MARKETING IN SENIOR LIVING Vol. 3 – A Series by Senior GuidePost
From ‘Drive-By’ to ‘Internet Lead,’ the Dramatic Change in Marketing in Senior Living – Volume 3, 2020 a Senior Living Odyssey
I say it almost weekly. ‘It seems the pace of change in our world is accelerating more quickly than in any time
in our history.’ I realize that every generation feels this way,
but it seems obvious that this time, it’s true. I follow a Twitter handle (@ValaAfshar) that occasionally posts a list of companies that didn’t exist just 10 years ago, which includes many services that it almost seems are impossible to live without in today’s world.
Think Uber, Instagram & WhatsApp.
What’s incredible to think is not only what didn’t exist 10 years ago, but the changes in our lives over just the last three years. My family now only goes to the grocery store a handful of times in a year, as our groceries are deliver
ed. I haven’t once been concerned about getting behind the wheel after having that second glass of wine, because we just grab an Uber. Our hotel days are half of what they used to be because we stay in a stranger’s home when we go on vacations!
Because we have changed the conversation in our company to a digital conversation, we have begun to have the opportunity to consider what the future might look like, and are thinking through our role as a potential leader. Our ideas on what the future hold are likely already being done, so in my excitement to see if anyone is executing on these ideas already (maybe someone will share with me), I wanted to share a few.
- Online Deposits for Resident Rooms – Currently in the works within our company is an online apartment selection platform that shares images and locations of assisted living resident rooms, amenities of the community, and allows a buyer to actually reserve their room and pay their community deposit online, just like hotels do for their guests. This is coming to our company soon, but we aren’t quite there yet.
- Artificial Intelligence & Predictive Analytics – Having only an elementary understanding of artificial intelligence, it is difficult for me to see where the best implementation of these technologies applies to senior living. As communities build data collection tools, the events that can be measured in communities should allow for a level of number crunching that we can online imagine today. Soon, cutting edge communities should be able to associate dietary and medication changes with higher fall risks. Weather might impact family visitation patterns, allowing communities to craft life enrichment opportunities and virtual visits during those times. I can’t begin to understand how these technologies can impact marketing efforts, but I do know that companies that can execute on these ideas will have an edge when marketing to future clients and their families.
- Live Virtual Tours – The current platforms for online virtual tours are only the initial exposure that the senior living industry is likely to have to this opportunity. We see the future being live guided tours between potential leads and marketing/executive staff. Expanding these platforms will allow for communities to build stronger relationships earlier by engaging leads earlier in their buying journey. The real opportunity in the expansion of these programs is to allow a community to break down the walls that intimidate potential residents. Online interactions can allow for an initial level of trust to be built from the ‘safety’ of virtual engagement.
These three ideas are in various stages of implementation within our senior living business. I am guessing that they exist in the market now, and would love to see how they are implemented in the business. To be sure, those companies that push the boundaries, and are free to make mistakes, are going to be able to reach out to future residents with intent, and innovation in these areas will allow companies to share the message that they are truly different than their competitors.
In this series of articles, we will evaluate what has happened in the senior living industry with regard to marketing over the last 5 years, where we are currently, and some ideas on the future of senior living marketing.