Where Most Marketing Fails

Why is marketing so hard? Actually, I should say…why
is effective marketing so hard?

Marketing has only one goal…to grow your funeral
home business. If it’s not doing that then your
marketing isn’t working properly.

But if your marketing is broke how do you know what
you’re supposed to fix? Should you switch from TV to
radio? Should you change your newspaper ads? Should
you do online advertising?

The problem is that marketing doesn’t come with a
troubleshooting section like your lawn mower does. You
know that section in the manual that says…if your
lawn mower won’t start you should check A then B then
C then D.

After years of helping business owners fix their
marketing I have developed my own checklist. In this
newsletter I’m going to describe my “A” item. It’s the
first thing I always check when a business owner tells
me that his or her marketing isn’t working because in
at least 90% of the cases this is where I’ll find the

Here’s the first thing I always check…is your
marketing connecting with the decision makers at the
time that they are experiencing the loss of a loved

As a funeral home you take care of every generation of
the families that you serve. But there’s always a
small group within every family that decides which
funeral home to choose. Sometimes it’s only one
person, sometimes it’s two or three family members.

It’s usually the spouse of the deceased, or the
siblings, or the children.

You don’t need to worry about connecting with the rest
of the family until they come to your funeral home. In
your marketing you need to focus on connecting with
this small group of decision makers.

You have to understand three key things about the
decision makers.

First, where are they physically? What are they doing?
Are they watching TV? If so what program? Are they
reading the newspaper? If so, what section? Are they
surfing the web? What sites?

This tells you what kind of media you will use to
reach the decision makers.

Secondly, where are they emotionally? They are about
to loose, or have just lost, a very close loved one.
What is their current emotional state?

Having gone through this myself just 11 weeks ago with
the death of my Mother, I think I can describe their
emotional state fairly accurately in one word…RAW.

They are emotionally raw. Their normal way of thinking
is gone and now they are overwhelmed, over stimulated,
overly sensitive, and completely lost.

The third thing you must understand in order to
connect with the decision makers is…what is their
biggest need right now?

Again having just gone through this I think I can
summarize their biggest need in one word…CONTROL.

They feel completely out of control therefore their
biggest need is to feel like they are in control
again. Kind of makes sense doesn’t it?

Here’s the really important part…

For baby boomers, who are the new decision makers,
information equals control. They actively collect as
much information as possible before making any
important decision. It’s a key characteristic of the
baby boom generation.

Even though they are completely overwhelmed at this
moment on a very subconscious level they still crave
information. Even though they may not retain the
information in their memory for more than a few days
they still need this information in order to feel like
their in control.

Ten years ago it wasn’t as important because the GI
generation didn’t need information in order to feel in
control. But as the decision making has transitioned
to the baby boomer generation funeral home marketing
has had to change.

That is why an education based marketing strategy is
so critical right now.

There are two key strategies that I recommend…

Have a great education focused web site.

And, have a pre-recorded information hotline for the
decision makers to call.

It’s really the same content you’re just delivering it
in two different ways. The web site is aimed at the
web surfer and the hotline is for everyone else.

One of the things that we’re including in our
information hotline projects is ability to broadcast
the same audio content via the Internet through your
website. By doing one hotline project you now have
the ability to provide great education to both types
of decision makers (web and non web).

The number one problem that I see with funeral home
marketing is that it fails to connect with the
decision maker at the time that they are experiencing
the loss of a loved one.

To address this you need to clearly understand where
they are physically and emotionally. Plus you need to
provide them good information so that they feel in

If you can help them feel like they’re in control they
will be able to work with you to design a memorial
event that honors the life of their loved one. If they
don’t feel like they’re in control they will minimize
the transaction every time.

Registration for our next round of 5 information
hotline projects is now open to those who joined our
Priority Standby List. If there are any spots left, I
will open it up to everyone else on September 21.

Remember, the information hotline audio recordings can
now be broadcast via the Internet through your

To learn more about information hotlines visit

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