Linkmedia 360’s SMASHing Insights 2017

It’s hard to believe two weeks have passed since the Senior Living team at Linkmedia 360 wrapped its attendance and Premiere Partnership with SMASH in Chicago. SMASH is often referred to as the un-conference by industry peers and practitioners. What makes it different?

SMASH combines the sometimes-disparate studies of sales and marketing to create collaboration and innovation. To those unable to attend this year’s conference, or those who have never heard of SMASH before; its primary goal is to accomplish three objectives:

  1. Differentiate their Communities
  2. Outmaneuver Competition
  3. Network with Peers

To that end, the Linkmedia 360 team found itself incredibly busy. You may have learned from us during educational round table sessions, connected with us at the kiosk during the Expo, or networked with the Linkmedia 360 and MatrixCare team’s during our happy hour at Adobe Gila’s.

Whatever the case may have been, it was a privilege to meet your team and learn about your community. There was so much going on, that even eagle-eyed attendees missed something. That’s why the Senior Living team at Linkmedia 360 rounded up our biggest takeaways and insights leading into 2018, so your team stays current (and hopefully proactive) with its sales and marketing efforts.

To catch up on everything SMASH-related, click here, here and here for Linkmedia 360’s SMASH coverage.

SMASH 2017 – Linkmedia 360 Sales and Marketing Insights

Insights, handled SMASH-style. SMinsights? SMASH-sights? I’ll leave the branding to the experts at SMASH. The team was left with a lot to ponder and strategize for when planning for 2018 and beyond. We share the most important considerations impacting both sales and marketing teams below:

  1. Identity Crisis (in search) – Is your community missing opportunities due to investing in terms it wants residents to adopt, rather than using terms that are actually being searched for? That’s exactly the revelation posited during the conference’s keynote address. To practitioners the industry is in 2017, but potential residents or ACI’s searching for your community online may be using terms you view as dated. That doesn’t make them wrong. To you, your lush campus is the ideal destination for the resident looking to age with style and grace; and the terms “retirement home” or “nursing home” seem to cheapen the amenities you’ve worked hard to improve. But as sales and marketing professionals, we must take the ego out of the experience, and meet residents in the middle.

Linkmedia 360 ProTip: Have honest conversations with your residents and discover the “what” in search. Don’t allow your community to fall prey to industry disconnect.

  1. Know your Persona! –As content marketing gains traction across the space, the strategic advantage of identifying and clearly defining personas to speak to could put your community years ahead of your competition. And depending on where your resident falls on the digital marketing maturity curve, coupled with the time it takes to move up the curve (years at times) makes it all the more important to understand who your persona is, and ensuring that your community’s messaging speaks to their preferences and rings through as authentic. Truly get to know your customers and prospects so you can understand their needs, and how your community can address those needs.

Linkmedia 360 ProTip: How does your community involve its buyer when creating personas? At the end of the day, it’s all about what your buyer wants, and be sure that they stay top priority.

  1. Really know your ROI? – Between conversations our team had with SMASH attendees during both the educational roundtables and during expo hours, communities that are tracking ROI will allocate more marketing dollars to digital in 2018. Understand where that ROI is coming from by measuring each program separately (e.g. tracking print ROI to that of your PPC ads). This will help your team understand the results and will aid with integrating these programs together, creating a strategy that seamlessly closes the loop between sales and marketing. This doesn’t mean your team has to become an expert in every discipline overnight. That’s what your agency partnerships are for. That being said – hold your agency of record accountable and make sure to ask lots of questions so your team understands the results being driven. Find partners that will educate, provide transparency, and ultimately; help execute desired results.

Linkmedia 360 ProTip: While the social media craze has hit communities hard and marketers are latching onto Facebook, it hasn’t proven to be a competitive lead driver like search engines. Maintain your presence, but understand where your ROI is coming from.

A SMASHing Recap

Was there an insight our team missed? SMASH is all about collaboration, as is the team at Linkmedia 360. Be sure to provide your observations from the conference. We would love to hear! Of course, we’re also available if your team has a question about the conference, or digital marketing in general. Until next time, Chicago!

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