If you believe that the best measure of your senior facility’s competitive advantage is signed contracts – this blog is for you
Beyond the rent checks and smiling faces of the residents you see each day lies a treasure trove of insights that can guide your marketing and communications today, tomorrow, and into a competitive future. When your unique value is clear and relevant to prospects, they are more likely to choose you over your competition.
In our last blog, we identified where the most relevant threats to your business might come from – but one looms particularly large and is worth mentioning again. Your ability to compete against brand-new facilities – in a landscape with more supply than demand in many areas – comes down to your ability to see your unique value through your constituents’ eyes, and consistently communicate your competitive differentiators throughout your marketing. We used this approach successfully with a client, Valerie (not her real name), helping to take her from 20 percent occupancy to full beds – and a waitlist.
As an executive director of an independent senior living facility, Valerie was struggling to keep up with new, aggressive competition. The founder was in his mid-80s, very traditional, and intent on the status quo. For example, their website was very dated looking and the copy was what we at Chief Outsiders call “we speak.” In other words, it was all about them and not at all about what the prospects actually cared about.
For Valerie – and those of you reading today – there’s no magic to developing the kinds of insights that can power an effective marketing program. It simply requires a commitment to broadening your group of “advisors” – turning to people who know your business the best.
This group can include front-line staff (everyone from aides to dining services workers to healthcare personnel such as CNAs and nurses), third-party service providers (physical therapists, care managers), families of residents, and EVEN those who looked at your facility and chose a competitor.
When we conducted phone interviews on behalf of Valerie, we discovered that these constituents could clearly express the value they saw in Valerie’s community. They were honored to have a say in a process that could help promote the caring and love they saw being dispensed daily to our greatest generation.
So how can you begin the purposeful dialogue that will lead to next-level insights?
One last note: While your residents, employees, and families of residents will tell you some things, you'll likely get a more objective view by using a third-party market researcher. Working with an objective and experienced researcher will elevate the insights-gathering process because they are skilled at asking questions and probing beyond what you’ve scripted.
We – and our colleagues at Chief Outsiders – are adept at not only conducting this research to uncover your key differentiators but also taking these findings and converting them into actionable marketing strategies. When we did this for Valerie her response was, “We’ve been trying to figure out how to talk about ourselves for over 20 years. You figured it out. This is perfect.”
At Chief Outsiders, we ascribe to a three-pronged “Growth Gears” methodology of go-to-market growth – starting with insights. Without a clear understanding of your audience, your competitors, your market, and your unique value, any money you spend on execution will be wasted. So seek first to understand, then develop your communications strategy. Only then should you execute.
In our next blog, we’ll help you get Hyperlocal – looking at the best methods to executing marketing strategies in your neighborhood.