GUEST POINT OF VIEW: Christine A. Withwein is the President of New York- based Wirthwein Marketing, a senior living marketing and advertising firm. Christine understands the role of PR in the communication mix and realizes it takes marketing, advertising, and public relations all working together as a team to have the best outcome for the senior living community. Here is how Christine explains the partnership:
“When approaching a big task, it is always important to make sure you have back-up. We see our big task as promoting a senior living community to the public and getting our communities full to capacity. In order to achieve this great goal, we have to call for back-up. Wirthwein Marketing specializes in advertising and marketing for senior living communities, but often times we partner with others to bring in public relations to serve our clients to the full capacity.
Advertising, marketing, and public relations are all important in the sales and promotional efforts of your community. Having a mix of all three provides a climate of trust and credibility that just one of these aspects by themselves lack. Ads are important in order to get your community name in the public eye and to put an image in the public’s mind of what your community is.
An ad says, “we are great.” Now that they have seen your name and know you exist, it’s time to find a way to get them in the door through a marketing event. Maybe this is hosting a seminar, having a happy hour, or bringing in local entertainment, but whatever the event, the goal is to get the public in the doors of your community. Marketing says “come see how great we are.”
Public relations is important to reinforce the public’s ideas they formed from your advertising and marketing efforts. Public relations adds third party (the journalist) credibility to the table. If the public hears about what a full and active life a resident at your community is living, they are more likely to believe what your ad says, and believe the “feel” of the environment they saw, making this image seem even more accurate and less like a façade. Public relations says “this is why we are great.”
In order to have all of the rooms at your community full, you must invest across the board in the full spectrum of the communication mix. Having great editorial placements to show potential residents and their families can also serve as a low-cost promotional tool for your sales staff. An implied third party endorsement adds an extra value to the image that you are portraying.
It is important for all three of these communication tools to work together in order to create the brand image that you are “selling” to the public. When you have a big end goal, it is always best to have the support of a team.