Not many years ago, building and marketing strategy was simple and clear cut. The number of marketing channels used by your prospective senior living customers was comparatively limited and it was easier to be consistent with your messaging across all of the media in your marketing plan.
How things have changed! The significant increase in the number of communications channels available to consumers today (to both receive and send information) has created new opportunities for providers to engage and inform the customer. At the same time, it has also created new challenges in messaging consistency.
As we observe the senior living industry and assist communities across the country in optimizing their marketing efforts, one thing is abundantly clear: many communities fail in effectively executing the integrated online and offline messaging and website portion of their integrated marketing plans. Unfortunately, both are essential for growth in today’s marketplace and the end result of their ineffective implementation is underperforming strategies and budget inefficiency.
The times have changed – is your community on board?
It’s a safe bet that the growth of new innovative channels won’t be stopping anytime soon. Technology continues to expand the options and consumers continue to adopt them for everyday use. Think smartphones!
The addition of relevant communication options means that your senior living marketing staff has many more “arrows in their quiver,” (i.e. many more potential ways to reach your target audience). The key is to make sure each arrow flies straight and true by sharing the same consistent message to your various market segments – senior adults, their adult children, referral sources, current residents and their families – across all channels.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the importance of communicating your value proposition or value exchange. It remains critical to emphasize your brand’s value to prospective customers. How do you solve their problems? How do you respond to their needs and expectations? How do you cater to their preferences? How do you do it better? Why should they choose you instead of one of your competitors?
SageAge Strategies’ Director of Client Services, Traditional & Online Media, Adrienne Mansfield Straub, says, “Strategic marketing integration is about consistency of compelling points of differentiation, your brand’s value to the customer and brand standards across all mediums. While your call-to-action may change (“call for a tour,” “visit our website,” “follow us on Facebook”) what you say and how you say it should remain the same. Your online marketing and social media should abide by the same brand standards used in your traditional marketing efforts. Content should use the same ‘voice’ and deliver the same message regardless of the channel.”
Consistent messaging synergy magnifies the overall effect
When each of the various channels complement and support one another, they reinforce the message and magnify the results of your plan. One bank of lights will not illuminate an entire stadium, but a series of them – with the same intensity and focus – can. To modify an age old marketing principal, today, effective messaging is dependent on reach, frequency and the consistency of your message across all relevant media.
Don’t overlook any channels to your customer
If you are an Assisted Living Community, you’ll want to make sure the message you send out in your ad campaigns, online content and collateral materials is reinforced on your social media platform(s).
For example, if one of your chief strengths/differentiators is a vibrant social environment (which it should be according to a recent national study on what features are most influential in attracting and retaining residents), your Facebook page should support that via photos, videos and testimonial comments by residents who are enjoying life in your community.
Don’t forget to include your sales staff in your integrated marketing plan. They are a central part of any marketing effort and should be emphasizing the same exceptional social opportunities and any other compelling features you are currently promoting when they speak with prospects.
The emerging science of online marketing and social media strategy
Today, considerable science has developed around online and social marketing technologies in terms of creating, measuring, tracking and optimizing business results. Due to the complexity of the knowledge involved, it is often beneficial to utilize specialists at leading senior living consulting organizations. They can help you to build the most effective plan to optimize your results and make the most efficient use of your finite budget resources. These data-drive plans can increase your prospect pool and improve your conversion rates. Alex Boyce, the Director of Technology and Online Marketing at SageAge, explains, “Today, data is everywhere and with it comes the ability to target a specific audience, which increases the efficacy of advertising and garners more data. It feeds itself and distills the campaign clearer.”
According to a study conducted by Forrester, “while most (78%) companies believe (integrated multichannel marketing) is important or very important, more than half (51%) still believe their current marketing efforts are underperforming due to a lack of data to analyze and apply.” In our third article in the series, we will review ways to collect and utilize important marketing data to achieve a more effective, cost-efficient message.
Help is available
If you are a senior living community considering the need for assistance in increasing sales through a fully-optimized, integrated marketing strategy, we encourage you to contact us for more information. SageAge Strategies is an award-winning marketing and consulting organization that operates exclusively in the senior living market. For more information, please call or e-mail Adrienne Mansfield Straub at 570-601-1720 / firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit us on our website at https://www.sageage.com/.