There’s an old parable that tells the story of a group of blind men who wanted to know what an elephant looked like. Each man reaches out to touch the elephant and explains to the others what they experience. One takes hold of the trunk and exclaims that it’s “like a snake.” Another touches the leg and says the elephant is “like a tree.” Another says an elephant is like a wall because of its side, while yet another says it is like a rope because of its tail, and so on. This parable is used to illustrate the importance of looking at the whole picture (or situation) instead of just individual parts.
In many ways, this parable can be applied to marketing campaigns. It’s easy to take a “one step at a time” approach to your campaigns, crafting each aspect as it’s needed. But without knowing what the elephant looks like, how will you be able to put each of the disparate parts into one cohesive picture?
“There are so many different ways for consumers to receive messages these days, and if you’re only using one or two channels independent of each other, it’s very easy for your message to become confused and muddled.” says Melinda Schmitz, President of SageAge Strategies. “Instead of presenting yourself as an assured and clear expert in your field, your prospects could easily become confused as to your message, your brand and your key advantages and benefits.”
In order to make sure all your messages are working as hard as possible and in tandem with each other – in other words, to paint a clear picture of the elephant – you need an integrated marketing approach.
What Is Integrated Marketing?
There are a lot of fancy definitions for the term “integrated marketing,” but we like to keep it simple. The word integrated means “to combine separate things into one whole thing” so an integrated marketing campaign means “a marketing campaign where all the individual tactics link up into one big campaign.” In other words, all communication from your brand works together as well as separately.
Think of some big-name brands: Coke. McDonalds. Nike. Every aspect of their communications has the same look, sound and feel. Sure, their social media platform performs a different function than their billboard campaigns, but all their communication drives to one key factor: getting you to buy/use their product. The sum of their messaging is greater than the parts by themselves.
That, in a nutshell, is integrated marketing. For senior living communities, this translates a marketing communication strategy that wraps the brand and message into a neat package around your customers, and helps move them through the buying process in a seamless and consistent way.
Why Is This Important?
According to SeniorHousingNews.com, there are some serious shifts going on when it comes to Boomers and the senior living space. In a recent Google survey, 75% of respondents noted that they use search engines to find information about senior living options. This really isn’t surprising, given that the Boomer generation spends up to 23 hours per week using the Internet. Many Boomers have smartphones, and most of them are technologically savvy enough to have the Internet as their first stop.
“As your community tries to reach this new wave of retirees, it’s important to know how they’re spending their time and wherethey’re searching for information,” says Melinda. “Gone are the days when putting an ad in the newspaper would catch the eye of potential residents. Now, seniors have more choices than ever, which means that you have to have a multichannel approach when it comes to getting in front of potential leads. The old rule of thumb is that it takes seven times for your marketing message to sink in, so you need to be proactive about when and where you’re reaching seniors.”
The Benefits of Integrated Marketing
It saves money and increases profits.
Creating marketing messages costs time and money. By integrating your campaigns, you can get rid of any need for duplication because you’ll share assets across all channels. This saves you resources, time, money and stress.
It provides a clear focus.
A clear, consistent and integrated marketing campaign saves your company money and helps you better cut through the clutter of other messages they’re receiving. By delivering the same message across multiple channels at regularly scheduled touchpoints, you’ll stay top of mind and brand awareness will sink in, giving you a leg up on the competition.
It positions you as experts in your field and builds trust.
Your Boomer consumers are savvy and skeptical of marketing messages – more so than any generation before them. By integrating your campaigns and keeping your message consistent, you position yourself as a “go-to” expert and can gain the trust and acceptance of your leads.
It helps your leads easily communicate with you in multiple ways.
Besides getting in front of your leads, an integrated marketing campaign makes it easy for them to interact with you. Information spread across several tools (like your website, social media and PPC pages) create more avenues for prospects to become aware, engaged, and ultimately, make a purchase. A lead generation and nurturing campaign can provide timely reminders, provide updated information and special offers that, when presented in a planned sequence, help leads move easily through the stages of the buying process.
It gives you a competitive advantage.
Research suggests that images shared online and offline boost advertising awareness and responses. Consistent images and relevant messages help nurture long-term relationships with customers. SageAge uses CRM and lead databases to identify which prospects need what information when.
It puts you top of mind.
Ultimately, all of your messaging is driving to one goal: getting your leads to convert to paying residents. By keeping a consistent drumbeat and a focused message, you’ll be able to stay in front of your leads so that when it’s time for them to make a decision, your name is at the top of their list.
Clearly Integrate Your Marketing with SageAge Strategies.
For more than 30 years, SageAge Strategies has been helping senior living communities just like yours get their message out there in a clear, consistent and integrated way. Since we’re experts in the senior marketing field, we stay abreast of the latest trends and practices to help you grow your occupancy and convert more leads to residents.
If you need assistance in any areas of senior living development to improve your business results, we invite you to contact us today to learn more about our proven strategies that have transformed other senior living communities like yours.
SageAge Strategies is a multiple-award-winning, strategic growth, marketing and consulting organization that operates exclusively in the unique senior living marketplace. For more information, please call or email 570.601.1720 / firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit us on our website at www.sageage.com/.
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