Senior living organizations swim in a competitive pool, and the growing senior population knows what they are looking for and how to find it. As a result, many marketing executives are feeling forced to change their tactics. In a nutshell, here are a few ways that senior living providers are finding a competitive edge and improving their offerings at the same time.
According to Senior Housing News, more CMOs are learning that authenticity wins a prospect’s heart. They’re using real photos instead of stock images and involving residents as ambassadors and tour guides. Taking a tour or having lunch with an actual resident of a community will speak volumes and influence decisions on levels that no stock photos or canned pitches can represent.
The locavore movement and the influx into senior living from other hospitality sectors is beginning to influence the individualization of many properties. Executives with additional interests in restaurants or mainstream property management realize the increasing importance of connection to a local community, and the senior living properties they run are no exception. According to Robyn Johnson, director of brand and strategic initiatives for the Goodman Group, Goodman’s properties are “designed by intent for standardized quality of experience, with individuality and autonomy of each property.” When large companies partner with local vendors, prospects can more easily build a sense of home around communities they may be looking to join.
One highly identifiable factor in both prospective customer and resident satisfaction is transparency of cost. Premium, dynamic, and transparent pricing models help sales teams talk more openly about cost, assign more accurate values to units, and allow for flexibility of market demands. Traci Bild, CEO of consulting firm Bild & Co., believes that “if [communities] don’t tell, that sends the sign that there’s something to hide.” In an information age, when 57% of a customer’s decision is made before they make contact with a company, senior communities just can’t afford to keep their prices to themselves.
A Baby Boomer’s eyes and ears are increasingly attuned to good design. In senior living, design must attend not only to aesthetic elements but also to aspects of wellness and community engagement. The ALFA Senior Living by Design Awards have begun recognizing and rewarding the increasing sophistication of design innovation in senior living. This year’s awards focused on the senior lifestyle, with nods to concepts like general stores or sensory testing rooms. Innovations focus on fostering autonomy, dignity, and a homelike environment for residents at all levels of care.
Genuine, Qualified Staff
A 2014 McKnight’s article gives these suggestions for lowering staff turnover. Myriad indirect costs arise from high turnover, including loss of client relationships and revenue. Strategies for retention such as competitive compensation, clear job descriptions and career paths, and demonstrated support and respect for both residents and staff will speak volumes to visitors and prospective clients, sharpening your community’s competitive edge.
In the end, the efforts that attract clients to your community will also strengthen it from within. Growing authentic marketing strategies, putting down local roots, and remaining transparent and respectful in all aspects of business–from pricing to personnel–will ultimately cultivate a culture that people want to join.