In 2017, US businesses spent $183.5 billion on advertising. Regardless of the size of your organization, advertising is vital. However, is the amount of money your organization spends on growing your customer base the most critical factor?

In the senior living and healthcare industries, listening to customers isn’t just an idyllic notion. It’s a necessity. Senior living and healthcare organizations that wish to remain competitive and sustainable for years to come must possess a strong understanding of their customers. From independent living to home health, retirees have a myriad of choices for housing options based on how they wish to spend their retirement years.

Successful entrepreneur and American businessman Sam Walton once said, “If you don’t listen to your customers, someone else will.” In today’s highly competitive senior living market, listening to your customer is more important than ever. Seniors are inundated daily with marketing messages in direct mail, print, social media and from television commercial spots. How can retirement, post-acute and long-term care organizations not only stand out, but stand apart amidst the volume of communication vying for the attention of retirees and patients? Organizations hoping to reach their target audiences should examine whether the message regarding their product or service resonates with customers and if it is reflected in their customers willingness to buy.

It’s not just the private sector who should listen to its customers. In recent years considering the Affordable Care Act, governmental agencies have also placed importance on patient feedback and satisfaction as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shifted from fee for service to value-based pay. It is imperative for senior living and healthcare organizations of every size to base marketing strategies on both quality data and a clear understanding of what is important to its customers – retirees, patients, family members and referral sources alike.

Decision makers need to ask a few key questions:

  • What is important to your organization’s customers?
  • Does your sales team demonstrate an understanding of the preferences and needs of your customers?
  • Does the message communicated in your marketing and advertising mediums reflect an understanding of what motivates your customers?

Although these questions appear simple to ask, the answers are often more complex than most organizations have the time to examine. However, isn’t a well-crafted message which resonates with your target audience resulting in increased traffic, brand exposure and sales worth examining? Sales and marketing teams for senior living and healthcare organizations who listen to and understand their customers as demonstrated in all of forms of advertising will successfully create campaigns impacting their organization’s target market and bottom line.