are coming out this year. I’m very excited because I participated as one of the … I helped them develop the data, because from a man’s point of view, data never lies, right?

But intuitively, I can tell you that women shoppers are still not happy about their experience at the dealership, so there’s a lot of growth there. Culture is a big issue in dealerships. And in the younger generation, they really want to do it online, and they want concierge service. They want the vehicles brought to their house. I mean, this is the Uber generation, right, and the lift generation. I just got back from the Detroit Auto Show, and there’s a lot of transformation happening just about car ownership and what that’s going to mean as we move in as these younger car buying men and women … Actually, as you go younger, it’s really interesting because the values that women have in the younger generation, they share more equally with the young men from a gender differentiation, right? A lot of the younger millennials, the guys and the gals feel the same way, some gaps as you get into older. And you need to understand that. Millennial couples buy together and make decisions together. When I say together, I mean really they make the decision together, right?

Kathy: Yeah. Yeah. That’s so interesting. You say that there’s not a lot of data with regards to women and their buying habits. That’s one of the things that I got out of the Women in Automotive Conference is I came back, and the very next day, I ran some surveys on our vehicle buyers. Usually, we run surveys of adults. Everybody that bought a car, we do a survey every quarter, and we look at their habits. So this time, I ran one, just queried all the women, and then all the men. We saw some differences. So even us as a research and strategy-oriented agency weren’t really looking specifically at how are the women and what are they doing that’s different. And some of the things that we found is that they go to … They use the dealer website less. Of course, they use social media more. The reputation of the dealer was much more important to them, and their past experience was more important. So, there’s some other differentiating things as well, but some of those stood out for us.

Jody DeVere: Yeah. There’s a lot of data out there. CDK did a really good study last year. Deloitte also did a study about women in leadership. KBB did quite a bit of studies about three years ago about women’s buying habits, Kelly Blue Book. I collect all of these studies, by the way, because there’s far and few between. But generally speaking, over the last 10 years, women are saying the same things. So what that means to me is the problem has not been solved yet, the main problems that they’re having. “It takes too long. I feel like I’m being talked down to. I feel disrespected. I’m afraid they’re going to take advantage of me. It’s a complex process.”

So I think we have a lot of room to grow. I see that as an opportunity for dealers who really want to differentiate themselves, and win the market share in their local markets of women. Some of it has to do with employment, and who they hire, and how they train. That’s why I provide the training and ongoing training and monitor their progress. They can’t do better if they don’t know better. Since there’s so little focus on that actual communication skill training with selling to women in couples, it’s important that they subscribe to that and really hold their employees to a certain bar, delivering that experience consistently with women. Some of it could be curb appeal. I don’t know if you’ve ever walked into a automotive retail location. By the way, I love football. We all love football, but it kind of makes me uncomfortable when I walk in and the entire location is, “Go, Vikings.” It’s like, “Okay,” right? It’s a little over testosterone level overwhelming there, right? You’re laughing, but you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s like, are women really welcome into that environment? And if your sales and managerial staff is all men, what is that saying to the women? By the way, I am not a proponent that a woman must be a person to sell to another woman. Women don’t necessarily want to talk to another woman, they want to talk to a qualified person who understands the product, who will be helpful, and respectfully guide them through that process.

However, culturally speaking … And I love to use this example, because I have two sisters that are nurses. In the nursing field, men nurses, male nurses, they have their own club, because they’re the minority. So when you sit down in the cafeteria with the nurses during lunch, the conversations that they’re going to have are going to be rather estrogen-laden and might make men uncomfortable. It’s a social and cultural phenomenon that when you are not on gender parity in your employment, that certain things develop. Many women report to me that have worked in dealerships for a long time, and they’re the only women, that they adopt the communication skills of men, and their behaviors to fit in. That is so sad to me.

Kathy: Well, it makes sense though, right?

