If you’re in charge of marketing for your community or organization, chances are good you’ve run across the phrase “media mix.” The expression is quite literal, and the concept isn’t terribly complex. The power that an effective media mix can have when attracting new business, however, can be remarkable.
In short, a media mix is just that – a healthy combination or “mix” of various media or forms of marketing and advertising. The increased return on investment typically generated by a proper media mix is the cumulative result of your particular combination. When properly executed, the effectiveness of your mix increases exponentially. Aristotle’s famous axiom, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” certainly holds true when it comes to a senior living marketing and media mix.
So what components make up a good media mix, and how do you create one? While that’s a question that requires extensive research and planning to properly answer, there are several general guidelines we can recommend.
First, you have to know your audience. Most likely, that’s the adult child and other decision-makers charged with finding the right community for their parent. It’s easy to define broad characteristics like age range, zip codes and income levels of your audience, but we recommend digging a little deeper. What kind of hobbies or other interests do they have? What’s their favorite type of music? Chat with these prospective decision-makers. Let your residents tell you about their children. Take surveys. Knowing more about your target audience allows you to waste fewer resources and develop more qualified leads.
Once you’ve identified your audience, seek out advertising mediums and marketing tools that most closely match the habits and demographics of that audience. The avenues are overwhelming and the review process is very time-consuming. If you’re short-staffed, you may want to consider enlisting an agency to be your advocate in selecting the most suitable mediums.
In senior living, your options for media distribution are numerous. Direct mail is typically seen as a good tool to develop leads and is a time-tested method. A well-developed, responsive website and a strategic social media plan are becoming must-have items as well. Blogs and routine email communication are becoming more and more critical every day. Compelling print advertising may work, and a well-placed billboard is always worth consideration. The good news here is that you have many tools to reach your audience.
When properly aligned, your marketing approach will utilize a variety of these means to influence your prospects. The goal is for the same audience – the one you narrowly defined – to be exposed to your message again and again. Frequency of ad exposure isn’t just a luxury produced by a healthy marketing budget, it’s a necessity. When your ideal prospect sees your billboard twice a week, receives a direct mailer every few months and encounters an online video you created – you are commanding their attention and providing yourself with a considerable advantage when they enter the decision-making process. At that point, you will have achieved a true media mix.