Strength in “Numbers”: Tips for Identifying and Launching Profitable Service Expansion

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by | Nov 24, 2015 | Marketing & Branding

Malissa Illiano, MBA, Senior Consultant and Director of Market Research for SageAge Strategies, says, “Today, senior living communities are asking many questions about the future — and rightly so. We’re seeing increased forms of competition in the marketplace, tightening margins, sweeping demographic trends and significant changes in attitudes and preferences among a new generation of purchasers of senior living services.

“To remain relevant, competitive and profitable, growth-focused communities are seeking ways to reposition themselves in the marketplace to sustain their long-term viability and operational success now. In doing so, these enlightened communities also recognize that program expansion and the addition of new service lines is not without risk – particularly financial risk.

“The difference between an unqualified success, just breaking even and financial disaster can be razor thin. Understanding the true potential of service opportunities in your market is crucial to making the correct business decisions and allocating your precious resources appropriately – think ROI.

“Therefore, the need for precision research and planning is paramount. More provider organizations are doing their homework, crunching the numbers and preparing service plans that are evidence-based and hardwired for success. We are currently working with the leadership of many of these organizations to provide the market research and demand analysis expertise they require to ensure the most precise intelligence gathering, planning and development possible. Done well, identifying service parameters for profitable expansion is a rigorous, intensive process.”

Proven Techniques for Ensuring Your Successful Expansion

Our research and planning support includes a variety of proven tools and techniques. Some examples include:

  • Evaluating and determining 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.
  • Providing 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 the specific services being considered.
  • Capturing 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.
  • Developing a detailed competitor analysis spreadsheet for easy service line comparison.
  • Completing 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 quantify opportunities in the marketplace.

Key Service Identification and Expansion Opportunities for 2016

Using these and other tools, we are currently supporting several provider communities and ownership groups in researching and testing market opportunities that define some of the primary trends in the evolution of senior living.

They include:

  • Memory Care – With the growing trend of memory care assisted living, many communities are also considering the addition of dedicated memory care offerings to their communities and campuses. This is the biggest new development trend of the past few years, as the need continues to grow.

    We have several clients that are focused specifically on this service expansion opportunity. Our work with these clients includes both assessing opportunities for creating memory care neighborhoods in existing communities as well as developing new freestanding purpose-built facilities to meet the unique needs of memory care residents.

  • In-Home Care – Life Plan Communities or CCRCs are now looking to expand outside of their walls. At present, we have many clients that are moving in to home care offerings based upon our market identification and planning activities. For these types of service expansions, we have completed a full market needs assessment and demand analysis, including determining competitive offerings, identifying niche services, developing appealing program and service packages, branding, integrated marketing plans and start-up/operational support.

    For example, we have been working closely with Jodi Gibble, Director of Marketingfor The Highlands at Wyomissing, a Life Care CCRC in Reading, Pa. Through this partnership, the new Highlands Home Care is being finalized forintroduction in 2016. Ms. Gibble adds, “SageAge provided us with the expertise and resources we needed to make the right decisions. This included evaluating the market environment, making the decision to move forward and creating a home care offering that had maximum appeal to our target audience.”

    Another recent partnership with Luthercare and Moravian Manor, two well-respected and established, faith-based CCRCs in Lititz, Pa., resulted in the creation of Your Neighborhood Connection. This is a joint home care venture between the two organizations that sought opportunities to expand their missions and deliver services to those who may not be able to afford to live in their communities.

    Carl McAloose, Luthercare CEO, says, “We had been considering the potential of home care as a means of enabling us to serve more area seniors and support our organizational Mission. The expertise of SageAge Strategies was invaluable to us in vetting the market potential and supporting our successful introduction of this new service line for community.”

  • Next Generation Independent Living – Communities today are also closely examining their independent living offerings to ensure that they will be attractive to a new generation of consumers. Many providers are considering renovation or expansion efforts – and with many of these initiatives, they are thinking outside the box. They are evaluating innovative new offerings with trendy, modern spaces and amenities.

    Presbyterian Senior Living’s Kirkland Village campus in Bethlehem, Pa., is just one example. Our team has worked with them on a full market demand analysis for active adult and independent living offerings.

    Among our service identification and expansion activities were focus groups conducted with Kirkland Village’s leads database and wait list individuals. Based on the resulting feedback, we worked with their leadership to develop very specific recommendations for a hybrid-type active adult/independent living villa/apartment offering. They are now proceeding with the branding and successful expansion of this “active adult neighborhood” within the overall community.

  • Boomer Living – As part of their long-term planning process, communities are also looking to the future and trying to strategically plan for the tidal wave of boomers who are just now starting to come of target age. What do they like and not like about the present state of senior living? What do they reject that their parents accepted? What housing options do they prefer? Do they want to buy or rent? What services and amenities will they demand or go elsewhere for?

    Understanding and incorporating boomer’s expressed needs, concerns, preferences and expectations into your strategic plans might be the highest stakes challenge of all. Getting it right by gathering the accurate information will be crucial for our entire industry.

Responding Well to Changing Times Is Existential

Malissa adds, “Today, if you have more questions than answers, you’re not alone. Our marketplace is changing. We as an industry need to respond to those changes and the senior adults who are driving them as swiftly and effectively as possible to remain relevant in their minds.

“What is most important is that you obtain answers to your questions that are rooted in accurate data. Anything less will compromise your strategy and place your future plans at risk. The good news is that there are many proven tools that SageAge is successfully employing today for communities nationwide to provide them with the very highest probability of success.”

We Provide Precision Identification and Expansion into Profitable Services

If you are a senior living community seeking to expand into profitable new services on your current campus or to develop a facility at a new site, we encourage you to contact us today for more information.

SageAge Strategies is a multiple 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. Learn more now by contacting Adrienne Mansfield Straub today at 570-601-1720 ext. 100 / adrienne@sageagestrategies.com.

Start growing with us today!

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