marketing Archives – Varsity Branding

Category: marketing

Varsity has been selected as the agency of record for Wichita, Kansas-based senior living community, Larksfield Place. The competitive win followed an RFP process that involved several other marketing firms. 

The multi-year project involves branding research, sales consulting, development of a creative campaign and marketing for Larksfield Place and an upcoming expansion of the community. 

“We’re expanding, both as a community and a brand. Marketing that expansion is important but we don’t want to lose focus on the marketing of our existing community,” said Larksfield Place vice president of sales, Tammy Flaming of the decision to partner with an agency. “Varsity allows us to stay focused on both and develop new lead generation strategies for the new expansion.” 

Specific tactics will include direct mail, paid digital media, social media, print and out-of-home advertising and various collateral materials. 

“Larksfield Place is a leader not just in the Wichita market, but nationally as evidenced by their recent ranking as one of the best CCRCs in America according to Newsweek,” said Varsity President Derek Dunham. “We are honored to partner with the team to advance Larksfield Place’s mission.” 

The goals for Varsity and Larksfield Place will be to generate qualified leads for the expansion while maintaining or exceeding 90% occupancy in the existing community. Initial strategy is focused on awareness of the expansion and priority members for the expansion. Work will run in the Wichita and McPherson, Kansas areas.

For more information about Larksfield Place visit Larksfield.org.

Scott Townsley from Trilogy Consulting knows a thing or two about critical thinking and he shared that knowledge with us recently as a Roundtable guest. In that appearance, Scott talked about how to look deeper and ask probing questions to uncover valuable and actionable insights in a presentation titled “Hero or Heretic: The Role of Critical Thinking in Marketing and Sales.” 

Here are a few key takeaways from that conversation: 

THE HERO AND THE HERETIC

Critical thinkers ask probing questions, which can either make them heroes for uncovering important truths, or heretics for challenging group assumptions. Scott described critical thinking as the practice of asking important questions that others might be too hesitant to pose. This can lead to becoming a hero for addressing crucial issues. However, it also poses the risk of becoming a heretic, as critical thinkers may uncover answers that challenge the prevailing views of the group.

LOOKING BEYOND OCCUPANCY RATES

Scott emphasized the critical importance of understanding and utilizing data beyond occupancy rates for marketing and sales in organizations. He suggested that while occupancy is frequently discussed, other valuable data often goes underutilized. By questioning and analyzing this information, and sharing insights with others, organizations can move beyond short-term fixes and take significant steps to enhance the nonprofit senior living sector. 

DATA REVEALS ACTIONABLE INSIGHTS

Scott delved into actionable metrics and critical thinking regarding occupancy issues. He highlighted that simply attributing declining occupancy to performance overlooks deeper factors. By examining data, we learned that in one particular CCRC, vacancy rates are highest in smaller units and lowest in larger ones, a correlation often missed at the board level. This insight leads to the actionable conclusion that converting small units into larger ones is essential to address occupancy challenges effectively.

CRITICAL THINKING FOR THE WIN

Critical thinking is the act of questioning assumptions and anticipating potential challenges to current advantages. Scott emphasized the discomfort inherent in challenging the status quo due to our natural confirmation bias. He advocated for seeking disconfirmation, acknowledging that what was once believed to be true may not hold under scrutiny. Actively seeking data is important and so is asking probing questions to uncover critical insights that can drive improvement in Life Plan Communities or senior living organizations. 

The LeadingAge PA Annual Conference is an annual highlight for the Varsity team and this year’s event was no exception. It’s always a pleasure to meet with friends and clients and make new connections. 

We also pay close attention to the trending topics overhead at shows like LeadingAge PA. Here’s a look at four conversations we found ourselves in the middle of during our time in the Poconos: 

CONSOLIDATION – We’re seeing more affiliations, mergers and acquisitions (or at least hearing about them) than ever before, including for-profit skilled nursing systems taking over not-for-profit faith-based SNFs. The mergers and acquisitions market for the senior living industry is incredibly active and shows no signs of slowing. 

WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT – Reducing or eliminating agency support continues to be a priority as communities recognized the importance of developing a skilled workforce and maintaining a stable team to meet the needs of residents.

REIMBURSEMENTS – The delicate balance between providing top-notch healthcare services and managing financial resources is a tightrope walk that retirement communities navigate with precision and care. Keeping pace with reimbursements for the healthcare end of the continuum is a big part of that daily struggle. 

MIDDLE MARKET STRATEGIES – The middle market is a growing older adult population and we’re seeing more conversations around strategies to target and serve those who fall into that often overlooked gap. There are some unique models that are working well. It’s a market that Varsity is intimately familiar with and one that we’ll continue to develop strategies for in the future. 

With “Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones” coming out recently on Netflix, there is a renewed interest in the research and concept of Blue Zones®, areas around the world where people live much longer than average, with the highest rates of living centenarians.

In 2004, author Dan Buettner teamed up with National Geographic and the world’s best longevity researchers to identify pockets around the world where people live measurably longer and better lives, and to see what commonalities there might be in their behaviors, practices and lifestyles that might result in this longer lifespan. They discovered five locations where people reach age 100 at a rate 10 times greater than the average in the United States: Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Ikaria, Greece; Nicoya, Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, California. When pinpointing these locations on a world map, Dan circled them in blue, and therefore called them Blue Zones®.

Researchers found that the lifestyles of all Blue Zones’ residents shared nine commonalities, which they called the Blue Zones Power 9®: Lifestyle Habits of the World’s Healthiest, Longest-Lived People. These behaviors are grouped into categories: Move Naturally, Right Outlook, Eat Wisely and Connect.

Those of us in the senior living space would love for our residents to live longer, healthier, happier lives, so the question is, “Can we replicate this philosophy and these practices in our communities?” We already offer healthy meal options, fitness and exercise opportunities, and a sense of belonging, but how do we get residents to buy into it?

Some Varsity clients have modeled their wellness programs after the Blue Zones practices. We’ve hosted marketing events to educate people on the Blue Zones philosophy and its importance related to longevity, and then four smaller events dedicated to Moving Naturally (yoga, stretching), Right Outlook (meditation, mindfulness), Eating Wisely (Chef cooking demonstration with Mediterranean diet with wine pairing) and Connection (practicing good communication skills and technology). Some communities even code the events on their activities calendars with icons representing the Blue Zones practices.

While both residents and prospects enjoy the events and agree with the concepts in theory, it’s a pretty heavy lift to get people to adhere to a lifestyle that may be foreign to them. It’s a huge culture shift that may be difficult for some to achieve. Case in point, I recall one resident that I joined for breakfast who told me that her doctor recommended she eat more fruits and vegetables, so she ordered a cherry Danish instead of her usual cheese Danish. True story.

While we would like our residents to “live better, longer,” all we can do is offer the options to do so. The choice is obviously theirs to make, and perhaps having that autonomy is more important.

 

 

Guest post by Natalie Clark, Community Manager; and Kaitlyn Mulligan, Social Media Strategist; Pavone Group

Hardly a day goes by without hearing buzz about “AI.” Generative AI is a type of artificial intelligence technology that can produce content, such as text, images and other media, in response to prompts. And this year, we’ve seen a huge wave of AI tools entering into the social media space. 

Snapchat was the first on the scene to add AI features. Since Snapchat is well known for its focus on privacy, people were a bit nervous when it introduced its AI bot. Essentially, the AI added commentary about things people were “snapping” and messaging about. Thankfully, Snapchat listened to its community and “My AI” is now solely for those who have a paid Snapchat membership. 

As for Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, Threads and WhatsApp, it is being a bit more cautious about developing AI tools. Currently, Meta is developing an AI tool that would enable you to ask questions of an AI system within any direct message. This is something that may be more useful for senior living brands in responding to clients or prospects, helping you to write better answers. 

TikTok is also looking to latch onto the AI hype with an AI chatbot, which it’s calling Tako. Different from what Snapchat and Instagram are doing, Tako can be used to find relevant TikTok content that matches your preferences or to track down videos you’ve seen before. Generally, it makes users’ lives easier. Speaking of which, AI-generated content on TikTok must now be disclosed with either a sticker or a disclaimer indicating the content has been created by AI, similar to an “ad” hashtag you’d see on Instagram.

In general, as AI starts to help users search for social content, keywords are becoming even more important for social posts. For your brand, make sure to use keywords in captions and copy, so that those using AI tools will be directed to your profile with their queries. 

While senior living prospects may be slower to adopt social media, we should always keep in mind that we also want to reach their adult children, and even the younger generation, for hiring talent. So we need to stay on top of these AI trends to connect with all these audiences.

In honor of National Mutt Day today, let’s meet the marvelous mutts of Varsity and our sister agencies. While mixed-breed dogs sometimes get overlooked, we think you’ll agree it’s pretty impossible to ignore these particular puppers. Whether a mix of just two breeds — or those veritable “Heinz 57-variety” pooches — they’re a big part of our lives, and truly our four-legged best friends.

While these happy hounds clearly have loving homes, there are so many mutts out there that are seeking adoption. Consider this our plug for all those mutts who need a home.

Here are our good bois and girls.

JovieJovie Breeds: Chihuahua, American Pit Bull, Pomeranian, Toy Fox Terrier, Miniature Pinscher

Human: Lyn Porter, Resource Manager

Pastimes: Giving in to FOMO, barking until you cuddle with me, sunbathing, hunting fishies in the lake, cheese

L.J.L.J. Breeds: Jack Russell Terrier, Pug

Human: Valerie Penaranda, Account Strategist

Pastimes: Barking for attention, eating my sister’s food, playing with my toy collection, making sure Mom is safe, sleeping, stretching

LincolnLincoln Breeds: Mutt to the max (a whole lot of stuff, mostly unknown)

Human: Matt Campbell, Director of Broadcast

Pastimes: PSU football, eating scraps, playing Frisbee, walks

LouieLouie Breeds: Mountain Cur, Plott Hound

Human: Emily Runyon, Account Strategist

Pastimes: Salivating for treats, lounging around, playing in the creek

MiaMia Breeds: Boston Terrier, Doberman Pinscher, Australian Cattle Dog, Rottweiler

Human: Emily Runyon, Account Strategist

Pastimes: Fetching a ball or Frisbee, soaking up the sun, running around like a maniac

Mia WallaceMia Wallace Breeds: Chihuahua, Jack Russell Terrier

Human: Kyle Waldron, Content Designer

Pastimes: Sleeping, running in circles, not making eye contact, general confusion

MilaMila Breeds: Labrador, American Staffordshire Terrier, Beagle, Boxer

Human: Reneé Kelly, Graphic Designer

Pastimes: Napping, patrolling the yard for bunnies, begging for treats

Penny Breeds: American Staffordshire Terrier, Australian Cattle Dog, Border Collie, Golden Retriever

Human: Erica Reed, Senior Copywriter

Pastimes: Walkies, sleeping, belly rubs, fending off the mailman, begging for treats

TaffyTaffy Breeds: Border Collie, Jack Russell Terrier, Chihuahua

Human: Priya Acharya, Accounting Intern

Pastimes: Begging for food, play fighting with the cat, napping behind the couch, bike rides

TeddyTeddy Breeds: Havanese, Poodle

Human: Beth Harris, Human Resources Manager

Pastimes: Barking at the lawn maintenance men, “hiding” my favorite treats in plain sight

WilloughbyWilloughby Breeds: Dachshund, Chihuahua

Human: Kyle Waldron, Content Designer

Pastimes: Chasing and killing Nerf darts, vigilantly protecting the yard from passersby

WinnieWinnie Breeds: German Shepherd, American Staffordshire Terrier, Boxer

Human: Kaitlyn Mulligan, Social Media Strategist

Pastimes: Ball toss, Frisbee, defending the apartment, cuddles

Google Analytics GA4 will be the only way to track website activity after July 1.

Don’t worry, we have the details you need and options to make your old data useable.

By now you’ve probably seen this banner or heard that if you use Google Analytics you need to migrate to GA4. If you haven’t, get in touch with your agency of record to make the move to GA4 today!

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About GA4

Q. Who is affected?
A. Any property (website, software, app) using Google Analytics’ Universal Analytics (UA).

Q. Why do I need to be concerned?
A. GA3, more commonly known as Universal Analytics, is going away. Three things will occur when that happens:

  1. UA data will stop collecting on July 1, 2023.
  2. You will lose UA data. (No specific date has been given, other than October 14, 2023.)
  3. If you haven’t already set up GA4, you will need to do so in order to continue to track and measure website activity

Q. Why is Google doing this?
A. Google is moving toward Google Analytics 4 (GA4), the next-generation measurement solution, because it takes a privacy-first approach to follow people the way they use technology today.

Privacy was just a glimmer in the eyes of web visitors when UA was released over a decade ago. Now more protections are expected and included. For example, GA4 tracks first-party cookies — meaning cookies placed by a website’s owner, not someone other than that site’s owner — thereby protecting visitors from invasive third-party cookies, which pose a security risk.

When Universal Analytics was created, we primarily explored sites using just one device (usually a desktop or laptop). Consumers are now more likely to start a website journey on their smartphone while watching TV, then move to a bed cuddled up with their tablet, and conclude their journey the next day on their laptop. GA4 is built to capture this entire cross-device consumer journey, giving marketers a complete and insightful picture of their online habits.

Q. What happens to my old UA data?
A. Google will only store your UA data for a period of time (not yet disclosed by Google at the time this article was published) and then poof, it is gone. To retain historical data, Google recommends that you export it. Can you imagine looking through spreadsheets to glean insights? Even in a pivot table would be a fast “no” from many people.

Many people started to record GA4 data by July 1, 2022, to have access to year-over-year data on the GA4 dashboard. However, if you didn’t — or if you want data that precedes GA4 (before October 14, 2020) — we have a solution for you.

Data expert/dashboard options

Before you start worrying about your data going to the spirit in the sky, relax — we have you covered. Varsity has partnered with our sister company, WildFig, which offers three GA4 solutions to fit your marketing needs and budget. Our plans capture data from the beginning of your Google Analytics history until the current day of export. Two options include an easy-to-use dashboard that displays standard metrics.

Standard metrics included (old GA terminology)

  • Users
  • New users
  • Sessions
  • New sessions %
  • Average session duration
  • Pageviews
  • Pageviews per session
  • Bounce rate
  • Goal completions (if applicable)

Additional metrics may be added to the dashboard for a one-time fee.

Filtering options

  • Date range
  • Data will be aggregated to a monthly granularity
  • Medium (Organic, PPC, Direct, etc.

Data export/dashboard cost

$500         Straight export of historical UA data

$2,920     Export and historical UA data dashboard + $50/month for dashboard storage/server costs

$8,750     Export and historical UA and live GA4 data in one dashboard + $50/month for dashboard storage/server costs

If you would like to see a demo or learn more, contact .

If you have not yet migrated to GA4, the train is leaving the station soon. Make sure that you make the move before July 1 in order to keep from losing your organization’s valuable data, and continue to be able to track and measure activity from your website visitors.

Resource: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/11583528?hl=en&sjid=2711946442297389965-NA

Guest post by Andrew Lock, author of  Walt Disney’s Way: How to Build a Better Business Using the Magical Marketing Strategies of Walt Disney. We were fortunate to have Andrew as the guest speaker at Varsity’s 150th Sales & Marketing Roundtable.

How My Journey Began

My journey with Disney started when I was a young child. I was sitting in a doctor’s waiting room and picked up a Reader’s Digest, which had an article about Walt Disney. His story really resonated with me, to the extent that I’ve studied Walt and The Walt Disney Company ever since. Throughout my life I’ve done a deep dive into understanding the practical lessons from Walt, who has been established as an incredible visionary and dreamer. For those in sales and marketing, there are so many lessons to learn from him.

Disney Today

Disney is an absolute Goliath of a business. They own 12 theme parks around the world, 40 hotels and resorts, movie studios, record companies, TV stations, cruise lines and more. Their annual revenue is $45,000,000,000.

What’s unique about Disney is that not only are they one of the most profitable companies in the world, they are one of the top five most admired companies.

“But Andrew, What Does My Business Have in Common with Disney?”

Since you are in senior living, you may be asking yourself, “What does my business have in common with a Disney theme park?” If you boil down the core aspects of running a business, you can identify a number of things that you have in common:

  • You want to stay profitable
  • You want happy clients
  • You want to see enthusiastic, engaged and loyal staff
  • You face competition and need to stand out from the crowd
  • You continually face rising costs

The key is looking at the principles of what Disney does well, and adapting those into your business.

Principle 1: Deliver a Positive and Memorable Experience

The first principle is most important and it encompasses everything. For many years, customer service was the highest priority for a business. Now we’ve moved beyond it, and experience is the biggest thing that can separate us from other businesses. Customers might not be consciously thinking that they want an experience, but subconsciously, they do.

If we wow customers with a positive and memorable experience, then they will tell their friends. That is the best form of recommendation in any space and the easiest sale you’ll ever have. Walt knew that too, which is why 97% of visitors at Disney are repeat visitors.

Example: Droid Depot at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Disney decided to sell remote control droids, from the Star Wars movies, but rather than just sell boxes in a store, they created an experience. A cast member helps you choose parts for your droid, assemble it and operate it. You have fun playing with it on the showroom floor. What’s even more amazing is that, not only does a droid cost $100 plus tax, but you have to make a reservation to have the privilege of buying it. They’re selling something so enjoyable that customers forget they’re there to buy.

The lesson? Think far beyond the normal boundaries in your industry, to realize how much further you can — and should — go to create memorable experiences.

Principle 2: Premium Pricing

Many people wrongly believe that price is the most important factor in making a buying decision. A lot of salespeople have trepidation because they think that customers are concerned about price. There’s a danger in dwelling too much on price when it is not the most important factor for most people.

Disney is proud of owning the highest priced theme parks, because they know that this enables them to provide a better product. This is really the biggest advantage of charging more.

So, sell with confidence and enthusiasm that you’re delivering an enormous value. Don’t be shy that you charge more because it enables you to deliver a better product. Be proud of being a premium provider at the top of your industry.

Principle 3: Mind Your Language

The third principle is all about the words that we use with customers. Walt invented the Disney language that he trained all of his staff to use. He wanted them to remember that they are putting on a show. Employees are called cast members, customers are called guests, a group of guests is the audience, the experience is the show, and uniforms are costumes. Rather than just being clever, Walt found that this terminology made a difference. When staff thought of customers as guests rather just a transaction, they became happier and more welcoming.

We’re not going to use the exact same terminology as Disney, but how can we follow this principle?

Examples:

What most say:                                      What you should say:

“Price”                                                           “Investment”

“Problem”                                                      “Challenge”

“No problem”                                                “You’re welcome/My pleasure”

“Sign up”                                                        “Register/Join”

“Contract”                                                      “Paperwork”

“I don’t know”                                               “Let me find out for you”

The words that we choose and use in our business really do make a difference.

Principle 4: The Power of a Name

Walt encouraged cast members to use guest names as much as possible. One of the ways Disney facilitates this is by giving out badges when you first get to the park. They have pins for birthdays, first-time visitors, honeymooners, anniversaries, family reunions, etc. And they write the person’s name on the badge itself. So later that day, a cast member might come up to a child and ask them by name how their birthday is going. The child may ask how they know their name and that it’s their birthday, and the cast member will say, “Disney magic.”

Disney realized that it’s very powerful when we learn and use clients’ names as much as possible. Even if we’re not good with names, we need to make the effort, as it’s so important.

Principle 5: Pay Close Attention to Details

When we are busy, it’s so easy to overlook the details. But our clients and guests do notice. I went into a chiropractor’s office and the first thing I noticed was there were a lot of marks on the walls. When I went up to the counter, I saw a computer monitor with a thick pile of dust that hadn’t been cleaned in years, and tangled cables spilling onto the floor.

I noticed all of these things as a first-time visitor, but if we aren’t walking in our customers’ shoes, we cease to register those details. But attention to detail matters, because guests do notice. Which is why to this day, on Main Street in Disney World, they repaint the lampposts every single night. Because they’re the first things people see when they come into the park. So, to stand out from the crowd, you need to pay attention to the smallest details.

 

Beyond Walt’s creative genius, he was a master marketer and understood the psychology of how to interact with people. I hope you’ve been inspired, and see how Walt’s principles can be applied in all aspects of your business.

As a sales consultant, market researcher and mystery shopper with nearly 30 years of experience within the senior living industry, I visit many senior living communities every year. In my experience, I’ve identified some simple, affordable things you can do to make your community more appealing to potential residents. Even if you can’t afford to make significant updates to your campus and residences, here are some small changes that can make a big difference in the impression you make on prospects.

Be Responsive

  • Keep a close eye on web inquiries. At a few communities, I filled out a website contact form and requested a tour at a specific time and day, but got no response to the request.
  • Have a back-up team of individuals available to provide a tour whenever possible. After I received no response from one community and stopped by, no one was able to give me a tour and I was handed a brochure.

Enhance Curb Appeal

Just as in all real estate tours, you always want your property to wow the visitor at first sight. Some things to watch out for:

  • Make sure the buildings are power-washed to fend off that dingy, old look.
  • Keep your signage looking fresh — it should never be dirty, damaged, unreadable or have overgrown vegetation.
  • Keep your landscaping well-groomed. Brown, patchy grass and scraggly bushes make a poor impression.
  • It’s a nice touch to have a welcome sign at the main entrance for the visitor.
  • Ensure light bulbs are not burned out or dead bugs visible in the light fixtures during the tour.

Start the Tour Off Strong

Take a look at your discovery room to make sure it’s warm and welcoming.

  • Provide an area that’s conducive to intimate, private conversation.
  • Keep the room clean, decluttered and neat.
  • Offer your prospects a cold drink or a hot cup of coffee or tea.
  • A large, mounted TV with a virtual sales platform sharing floor plans, amenities, site plan/campus can be a strong selling tool.
  • Have documents such as floor plans, menus, fitness schedule, program/activity calendar, rate sheets readily available.

