If you were to ask any senior living sales and marketing professional who their greatest competition is, you’ll probably get one answer pretty consistently – “their own home.”
Even from the surface level, it makes perfect sense. If a person is comfortable in the home that they are already living in, and perhaps own, why would they undertake a major move to a retirement community? Usually, the impetus for a move often isn’t a choice, but rather a need, such as health concerns, inability to keep up with regular maintenance, or rising taxes. When these “pain points” become too much to bear, a person may start to look at other options.
There is, however, a new trend surfacing in the aging services space that purports to help people in these situations. Savvy marketers are pivoting their products and services to appeal to individuals who would much rather stay at home than make the move. If these products and services can keep you in your own home longer, at a fraction of the cost, why wouldn’t you consider them? This tactic has become the new marketing sweet spot for a very specific subset of companies – home bathroom remodelers.
One of the biggest hurdles people face as they age is maintaining their lifestyle in a space built for a younger person. Where once the bathtub ridge was easily negotiable, now it is a tripping hazard. In your 30’s, you don’t care if a shower has a seat or a grab bar, but when you are in your 80’s, these are important additions. Also, as human beings, when we are feeling unwell, we gravitate to two rooms in particular – the bedroom and the bathroom. Bedrooms can be pretty easy to rearrange and refurnish since they are just an empty box with a closet until furniture is brought in. But, a bathroom is a different story.
A recent survey of 1,100 homeowners aged 55 and older found that more than half are in the midst of or are considering a bathroom remodeling project. Let that sink in for a minute. More than half of the key demographic for senior living marketers are taking steps to stay in their current home longer, rather than to look at other housing options. The average bathroom remodel costs around $7,000. Even without specific data, we can take an educated guess that someone who spends a significant amount of money in remodeling their home, with accessibility in mind, is far less likely to consider making a big move to a senior living campus.
Accessibility is the true goal in a majority of these remodels. Nearly half of those doing bathroom remodels (47%) are changing their bathroom layout entirely, and a third of all remodels results in the removal of the bathtub. 84% of remodels result in substantially upgraded features, such as showers and vanities. Oh, and these aren’t DIY renovations; 83% of people hire a professional contractor for their projects (although this number does appear to be shrinking.)
While all of these facts and figures are useful, what does it really mean to senior living marketing professionals? Of course, the home a person is already in remains our biggest competition. But, now is the time to start thinking outside of the box on your marketing messages. “Why spend thousands remodeling your bathroom when you can move into a brand new home today?” Targeting ads to Boomers who are considering renovations could be an interesting tactic that few people are considering. In this way, digital marketing could be especially fruitful, because you could present ads to people who are of the right age and who are looking for remodels. This might be your chance to change their mind and entice them to your community!
As you look towards 2019, and even beyond that, how are you going to adapt your marketing message to appeal to these kinds of Boomers? Those that figure it out will certainly end up winning in our space – and forging what senior living is going to look like for the next several decades.