When it comes to buying a vehicle, conventional wisdom asserts, all mothers are pretty much alike.
More than anything else, they want safety and plenty of storage room. They prefer minivans and SUVs to haul the kids from school to soccer practice to piano lessons.
Right? Maybe not.
The outdoor-loving "granola mom" is very different from the career-minded "blue-suit mom." And both have different needs and desires from the entrepreneurial "empty-nester mom."
These classifications of mothers are among more than 30 lifestyle categories defined by Maria Bailey, a former vice president of loyalty marketing for AutoNation Inc. The Chrysler group has hired Bailey, 41, to help sharpen its marketing focus on women with children.
"Manufacturers have so much information on their consumers," Bailey told Automotive News. "But they don't do a very effective job of using all of the data."
Bailey notes that women influence about 80 percent of vehicle purchasing decisions. So why, she asks, is auto advertising so laden with sports themes that often don't resonate with mothers? Why do salespeople at dealerships so often emphasize vehicle colors and audio features when they talk with mothers?
Julie Roehm, the Chrysler group's director of marketing communications, says the company sees "opportunities in some key areas" to sell more vehicles to women with children.
"It's not that we haven't been marketing to moms, but we wanted to ratchet it up another level," Roehm says. "What (Bailey) has been able to do for us is to segment various aspect of moms and what makes certain moms tick."
Bailey says she is matching Chrysler group vehicles with the market segments she defines. "Granola moms would be great for the Jeep brand, for instance," she says.
Chrysler is preparing to roll out what it calls its "Moms Initiative." Roehm declined to discuss details of the program.