Is Traditional Funeral Home Marketing Dead?

There’s no question that digital marketing has exploded over the last decade. 

But does that mean traditional marketing is dead? Not even close!

American companies still spend roughly $110 Billion on traditional advertising. They don’t do it out of habit or because they love to waste money. They do it because it works if you use it properly.

Digital agencies like to declare traditional marketing to be dead. To me, that’s a lot like this famous quote.

‘To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail’ – Abraham Maslow.

Don’t get me wrong; I am a big fan of digital marketing, and we use it every day for our clients. But in the last year, we have also created…

  • Television and radio commercials
  • Dozens of billboards and hundreds (if not thousands) of print ads
  • Direct mail campaigns
  • Brochures
  • Preneed presentations
  • Lots of signage
  • Custom wraps for hearses 
  • and a whole bunch more 

When you understand both digital and traditional marketing, you get a good sense of the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Even in today’s digital economy, traditional marketing offers some advantages over digital that are worth considering. Here are my top three.

Advantage #1 – No Big Brother

Politicians love to rail against Big Tech and their power over society. You’ve probably seen the news stories of Big Tech CEOs being called to Washington to testify to congressional committees. 

As much as I hate to agree with any politician…. they’re right. Big Tech has become Big Brother.

Google and Facebook are using Artificial Intelligence engines to screen every ad and post we place on behalf of our clients. If their AI engine doesn’t like the message, it’s rejected.

Just last week, we had a Google Business Profile post rejected. The stated reason was that the post contained words that some people might find offensive. We removed one word, submitted it again, and they accepted it. The word we removed was compassion

Google’s AI engine decided that a funeral home posting about compassion might offend someone. How crazy is that?!?!

Last week, we finished a new TV commercial and submitted it to the local ABC affiliate. In this case, there was no AI engine making arbitrary decisions. As long as we pay the bill, the TV station will run whatever we want.

My point is that you have complete control of the message using traditional marketing because Big Tech Brother isn’t reviewing and filtering everything you say.

Advantage #2 – Doesn’t require any “super techs”

Digital marketing is not as complicated as most people think. For example, creating a Facebook or Google ad isn’t hard once you know the process.

But all of that changes when something goes wrong, and you’re sucked into the world of DNS configuration, email autoresponders, webhooks, and more. You’re suddenly in the realm of “super techs,” and you better hope they’re in a good mood today.

Traditional marketing is a lot easier. For example, the TV commercial we just finished for a client required a scriptwriter, a voice-over professional, a videographer to record some content, and a video editor. None of those tasks require hiring a “super tech.”

Advantage #3 – Matches the target market

The biggest benefit that traditional marketing offers a funeral home is that it matches your target market, Baby Boomers.

There’s no question that Gen X and Millenials are generally very comfortable with technology. But you can’t say the same about Baby Boomers.

A 2021 study found that only 36% of Baby Boomers are comfortable using new technology. That means that 64% are not comfortable!

For the next ten years, funeral homes need to attract and serve Baby Boomers. If the only tool you use to reach them is digital marketing, you will miss out on a big part of the target market.

The bottom line is that digital and traditional marketing are both powerful tools and can help grow your funeral home if you use them properly.

Unfortunately, some digital marketing agencies say that the only way to increase your at-need call volume is to rank higher on Google. To me, this is a classic case of a man with a hammer thinking everything looks like a nail.

Until next time



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