Marketing to Women Motorcycle Riders: Lessons Learned

Marketing to Women Motorcycle Riders: Lessons Learned

Published by Kris Growcott - Owner / Draggin on 5th Feb 2020

Last year, we released a new ad promoting our Comfort line motorcycle jeans for women. And boy did it light up the internet

Our little video quickly racked up almost 200,000 views, was shared over 1300 times, received more than 2500 reactions and prompted over 500 comments. Some riders didn't understand why we were using a dancer to promote the jeans. Some thought we had completely missed our mark. Others were downright offended. A lot couldn't understand why our jeans (in their opinion) were so expensive. Many, simply loved it.

Here's the thing. They were all right. Yep, all of them.

We attempted to respond to as many comments as we could. We tried to provide greater context. Give people a better idea of what we were trying to do and why. Generally, when we were able to respond, we could turn haters into, maybe not lovers, but at least people willing to give us a chance.

And we considered that a win.

That being said, we wanted to share what we have learned a long the way. What we hope will make us better, more understanding, and in the end, improve our ability to meet the needs of women who ride.

Don't assume anything

After over 23 years in the motorcycle industry, we assumed most riders had heard of Draggin and understood the basics of our products. We were wrong. In particular, we were wrong about women in the riding community. Turns out, most women riders have never been directly advertised to. They've always been advertised to on the periphery with a secondary message like "we have women's products too". Even Draggin, which was owned and run by a woman for years, really didn't do a great job of it. Obviously, because we found out that many women riders just didn't know of Draggin at all. Or of the protection we offer in our products. Yep, assumption was our first mistake. Which lead to others.

Sometimes it's best to keep it simple

Whether they think it missed the mark or not, most would acknowledge that our ad is beautiful. It's well shot, the performance is refined and graceful, and the music really resonates. But it does spend a lot of time being creative, not necessarily informative. While we were attempting to do things differently, what we found was that riders just wanted more information. They wanted to know exactly what the jeans were and how they related to them, in a real way. This is where our assumptions got in the way. We thought riders knew those things. That our jeans protected like leather. That they were lined with Kevlar® aramid fibers and had been proven, over 23 years, to do what they were supposed to do. But, we were wrong. And because of that, we skipped some of the most important parts, and just explained the 'new' qualities. Which are great (who doesn't want greater comfort and less swamp butt) but are secondary to protection.

We can't please everyone, but we should try harder to

The new jeans in our ad were the first new Draggin jeans for women riders in almost a decade. That shouldn't be the case. The population of women who ride is the only healthy, growing portion of the riding community. All other segments, are shrinking (read less men are riding). And while they share many of the same needs as their male counterparts, women riders have some unique ones too. We're not perfect, we still have unisex products, but we're going to continue to see what we can do to improve the options out there for women wanting to get on a motorcycle and ride, comfortably and safely.

A thoughtful response can be invaluable

We'll admit it, when we first started to see some of the comments we got disheartened. We really did think that women riders were all going to love our new ad. Once we got over ourselves, we realized that many of the people commenting had some really valid points. And that they were right to raise them. Sometimes they didn't do so in the most tactful way, but still, they were valid. So we set about responding to them. Each comment challenged us to look at what we were doing, what we had missed, and to articulate what we hadn't put in the ad in the first place. The time we spent on these responses ultimately gave us the ability to get the response we had hoped to get, with just the ad. Rather than get defensive, we listened to what the riders were saying, and addressed their concerns. We didn't lie, or put any spin on our responses. We were just truthful. In some instances we turned a negative response into a positive one. In some, we were never going to change the rider's mind, but that wasn't our goal. Our goal was simply to give them the information they needed, so they could have a more informed opinion of our product. We knew they may never become a customer, but our hope was that they'd respect what we were doing and the products we offer.

So, that was our experience. We learned a lot. About women who ride motorcycles. About the motorcycle industry. And about ourselves. We hope the next ad we put out will stir just as much excitement. But, maybe not for the same reasons. 

Thanks for reading. 

If you'd like to see the video for yourself, you can watch it out on our Facebook page here.

If you're interested in our women's motorcycle jeans, then you can check them out here.

And if you'd like to get 15% off your next Draggin purchase, well, just subscribe to our mailing list down in the footer.