By Steve Moran
A few days ago we published an article titled Is A Place for Mom and Joan Lunden Destroying Public Perception? As is my custom, I sent A Place For Mom an advance copy of the article for comment or correction. They sent me this response with the understanding that I would be publishing it. Too often companies just decline to respond or even worse, they just ignore what I send them. I applaud APFM for taking the time to respond. What follows, with minor stylistic editing, is all from them:
A Different Point of View
The team at A Place for Mom appreciates you sharing your article in advance and providing an opportunity to comment. As you can imagine, we have a different point of view about the points you make in your article and are happy to share that point of view with you and your readers.
Not the Only Commercial
Your article states that we feature “Amenities” and “Free” in our commercials. This is true, however, we have three completely different commercials in rotation right now that focus on communicating our Advisory led service while highlighting different parts of the market from independent living to memory care and providing examples of how we help families in different situations. These different commercials feature:
- Memory Care: We highlight the difficult issues many families face and position APFM Advisors as a resource to help Caregivers connect to a Memory Care solution personalized to their needs.
- Family Letters: This testimonial based ad shares some of the ways we have helped families find long-term care solutions through our senior living community customers.
- Senior Living: This commercial features the many amenities and offerings senior living communities provide to aging adults that allow them to improve their quality of life in an active and vibrant environment.
Two Big Issues
There are two big issues that continue to face the industry. The first is that most seniors would rather stay at home. The home care market is more than 12 times larger than the senior living category and there is a rich opportunity for the category to position itself as a better alternative. This is why we highlight both care support as well as the many amenities and activities available to seniors within the category. We feel that a senior isolated at home will not have the opportunity for that engaged and purposeful life we all want for our seniors.
The second perception that still exists in the market is that senior living is the same classification as nursing homes. When searching for long-term care on-line “nursing homes” is still one of the most popular search terms. The industry and A Place for Mom must change this perception to be successful.
Our “Senior Living” ad highlights the many activities and options available to seniors within senior living communities with the purpose of positioning our senior living customers as a place where seniors can continue to live a quality life through the activities and amenities they enjoy in an environment where they can thrive socially. The disconnect that exists between consumer perception and the reality of today’s senior living is one of the reasons that seniors chose to stay at home. Being educated about the active and vital environment that is senior living today, consumers are able to make better choices that positively improve their quality of life. And, by providing a vision of senior living that is active, vital and engaged, APFM allows consumers to feel more comfortable seeking out solutions that will ultimately help their loved ones.
The Critical Nature of Television
A Place for Mom (APFM) views our national TV advertising program as a critical marketing channel that expands the market for senior living and drives caregiver interest in the category. Admittedly, this is a lot to do in a :30 or :60 commercial, but we do believe we are doing a good job of driving early interest as the program, alongside other marketing channels, helped support over 300,000 family referrals to our network of customers over the last year. We feel that this type of consumer education is vital and, unfortunately, no one else is making this type of investment on behalf of the industry.
Finally, our commercials do highlight that we are a free service for families. This is true and is a key benefit to our service. And, we do also disclose that we are paid a referral fee with every family that we move into a senior community.
Thank you for letting us comment. We agree that the category needs to continue to promote itself as a viable solution for families needing additional support later in life. We will continue to make this investment to support our brand and the industry.