September Review / Preview: Your Marketing Homework.

We never really forget that “back to school” feeling, do we? No matter how long we (or our customers) have been out of school, September always brings renewed focus and a promising new start.

In senior housing, September means a burst of opportunities between summer vacations and the holiday season. It’s the perfect time to “review and preview” your marketing for the year in order to make the most of these next few busy and exciting months.

Your prospects are thinking about their futures.

Are you ready for them?

I encourage you to take some time to look at what’s worked so far this year, rethink what hasn’t, and solidify your plans to make the most of this important season.

Marketing Review and Preview Checklist


  • Your website: Does it draw enough visitors? Are they converting to calls and tours?
  • Direct mail: Is your list up to date? What pieces make the phone ring?
  • Print advertising: Are your message and placement on track?
  • Special events: How has the turnout been this year? What is your follow-up?
  • Social media: Are you engaging your prospects and their families?
  • Your budget: What’s been most effective and efficient for you?


Based on your 2015 Outcomes

  • Plan your marketing and sales/Leasing strategy for the remainder of 2015.
  • Detail campaigns and events for the balance of 2015 to make the most of the “back to school” mindset.
  • Budget for the balance of 2015 and for 2016.
  • Outline the campaigns and events for 2016 based on outcomes of 2015.

Marketing is 80% tried and true, 20% something new.

Where are you trying something new?

Everyone benefits from a “Review and Preview.” Here are some ideas that have continued to work well this year, and a few we’re starting new.

Review: What’s Been Working

“Dare to Compare” Educational Seminars

Educational seminars continue to generate new inquiries and advance existing prospects through the sales process.

Why Seminars Work

  • Seniors and their adult children receive value: they are eager to hear from a national expert about choices in retirement living, and how and when to make a decision.
  • Prospects better understand the industry and how your community fits into the picture.
  • Sales staff gain an opportunity to spend time with new and existing prospects during tours.
  • Participants complete a survey during the event, which helps the sales and marketing staff better understand prospects’ desires and needs.
  • Free, personalized comparison guides are available following the sessions, adding to the value for prospects and providing sales staff an opportunity for follow up.
  • Existing prospects gain renewed awareness for and appreciation of your community.

Seminars are a win-win! Your prospects get something of value and your community generates new inquiries and sales.

Focus Groups or Informal Discussion Groups

Focus groups bring seniors, family members, and professionals to visit your campus and offer candid feedback about your community or a proposed project.

Why Focus Groups Work

  • Focus groups are not viewed as a direct sales tactic. They’re non-threatening and create an environment in which attendees will offer candid feedback about your community.
  • Feedback from these groups has fine-tuned many projects by providing a clear picture of the needs and desires of prospective (and current) residents. Changes have included adding new activity rooms or services, eliminating particular charges, and refocusing positioning.
  • Focus groups are an efficient way to educate the consumer and their influencers.
  • Focus groups bring people to your community who may not otherwise have come for a sales or educational event.  They are often the consumers who “aren’t ready yet.” They are your future customers, and they will tell you what they will want when they are ready, and what could motivate them to be ready sooner.
  • Evaluating responses to specific concepts steers future positioning and marketing efforts. Focus groups serve as a transition from consumer research to marketing, and the results facilitate communication between the sponsor/owner and the marketplace.
  • Focus groups help to spread the word about your community and get the marketplace involved.

Focus groups provide a clear picture of your prospects’ wants and needs. This information can be used to steer program offerings, modify positioning, and guide expansion or renovation projects.

Telephone Sales Support

Weekly or bi-monthly sales calls keep the sales staff focused on what and who ‘brings in the money.’

Why Phone Sales Support Works

  • Regularly scheduled progress calls increase focus and accountability.
  • Marketing directors have a “personal trainer,” an experienced industry sales consultant to help refine ideas, motivate staff and reinforce concepts.
  • The sales team has an objective guide who understands the product, the target market, the sales cycle, and the psychology of their prospects.
  • Support calls offer the whole sales and marketing staff coaching on proven techniques and approaches for each of their prospects.
  • The cost fits into almost any budget.

Phone sales support keeps staff focused and gets results. Just ask our CCRC clients who maintain an average of 95% occupancy.

Are you staying ahead of your competition?

Just ask us how!

Contact us  for a Review / Preview checklist.

Preview: What I’m Encouraging My Clients to Consider

New Marketing Tactics

Look for new opportunities to put your community’s name in front of potential prospects, such as appealing take-aways at places where your prospects are likely to spend time, e.g. medical offices and libraries.

New Marketing Concepts


Embracing new technology shows prospects that your community is current and keeps you ahead of your competition. Consider:

  • Expanding your social media.
  • New game systems for residents.
  • Implementing safety and care enabling technology.

Stay ahead. New technology should be in your plan!

Physical Environment

Look at the inside of your building with fresh eyes. Your next consumers  – those who “aren’t ready yet” – want to be engaged on many levels, not just entertained. Is your community arranged for active engagement or passive entertainment?


We all want to stay healthy and active and to choose how we do that. Communities are naming their wellness programs and expanding all dimensions to include physical, social, intellectual, emotional and spiritual health. Include wellness programming that encompasses all dimensions of health.

Customized/Personalized Service

The next wave of consumers are motivated by choice and personal attention. Go beyond generic services, and take the next step in customizing services to the individual.  Exceptional service need not be expensive. Service is a culture that starts from the top.
Choose what’s new, test it, work the kinks out, then go!

Do your homework and you’ll be ready. There are so many opportunities to make your marketing and your sales team sparkle!

I’m excited about the “new” season and the new year ahead and I’m looking forward to keeping in touch with you about your projects and progress.

In the mean time, perhaps we can catch up at one of these events.

10 – Rockland Cty, NY, Trends in Senior Housing (speaker)
25-29 – Dallas, Texas, NAHB 50+ Housing Council Board Meeting
30 – Philadelphia, PA, Building Industry Association – 14th Annual Housing Conference
7 – Rockland Cty, NY, Dare to Compare Seminar (speaker)
15 – Monmouth Cty, NJ, Trends in Senior Housing (speaker)
1-4 – Boston, MA, 2015 Leading Age Annual Conference and Expo
19-21 – New Orleans, LA, International Council on Active Aging
Annual Conference