When I am asked to help a community with marketing, one of the first things I like to look at is the frequency of marketing calls occurring outside of the building. There is a good amount of marketing that goes on in the building and attention should be paid to that, however, time must be provided to getting out and speak directly to referral sources. It must be a priority and a sufficient amount of time allowed for results to be seen.
If one is not comfortable going out and talking to people, try role playing before going out. Ask someone in sales how they do it. Remember to ask open ended questions and try to discover the needs of the referral source. The best way to do that is by asking. We refer to this as marketing, but it is really sales, and people buy for their reasons, not yours. It is also very important to know your product. When the needs are discovered, then those needs can be satisfied with the programs and solutions that your community offers.
As with many communities, the Admissions person is given the role of Marketing Director as well. This can present some problems. So, many times a decision must be made between the two jobs. If someone is not comfortable in getting out into the community, then Admissions is likely to win out. The Administrator has to make marketing a priority and allow the time to get out there. There also needs to be reporting back to the Administrator on results, and discussion of future efforts, for this to be successful.
The programming the facility offers will help determine the marketing target list. A list must be determined of all referral sources that need to aware of the products and then prioritize that list so that efforts can be focused there. Another thing to keep in mind is that through conversations with targets, information needs to be gathered on the types of programs and services they are looking for. It goes back to the reasons people buy things.
Do not forget that the things mentioned above will not become reality if there is no opportunity to get out of the building and “beat the bushes.”
Director of Marketing