Seniors Housing Industry Focuses On Acquiring More Real Estate Instead Of Its Customers
Seniors housing operators to include assisted and independent living as well as memory care have been pressured to scale and as a result have had less time to focus on people
I am an adventurer and am constantly planning my next great travel escape. Today, I was flipping through Travel Magazine when I saw an ad for Crystal Cruises that spoke volumes about the company and its culture.
What struck me was not the impressive cruise ship featured. In fact, there was no ship in the ad at all. The two-page ad featured full sized images of Crystal employees along with a personal quote by each.
All I could think was, “Wow, if only seniors housing advertised like this!”
What hooked me was how the words stirred my emotions. Sergio, who is the Chief Concierge said,
“I’ve seen the dance of a thousand hands and the seven wonders of the world. But nothing beats the sight of one happy guest.”
While I imagine he is embellishing, it’s poetic and appeals to the wanderlust in me creating an emotional connection. Flipping the page, I came to the second ad:
“You arrive as a guest. Become a friend and return as family.”
Implying I’m going to love my cruise experience so much that I’ll return for another trip, that the service is personal and the staff like family. I had never thought of cruising this way and it was appealing.
Crystal nailed it. These ads are personal and emotionally charged.
In digging a little deeper into the Company, I discovered that Tom Wolber, the CEO, was hired in 2017 after a 28-year tenure at the Walt Disney Company. Interesting right? Disney embodies emotion in everything it does and is considered the happiest place on earth. Wisely it seems that Tom is bringing that same Disney magic to cruising.
IT’S TIME TO MAKE MARKETING ABOUT THE PEOPLE
Seniors housing sales and marketing efforts do a tremendous disservice to the industry. We continue to miss the mark on creating emotional connections with buyers. Instead, we talk about THE BUILDING, THE AMENITIES AND THE OPERATOR – failing to draw attention to the single most important aspect of what we do: PEOPLE SERVING PEOPLE.
Instead seniors housing collateral most often feature empty apartments, dining rooms, libraries and fitness centers; literally leaving the heart and soul of communities out of the pictures. The result is the feeling of isolation and loneliness. Is that really the emotion we wish to create in prospective buyers?
It has been proven over and over that emotion is what drives the sale in independent and assisted living, memory care and CCRC environments. Leveraging people from employees, residents, adult children to even referral sources can be a game changer for you. We must get better at telling their stories and making them part of the bigger conversation. While subtle, Crystal did an incredible job at this!
WE ARE IN A PEOPLE BUSINESS
I can tell you that at the end of my beautiful mother’s life, I will not want to move her into a building but into a happy home with people who will love on her, pay attention to her, make sure that her nails are painted a beautiful new color every single week and make her feel important! A building can’t care for my mom (or yours), but people, who are compassionate and caring can.
OUTSIDE OF CHILD CARE, OUR INDUSTRY HAS THE MOST EMOTIONALLY CHARGED BUYER TRIGGER OF ANY INDUSTRY – YET WE FAIL TO SPEAK TO THE TRUE HEART OF WHAT WE DO THROUGHOUT THE BUYER EXPERIENCE.
Think I’m wrong or over-reacting? Randomly do a search of assisted living right now, pull up the sites, read through them, submit a couple web inquiries and then call the communities for information (posing as a shopper). By the time you are done, you will be scratching your head wondering how the industry has missed something so simple – the curation of a buyer experience tied to the emotion that drives the sale. IT’S NON-EXISTENT! This is where there is a huge GAP but more importantly a HUGE opportunity if you get it!
WE MUST CHANGE.
One of my favorite quotes is, “we can’t do better until we know better.” Now you know.
It’s time to objectively re-evaluate your messaging to the world.
- Who are you?
- What is it you do?
- How is that different from the five communities down the road?
- Why should I consider you over those five competitors?
- What will I lose out on by going somewhere else?
- What’s unique about your staff, why do they wake up and do what they do every day?
- What is the biggest impact communities are making on resident and family member’s lives?
Then have residents, staff, adult children and valued referral sources tell the story, in their own words. Get those stories on video and in writing… then share with the press, on your website, in your printed collateral and more.
Want to make this transition but not sure how? The Bild & Co team can partner with you and your internal marketing team or vendor to ensure your mission and marketing make sense and that the heart of what you do is felt by all who interact with your brand. To start the conversation email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To Your Success,