To put your organization ahead of the pack, your marketing vehicle needs to be purring along 24/7 on all cylinders
Today’s marketers have a plethora of promotional vehicles at their disposal. And now, with mobile access driving information on demand, you are, at any given moment, competing with dozens, if not hundreds of other senior living communities; all online and trying to outdo one another.
To put your organization ahead of the pack, your marketing vehicle needs to be purring along 24/7 on all cylinders, with its wheels turning in sync and all moving in the same direction. Kind of like chewing gum and walking at the same time; on steroids!
No one understands the challenge of integrating moving marketing parts better than Sage Age Strategies. We recently caught up with Adrienne Mansfield Straub, Director of Client Services to get some insight for our readers as to meeting the challenges associated with launching and sustaining a successful marketing campaign or program. Adrienne identifies four basic, yet critical checkpoints which should be used to assess the state of your current programs and to help get you on track quickly. Ignore any of these and your marketing engine could lose steam fast.
Know Your ‘Secret Sauce’
Defining your brand is not a one-step process. It involves uncovering and capturing those qualities that make your senior community stand apart from your competitors. Branding just doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Your brand should reflect positively in context with:
- Senior living standards and best practices
- Your competition; both current and emerging
- Current trends and perceptions
- Your target clients’ needs and desires
Adrienne recommends that you take time with your staff, your residents and their families to identify those characteristics that consistently work to your advantage. And, once defined, your brand should not be static. It needs to ‘breathe’ and adapt in order to continue to resonate with shifting industry perceptions and client needs.
Integrate Your Programs and Your People
Ryan’s got your Facebook and Twitter posts going; Kate is handling your upcoming event; Luke is on your direct mail campaign. Oh, and they have their daily responsibilities as well. This is exactly how so many senior communities end up with a diffused effort, rife with different voices and mixed goals. And you just worked so hard to clarify your brand!
Having an integrated plan means pulling all your efforts into alignment with one another. Make sure your program adheres to the following:
- Programs converge together to support a common marketing goal
- Promotional messaging is consistent across media channels, including your increasingly important social media that counts toward SEO
- Your team is coordinated and working together to speak with one ‘voice’; “E Pluribus Unum”, From Many, One!
- Campaigns, while different in messaging, consistently reinforce your brand and value proposition
Integrating processes, people and channels will save you time and overhead. It will also keep your brand in focus. Those who access information on-line and receive a follow up brochure in the mail will recognize your brand quickly and feel more Comfortable connecting with you.
Just Do It! Consistently
There’s an old saying “Even a mediocre plan, if executed consistently, will eventually get results.”
Imagine what results you might achieve with an outstanding marketing program, executed consistently! The key is setting and keeping the pace, and not letting up. Over-eager “jump starts” tapering off to uneven bursts of activity are symptoms of a campaign with execution issues. Follow these guidelines:
- Set a sustainable level of activity; resist the temptation to over reach
- Clarify roles and responsibilities
- Assign a supervisor who is empowered to take action
- Have a contingency plan in place (if John is out, who handles his work?)
- Spot check periodically to ensure the agreed-to pace is being kept
Measure and Track Performance
Every race has a starting line. Know where yours is. Surprisingly many communities, in their eagerness to get a campaign going, neglect to ask themselves “What do our numbers look like today?” Measuring the results of any program or campaign is essential to optimizing the outcome. Here are some guidelines:
- Track to numbers (i.e. leads, conversions, sales, satisfaction)
- Benchmark against industry/peers where applicable
- Use a system everyone understands
- Spotlight the exceptions; both good and bad
- Adjust goals as necessary
- Share results weekly with your staff
Of course, Sage Age Strategies stresses the need for a solid marketing infrastructure to support the actions outlined above. You must have a sound strategy and a plan in place on the back end, with a well-trained sales team on the front end. And, it should go without saying, you need to ensure that all those great things you are saying about your community are actually experienced by everyone who walks through your doors; “Your brand walks on two legs!”
The importance of establishing brand clarity, fully integrating your programs, executing them consistently and tracking results simply can’t be overestimated. Get in the habit of doing these things right and a lot of good things will follow.