Advertising for senior living has changed dramatically in the last two decades. Newspaper print ads and telephone books (remember those?) might have been an effective strategy circa 2000.
But when’s the last time you consulted the Yellow Pages? And while print ads might still play a role in your ad strategy today, they’re certainly not the only advertising game in town, not when you have Google AdWords and Facebook advertising to consider.
What’s a senior living community to do? Hire an advertising agency on top of an outsourced marketing agency? Or can a good marketing agency handle everything—marketing and advertising?
The short answer is yes. Yes, you could work with two separate agencies—one for advertising and one for marketing. And yes, you could work with one marketing agency that manages everything in-house.
We’re fans of the latter approach—using one agency to do everything—for three important reasons.
1. Senior living advertising and senior living marketing should work in harmony, not in silos.
When you work with two separate agencies—one focused on advertising and the other focused on marketing—it’s easy for everyone to slip into a silo mentality where the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing.
Too often we see miscommunication or lack of communication altogether when multiple agencies are involved (even despite good intentions). This can result in mistakes like inconsistent messaging between the ads and the actual website that the ads point to.
The most successful advertising and marketing work together toward the same ultimate goal—attracting more leads that convert into move-ins. And this is much easier to accomplish when everyone is in the same agency.
2. Things are much less likely to fall through the cracks when you work with one agency that oversees everything.
Today’s advertising can be complex because you have to juggle multiple channels, multiple pubs and platforms within each channel, different creative, and various flights. Think print ads in newspapers and magazines. Digital versions for the online versions of those pubs. Radio spots. Google AdWords. Facebook advertising. Remarketing ads. The Google Display Network. And that’s just the beginning.
If your advertising and marketing teams are in separate agencies, it can be easy—too easy—for something important to fall through the cracks, like deadlines or changes to messaging.
For example, if a digital ad promotes a new ad-specific landing page on your website, the marketing agency will typically be in charge of creating the landing page, not the advertising agency. Think of how easy it could be for the ad to go live and yet the landing page doesn’t exist because someone either forgot to inform the marketing agency or forgot to follow up to make sure the landing page was all set.
Collaboration that happens in-house means mistakes and miscommunications like this can easily be avoided.
3. Consolidating everything under the same roof will likely save you money over the long haul.
If you’re working with one agency to handle everything soup to nuts, you’ll get better pricing overall because everything falls under one vendor instead of being spread across two.
Plus, a senior living marketing agency that also offers ad services will already have established relationships with the right advertising partners, which also saves time and money. And the best agencies will pass these savings onto you.
If you do decide to work with a separate ad agency, follow these tips at the very least:
- Research and vet different senior living advertising agencies the same way you would any vendor or partner.
- Make sure the ad agency has experience with ad buys in the senior living space. Ask about other senior living clients they’ve worked with, quiz them on their industry knowledge, and ask them to share a preliminary plan outlining their ideas for ad placements.
- Make sure you connect your marketing agency to the senior living advertising agency you ultimately choose. Members from both agencies should be involved in strategy planning and calls—and have access to the same internal documents and calendars.
- Keep in mind that not all marketing agencies have expertise in advertising. So sometimes you might not have a choice. If you love your marketing agency, but they don’t do ad buys, you’ll need to work with a separate ad agency.
- Make sure your marketing agency has real advertising experience if you decide to task them with handling your advertising as well. Again, anyone can claim to have this expertise.