The Senior Living Marketing Rebellion
I recently listened to a Duct Tape Marketing podcast featuring Mark Shaefer, author of Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins. The podcast addresses the “new reality” of marketing strategy, and the insights are timely and relevant for the senior housing and care industry.
The new reality is that the customer is in control of their own journey—and no two customers are alike. The buying journey in senior living is complex and emotional, often involving multiple decision makers and influencers. This journey is rarely linear, so today’s marketers have to create an environment for prospects to be able to engage with the brand at every stage of their journey, meeting them wherever they are, providing the information they need, nurturing them along the path, and keeping them engaged until they make the decision to move forward.
Let’s examine the three major shifts affecting senior living marketing today: access to information, expectation of transparency, and the loss of control.
1. Shift in the Access to Information
Information is power, and we senior living marketers used to have it. Prospects had to call or visit the community to get any information. For example, pricing, floor plans, and marketing collaterals were provided personally or snail-mailed out. And prospects waited for the information to come in their mailboxes!
Today, prospects expect to get information about everything on your website. And if you don’t give it to them, they will quickly move to a competitor or third-party lead aggregator site. We are marketing to a “shop-around” society, and they expect to be able to independently research and compare their options.
2. Shift in Transparency.
There is no room for secrets in today’s marketing strategy. Trust in business, brands, and advertising has declined for the last 10 years, and today’s prospects want to self-qualify or self-disqualify without a sales pitch.
What can a senior living marketer do? One of the most important things is putting your pricing on your website (the starting rates at the very least). If you don’t provide your pricing, the lead aggregators will, and you will be buying back your own leads!
3. Shift in Control
Our prospects are becoming the marketers; we no longer control the conversation. They listen to each other, they learn from each other, and they trust each other (more than they trust us). We no longer control our message—social channels and review sites do. Our job has shifted from leading the conversation to finding ways of being invited into the conversations that prospects are already having.
We can, however, initiate conversations and offer expertise and resources, such as blogs, guides, and infographics. And we can make sure that our messaging intersects with where prospects are researching.
Remember, Rebellious Times Require Radical Changes
Successful senior living marketing today starts with the right strategy. Operators that jump at every bright shiny new marketing tactic will end up wasting a lot of money without results. There is no point in spending budget on a paid digital advertising campaign if the website is not designed to convert the leads generated. More traffic does not equal more prospects, and more leads won’t always translate into the right leads.