Believe it or not, it’s time to look ahead to sales and marketing planning for 2023. Early this year in our webinar, Marketing and Sales in 2022: Plan and Pivot Your Way to Intentional Success, we talked about key lessons we learned from 2021 that we needed to apply to 2022. As the end of the year approaches, it’s time to take stock of a few items:
- What are the current issues that face the senior living field as we close out this year and plan ahead for the next?
- What strategies can communities use to combat these current and future challenges?
- What are trends to embrace that will help our sales and marketing efforts realize success?
Issues at hand
At the beginning of the year, our greatest focus was on anticipating how COVID-19 may continue to impact marketing and sales. We laid out how to pivot in response to a resurgence, should the need arise. As the year progressed, however, new concerns arose to take the forefront, including the economy, rising interest rates, geopolitical crises, rising gas prices and more. After riding the high of strong home sales and the sense of euphoria coming out of the worst of the pandemic, these new issues threatened to send prospects scurrying back to the relative comfort of “I’m not ready yet” when responding to marketing and sales efforts.
And yet, we are seeing an ever-increasing desire from consumers for engagement and self-actualization. How do we reconcile these seemingly counterintuitive sentiments as we map out plans for 2023?
Pivot advice 2.0
- The stories we tell need to evolve. Love & Company has been talking a lot these past few years—to both clients and the field at large—about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Historically, our field has aimed around the mid-point, telling stories that center around safety, security, stability, relationships and the sense of belonging. However, any community worthy of serving seniors should answer these needs. To stand out, communities need to reach higher. Looking forward, as a field we need to be aiming at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy—self-esteem and self-actualization—or simply enabling someone to realize their full potential. Telling your community’s unique stories is a great way to show life at the top of the pyramid.
- Be a steady voice and expert resource. One of the best ways to head off panic among your prospects and depositors is to address the concerns head-on with calm, thoughtful, expert advice. Invite guest speakers with financial, economic, real estate, even global-political credentials to share their insights with your prospects. Be creative in how you share this information. In addition to live events, feature these special guests in your blogs, podcasts, social media and webinars.
- Raise your technology bar to meet the communications preferences of today’s prospects. We are seeing a significant increase in both the technology to support marketing and sales, and consumers’ acceptance and use of technology. Digital marketing has far surpassed direct mail and “legacy” media in producing sales. New technology tools are improving the efficiency and effectiveness of sales teams’ efforts to connect with prospects. Communities need to adapt to new technology and communication methods to stay competitive.
Where to go next?
If you are one of the many communities defining goals and budgets with a new fiscal year just around the corner, put these topics on the table during your planning sessions, and ensure your strategies and budget are designed to address them.