Don’t forget “Low-tech” to build your brand



There are a lot of great companies out there who can help you with the newest way to reach potential client families.  Some of them, like RingRing Marketing are sponsors of this forum.  They will do a great job in helping you navigate social media and the internet to let potential clientele know of your services.


But, as I was reminded when I read this article from Seeking Alpha, there are some “Low-tech” ways to keep your brand out in front of your clientele as well.  The article is a financial based article telling of the potential in what is termed the “Out of Home” or “OOH” advertising market.  OOH or “Out of Home” is just another word to speak of  highway or street billboard advertising or other non-mainstream ways to reach potential clientele like bus, subway, and truck graphic advertisements.


As you can see in the graphic below that comes from the article, “Out of Home” is effective and is is expected to grow among media spending in the next 3-4 years.  However, you can also see the major growth in spending will come from music, podcast, and internet advertising  — the reason you still need a team like RingRing Marketing in your corner.



I’m guessing that it is over 15 years ago that a young man with the idea of starting a small billboard company approached me and was in the process of getting financing to put up a double-faced billboard stanchion with two images on each side. . . In other words, room for 4 billboards.  He were looking to sign up one or two long-term advertising clients so they could go get the bank financing to build the stanchion.  I saw it as a way to help a young person get started in a business and also help my business by getting a lower-than-normal billboard advertising rate for a few years by being one of the companies that helped him get his idea turned into reality


I worked a deal with him to do a 5-year lease for one of the four faces.  It was my first foray into billboard advertising — something I wasn’t quite sure would reflect well on a funeral home in a small town.  I researched effective billboard ads and we kept our message simple by only putting our logo on the billboard with differing short monthly messages such as “Our family serving your family” or “Four Generations of Care”, or “Serving this Community since 1872”.


To tell the truth now over 15 years later we have continued with that billboard continuously since that first contract. . . and, I believe it may be the most valuable piece of advertising that we possess.. . . While I have no objective data and only subjective data on the billboard, I would suggest that it is one advertising item I would not want to be without.  In a world really cluttered with advertising messages, especially on every page of the internet,  I believe that it is one simple way that our brand is reinforced daily with the people who drive that road. . . . and it is the 2nd highest level of traffic count in our community.  In my opinion it serves an incredible purpose of almost daily creating “Top of Mind Awareness” for Anderson Funeral Home among our community’s consumers.


It is interesting when you look at the next graphic about the household name companies that advertise on billboard signage.  Companies like McDonalds, Apple, and Geico are the biggest users of this type of brand imaging.  Yet when you look at the other side of the graphic, you will see that, in the totality of users, “Local Services” are the number one product category.  That tells me that while the billboards can reinforce brand for large companies like McDonalds, they can also build brand for local companies.



I’m of the opinion that companies like funeral home and cremation companies need to use a well-rounded approach to client acquisition and branding.  There are a lot of new ideas that work — like social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the like.  There’s also finely-tuned placements in internet media such as on the obituary pages, or the church news pages, or the local news section of your news providers web platform. . . . .There is also the direct approach such as preneed seminars to get people through the door to meet you and understand the services you can provide. . . . But, my advice is don’t forget some of the old-fashioned options as well.


The New TikTok influencers:  While the age differences of users make TikTok a highly unusual medium for funeral homes, crematories, and cemeteries this article from the New York Times will show you how they have surpassed Instagram and Snapchat to become the most frequently used social media channel by 12 to 17 year olds.


More news from the world of Death Care:


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1 Comment

  1. Benjie Hughes on February 22, 2023 at 11:11 pm

    Great article Tom. We don’t have a billboard but the best thing we have done is build hospice relationships and we’re the only FH in our county that still does a great number of death calls with our staff. Those hospice folks keep our name top of mind with so many families.

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