Marketing New Senior Housing From the Ground Up

Marketing New Senior Housing
From the Ground Up

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware that the Baby Boom generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) is coming into retirement. The oldest Boomers are expected to move into a retirement community within the next 10 years, with the youngest about 30 years away. Ten years ago, there were nearly 40,000 senior living communities in the U.S. (including all levels of care). Given the coming “boom,” that number is sure to rise dramatically. According to the New York Times, there will be 71 million Americans over the age of 65 by the year 2030.

Undoubtedly, the competition among new senior housing communities stands to be fierce as supply meets growing demand. These developments will have to announce themselves early and often to be heard above the jackhammers and power saws building more and more senior housing. While new construction projects create a literal “buzz” on their own, there is much more to successful marketing than hulking cranes and a few signs heralding a fabulous new community on the rise.

Indeed, the time to think about marketing for new senior housing is well before the foundation is laid, beginning with a market study and plan after building is approved by the city. Then creative should enter the picture for logo, look, website and message, followed by community mailings and awareness at least three months in advance of your grand opening.

The elements of a successful marketing strategy in modern times are varied and many, and several experts agree that attempting to achieve success without an agency is costly and ultimately inefficient. That may seem counter-intuitive, but the average annual expense of hiring a marketing manager is roughly $80,000 more than contracting with an agency, not to mention that an agency can offer all the necessary talent and services that a single person simply cannot handle.

Marketing for new construction senior housing is considerably more granular, requiring niche expertise and “ground up” tactics unique to the industry. It’s interesting to note too that because senior housing is associated with health care, retirement communities are freer to build than, say, hotels or residential high-rises, as lending and government entities are less wary of financial failure if the economy turns.

Robust marketing strategies for new senior housing (as well as commercial property, health care and non-profit organizations) can be encapsulated in IVY Marketing’s M.A.P.S. approach. M.A.P.S. is a comprehensive, turn-key marketing solution based on solid market research identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT).

Market Study discovers opportunities based on field and statistical examination of existing market needs, cultures and competitors.

Advertising encompasses the development of your marketing plan, name, logo and brand identity, providing the cornerstone of your outdoor and trailer signage, digital and print collateral, website, direct mail, and all consumer awareness strategies, including publicity and media pitches.

Public Relations
Online content marketing will not only create consumer awareness with messages that are strategic, seductive and strong, it will also build SEO that drives traffic to your website long before residents move in.

Special Events
Few industries benefit from special events like senior housing. Seeing is believing, and you can show prospects the unique features of your community even before building is complete by hosting pre- or mid-construction events, on or offsite, that pave the way for future residents. Panoramic photos, architectural renderings and wallboards are just some of the materials you can use to help prospects envision life at your community. (Food and beverages are a must, too!) And just imagine the event possibilities when your doors officially open!

As your marketing partners from the ground up, IVY provides you with the market analysis, advertising, public relations and special events (M.A.P.S.) you need to occupy your fabulous new community with equally fabulous new friends.

Did you know? IVY’s comprehensive M.A.P.S. approach can also help launch your commercial property, health care or not-for-profit organization.

IVY MARKETING GROUP. COME GROW WITH US.

Anatomy of a Healthy Client-Agency Relationship

Anatomy of a Healthy Client-Agency Relationship

Transparency
Few things threaten a relationship like dishonesty. The same can be said about relationships between clients and their marketing agencies. In fact, a 2016 Association of National Advertisers poll revealed that advertisers voted for “transparency” as the word of the year.

How can you know if an agency is going to be truly honest with you and fully dedicated to your success? It’s not as if their own marketing material is going to announce weak commitment and shady practices.

Transparency must go beyond upfront contracts into meaningful connections with you that include asking questions, listening to your goals and needs, having conversations, and demonstrating genuine concern for more than getting paid. An atmosphere of trust and support is how long-term faith and loyalty is built in any partnership, including the one with your marketing agency.

Let’s look at the anatomy of a great agency-client relationship, guts and all:

What’s in a Contract?
While a good agency should serve you in intangible ways, above and beyond the concrete terms of a contract, the importance of a clear, air-tight marketing contract cannot be underrated. While your contract should serve and protect both parties, and your agency has a duty to protect itself as well, let’s re-emphasize the role of transparency.

In answer to the question above – what’s in a contract? – everything your agency really can do, and nothing it really can’t. After that, besides terms and fees, your contract should include a view of the current marketing landscape (and advertising and PR, if your agency is capable), the current landscape of your particular industry, key elements to a successful campaign, content strategies, and agency deliverables.

There Is No Such Thing As Too Many Questions
Your agency should be so excited to have you as their new client, they can hardly contain themselves. But, because they’re professionals, they may not literally be jumping for joy before your eyes. In fact, they may even be a little hesitant to delve into too many questions for you. But they shouldn’t. They should ask every possible thing they can to serve you best and help you realize your dreams. In fact, content marketing expert and author Jami Oetting suggests 90 (yes, 90) revealing questions agencies should ask their new clients.

Did We Mention Guts?
A great marketing agency is a team of creative, passionate, endlessly curious people who aren’t afraid of hard work and trying new strategies. They should realize when it’s time to move away from “same-old, same-old” tactics into uncharted territory. Oetting refers to this fearlessness as “keeping your hands dirty” by staying abreast of marketing trends and client industries. “[Agencies] get into the trenches with team members to understand how they’re working and where their challenges are,” she notes.

What’s in a Team?
In addition to passion and guts, you should find in your marketing professionals a relentless dedication to your business, goals and personnel – and theirs, too. Regardless of size, your marketing team should also clearly see and understand the broad picture of all the players in the business-agency relationship: the client, client’s customers/prospects, management team/owners, and their own agency constituents. We like Oetting’s comment here, too: “Think of clients, senior management, and team members as legs of a stool. If any single leg is getting short shrift, the entire enterprise is thrown off balance.”

Love
The “L” word, and we’re only ten paragraphs in! But it’s not overzealous to apply that word to the client-agency relationship, because your agency really should love you and treat you like a precious member of the family. That involves going overboard, showing up because they care, staying in frequent “live” touch – in person or on the phone – breaking bread together, respectfully telling the truth (even if it hurts, like “this strategy isn’t working, and we need to change course”), being genuinely joyful when you’re successful…and genuinely upset – and immediately responsive – when you’re not.

The right marketing team should treat you like a treasured partner in a healthy relationship. Nothing less will do.

IVY MARKETING GROUP. COME GROW WITH US.