We were informed in this public relations article from Agility PR Solutions that the United Kingdom’s leading dedicated provider of direct cremations, Pure Cremation, has donated paid-up television air time to the Marie Curie’s organization. One of Marie Curie’s non-profit endeavors is to provide end of life care.
According to the release, “The end of life charity has seen its income streams decimated due to the cancellation of fundraising events across the UK.” Esther Jackson, Marie Curie’s Marketing and Communications Director is quoted as saying, “Sadly, some people’s lives will be shortened by Coronavirus, so the need for end of life care will be greater. Marie Curie can meet this need, and in doing so will help free up intensive care beds needed for Coronavirus patients. Consequently, we hope this campaign will raise further awareness of the vital role our frontline staff provide for people at the end of their life.”
Pure Cremation Customer Experience Director and Co-founder Catherine Powell is quoted as saying, “Pure Cremation had no hesitation in donating our highest impact TV advertising channels to Marie Curie to help them in what is a very worrying time both for them and the people they support.”
Funeral Director Daily take: This is a very interesting development from my point of view. If you have followed my writing for any length of time, you know that, business wise, I like companies that have a “vertical” integration. By “vertical integration” I mean that a company has one facet of their company that leads into another facet and so on.
For instance in the oil business a company might own a drilling company, a sea transportation company, a refinery, a pipeline company, an over the road gasoline transportation company, and even convenience stores that sell gasoline to the consumer. They might all have different names and the parent company can use its subsidiaries all the way thru. And, even more important, other companies will use those services, and pay for them, somewhere along the chain.
In the death care business, very simply, vertical integration can take place in ownership of a preneed company, an at-need funeral home, a cemetery, and a monument company. The parent company can “direct” a client through all of those subsidiary avenues and can also profit if another funeral home has a client that uses your cemetery or monument company even if you did not get the client all the way from the preneed customer acquisition stage.
What makes this Pure Cremation/Marie Curie combination so interesting is the relationship marketing aspect. For years in America, funeral home owners have supported churches through their church suppers, church calendars, and other fund raisers, in part, because clergy could be very instrumental in the choice of a funeral home by their parishioners.
I think that is somewhat changing as church membership in America is on decline. However, what is growing in America is hospice as an end of life care choice. Something to think about, which I guess Pure Cremation may have done, is that more and more, future influencers of funeral home and or cremation choice purveyors, may be the nurses on the frontlines of hospice care. Those hospice nurses develop an incredible bond with their patient families over their, generally, 10-120 days of care.
I’ve been in both the hospice business, as the Chair of the Board of two related non-profits (Ethos and Knute Nelson), and the funeral home business (Anderson Funeral Home), as the owner of a for-profit business, and I can actually see the day where companies such as those may be vertically owned in order to capture the death care client further down the vertical integration chain. As more and more hospice businesses become for-profit, I don’t think it is such a far flung idea.
News from the world of Death Care:
- Webcast funerals provide “great comfort” to North – East mourners not able to attend services during coronavirus lockdown. The Press & Journal. Scotland.
- Funerals change course in the age of COVID. The Vindicator. Warren, OH
- Funeral homes under pressure. The Jamaica Observer
- Maryland funeral and cremation services experience surge, lack of equipment during pandemic. Fox 45 News – Baltimore, MD
- “Last responders” working to bring closure for families. Star-Herald. Scottsbluff, NE
- Would you consider a direct cremation? Budget option allows you to delay the send-off for a loved one until coronavirus funeral rules ease. This is Money. United Kingdom