Make Affordable Upgrades to Residences

Even if you can’t afford to do a full-scale remodel on apartments or cottages/villas, there are cost-effective ways to show them to their best advantage.

  • Ensure the front door to the residence is freshly painted and not damaged or scuffed. Place “Welcome Home” in the nameplate vs. nothing or the previous resident’s name.
  • Declutter residences for a cleaner impression. Less is better.
  • Remove all items left from prior residents.
  • Ensure housekeeping cleans the residence prior to showing it. Ensure all available residences are cleaned on a regular basis.
  • Stage your residences with new, modern furniture, rather than with furniture left by deceased residents.
  • Remove or drywall over popcorn ceilings, which feel outdated.
  • Update lighting. Large fluorescent lights in the kitchen feel institutional and not residential.
  • Update everything at the same time for cost and time savings and a cohesive, modern look. For instance, in some bathrooms I toured, the lower-height oak cabinets were still in place; however, the kitchen cabinets were updated and modern.

Make It a Happy Ending

  • At one community, tours ended in the performing arts center with an exit out the side door. I recommend ending the tour in the discovery center for a next-step discussion.
  • Offer your prospects something to drink during the closing conversation.
  • Consider leaving your visitor with a small gift — at one community I was offered eclairs branded with a ribbon printed with the community logo, and another offered me something from their cafe to take with me.

Follow Up Promptly

Make sure to follow up right away after the tour. I appreciated it when a sales director sent me an email the same day with videos of the apartments we toured, and also mailed a handwritten note a few days later.

Thank you for reading the insights I’ve gathered after mystery shopping many types of senior communities. If you have any questions about how to make your community more appealing during tours, please feel free to contact me at .

 

In case you couldn’t make it to our December Sales & Marketing Roundtables, here are some of the trends we saw in senior living last month, and a look forward to 2023.

  1. Holiday Conversations. New Year’s Conversions.

Many participants saw sales activity gaining momentum in December. At this time of year, children come home for the holidays and notice that Mom and Dad aren’t getting around as well as they used to, and might benefit from senior living options. Sales and marketing leaders saw leads pick up, which will hopefully become conversions in January now that the busy holiday season is over.

  1. Connecting With Kinless Seniors

A frequent topic of conversation in December was “kinless” seniors, or seniors who do not have family support, whether it be because they never married, never had kids, are widowed, or for whatever reason don’t have a support network nearby. Kinless seniors can be uniquely limited in their caregiving support, and senior living communities can be well equipped to serve them.

“There are quite a few kinless folks who visit us. And I see them as very proactive, coming in and talking to us about their future plans, making sure they have their legal documents in order.” (Washington state)

  1. Nearly Universal Rate Increases — and Tips for Communicating Them

Entry fees and monthly service fees are being raised for 2023 in most senior living communities.

“The industry standard is a 9% to 10% increase, on average this year. (Pennsylvania)

Sales and marketing leaders shared helpful tips on how to best communicate rate increases with residents. It was agreed that it’s best to be extremely transparent with why fees have to go up, and to go into detail about why.

“We were extremely clear about why we raised rates and broke down the pricing for our residents. We were clear on what we spent on renovation and really broke it down. We also showed figures of how the minimum wage is going up, how utilities have increased, how the food bills have gone up.” (Massachusetts)

When using this up-front approach, residents tend to have less pushback and are more accepting of the current situation.

  1. Loneliness as a Public Health Problem

Americans are spending more and more hours alone than ever before. Our time spent alone has increased by over nine hours a week. This trend started well before the pandemic, although 2020 surely exacerbated it, and we know that time spent alone dramatically increases as we age. We discussed that it could be valuable for sales teams to convey that time spent alone can be dramatically reduced for people who live in senior communities.

  1. Competition Changing to At-Home Options

Sales and marketing leaders agree that their competition isn’t necessarily the other community down the road — especially for independent living. More often, they’re competing against home health agencies and private duty care.

“I have always said that I feel like other communities aren’t our competitors. We’re all competing against the home and the prospect staying at home.” (Washington state)

“It’s when the home is no longer working for them that people start calling us.” (Massachusetts)

See what’s new in senior living for 2023 at our weekly Sales & Marketing Roundtables. Join us on Thursdays at noon ET, 11 a.m. CT and 9 a.m. PT.

For login information, email 

 

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