As the senior living housing and care industry continues to grow both in the sheer number of communities, as well as the number of companies that build, own, operate, supply and consult, one of the major challenges that many marketers find is how to stand out in a given market. The answer is differentiation. That is, you have to figure out what makes your community uniquely attractive, and use that strength to drive your marketing.
Your differentiator could be anything – the utilization of new technology, unique architecture or design, specialty programs of nearly any kind, even care itself (though be prepared to back this up with concrete evidence, such as a higher-than-average caregiver-to-resident ratio, because every community wants care to be their differentiator). The key here is to focus the message of your marketing efforts onto one aspect that only you offer, one that you do extremely well, or perhaps some new technology or program that you’ve implemented which others haven’t, or have been slow to adopt.
Finding a key differentiator can help your marketing efforts in a couple of ways. First of all, once you’ve determined what it is, you can market to your strength, and by that I mean you can target and distribute PR and advertising to publications that cater to specific demographics which are more inclined to be interested in your specific offering.
Second, focusing on your differentiator can generate more consistency in your marketing messaging and communications. This will benefit communities by making the job easier for sales staff, as they benefit from a clear picture of the company/community’s message as it allows them to better inform prospective residents as well as any adult children who may be searching for a loved one.
This aspect has indirect benefits as well. With more consistency in your messaging, you can actually increase your web presence and give a boost to your existing search engine optimization and search engine marketing (assuming you have undertaken SEO and SEM, which if you haven’t, you should probably look in to).
An important thing to think about is that this is a case where an outside perspective—such as an agency, or even just focus groups—may be helpful in determining how you should implement your targeted strategy or whether your differentiator is really a hook at all.
Again, the goal of all of this is to find a way to make your company or community stick out in the ever-growing crowd of senior living housing and care providers, all of which are trying to find their own leg-up in the marketplace. So figure out what your differentiator is, climb on top of it, and proclaim it to the world. It’s worth the effort.
Getting what makes your community truly special in your marketplace can literally make all the “difference.”