Argentum 2017 is officially a week in the rearview mirror, and the Senior Living team at Linkmedia 360 is back from Nashville. Luckily for us, the team unpacked some insights – in addition to their luggage. Let’s walk through the top takeaways to keep in mind as your community works to grow its census and stay abreast of the changing senior living landscape.
While Business Development Director Phil Smith and Business Development Manager Renae Dabney were working their magic with prospective clients during the Expo hours at Argentum, our Account Director, Jen Konecny gained some insights into the state of senior living in 2017 – and what to expect next.
Let’s take a look at the Top 3 Takeaways from Argentum 2017:
The age of modesty is over. It’s crucial more than ever for senior living communities to differentiate themselves from their competitors. But how can you accomplish this if you aren’t one of the “big gorillas” in the marketplace, or if you’re operating on a shoe-string budget with minimal resources?
Understanding who you are and who you serve comes first and foremost. We’re not recommending taking a wild stab in the dark; so if your community doesn’t have roots in analytics to track specific metrics to drive both your insights and overall strategy, then perhaps you should consult our guide to choosing the right metrics to track for your SL community.
For example, Independent Living and Assisted Living can’t be marketed and promoted together. For one thing, the customer journeys for IL and AL are wildly different. That means you’ll need a unique marketing strategy, or “story,” that speaks to the appropriate decision-maker or influencer.
Assisted Living, on the other hand, it’s more important to speak to the adult child influencer (ACI), who is helping their parent or guardian find the best community. We’ll cover more on the ACI in a bit. Remember – your SL community’s focus should be to create a relationship, not sell a service.
It’s paramount to know the “who” of your community and the “why” in order to tell the proper story to differentiate from your competition. Telling the right story will engage and resonate with your residents in a way other channels simply can’t.
Jen Konency’s ProTip: Grassroots community involvement is strongly encouraged. Especially if you aren’t one of the “big gorillas” in the marketplace. Check out my blog post about a recent onsite client meeting where the SL team spoke directly with residents to gather insights for one of our SL community clients to tell its unique story.
Sign up for our free webinar featuring insight from MatrixCare, industry-leading providers of the technology that powers the senior living industry. You’ll learn how to engage with digitally-savvy seniors, build relationships and shorten your sales cycle. May 23rd, 2017 at 12 pm EST.
After all, they’re the ones helping keep the lights on. What we mean by this is that consistency is key. Resident satisfaction is important, but you must also measure employee satisfaction on an annual basis (at the very least). Their feedback will help your community craft its story, and could very well aid in the recruitment process.
Scheduling regular face-to-face conversations with Executive Directors can be an incredibly useful approach. In fact, these interactions can provide more candid and effective feedback than internal surveys.
It’s critical to create a bright, positive, clean, inviting environment for staff. While being “resident-centric” is great, don’t forget about the people who are directly responsible for keeping residents happy. Your competition doesn’t just want to increase its census. They’re also seeking the best staff to accomplish this goal. Market competition impacts staff recruiting and on-boarding the most – even more than resident recruiting.
Jen Konency’s ProTip: Promote the lifestyle benefits one can come to expect from working for your SL community. Are there benefits a staff member can enjoy that aren’t common to the profession? I.E. flexible hours a culinary chef might have working at a community they wouldn’t benefit from working in a restaurant.
Remember the friendly advice about understanding who you are and who you’re trying to reach? Here’s where things can get a little blurry and differentiation will be critical to your community’s success. There’s a disconnect between what an adult child influencer wants to see in a community versus what the resident actually wants.
For example, the adult-child influencer may want to see different programming options, like a book club or art club; whereas the resident may simply want to unwind with a game of Bingo. Prioritizing your messaging to ensure it speaks to both the ACI and the resident is a difficult tightrope to walk. Keep your stories authentic and use real imagery and stories when possible.
In other words, don’t try to make your message work too hard. You can’t speak to everyone all the time, so choose carefully when you will be speaking to the ACI and when you will be addressing the resident.
Adult-child influencers and residents are both becoming more vocal and demanding than they used to be, and being responsive to those needs is a must. Intense competition within the market won’t change things anytime soon. As an industry, offering a consistent, high level of service will be what makes a difference in the success or failure of a senior living community in both the eyes of the ACI and the resident.
Jen Konency’s ProTip: The ACI is going through the same psychological effects as a parent who is looking for an addiction rehab facility in which to put their teen or adult child. They experience a great deal of guilt and sadness over the decision. This presents a great opportunity for organizations to be resources of education to the family, especially for memory care; i.e., “What type of Dementia Does My Loved One Have?” Use these moments of pain as an opportunity to connect and build trust.
Hopefully your senior living community can use our insights from Argentum 2017 to help build your census in the coming months. Of course, if you still need clarity or help reaching your goals, you can always refer to Linkmedia 360’s Senior Living Digital Marketing Maturity Model.
And, if this leaves you with more questions than answers, don’t be shy! We’re happy to help. Until next time!