Campaign to Empower Female Car Buyers Isn’t a Lemon

Winner Community Relations The stereotype that women live to shop doesn't carry over when the it comes to shopping for a new (or used) car. But then who does love the process of haggling over the price and features of a new automobile? So it was a savvy move by Hyundai to create a series of seminars aimed specifically at women to educate and empower them about the car-buying process - whether they buy a Hyundai or not. The program responds to the hard fact that women purchase 49 percent of new cars sold in the U.S., influence 80 percent of all car buying decisions, and spend more than $80 billion each year on cars. Not a good demographic to ignore. Hyundai's multifaceted "Power of the Purse" PR program enhances the company's image among women by offering a free, unbiased car purchasing course to build women's confidence in negotiating on the showroom floor. Workshop topics include: How to do your homework before going to a dealership; Choosing a dealership; Eleven things never to do in a dealership; Servicing dos and don'ts; and FAQs about servicing. Participants are given a concise, easy-to-understand "consumer survival guide" and a brochure on test driving tips as take aways. The 55-minute workshops, held in conjunction with about 10 women's conferences and expos across the country each year, are led by Hyundai Public Relations Manager Donna Kane, who draws on her own memories of purchasing a car by herself as a single mother. She inspired the crux of the campaign and the oft-used mantra emblazoned on promotional materials: "Ever Wish You Could be in the Driver's Seat When it Comes to Buying or Servicing a Car? We'll Show You How." Several workshops are offered during each show. Shows in major markets often feature a sweepstakes drawing for a free Hyundai to draw traffic to their exhibit and encourage workshop participation. Other shows offer $500 rebate coupons redeemable at Hyundai dealerships. And Hyundai's contracts for each show ensure that they are the exclusive car manufacturer exhibiting and grant them first right of refusal for the following year. Launched five years ago, the 1998 budget for Power of the Purse was $385,000. Workshops last year were held in eight major U.S. markets, hotbeds for Hyundai to sell not just cars, but its brand. Hyundai values the ad value of the nearly 179,000 media placements generated by the program at $2.4 million for the same year. Much of the brand-awareness is generated through pre-show media relations efforts. Just one Power of Purse seminar in St. Louis last year, for instance, generated three radio interview and five television appearances for a total of 133 on-air minutes. And of course, soft sell notwithstanding, some of those women do become Hyundai buyers too, impressed by a car company that teaches them empowerment. Pre-workshop and post-workshop surveys of participants allow Hyundai to track workshop effectiveness and lead generation. Typically, only 5 percent of participants pre-show indicate an interest in buying Hyundai while post-workshop, the number soars to 90 percent. This has won over dealerships who see the profit in adding their support to the initiative. Names of participants are forwarded to local dealerships as prospective customers. Sweepstakes entries generated more than 17,000 leads last year. Telemarketing Power of the Purse added another 8,900 names to the contact pool. Dealers have reported an average increase in showroom floor traffic of 500 people after each workshop. And we're guessing a lot of them are women. Return to Top of Page Copyright © 1999 Phillips Publishing International, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Phillips Publishing International, Inc. is prohibited. Phillips and the Phillips logo are trademarks of Phillips Publishing International, Inc.

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