Jody DeVere: Right. Or this remark that to work in automotive on the front lines, you have to be a certain kind of woman. They don’t say that at Macy’s, or they don’t say that at Starbucks, “You have to be a certain kind of woman to …” Like, what do we have to have, elephant skin to tolerate their culture? I don’t know, but it shouldn’t be so. These are some of the challenges that the automotive industry faces in terms of that’s the norm. We need to make it not the norm so they understand that they will … Because loyalty is such an important piece of this, because they’re selling to women the transaction … Okay. They got the transaction. But did they come back and buy and brand? Because you said it in your first … You said it big. Women are very loyal if they’re treated well. They will come back. They will come to your service department. And they will sing your praises. Women are much more likely to write reviews, we all know that, for good or for evil …

Kathy: Yes, and they read reviews.

Jody DeVere: … And read them. So the loyalty factor, which keeping them in your brand or in your store, right, as loyal lifetime customers is more than a transaction. So this is what I teach. I just had a meeting this morning with a client who’s been with me nine years. I’m in my 12th year. They’re the top. They have six locations in their area, and they are always the top. They’re constantly outwitting the competition.

It is not entirely because of our relationship, it is a part and parcel, but it is also partly because they have made a decision to keep learning, and to keep growing, and to be early adopters of innovation and how to go to market. So I think it’s important to rake through some of the things that you tell yourself all the time, “Well, this is how we do it. This is how we’ve always done it,” because the world is changing. And the women’s market, good gravy, why do you think I go to so many conferences, because sometimes it changes in a month. Some things are consistent, but what I was telling my clients even a year ago about how to go to market with women, and what innovation, and which social media, and what to put in, what kind of pictorials, is always changing, to keep up. That’s a part of the fun of it, right, too because it’s a very dynamic market.

Kathy: Absolutely. You’ve taught us a lot of lessons about brands and how if they can become early adopters of innovation and really listen to women and message to women, then they’re going to win.

I mean, you gave us an example of your client. He’s continuously in the top of his field because you know what, there’s not a lot of people concentrating on this. So if you get it right, you’re really going to reap the benefits. So these brands are really smart to be working with you and to be looking at how they can market specifically to women. So I’d like to talk a little bit about your personal brand, since we’ve been talking a lot about other brands. Why don’t you describe for us Jody’s personal brand?

Jody DeVere: Well, yeah. The way that I … It has really developed that I’m … I always refer to myself as a lightning rod for the women’s market. It really is two-halves of a whole. My personal brand is to really be helpful to the industry and be a connector from women to them. I love men. I love the guys. I am not mad at you at all. If anything, my message is I would love to shower you and help you with all this information to make you stronger and better. So, I’m an advocate for the women’s market. I’m an advocate for women, both women consumers and also for women working in the auto industry who are valuable in marketing to women, because if you have more women representatives in your dealership or your automotive retail location, it automatically sends a strong message to women that they are welcome there. So, I’m an advocate for women. And this, by the way, goes beyond automotive. I’m also an advocate for women in my personal life. I do a lot of work in my personal life. It’s not because I’m angry, it’s because I believe in the ROI of women, and having more women involved in our industry and in other industries and the larger population is a benefit. We have a lot to offer and give. Give us a chance to contribute at a higher-level.

Kathy: Well, let’s talk about that a little bit more. I’d like to hear your thoughts on mentoring and mentorship, and what it’s meant to you. You’ve had a great career. Are there any lessons that you’ve learned and applied that helped you become the successful person you are today?

Jody DeVere: Well, some of it is I think giving back is a part of getting, because I learned so much from mentoring young women. And I do a lot of mentoring formally and informally. It’s always nice in your life to have someone just like Lorraine Schultz provided for me, that when I first got started, she took me under her wing and introduced me to the right people, and helped … When I would call her and have problems, she always said, “You can do this, Jody.”

Sometimes, we just need that person in our corner to say, “Yes, you can do this,” and share … Help you jump over some of the roadblocks more quickly and navigate, because there are some challenges working in a male-dominant industry that women have. Many of them do not want to talk about them openly, but I have a lot of conversations around that, and how to navigate some of those troubling waters. You need to have someone who has experience and wisdom.

By the way in my own career, remember I came from High Tech, very male-dominated field. So most of my mentors during those days were men who believed women could rock. In fact, one of my most important mentors was an Israeli man. That really made sense because in Israel … From Israel, Israeli … Women joined the Army just like the men do. They think differently of their women over there. I was so lucky to have him believe in me, because without him … I was very successful in my High Tech career as well. His name was [Murray Friedman 00:51:01]. He was extremely instrumental in teaching me some great entrepreneurial skills and building my confidence and courage as a young woman. So I give that a way. I think it strengthens us as women to mentor each other, but also women are more powerful in groups than alone. Unfortunately, in automotive, many women working in automotive are alone. They work in a vacuum, especially as they move into management, hence why the Women in Automotive Conference. I also am very involved in the Women in Auto Care, WIN, that’s women in collision, and SBN, the SEMA Businesswomen’s Network, and have been for years because all of these organizations have made leaps forward as a group. So we make progress together better than trying to go it alone.

Kathy: Yeah. And especially when you say how if you don’t have gender parity in your workplace, that you begin to become more like those around you when, what I’m hearing you say, is that we should take that differentiation in the way that we see things as women as an attribute that we should not try to suppress, especially in that environment, because that voice needs to be heard and that’s really where we can make a difference.

Jody DeVere: All perspectives need to be heard. I mean, if you look at your demographic and you see you have a … I’ve seen this occur where it’s a bunch of white men, but they’re selling to Hispanic or Asian population or whatever, but none of the people on staff reflect their audience, or women for that matter. It’s the same problem, hard to relate, hard to build relationships. Without getting too radical here, that should just be a best practice, right, that you reflect the audience you are willing to serve in your employment. It has been difficult for industry … I know many automakers strive. And one of the problems is because of the malaise in our industry revolving around women, is women don’t apply for the jobs. I’ll give you a very startling statistic from NADA. In 2016 and 2017 of women sales representatives that were hired, they had a 90% turnover in the first year, 90%. There’s something wrong with our industry, because even those who apply don’t stay.

Kathy: Yeah. Unfortunately, the industry has a very high turnover rate overall as well. So I’d be curious to know if it’s particularly that way for women.

Jody DeVere: It’s 65% for guys.

Kathy: Okay.

Jody DeVere: In the role of sales.

Kathy: Got you.

Jody DeVere: This is NADA data. It’s around 65%. So that’s a huge increase.

Kathy: Yeah. There’s a difference there.

Jody DeVere: Big difference. It’s troubling only because I know most dealerships want to hire and retain more women, but they don’t apply for the job. It goes without saying that if I can attract, hire, retain women as employees, then I can do a better job selling to women. It goes hand-in-hand. These two things work together optimally. So that should be a goal. And by the way, it is a long term goal, and it’s a lot more difficult than it sounds when presented as a challenge. Trust me, at the Women in Automotive Conference, [inaudible 00:55:00] talk about all the time. But one of the things that needs to happen is that women … It’s great to compete with each other out in the industry, but along these lines, we need to support each other, because the more women that are involved in management, the better for all women and the more women we can bring in and retain. So, I’m very passionate about this because I think automatically if dealerships run gender parity and had women, really outstanding women working in management, I think it would resolve a lot of the consumer issues that women had in visiting a dealership automatically. Remember the story about the nurses. By the way, my sister who’s a Masters degree nurse, we were talking about this over the holidays, and she said, “Well, actually, there’s been great growth the last couple of years of men becoming nurses.

