By Steve Moran
When I first heard the news that the senior living marketing company Attane abruptly shut down on Monday, July 24, 2023, giving employees no advance notice and no severance, I was not surprised. It was no secret that they were losing business to other senior living marketing agencies left and right.
I was pissed off and saddened.
Pissed off because we have seen too many cases where some “brilliant” coastal private equity company purchases or invests in a senior living vendor company and crushes it with their brilliance. Most of the time the company doesn’t die, it just goes from great to mind numbingly ordinary.
There have been a bunch of these investments/acquisitions over the past two years, and I am holding my breath to see the damage they will do.
When you talk to these PE firms about their acquisitions, they swear they are going to keep things the same, only making them better by providing more resources. I had this conversation with a PE guy late one night while in New Orleans at the Senior Living Executive Conference, where I watched him burn through massive stacks of $25 chips at the blackjack table.
They never do.
I am saddened because what they have done is hurt people who have worked hard to make the company great and to make senior living great. They don’t care about people; they don’t care about senior living. They don’t care that they are putting an additional huge burden on senior living organizations at a time when they can ill afford another challenge.
It will hurt residents as leaders scramble to find a new marketing agency. They don’t care. It is all about the money and cutting their losses.
The problem is that they don’t take the time to get to know the business, the business culture, or the industry. They have an arrogance that makes them believe they are smarter than everyone else, including those who are in the businesses they invest in.
Mostly they don’t understand that cutting costs and not caring about people can at best only generate short-term profits.
According to an article in the Kansas City Business Journal, they blame the collapse on COVID. NO WAY! There are plenty of agencies that did very well during the pandemic. It was pure and simple greed and bad leadership.
The Barely Silver Lining
There are some agencies out there that really care about our industry, like Senior Living Foresight partner SageAge, that will work long hours and put in extra effort to help these stranded and struggling senior living communities who trusted in the leadership of Attane and the owners of Attane who have proven unworthy of that trust.