The most important marketing principle you should apply can be found in a highly valued and recommended virtue. Warren Buffet, billionaire businessman and philanthropist, has had a tremendously successful career building an investment company from the ground up. His brilliant, business-savvy insight is unparalleled. Yet, one insight Mr. Buffet advises more than any other principle is one that can be applied to marketing practices of any senior living or healthcare organization.
Mr. Buffet asks an especially important question that can be applied to marketing and that is “Do the people you care about love you back?” It may seem like a simple question, but it can really define the way any company including senior living or healthcare organizations approach marketing and taking care of the people and patients they serve.
Focus Your Marketing Messages
No matter the industry, gone are the days when you can throw out generic marketing efforts and expect to sell your products or services. In today’s market, senior living organizations and physician practices need to truly listen to the people they are reaching out to – and they need to reach out with care, love, and compassion to be successful. And, according to Mr. Buffet, your greatest measure of success at the end of your life comes down to one thing – love. “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” says Mr. Buffet.
So, when examining your marketing strategies online and off, ask yourself, do your customers think well of you? Does your staff praise you as a company to work for? Do you have more referrals from staff, residents, family members, friends, and other patients than any other source? Does your online presence reflect that? Do your marketing messages make it clear?
Senior living and healthcare organizations that can market from a place of love for the people they care for and serve will be successful. History has shown that when a company is able to live its mission, truly listen to their customers and change their branding strategy, they are successful. It isn’t going to be an instantaneous thing, however. Success comes with consistency, earning the trust of your market segments.
Especially in senior living and healthcare, marketing messages need to convey your community or medical practice cares. When your residents and patients’ families believe you care, only then will they honestly believe you will be able to love and care for them, their parents, or grandparents as they deserve. It is crucial to listen to what is important to your customers and create a message that responds directly to those needs. Consistency is the key – your marketing materials, the words you say, and even your marketers need to remain consistent in this messaging.
Want to hear the great news? This feat is totally doable for you – many big companies have already done it! Ask yourself who are these companies that you admire and why and how can you replicate what they’ve done to capture your own marketing success?
Let’s take a look at these “Select Six” who have mastered the most important marketing principle you should apply and the art of sharing the love thus achieving success:
Showing the Love: What Care Do You Need to Exhibit?
Care can be defined in so many different ways when it comes to the senior living industry. You need to care about this delicate transition in someone’s life, care about the guilt of their loved one who is moving them into a community because they can no longer care for them, care about the fear of being able to pay for care or their health concerns, care about the excitement of new friendships and socialization…the list is endless! But the end message should always stay the same – you care!
Now, this isn’t just “warm fuzzies,” reserved for the families you know. It is the immediate feeling of comfort and love that people get the minute they look at your website or read something in your marketing pamphlet. Your message needs to be far reaching and convey that you are listening and understand that their perspective of their loved one’s care is important. Your marketing messages must always offer hope and be consistent. On your website, in marketing materials, and across your social media platforms, love must prevail in your marketing efforts if you want to feel the love come full circle.
As they say, they “Just Do It!” Nike is a great example of a company that has mastered the most important marketing principle you should apply as they tend to get their messaging right when they want to convey that they care about people. Their advertisements focus on customers being the hero in their own story and overcoming whatever obstacles life puts in their path. Whether it is someone we have all heard of, like Serena Williams or Colin Kaepernick, or someone that we haven’t heard of like Alyssa Carson, their advertising tells an emotion-evoking story.
They are trying to tell you that you can be the greatest, the hero in your own story, achieve a goal or make a difference, no matter what. No matter the odds. This connects with people’s desires for greatness, which is why they tend to buy Nike more than any other athletic wear. Nike understands that their target market can be the greatest, the most successful accomplished people they can be. And by consistency in messaging, they have earned trust and are the most successful footwear brand in the world!
Another great example of implementing the most important marketing principle you should apply is Apple. Apple has changed the world for the better. Although they make computers, phones, watches, and so much more, you know them because they make your life easier and like Nike, 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 while demonstrating that they are listening to what’s important to you, its customer. Apple continually makes new products that address your 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 and their Aerie brand is another example of a company that has connected with its target audience using love and their compassion for people. Aerie campaigns focus on celebrating every type of body, and they reflect it in their marketing materials. From women’s differing body shapes and sizes and Olympic gold medalists to women who need to use medical equipment every day, Aerie markets to women everywhere.
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 real stories and 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 Aeire brand within a brand? It’s their focus on what their customers want and how they feel. Aeire 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 is another company that has always been transparent about their end goal: to help people and educate them 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 millions of people are educated about unless they were taught in school or had someone in their life teach them of its importance. 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.
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 does Bombas produce a good, quality product (which is important as well), they also demonstrate the most important 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 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.
These companies are just a few in a business world filled with myriad examples of those who are passionate about their mission and strategic about its execution. All the while, these companies (and many others like them) work to ensure their customers feel empowered, connected, listened to, truly heard, and loved. And at the end of the day, isn’t that what, as patients or consumers in the senior living or healthcare environment, we all want and want for our families?
So, I ask you, what reputation do you want your organization to have? What legacy do you want to leave behind? Do your marketing messages online and off convey that? How will you convey the most important marketing principle you should apply? And remember, your marketing will be measured not by what you say, but by what others say about you based on what you do. In the end, this is what Warren Buffet’s #1 indicator of success boils down to – “the amount you are loved — not your wealth or accomplishments — is the ultimate measure of success in life.”
Don’t let your senior living marketing efforts fall short of Mr. Buffet’s measuring stick because… what the world needs now REALLY IS LOVE!