Who’s really your target audience for funeral home marketing?

When I sit down to write my weekly newsletter, I always take some time to reflect on my target audience. Who are they? What’s going on in their life? How can I help them this week?

Since I enjoy working with my current clients, I use them as a profile for my target audience. That means my target audience is the following.

  • A funeral home owner with multiple lines of business. For example, they might have multiple locations or a funeral home plus a crematory or a funeral home plus a cemetery. Either way, their business has become complex.
  • They’re typically a man between the ages of 45 and 70. Not because that’s who I aim for but because that is who typically owns a funeral home business.
  • They’ve reached seven figures in revenue and would like to get to eight figures.
  • If they still meet with families, they understand their primary job is managing, leading, and growing the business.
  • They’re open to new ideas and insights that can help them achieve their goals.

If I keep this list in mind while working on my marketing, there’s a good chance I’ll attract new clients like my current ones. That makes my marketing more effective and ensures I’ll continue to have great clients I can help.

An important diagram to keep in mind is the bell curve.

Your target audience should always be in the middle of the curve for most businesses. For example, if you sell infant car seats, you should target parents between 25 and 40 years old. Yes, some grandparents buy car seats, but that’s a smaller slice of the market.

Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. In 2023, they will be between 59 and 77 years old. So for the next decade, Baby Boomers are the “Most People” part of the bell curve. 

If your funeral home targets the Silent Generation, you’re aiming for a declining market. If you target Gen X, you will be serving a small market for many years.

Yes, you should pay attention to every generation you serve. But when developing a marketing plan for taking your business to the next level, target the “Most People” section of the curve and aim for the Baby Boomers.

But there are 76 million Baby Boomers. Are they all your target audience?

Lazy marketers would say yes. But savvy marketers know that picking the generation is merely the starting point for defining a target market. 

In the case of a funeral business, you should consider the following questions.

  1. Who decides the disposition of the body?
  2. Who decides if there’s going to be an event of some sort?
  3. Who makes the arrangements?
  4. Who pays the bill?

Many people assume that we should market to #3, the person making arrangements, or #4, the person paying the bill. If you are running a discount cremation company, then yes, you should focus on #3 and #4 because the disposition is already decided, and there is no event.

For a full-service funeral home, the person you want to target is #2, the one who decides if there is going to be an event of some sort. It could be a traditional funeral, a celebration of life, or a farewell party, but the person who makes that decision is the one we want to target with our marketing.

I refer to this person as the “Family Planner”. If you want to know more about them, watch the short video.

It’s also important to consider which of the following eight scenarios the loss falls into.

  1. