Market Research Series: Staying Competitive and Optimizing Your Offering


Oct 19, 2016 | Market Research

No one would make a major decision, like buying a house, a car or moving to a new town, without doing some research first. In the senior living industry, we expect our clients to spend a considerable amount of time weighing their options and choosing the community that makes the most sense for them.

Similarly, making business decisions – especially major ones, like how to expand a service, expand into a new geographic area, or offer an entirely brand new service – shouldn’t be taken lightly. Our customers do market research on us, so we should similarly engage in market research prior to making business decisions, right?

We’ve outlined the benefits of market research quite a bit recently, as part of our Market Research Series on our blog, but they’re worth reiterating. Good market research can help us discover the underlying demand (or lack of demand) for our offering or service; it can illuminate new, undiscovered opportunities in our chosen location; and it can give us insight into the length of time we can expect our new venture to thrive. That’s not all though.

“An often overlooked benefit of market research is its ability to help us optimize our offering and services at its various stages in the product life cycle,” says Malissa Illiano, Senior Consultant & Director of Market Research at SageAge Strategies. “Market research isn’t always just about building a brand new community, in the right place. It can be a powerful tool in discovering ways to make our initial idea even better, and thus lead to greater success and better staying power.”

Today we’re looking deeper at how market research can specifically be used to take your service or community and optimize it for an even deeper and meaningful impact.

Optimizing Your Offering Through Market Research

Wherever you are in the evolution of your offering, market research can be a useful tool in terms of providing insight into how to improve. Let’s look at using market research to optimize based on your stage of the offering or service creation process.


At this stage, market research can provide us with deep insight into our customer’s needs. Fundamentally, this stage is about discovering a customer’s unmet need. We must be cautious at this stage though, because we can’t assume that research alone will uncover meaningful opportunities for a new service. It’s our responsibility as researchers to look at the big picture, and decide what ventures are sustainable and which ones aren’t.

Key questions to ask at this stage are:

  • Does this service meet a need? How?

  • What other services in this realm are currently attempting to meet this need, and how have they done?

  • What challenges do people face in using the solutions and current options available to them?


So you’re getting your new offering off the ground, having gone through the infancy stage and identified a way to meet a need. Now, the questions you should be asking are:

  • Where do we stand in our market?

  • Where do we want to go in the near and far future?

  • How can we get there?

The great thing about market research is that it can answer all these questions for us, by way of assessing the size of our market, uncovering where opportunities for growth lie, and identifying the factors that play into our customer’s decision-making process.

Using this information can help us make micro (or macro) adjustments to things like product design, marketing techniques, pricing structures and specials/promotions running. This is a great time to be making changes to these things, because we still have the benefit of youth on our side.


At this stage, your service/community has staying power. It’s weathered the early days of uncertainty and has a level of reliability within its market. That’s a great place to be!

That can be problematic, though. Being at a great place makes us hesitant to rock the boat. But, as we all know, adaptation is the key to survival. If we rest on our laurels and settle into familiar comfort, it’s only a matter of time before a competitor swoops in and leaves us behind.

At this stage, the benefits of market research are similar to what they were in the Youth stage, but with different implications. One key difference? We should focus more on retaining existing customers, as opposed to obtaining new ones. (Not that we should neglect the latter, but it’s far more difficult and expensive to recruit a new customer than to retain an existing one!)

Competitive research becomes important here, then. To know what might draw our customers away requires being on top of the practices of our competition. It also requires talking to our customers! Customer satisfaction surveys can lend us insight into where we are succeeding versus where our customers want us to improve, and thus help us meet our customer’s needs at every touchpoint.

Whether you are at the beginning stages of launching a new service or even a brand new community; have a foothold in the marketplace; or have established a long-standing business in your desired location, market research is an invaluable tool in terms of uncovering how to optimize your offering. In an industry where stagnation means failure, research is required at every stage to ensure we remain relevant, competitive, successful and capable of serving the community we care for!

SageAge Strategies is a multiple award-winning, strategic growth and marketing organization that can provide market research expertise for your community. For more information, please call or email Malissa Illiano at 717-695-6740 | [email protected].

Contact us today!

Where Should I Advertise to Seniors and Baby Boomers?

Marketing and advertising to seniors and Baby Boomers doesn’t need to be difficult. We’re here to help.

Senior Living Social Media 101

There’s a lot to know about senior living social media. From choosing a community’s social media platforms to implementing content marketing strategies and more, it can feel overwhelming to even the most seasoned social media gurus. What’s more, according to the Pew...

How To Develop a Senior Living Marketing Plan

What Is a Senior Living Marketing Plan? A marketing plan is also regarded as an advertising strategy that a company, in this case a retirement community, will implement to help them achieve (or exceed) their operational goals and marketing initiatives for a set period...

40 Years and 40 Pieces of Sage Advice

2023 has been a year full of new ideas, growth, and planning for the future. At SageAge, 2023 brings a significant milestone for our company – our 40th anniversary. In honor of our 40 years of delivering strategic marketing and business growth strategies to the senior...

The Best Senior Living CRM: Three Experts Weigh In

Looking to end your days of manually entering customer data in Excel? If so, a customer relationship management (CRM) tool is the perfect choice. Three of our senior living industry experts are weighing in on everything you need to know about CRM. Meet the SageAge...

How To Generate Leads for Senior Living Communities

Are you looking for ways to spark robust lead generation through your senior living marketing strategy? With the right team on your side and the right approach, it might be easier than you think. Check out some of these top ways to generate senior living leads through...

Senior Living SEO: 7 Tactics That Work

Want to discover a cost-effective way to provide value to others while enhancing your senior living strategy? Through Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, you can do just that.  What Is SEO? SEO is about improving your website’s visibility to search engines, increasing...

The Importance of Responding to Online Reviews

Did you know: 95% of people consult reviews before purchasing products or services. 88% of consumers are likely to use a business if they can see the business owner responds to all reviews, whether positive or negative. 87% of consumers used Google to evaluate local...

What Are the Housing Restrictions for Facebook and PPC?

As we know, technology is always changing and adapting. It’s something many of those in the senior housing and marketing fields are used to. One of the most recent changes is making a larger impact on how we target ad audiences on Facebook and through pay-per-click...

The Rise of Senior Living Occupancy

As COVID-19 created a landscape of uncertainty in senior living facilities, experts knew there would be challenges and effects that lasted long after. Although the pandemic continues, many types of senior living communities and care facilities, like continuing care...
Share This