Niche marketing is not for everyone

For almost 93 years, Martin Funeral, Cremation & Tribute Services has done a lot of local marketing in the communities where they have funeral homes. The various marketing efforts were designed to remind everyone Martin’s is here when you need us, a way to give back to the communities we serve and have a nice day.

Today and for more than 20 years, the funeral industry has been changing as fast as ever and I hope everyone is paying attention because the choices and changes our industry and you individually are currently making or will have to make will alter your future success.

We still do a lot of marketing today and it is geared to our top niche markets instead of everyone. Examples of our niche markets are:

  • the military (we are the closest funeral home to a national cemetery 8 miles away);
  • assisted living facilities (we have 7 within four miles of one of our funeral homes); and
  • Catholics (we are Catholics and our church of 1,800+ parishioners is less than 1 mile away).

We focus on small niche markets. One of the niche markets we love to do events and activities with is the assisted living industry. It’s the socializing and various activities which keep residents happy and make for a successful assisted living facility. So, throughout the year we have hosted monthly bingo, ice cream socials, parties for all the holidays, other sponsored events plus employee appreciation lunches.

Everything was going great until the pandemic arrived and all assisted living activities came to a sudden and unexpected stop. There was nothing we could do but watch the negative effects this terrible and devastating pandemic was having on everyone, especially the residents of assisted living facilities. Until just recently, the residents have been confined to their rooms for months with none of their regular activities and they have not been able to have their families come visit and see their loved ones.

The assisted living event planner and I could not do any of our events and everything we talked about doing was a social gathering which couldn’t happen. Then one day last fall, an idea came to me: Would the assisted living facilities let me bring each resident a cupcake with a candle, a birthday card with a prayer card enclosed and a helium birthday balloon? I must admit I thought this was a bad idea immediately after thinking it was a good idea. The bad idea thought was how would those involved react to a funeral home celebrating their resident’s birthday which included a message from God?

I’m glad I called Jennifer, the activities director and asked her what she thought of the idea. She thought it was great and wanted to know when I wanted to start the program.

It has been 6 months since we started the birthday event and Jennifer tells me the birthday celebration for their residents is one of the most anticipated and talked about activities by her residents!

Richard WhallonRichard Whallon manages community marketing for OGR member firm Martin Funeral, Cremation & Tribute Services in Michigan, and provides advanced funeral planning. As the title of this blog says, niche marketing is not for everyone. If you want to discuss whether it's a good fit for you, call Richard at 810.603.7249.

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