The Future of Marketing Retirement Communities?

By Tom Mann, Principal, Executive Vice President

Editor’s Note: This blog originally was posted in our Mature Market Experts blog which we are now migrating to this current site.

Tim Bracken of Love  & Company, presenting at Florida's LeadingAge conference.

Tim Bracken of Love & Company, presenting at Florida’s LeadingAge conference.

I recently attended an excellent LeadingAge Florida seminar on marketing retirement communities titled, “Selling a CCRC versus Marketing a CCRC: Big differences, Bigger Challenges.” The presentation was by Nicole Muller, vice president of marketing and sales of Westminster Communities and Fran Palmer, senior VP of digital strategies at Martino & Binzer (now BlueSpire).

I’ve known Fran and Nicole for some time now and both are incredibly skilled marketers. Since this was the Florida LeadingAge conference, much of the presentation was focused on marketing in the Sunshine State, however, there was much to take away for retirement communities across the country. By the way, communities in Florida understand that they are competing with other states. In particular, they’re competing with the states where their prospects’ or residents’ families still live. This is known as the reverse boomerang effect. The top contributors to Florida are the following states, in order: New York, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Georgia.

But I digress, as I listened to my two peers, they confirmed much of what we have been telling our clients for some time, that marketing a life plan or continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in today’s world requires adaptation to today’s new technologies.

Integrated Marketing

In addition to traditional marketing, smart life plan communities are now moving to integrate marketing programs, meaning that your marketing promotional pieces should not stand on their own. To promote an event, you should be utilizing all your tools:

  • Online – Landing Page, Facebook, Pay-for-click advertising, website roadblocks, newspaper websites
  • Advertising – Newspaper, magazines, supplemental inserts
  • Public Relations – newspaper stories, TV interviews, community event listings
  • Direct Mail – event invitation, branded newspaper

The online components of reinforcement continue to grow in importance as seniors (and their influencers) catch up with technology. Consider utilizing a targeted landing page that reinforces your direct mail message. In addition, you should be utilizing a roadblock ad, which is an ad on your website that promotes the event, along with email reminders to your prospect list. By practicing a confluent marketing program, you should experience a dramatic increase in inquires, along with an impressive decrease in your cost-per-lead.

Constant Change and Evolution

One of the reasons the team at Love & Company highly values attending LeadingAge events is to stay on top of the ever-evolving world of online marketing. The best and brightest minds share freely, so the chance to hear from other firms that specialize in marketing to seniors like our friendly competitors at Martino & Binzer (now BlueSpire), Hamlyn Senior Marketing, Spectrum, Retirement Dynamics, Retiring By Design, Hunsicker Senior Living Services, SB&A, Bild & Company, and GlynnDevins always encourages us to keep pushing. Not to mention, we get to hear from some senior housing service companies such as Sodexo Senior Living, Morrison Senior Living, Eventus, KGRW & Associates, Perkins Eastman, Greystone, Greenbrier, and Strategic Dining Services on broader topics that affect our business.

Keep Improving

Improved confluence of all your marketing efforts, hyper or micro-targeting, and predictive modeling are the keys to continued success for not-for-profit retirement communities. Which is why we continue to work with companies like Taylor Reporting Solutions, Retirement Home Software (RHS) and MatrixCare (REPS) to integrate these tools into our customer relationship management (CRM) systems. By carefully coordinating (and reinforcing) your marketing efforts AND then carefully capturing the nuances of your prospect, you will see better results. These are exciting times.

PS      I hope to see you in Indianapolis at this year’s LeadingAge Annual Meeting.

Latest Insights