With an impressive career building a successful investment company from the ground up, businessman and philanthropist Warren Buffet can teach us all a thing or two about key marketing principles. While Mr. Buffet’s expertise lie in finance, his most valued, tried-and-tested marketing principle is acutely relevant in the senior living industry:

“Do the people you care about love you back?”

It’s a question so simple that it’s easy to overlook. But once you strip back the logistics of clever assisted living marketing strategies, highly thought-out sales training ideas and catchy slogans, all that truly matters is how well you can connect with future residents and their family caregivers. As a senior living marketing agency, our ultimate aim is to build that connection for your community.

Buffet Marketing: The Key Principle You Need

Regardless of industry, throwing out generic marketing efforts simply no longer works. With countless options available at the click of a button, cold and over-used cliches won’t help you stand out. In the often-impersonal modern world, today’s seniors are drawn to genuine care, compassion and tailored messages that speak to their heart.

“If you get to my age in life and nobody thinks well of you, I don’t care how big your bank account is, your life is a disaster” – Warren Buffet

In a world full of strategic, carefully curated and highly polished marketing principles, Buffet argues that love, compassion and care are ultimately what will shine through. As a senior living organization, this insight is particularly pertinent, perhaps even more so than in any other industry. After all, seniors are entrusting you with their most prized possession – their health and wellbeing (or that of a dear loved one).

How Should Buffet Marketing Impact Your Assisted Living Marketing?

Think of marketing from the inside out, starting with your current residents and staff members. Do they think fondly of you? Do your team praise you as a company and enjoy working for you? Do you get lots of referrals from current residents or patients, staff members, family caregivers and friends?

If YES…do your marketing messages highlight this? Getting referrals from the people most heavily involved in your community says a lot about your trustworthiness. After all, entrusting you with a loved one’s care is surely the greatest testimony.

If NO…think about what you can do to improve your community and ensure the people you care for love you back. Contrary to popular belief, the best marketing strategies start well before the creation of punchy, eye-catching resources.

Your mission should be much more than words; it should be something you strive to live out each and every day for your residents. It’s easy to spot when an organization is all words and no substance and practicing what you preach will always be the best way to build trust with future residents and their families. 

Care can be defined in so many different ways, especially within the senior living industry which centers so heavily around compassion and love. Think about the key ways in which both seniors and their loved ones need care; perhaps they need support in the delicate transition to a new way of living, or maybe a senior’s caregiver needs reassurance that they shouldn’t feel guilt for no longer being able to meet their loved one’s needs alone. 

As an assisted living community or medical practice, your marketing messages must convey that you care, and that this care is truly at the heart of your mission. Would you entrust the care of a beloved parent or grandparent to an organization if you didn’t believe they really cared about their health, happiness and wellbeing? Luckily for you, Warren Buffet’s key marketing principle is actually one of the simplest to execute in assisted living marketing, so long as you are actively working on and living out your values each day. 

Top Tip: Reviews are your best friend in assisted living marketing, so ask current residents and family caregivers for testimonials to use in your marketing materials. Prospective residents are much more likely to believe someone who has experienced your care first hand!

6 Companies That got Warren Buffets Key Marketing Principle Right

    • Nike

As they say, they “Just Do It!” Nike is a great example of a company that has mastered Warren Buffet’s key marketing principle you should apply. They get their messaging right, showing they care with advertisements focusing on customers being the hero in their own story and overcoming whatever obstacles are in their path.

Whether it’s a figure we’ve all heard of like Serena Williams or Colin Kaepernick, or someone that we’re less familiar with like Alyssa Carson, their advertising evokes emotion and tells a story. Ultimately, Nike wants their customers to know that they can be the greatest, achieve a goal or make a difference, no matter the odds. 

This connects with people’s desire for greatness, which is why they tend to buy Nike more than any other athletic wear. Nike understands that their customers are capable of being the most successful and accomplished people they can be. With consistency in their messaging, they have earned the trust needed to become the most successful footwear brand in the world.

    • Apple

Another great example of implementing the key marketing principle you should apply is Apple. Apple has changed the world for the better. Although they make computers, phones, watches and more, you know them because they make your life easier and – just like Nike – they make you the hero in your own story. Having learned how to tell a story from Pixar, Steve Jobs understood the importance of connecting with his audience. 

