How to Build It so They WILL Come

SA-926_IfYouBuildIt

May 20, 2015 | Marketing & Branding

Over the past 10-15 years, the terms “evidence-based” and “best-practice” have entered our vocabulary and affected the way we do some aspects of our work. Made popular in the world of medicine, evidence-based protocols, or “care pathways,” provide physicians with standardized processes that have been proven to provide the best possible outcomes for patients.

Likewise, evidence-based approaches also have their place in the senior living world as well. On this blog, we have written several articles on best practices for maximizing SEO, optimizing your content via social media, getting the most out of your social activities and writing successful blogs in light of changing Google search algorithms.

While all of these functions are very important to senior living communities’ growth and success, the areas that potentially carry the highest stakes and greatest long-term impact involve the expansion of your community and new development.

Why Doing Your Homework Is Vital

Malissa Illiano, MBA, Senior Consultant & Director of Market Research for SageAge Strategies, says, “These days there is simply too much at risk for senior living leaders to trust their gut feelings on big budget strategic decisions, such as building a new wing or developing a second location. More and more, prudent CEOs, administrators; and their boards are seeking market-based evidence so that these types of projects make sense in their marketplace and are worth the investment of their finite resources.”

“To that point, focused research efforts can identify the probabilities of success and answer questions, such as ‘Should we expand into memory care?’;‘Is there a market for additional independent living units?’;‘Does a greater short-term rehabilitation presence make sense for us?’;’Should we buy that green field in the next county for a second community?’ Not surprisingly, with so many ‘big-ticket’ questions in play today, market feasibility and demand analysis studies are one of the fastest growing aspects of our work with client-partners.”

Feasibility Analysis Provides Answers That Lead to Correct Decisions

Understanding the true potential of select services in your market is crucial to making the correct business decisions and allocating your precious resources appropriately. In some cases, you might even find that not moving forward is the best of all options. Sometimes the deal you don’t make is the best one of all.

Market feasibility and demand analysis initiatives provide you with a clear picture of the true potential of your market and enable you to make data-supported decisions – both quantitative and qualitative – on the value of the opportunity and the projected return on your investment. At SageAge, these market evaluation studies typically consist of the following common steps:

  • Understand the specific area(s) of opportunity (i.e. expansion and/or new development) being considered within the context of your overall growth strategy, and tailor a research plan accordingly.
  • Evaluate and determine the actual primary market area, as well as the secondary market area if relevant, taking into consideration geography, natural travel barriers, common traffic patterns and other relevant features for the area.
  • Provide a detailed demographic analysis of your targeted senior adult population in the market area, including overall population, growth rates, housing value and income levels, as well as a review of the population for assisted living and memory care assisted living services.
  • Evaluate current marketplace competitive units for the target services in your market area via in-person “mystery shopping,” and provide information on the number of units, estimated occupancy levels and pricing structures currently offered by those competitors.
  • Include a review of the strengths and weaknesses of each competing community, a detailed review of the sales approach and effectiveness of the marketing team at each community.
  • Develop a detailed competitor analysis spreadsheet for easy comparison.
  • Provide information on target market needs, problems and preferences, as well as points of differentiation that will add to the market appeal of your prospective plans.
  • Provide details on any relevant independent living, assisted living, and memory care assisted living projects in the market area.
  • Complete a current market demand analysis for buy-in and rental independent living, assisted living, and memory care assisted living utilizing all statistically relevant market data, including calculation and analysis of market penetration rates, to help determine opportunities in the marketplace.

Adds Ms. Illiano, “For the convenience of providers, we offer market feasibility and demand analysis services in two separate formats. The first is a comprehensive ‘desktop’ analysis of all information that is relevant to the project. The second consists of a highly intensive and detail-oriented ‘in-market’ assessment that provides a comprehensive ground level perspective on such factors as competitors’ facilities, market perceptions, sales techniques, marketing tactics and future plans – all designed to provide depth and context in valuing your opportunity, and identifying potential areas of advantage for your project. Ultimately, we provide you with a blueprint for making your decision and getting it right.”

We Would Love to Hear from You!

If you have comments or questions on the use of market research or evidence-based strategy to successfully grow you organization, we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any experiences you’ve had in these areas, whether they have been successful or not. Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Proven Market Research Expertise is Available to Guide Your Growth Strategy

If you are a senior living community considering the need for assistance in evaluating opportunities for expansion on your current campus or the development of a facility at a new site, we encourage you to contact us for more information. SageAge Strategies is an award-winning strategic growth and marketing organization that operates exclusively in the senior living industry and was recently named one of Inc. Magazine’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America. For more information, please call or e-mail Adrienne Mansfield Straub at 570-601-1720 ext. 202 / adrienne@sageagestrategies.com.

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