I recently looked at two surveys of the American public, digested what I was reading, and then decided that these surveys give a great deal of information to marketing departments of death care businesses. However, it will be in extrapolating that data and putting it to use in your marketing plan that the “artistry of marketing” will be seen.
The current surveys that I cite both were published in the last two weeks and include a Gallup Survey on Church Membership and a Pew Research study on Social Media Use. I combined that with some more research including television and newspaper facts to realize that we have certainly moved into a world where, I have surmised, that the correct use of promotional dollars could pay big dividends for a funeral home while it is almost certain that putting some advertising money in some places may be like throwing those dollars out the window.
I’ve moved to the point of thinking, that marketing experts are very much needed in business today and a funeral home that wants to try to gain market share or pull in new potential clients may find it worth their while to hire, or contract with, somebody in this capacity.
First of all, many of the traditional ways of reaching clients are going out the window. The Gallup Poll on Church Membership, that you can access here, now shows a time in America that less than 50% of Americans have a church membership. I’m still a big fan of “referral” business when neighbors tell neighbors of positive experiences and leaders, such as pastors or priests, do the same. As a matter of fact, that is probably still the most powerful messaging available, however, people are congregating less and less nowadays and the chances to do just that with interpersonal relationships becomes less and less.
And, as we come out of the pandemic, most prognosticators believe that organized social groups such as Kiwanis clubs, Rotary clubs, and the like will continue to decline in membership. There are some who believe the isolation that has come with the pandemic is welcome by many who just enjoy staying at home and getting their work done as they are, when they want. That, in itself, will cut down many of the conversations that take place concerning a myriad of topics, including consumer preferences like funeral homes, in the office setting.
As traditional sources go, late night evening news has dropped viewership over 14% lately and when it comes to newspapers, only 3% of Americans say they get their main news from newspapers. Furthermore, print and digital newspaper advertising declined in double digit numbers in 2020.
So, the question becomes, where do Americans get their information. Well, that somewhat depends on the age of the people. . . . 25% of “Seniors” still get their information from newspapers and cable television is replacing network news. . . .Fox News Network is the #1 rated cable station and MSNBC is #3. . . . both of those stations cater to “slanted opinionated news” and heavily market to their demographics. By the way, sports channel ESPN is the 2nd rated cable station.
However, the survey that was really interesting to me was the Social Media Use survey which you can access here. It’s now very apparent to me that “Social Media” as an end all catch phrase for advertising dollars could also be a black hole for those advertising dollars unless you know who your customer is.
Is your target client customer a Senior above 55 years of age who will be using your services or is it their child who helps them in making decisions? Because if you don’t know who you are going after. . . .you will more than likely be wasting your money.
According to the survey, if you want that 55+ individual as a target you probably need to go to a platform such as Facebook where well over 50% of those folks report using as compared to Twitter where probably less than 15% of those ages report using. However, if you are targeting their children with messages, you will probably find Twitter and Snapchat as much more efficient uses of your money.
What about gender? Our funeral home always tried to target woman ages 55 and up for pre-arrangements with the idea that they would convince their husbands to come in with them. If that is the case, then maybe Pinterest is the place to target which has three times as many women using the platform as it has men.
What about diversity. . . or educational attainment? Do you know that social media platforms such as Instagram, WhatsApp, and LinkedIn all have different demographics?
I would suggest taking a look at the Social Media Use survey and what you learn may surprise you. Here’s a couple things that I learned:
- Social media use, by outlet, has really leveled off
- You Tube is the outlet with the highest reported usage
- Since 2109 only You Tube and Reddit have shown significant usage increases
- While in the news much, Facebook and Twitter usage has really leveled off the past five years (see the graph)
More news from the world of Death Care:
- Toppled headstones, exposed graves, sunken caskets: Families demand accountability from Georgia cemetery owners. News video and print article. WXIA TV (GA)
- Crick Owen elected President of State Cemetery Association. The Newton Bee (CT)
- Bay Village Green Team to host experts in Green Burials. Westlake Bay Village Observer (OH)
- In Brief: Phoenix Asset Management agrees not to bid for Dignity (plc). Morningstar
- Covid-19: logistical challenges for funeral directors. International Travel and Health Insurance Journal.
- Grieving family says El Paso funeral home made mistakes in planning veteran’s funeral. News video and print article. El Paso Times (TX)
- Mesa funeral home seeks crematory approval. The Daily Independent (AZ)
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