Seven Resolutions to Market Smarter in 2015

bill_pembertonAs we return to work after a glorious holiday break, it’s easy to find ourselves immersed—if not buried—in the attempt to recapture lost momentum.  Beginning a new year offers plenty of opportunities to work harder, but it also offers the chance to step back, reflect, and work smarter—whether it’s marketing for a single senior living community or 60.

To that end, I offer a short set of resolutions to make sure you raise the bar during 2015 and broaden your overall marketing outreach.  Get your calendar out, and resolve to integrate each of these seven steps into your strategic planning for 2015.

  1.  Review your brand.  Take a fresh look at your brand vision, mission, and promise—and how well it plays out across your organization and into your market areas.  You may find its time to refine your brand to better resonate with today’s customer.  You may even discover that a major overhaul is in order!
  2. Better integrate marketing and sales.  Is your marketing director and sales persons on the same page in terms of message, methods and priorities?  You may find points where the sales cycle misaligns or even disconnects from your advertising and direct mail.  Check to be sure that your marketing and sales staff are presenting a seamless value statement to your prospects.
  3. Step out into social media.  Whatever you’re doing in social media, you could be doing more.  Make 2015 the year that you set up a community blog, Facebook page, LinkedIn page, and work Twitter to drive traffic to them all via links.  If you already use them, explore ways you can better integrate them to get a total impact that is “larger than the sum of its parts.”
  4. Focus on retention.  Drill down on your customer loyalty program by paying closer attention to what your current residents are asking for—and talking against.  Consider a survey to both residents and their adult children that pulls them into your “creative counsel” for ways to improve their experience.   At the least, you will signal that you care—after the sale.
  5. Prepare for crisis communications.  It’s not a matter of if but when you will need to shape and manage the news coverage generated by a negative event at your community—or an ugly rumor from outside about your community.  Being prepared can make all the difference between a near miss and catastrophic hit to your reputation.
  6. Update your website.   You can’t afford not to have a website that says “best in class” during that all important preliminary review that every prospect conducts before deciding where to start. The good news is that great web presence doesn’t have to cost a lot—just reflect best practices in copy, graphics and functionality.        
  7. Turbo-charge your advertising.  The problem with most advertising is that it … well … looks like most other advertising.  The first principle of advertising is to get attention—and then make a creative and compelling case in your copy.  Trite, humdrum advertising can become a powerful deterrent to those who might otherwise want to visit your community.  Don’t forget to include links to online assets where you can appeal to your audience with multi-media and offers to interact with your marketing folks from the comfort of their homes.

There you have it!  These seven marketing resolutions can help you keep your marketing program hitting on all cylinders in 2015—while maybe adding a few. So here’s hoping that 2015 will be your best marketing year ever.  Happy New Year!

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