Let’s talk awesome marketing strategies for senior living. To start, who remembers that great jingle from the 1970’s: “Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun”?
For all of us who grew up with that catchy song, we knew it was about the McDonald’s Big Mac. The special sauce was the magic. It was the distinction between a plain old hamburger and a Big Mac.
OK, so what’s this got to do with your senior living community?
When it comes to marketing strategies for senior living, you must know your community’s special sauce.
Special sauce is a good way to explain how you’re different from your competitors. In other words, your special sauce is what sets you apart.
For example, consider Walmart. Its special sauce is simple: pricing. Everything that Walmart does is specifically about keeping their prices low. Apple’s special sauce is innovation. Nike focuses on their product line. They are the gold standard in athletic wear.
What’s the special sauce in your senior living community? Do you have something that makes your community stand out?
Not sure? Not to worry. The following marketing strategies for senior living will help you create the perfect special sauce recipe for your community.
1. Operational Excellence
Offering quality services at an affordable price—that’s what everyone wants, right? A great example is our friend McDonald’s. It offers a simple, budget-friendly menu. It also maintains consistency in taste, swift service, and efficiency.
2. Product Leadership
This competitive strategy focuses on bringing superior products to the market. Also, the products should ultimately create great experiences for customers. Consider this from a senior living marketing perspective. For example, is your wellness program outstanding? Do you offer a unique dining experience? Talk about them!
3. Service Quality
Delivering consistently superior customer service is the recipe for this special sauce. The secret ingredient? Service resolution. After all, nobody’s perfect. But being able to listen to the customers’ problems so you can work toward a positive resolution is key. Virgin Airlines is a great example of a company that offers full service flights and outstanding customer service.
4. Relationship Differentiation
This special sauce is all about your associates and team members. Their interactions with the customer demonstrate competence, courtesy, credibility, reliability, and responsiveness. This avenue is closely related to service quality. But where service quality mostly focuses on processes and systems, relationship differentiation is all about the people.
The hiring process at Zappos is a great example of how they maintain their relationship differentiation. The recruitment process is like a courtship. They woo people who fit into their culture and who are good people.
5. Reputation Differentiation
Some companies set themselves apart by their reputation. This can be difficult for newer senior living communities, but even they can succeed in establishing a quality reputation through strategic partnerships. In other words, alliances with hospitals, medical staff, and industry thought leaders can establish a company as an expert.
DuPont, for example, has a strong reputation, employing engineers, scientists, and sales reps with solid technical or educational backgrounds.
To help you define your special sauce, ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do your customers choose you rather than your competitors?
- What emotional need does your service fulfill?
- What aspects of your business can your competitors not imitate?
Once you’ve determined your special sauce, make sure that you do the following.
- First, your special sauce isn’t something you simply throw around in senior living marketing copy. Your company should be walking the talk when it comes to fulfillment.
- Second, employees should be able to articulate your special sauce.
- Third, make sure your special sauce is part of your culture at all levels.
- Finally, make sure you promote how great your special sauce is across all marketing channels!