Marketing to women who ride: bring it on!

by on April 21, 2009
in Women Riders

Diane over at Road Captain USA has a wonderful post rounding up a variety of thoughts on International Female Ride Day (May 1) and the designation by Harley Davidson of May as Women Riders Month.

In the comments, the debate continues about the value of women ‘celebrating’ their growing market share in some kind of official or organized way. In particular, Chessie makes some excellent points and questions whether Harley Davidson was the appropriate entity to designate Women Rider’s Month. (She notes that a group such as Motor Maids would likely have taken an approach that was less about profit and more about education or safety.)

I personally don’t have a problem with HD taking the lead and proclaiming a month for women riders. For one thing, they’re only proclaiming it on behalf of themselves: it’s their opportunity to showcase women who ride HD motorcycles, offer specials on gear, host some rides, and generally promote the ideas they’ve developed around the female market.

Perhaps more telling, though, is that in all their long history, groups like Motor Maids have not done this – and now I’m curious as to why.

Why, if their focus all along has been women riders, did they never put the power of their nationwide chapter network behind the task of creating Women Riders Month, perhaps with an awareness or safety focus?  Apparently, such a thing never occurred to them or was not important to them. That’s fine, but that doesn’t make them more deserving now of the attention or the money that may come out of it.

Finally, on the notion that HD is “just trying to make money”: of course they are, and I say let them! This is still a capitalist society (at least for the moment), and they are a business hoping to stay afloat. I have long wished for companies like HD to PLEASE market to women with quality, appropriately-sized clothing, bikes built for my shorter stature, more style choices in accessories, etc. So, personally I welcome them attempting to make money off of me because I have needs and they have something to offer.

While each ride we take is indeed an affirmation regardless of what the calendar or “the MoCo” says, I see nothing wrong with setting aside a day to reflect and celebrate being women who ride. (After all, we love our mothers all year-round, but we still have Mother’s Day!) And, if HD wants to pick a month to focus on me, who am I to argue?

More to the point, if Motor Maids or anyone else wishes to put their own spin on Women Riders Month, or pick a different month altogether, I’m all for that too. As far as I’m concerned, HD may have named it but they’ve only taken the approach that meets their own needs. Other groups, with other needs, should step up and do likewise.

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4 Responses to “Marketing to women who ride: bring it on!”
  1. Road Captain says:

    Thank you for recognizing the post Diana put up and continuing with your own thoughts on the matter. Harley Davidson is going to continue refining their products and marketing strategy for women… because they listened to what women were asking for. Also, be on the look out for HD aiming at a younger market to continue the growth and nurture the future of biking.

  2. Janet says:

    RC, I agree – I think the new XR1200 Sportster is about as close to a sportbike as one can get under the HD nameplate, and I think that bike definitely skews lower on the age scale. I’ve said before (and I’m sure you have too) that HD needs to go down this road to ensure they’re still relevant ten years from now. We are fast-approaching the time when the folks who yearn for that classic Harley image will age themselves out of the market. HD’s GOT to have a strategy to bring in the younger riders. Thanks for reading and commenting! ~ Janet

  3. KT Did says:

    I agree. Why not?! Good point about women riding groups. I for one am glad women are finally getting a little attention. Attention equals awareness. Maybe with someone’s mother, daughter, sister riding, we might get some round of education for the cagers out there. Wishful thinking? Nahhhh… I believe the more the better. The future counts on what we women do today as the women have done in the past for us.

  4. Cindy says:

    My Mom was one of the Motor Maids back in the 40’s and she rode well into her 60’s. My Aunt was buried in her old Motor Maid’s uniform. I think the Motor Maids Do Not or Never will set just a month aside for Marketing…They have set the whole year & some their whole lives in keeping this open for women riders. This for them is not a “market” but really an understanding in life. My mom could out ride most men in her 60’s, she could out ride & out perform me on every skill level and she did it all for the love of the ride. Not for the lime light…I have turned the odometer over on my bike, riding alone or with my kid in tow. The one thing I know for a fact that women are not as supporting as they should be of other women. They hate to see the playing field level. They can’t appreciate that beauty attracts good and that the beauty truly comes from with in. It’s not what makes us look good, it is what makes us feel good that makes us really look good…Take Care & Enjoy Cindy From Idaho

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