Today, the company continues to tell a story of possibility, demonstrating that they are listening to what’s important to you, the customer. Apple continually makes new products that address their customers’ needs. Why? Because they care! They are willing to accept feedback (and criticisms) and make changes. 

For example, they were able to listen to customer worries about the aging population and make a tool that seniors can use – now the Apple Watch has fall detection technology that alerts an emergency contact when a fall is sensed. Does this make the families of seniors feel like Apple cares? Absolutely!

    • American Eagle

American Eagle and their Aerie brand is another example of a company that has connected with its target audience using their love and compassion for people. Aerie campaigns focus on celebrating every type of body, and they reflect it in their marketing materials. By representing women of differing shapes and sizes, Olympic Gold Medalists and women who use mobility aids and medical equipment each day, Aerie conveys that their products are for everyone. 

Even better, they don’t airbrush their images. Aerie promotes positivity and individuality celebrating how people feel about themselves. Their extraordinarily successful marketing campaign “This is #AerieREAL” encourages customers to share their stories with real, unretouched images in Aerie clothing. For every unretouched photo shared, Aerie donates to a non-profit which supports people affected by eating disorders. 

So, what is the key ingredient behind American Eagle’s Aerie brand within a brand? It’s their focus on what their customers want and how they feel. Aerie consumers feel they can relate more to marketing messages and envision themselves wearing American Eagle’s clothing because they identify with someone in their marketing who looks like them.

    • Credit Karma

Credit Karma is another company that has always been transparent about their end goal: to help educate people about their finances. They became aware that this is a very real blind spot for many people. Why? Mainly because personal finance is not a subject many people know about unless they were taught in school or had someone in their life to educate them. Their mission is to give customers “the tools, the education and the opportunities [they] need to make real, meaningful progress.”

Credit Karma helps people and gives them the tools they need, so they don’t just succeed now, they succeed long into the future. Of course, their tools also help people in other areas of their lives by improving credit scores, building healthy habits, and more. By offering a free service and providing educational opportunities that empower their customers, Credit Karma communicates that they care beautifully.

    • Bombas

Have you heard of Bombas? This amazing company allows people to be more conscious, caring consumers. When Bombas customers make a purchase, they feel like they are giving back and making a difference. For the price of every pair of their socks, another pair is given away to homeless shelters. Bombas does a good job of educating people about the plights of those living with homelessness and their basic needs. 

Socks are one of many items that are not donated by the general public. But Bombas has changed that – to date, they’ve donated over 38 million pairs of socks. Not only do Bombas produce a good, quality product (which is important as well), they also demonstrate the key marketing principle you should apply by allowing people to feel good about themselves through their purchasing choices. Bombas customers are willing to pay a few dollars more because what they are doing makes them feel good, and Bombas has given them that “loving feeling.”

    • Toms Shoes

Toms Shoes is a popular brand for so many reasons. Not only do they highlight the importance of good quality shoes, but they give back to the community. For every pair purchased, they donate $1 for every $3 in profits to organizations that are established to help people improve their lives. The motto of Toms Shoes is “We’re in the Business to Improve Lives,” and they have consistently done so. They are transparent about what they do and how they do it. Every time you see the CEO of Toms talk, he is sincere and consistent in the messaging he portrays.

Final Thoughts on Buffet Marketing

Though the companies mentioned above might seem a world away from the senior living industry, they are all working hard to ensure their customers feel empowered, connected, listened to and loved. And, ultimately, isn’t that what we would all want for our parents, grandparents and senior loved ones?

Warren Buffet’s key marketing principle is based on creating genuine feelings of positive connection. Put simply, it’s not about what you say you do, it’s about what others say about you, based on what you do. Therefore, it’s vital to pinpoint the areas in which you already excel to create a marketing strategy that captures the true essence of your organization.

How Can Marketing Consulting Services Help?

SMCG’s marketing consulting services will help you figure out how to best showcase your senior living organization’s uniquely compassionate approach, drawing out your key strengths within your assisted living marketing strategy. Ultimately, we will help you to answer Warren Buffet’s key question, “do the people you care about love you back?” with a resounding yes, every time!