They assemble their own conferences and that to talk about the opposite of what we’re talking about, right, to pave the way for …” because it’s the opposite problem, and she applauds them for many reasons. One reason is is that a lot of men like to have a male nurse care for them for reasons that are kind of obvious. I think all of this conversation is great conversation, but I would like to see more automotive industry professionals that hear the words … Because I’ve been saying them for a long time, 12 … 17 year. 12 years specifically with Ask Patty. You must take action. And you cannot give lip service to women. We know the difference. You need to make a long-term commitment and set benchmarks just like you do in sales, not because it’s the right thing to do. You need to do it because it is ROI for your business.

Those businesses that I see doing the right things well over time are getting tremendous market growth. So there’s a lot of stats around that, too. But what I’m saying is that this is not one of those … Although it has bearing in equal rights for women and all that, this is not a political … This is a business conversation that we’re having here about growth in your business and addressing the needs of the most influential buyers of automotive industry products, including cars, trucks, service, and all aftermarket products. It’s a big growth in do-it-yourself amongst women, by the way. So as this acceleration continues, as women become more and more powerful shoppers, and having more influence in purchasing and making purchases, it makes good business sense. This is a business equation here.

Kathy: It really does. I appreciate you bringing up that point because sometimes people may shy away from this and think that it is a political discussion, and it can be. There’s a side to that. But really, this is a business conversation. You say it so well, it’s reaching out to the most influential group of buyers you can that, by the way, are being ignored. So it’s such a big opportunity in my mind for marketing. I appreciate you reiterating that. Really, Jody, I just want to stop and just say thank you so much for your time today, and all this wonderful information that you’re sharing with us, and these lessons that we can learn. It’s just been a pleasure to have you on the show today.

Jody DeVere: Thank you, Kathy. Again, it’s my favorite topic. I’m very passionate about that. Always a pleasure to be helpful to my industry and learning more how to wow women with a great experience.

Kathy: Absolutely. Before we leave, I’d like to know if you have any marketing resources, any books or podcasts or anything that you might suggest for women who want to get into the automotive industry or marketing or just something to help them move forward in their careers?

Jody DeVere: Well, again, if you want to learn more about marketing to women from the experts, I would invite you to join us in New York at October for the She Means Business Week, is what it’s called. Two days of marketing to women. We didn’t even talk about marketing to moms, which is a subset, and very influential market, the Marketing to Moms Conference. Join us, industry professionals, at the Marketing to Women Conference in Orlando in June. There, we have a whole track on marketing and selling to women. We bring in experts from different … And also case studies of dealerships and other automotive industry companies doing well with women.

Join us. There, you’ll get a lot of these stats. Also, meet some of these great minds. By the way, the Women in Automotive Conference is not just for women. It’s for men and women to learn about the women’s market, both from a retail point of view in selling, but also in hiring and recruiting and retaining, developing women leaders. So join us in June. Of course, I have lot of books on my shelf that you can relate to, but I would really … What I would encourage you to do is to go to Amazon … This is what I always suggest … And type in in search in the books marketing to women, and it’s going to bring up all of the latest and greatest … And please read titles that are no older than two years old.

Kathy: Okay.

Jody DeVere: Remember what I said about … But there are some tremendous authors in there and new innovative authors that are producing new books that are coming out. The other resource that I always send people to is Catalyst. Catalyst, Women in Automotive and Catalyst. They’ve actually compiled a lot of these stats in one place online for you to look at some of the remarkable statistics in regards to the marketing to women and careers with women. So there’s a couple of resources to utilize.

Kathy: Well, fantastic. That’ll keep us all busy with those resources, definitely.

Jody DeVere: So on the marketing to women and marketing to moms site, there’s a section called Fast Facts. It is a compilation of marketing to women and marketing to mom facts. It is a PDF you can download, really great info, all in one nice, easy sheet.

Kathy: Great. Well, all right, Jody. I’d like to thank you so much for your time. You’ve shared so many great lessons with us. It’s been great networking with you in the Show Runner Network. Thank you, once again.

Jody DeVere: Thank you for having me, Kathy. Have a great day.

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