Posted in on February 2, 2022

Integrated vs. Digital Marketing: Which Is Right for Senior Living Providers?

How Do Integrated Marketing and Digital Marketing Strategies Differ?

According to Data Marketing & Analytics (DMA), integrated marketing is a marketing approach in which all aspects of marketing communications are implemented to ensure a consistent brand experience across all channels. This approach, also sometimes called omnichannel marketing, includes direct marketing initiatives, such as direct mail; traditional advertising, such as print placements and billboards; digital marketing; sales promotions; and public relations. Digital marketing is marketing that uses only digital channels, including social media, apps, websites, email, search engines, etc.

    Creating Results marketing plan review.

    To understand what type of marketing strategy would serve your community best, senior living providers must understand their community’s goals and focus. At Creating Results, we typically recommend an integrated marketing approach for clients with large census or sales goals or for clients with repositioning or rebranding goals. This type of strategy provides a better long-term approach to meeting their business goals. A digital marketing approach is often used for list-building, especially in building a list from the ground up quickly. It can also work well for existing communities with a healthy census and a desire to maintain an ever-growing prospect list to ensure occupancy goals continue to be met.

    In this blog post, we’ll evaluate integrated marketing and digital marketing approaches, and provide solutions that will help your senior living community achieve its marketing and sales goals.

    The Advantages of Integrated Marketing

     As a strategic-driven and results-focused agency, we’ve identified three main positive aspects of using an integrated marketing approach for our senior living clients:

    1. Clear brand recognition

    2. Prospect-focused marketing

    3. Builds trust and credibility

    Enhanced Brand Recognition Opportunities with Integrated Marketing

    In our experience, the gestation period for an independent living sale, which focuses on the prospect themselves, is 18-36 months. A needs-based sale like assisted living or personal care is normally around 3-18 months and focuses on the decision-maker, a loved one or the prospect.

    During these periods, the prospect or loved one has around 7-25 touch points for both independent and assisted living services with the sales team prior to making a final decision. Integrated marketing supports multiple touch points so that the prospect may see the senior living community’s brand in various formats like a newspaper ad when reading the Sunday comics, on a billboard during their drive to the grocery store, in an email in their inbox and catching up with friends on social media.

    Integrated Marketing Allows Additional Focus on Prospects

    Prospect behavior is also an important focus for senior living communities when marketing to consumers ages 65+. According to Statista, 27% of adults in this demographic do not use the internet. These mature consumers still subscribe to newspapers, listen to the radio and watch cable TV.

    Integrated marketing provides consistent branding and messaging by using a variety of tactics to appeal to the older generation. Consistency is key with integrated marketing approaches for prospects to connect a senior living community as a brand. Using the same logo, campaign tagline and imagery will help connect the dots and therefore evoke action, even if not in the moment, but at a later time. This is what’s known as brand recall.

    Integrated Marketing Builds Trust & Credibility

    Mature consumers are a generation that lived without the digital world until their early to mid-thirties, which may cause these mature consumers to be less trustworthy of social media and digital advertisements than their younger cohorts. With an integrated marketing approach, prospects are touched in various formats with ad messaging, which may establish credibility due to the strong brand recognition with the various touchpoints like hearing radio ads or seeing a billboard and digital formats.

    A direct mail piece and website designed for a Creating Results' client.

    The Advantages of Digital Marketing

    Digital marketing comes with a few advantages as well. Three top advantages are:

    1. Measurable results

    2. Cost and budget efficiencies

    3. Audience targeting

    Measuring Results

    With digital marketing, results are seen immediately due to the trackability. In an integrated plan, it will take longer to net results from the traditional/brand-building efforts as there isn’t a direct path to an inquiry.

    In the digital marketing word, we can track what ads prospects clicked on to get to the website, how long they spent on the site and what pages they viewed (thanks, Google Analytics!). We can also identify where they are located geographically and of how many people completed a form on the website or landing page during a specified time.

    Google Analytics View

    Cost & Budget Efficiencies

    As consumers, we can be online in a matter of seconds due to our handheld devices, computers and streaming services, which in turn allows advertisers to get in front of us at any time. Due to the lack of materials needed to create digital ad placements, digital is often more cost-effective than traditional advertising. Since the integrated marketing plan is omnichannel-focused, traditional advertising and any infrastructure costs will increase the overall cost of the plan.

    Typically, the cost for the ad creation, ad placements or media buys, and reporting analysis are all that is needed to create a comprehensive lead generation and nurture marketing digital marketing plan. Of course, here at Creating Results, we also recommend a marketing automation platform and other various infrastructure tools to support and track the full customer journey.  Both digital plan approaches will be more cost-effective but may not support continued sales once the digital ads are turned off.

    Audience Targeting

    For digital ads, advertisers can target specific online users by age, geography, behavior and more. Whereas traditional tactics, often only target by location. This reduces unqualified audiences so that the ads focus solely on potential prospects, which often leads to more direct results.

    Keep in mind, digital landscapes are constantly changing and major players like Google and Facebook have introduced targeting restrictions for housing and credit. Senior living providers are still able to target specific audiences, however, 3rd party data is often used.

    Integrated marketing plans of course will include digital marketing efforts, however, the traditional tactics like print ads, billboards, etc. are often harder to exclusively focus on your target audience.

    Tying it All Together

     As stated at the beginning of the blog post, we utilize an integrated marketing approach for our clients looking to improve census and increase brand visibility. We have seen the successes maximizing ROI and creating brand recognition in their markets repeatedly.

    We’ve also seen great success with shorter, digital-specific campaigns for clients – especially when it comes to list-building for new projects. Our focus is on achieving results for our clients, with the best long-term solution that will set our clients up for success in the years to come.

    If a commitment to achieving census and sales goals or repositioning/rebranding is your focus, we suggest using an integrated marketing approach internally or outsourcing to a marketing agency partner. To see if this is realistic for your community and your budget, we have created a marketing cost calculator to help determine what marketing investment may be needed to meet your current goals. Visit our census calculator page to see how much you’ll need to invest to meet your sales goals.

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