If the pandemic taught us anything, the senior living industry won’t be ‘business as usual’ ever again. Many brands tell us they now wish they hadn’t taken their marketing foot off the gas. However, others found new workarounds that produced positive results – even during a pandemic. According to several SeniorVu clients interviewed, their marketing efforts will make a major shift in 2021. We asked them how they plan to do that, and we learned a lot.
Shift Your Marketing Value Proposition
Consumer confidence in senior living was shot. Many families who may have already been on the fence about moving to a community hit the brakes. Many families with declining loved ones chose to be their caregiver over the perceived risk of moving into senior living. Those changes are why the industry overall has experienced a large drop in occupancy. Even with anticipation of a pent-up demand, once the vaccine is more widely distributed, how do providers plan to regain public trust? By revamping their marketing message and strategy.
“At Buckner, we’re revisiting our value proposition in 2021,” said Heather Potts, Senior Director of Sales at Buckner Retirement Services. “Folks want to know that moving into a Buckner community is still a safe decision. So, safety rose to the top as one of our pillars.”
In the article ‘Reframing Your Value Proposition During a Crisis,’ Carolyn Crafts with FullSurge, a brand growth strategy company, told readers last spring to focus on the changing needs of the customer. Last year, our client communities leaned into the Family Advocates who answer calls from family members in our contact center on behalf of communities. It helped our clients get a better read on the pulse of the consumer then target market their needs. New specific marketing campaigns emerged allowing communities to reconnect with prospects during Covid-19. Educational virtual events and special curbside events generated positive prospecting.
Make a Marketing Pivot
When consumer confidence dropped occupancy rates also dropped. Senior living providers searched for ways to cut the budget without compromising care to their residents. Per usual, in a financial crunch, sales and marketing budgets felt the cuts first. Azura for example, eliminated their entire sales team because when the pandemic hit they simply didn’t have enough leads coming in to keep their salespeople busy.
Mid-year, Laura Volz, Director of Community Relations for Azura Memory Care arrived to find the communities were operating without sales teams. Instead, they were trying the SeniorVu platform and call center to generate leads which Laura admits she was very skeptical. “With only one salesperson and 12 communities we increased our occupancy in 2020 by 12%,” exclaimed Laura. “That 12% filled our gap.”
The right technology companies can save communities time that is better spent with residents and money that is be better spent, well, on residents. Laura attributes their unusual success in 2020 to the SeniorVu platform and call center.
Market to Attract Quality Staff
Senior living already had a staffing problem long before Covid-19. The virus wreaked even more havoc on the industry’s staffing issues. Some open positions in 2020 were filled by those laid off when the restaurant industry shutdown. However, it wasn’t a long-term solution.
“When people come to our industry without the capacity or the desire to care for seniors that’s a tough match,” explained Michelle Watson, a Bickford Senior Living Executive Director. “So, we’ve adopted a new hiring process through SeniorVu that is saving us a ton of time and finding those who are a match.” Through the new process applicants are vetted efficiently and accurately for the sake of both the community and the applicant. Learn more about results in this case study.
If your community is ready to rethink how you reach your customer in this post Covid-19 world, SeniorVu would like to share specifics on what’s working for our clients to see if it’s a fit for your community. If you’ve got 30-minutes, we can help you envision a new marketing plan going forward. Give Cole a call today at (913) 284-4226 and he’ll get you on the calendar.