Senior Living SMART: 10 Interesting Facts About Our Marketing Journey
Senior Living SMART is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year! Through the end of the year, we’re going off script each month and sharing a bonus blog post in addition to our regular marketing-related content. (Check out last month’s installment: 10 Ways Senior Living Marketing Has Changed in 10 Years.)
Since September is our actual anniversary month, we thought it would be fun to share 10 interesting facts about our marketing journey.
1. The “SMART” in our name “Senior Living SMART” isn’t us shouting about how intelligent we are.
It’s an acronym, and it stands for the following:
Strategy. Marketing. Analytics. Resources. Technology.
All five elements are at the core of what we do every day for our clients. (More on this below.)
2. We haven’t always focused on senior living marketing.
In fact, during our initial launch in 2012, we were focused on being a go-to resource for all the various departments within senior living communities. To accomplish this, we curated a marketplace filled with vendors that we carefully vetted. We also offered tons of free and paid resources.
From the beginning, our resources always reflected and reinforced the SMART acronym. And while our founders—Deborah Howard and Andréa Catizone—have excellent insights into every department, their true expertise is in senior living marketing and sales since that’s where they’ve spent the bulk of their careers.
So back in 2012, it was no surprise that so many of the requests that Debbie and Andréa fielded from customers revolved around marketing and sales topics: Can you help us build a senior living website? How do we generate leads from our website? Can you help us create downloadable content? How can we improve conversions?
It quickly became clear that Senior Living SMART should sharpen its focus instead of trying to be everything to everybody. And so, we evolved into the Senior Living SMART we are today: a nimble digital marketing agency that focuses on helping senior living communities attract the right prospects and convert those prospects into move-ins, all while following industry best practices.
3. But we didn’t adjust our name because we didn’t have to.
The SMART acronym was even more apt once we focused only on senior living marketing and sales:
- Strategy. Strategy is at the heart and soul of what we do. Everything starts with a sound marketing strategy.
- Marketing. Marketing has evolved dramatically over the last two decades. And even more so for senior living communities over the last 10 years since our industry tends to be a late adopter. Digital marketing has created a major shift, and not all community marketing and sales teams have been prepared.
- Analytics. As the saying goes, you can’t improve what you don’t measure. You must have built-in metrics for measuring every marketing campaign.
- Resources. We remain a popular go-to destination among senior living marketing and sales teams because of all the free content we make available. And we still have a Marketplace with approved vendors, too.
- Technology. We couldn’t call ourselves digital marketing experts if we didn’t embrace all things digital—and all the technology that supports our digital marketing endeavors. We love teaching senior living marketing and sales teams about different technology, whether it’s HubSpot, a keyword tool, or on-site functionality, like live chat.
4. We’ve doubled in size every year since we started. (Even during the pandemic.)
We have an amazing team and amazing clients, and we’ve consistently grown both since the very beginning.
When the pandemic hit, we didn’t skip a beat, either. Since we’ve always been a virtual agency, our team was already adept at navigating a world that could only happen in virtual spaces like Zoom. So we were able to continue servicing clients. But we also taught senior living communities how to leverage their own virtual technologies during this stressful and chaotic time as well.
5. But despite our success, we are still very much the “shoemaker’s children.” And we’re OK with that!
You’ve probably heard the adage that the shoemaker’s kids are running around barefoot or in old shoes because the shoemaker is too busy taking care of their own customers.
That definitely sounds like us! We don’t have any print brochures. We’ve never run a paid ad. And we don’t have a sales team. What we do have is a great digital presence (which further proves our expertise in all things digital marketing) and excellent relationships with people in the industry.
6. Despite being a digital agency, we still do lots of print work for our clients.
Other digital marketing agencies eschew traditional marketing methods like direct mailers. We say NOT SO FAST. Traditional methods are still effective with older audiences (like Boomers) provided you properly integrate these methods with your overall marketing efforts, including digital.
To date, we have printed 10 million pieces of sales collateral materials, direct mail, and flyers through our Smartstores.
7. But just in case you’re suddenly questioning our digital acumen . . .
We LOVE digital marketing—and all things digital in general. We’re geeks at heart. To wit: Our senior living marketing podcast has over 6500 downloads.
8. There’s one thing that our team members all have in common.
Everyone has pets! We don’t know about you, but we think animal lovers are special people—fun, compassionate, and creative.
9. Our founder and CEO, Deborah Howard, has a fun little-known fact about her below.
Debbie says, “I had a children’s band called KidRock (I wish I had registered/ trademarked the name). We recorded an album and had a cable TV show: Circle Time Singalong.”
10. And our president and COO, Andréa Catizone, has a fun fact in the same vein.
Andréa says, “I was in a made-for-TV movie for PBS when I was 6.”
By the way, all of our team members share similar fun facts about themselves in their bios. Get to know them here.
Bonus fun fact: The success we’ve had over the last decade wouldn’t have been possible without our clients.
A special thank you to all of our clients, current and past, for making us who we are today! And to those who aren’t clients (yet!), but who’d like to be part of the Senior Living SMART family, let’s chat!