Ever since Uber, Lyft and Airbnb hit the market, the idea of ownership has become passé and the concept of sharing has taken over our economy.
The success of these David-turned-Goliath companies that kick-started the sharing economy leaves little doubt that a collaborative economy just makes sense: sharing products and skills helps improve efficiency and flexibility, allows participants to get by without owning expensive items, offers extra income to providers and cheaper goods and services to consumers. Homes, cars, neighborhood gardening equipment—why own if you can share?
Attitudes about ownership have undergone major shifts, with consumers and businesses questioning the value of owning a piece of equipment, technology, or even a professional service—you may not have an A-list programmer on staff, but you can rent her skills for a three-month project. Thanks to technology and a new precedent for doing business, consumers and organizations have access to a better service or opportunity just by tapping into it periodically, with few strings attached.
Which brings us to the next step in the evolution of the sharing economy: the subscription economy.
The Subscription Economy
At the consumer level, think Netflix, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon; for businesses, there is Salesforce.com, Zendesk and many others. Each offers a subscription—daily, monthly, annual fees varying—to access their service. While I loved our LPs, I’m more likely to create and listen to a station on Pandora for a few bucks a month—it’s convenient, easy, and saves tons of space.
At the heart of the subscription economy is the belief that customers are happier subscribing to the outcomes they want, when they want them, rather than purchasing a product with the burden of ownership. For businesses, ownership translates to hiring staff and all the associated overhead, from benefits to equipment and space to allow them to operate. Great staff are invaluable, but sometimes you are better off just subscribing to the skills you need.
Subscribing to Senior Living Marketing Services
Senior living organizations are under tremendous pressure to distinguish themselves in their local markets for their value. In a competitive environment, independent and assisted living communities, memory care and skilled nursing facilities must tell their unique story in a consistent manner to attract leads and provide services to local seniors and their families. It’s an ongoing struggle to stay top-of-mind, and when you lose out to the competition, it can hurt financially.
For example, in 2016 the average cost of an assisted living apartment in the U.S. was $3,628 a month. If you have a 75-apartment community that is running at 90 percent occupancy, you are losing $27,210 a month in potential revenue. Multiply that by 12 months and you lose the opportunity to collect more than $326,000 in revenue that can go toward improving operations, social offerings, staff, reducing your debt load and more.
Additionally, consumer information-gathering habits are changing. In the “old world” of senior living marketing, you’d take out an occasional ad, make sure referral sources knew what you did, and you’d sit back and serve the community. A recent Pew Research Center report highlights shifting information-gathering habits for seniors and their families. Coupled with the demise of local media, they are increasingly turning online and to social media for guidance for selections on where they should go for care or housing.
To try to meet leads on all fronts, senior living operators often hire a marketing director, someone who wears numerous hats – from greeting guests and giving tours, to managing the ad buy and doing or coordinating development of literature. In today’s complex marketing and technology environment, that’s a tall order for one person.
And for the occasional big project (a new website, now!), senior living operators often turn to local technical experts for their service. These experts come and go— they do the work and leave you with a beautiful new website, but one you have no idea how to maintain because you lack the expertise and skills.
Enter subscription services. Instead of relying on contractors and freelancers for a one-time service, or on marketing directors at senior living communities who are strapped for time and know-how, senior living operators can turn to full-service agencies that not only have expertise in digital marketing activities, but also specialize in senior living.
Need someone to help you fill your building by getting your story out there? A senior living marketing agency will have you covered with copywriters who understand your buyer personas and the nuances of senior living and healthcare; designers who can repurpose the content for web and print promotion; media buy specialists to target your leads through the most appropriate channels; social media strategist to spread your story across the social channels where your prospects and referral sources are hanging out; and a media analyst to report back to you and your sales team on your return on investment, every step of the way.
Sound too good to be true? It’s not, and we can prove it.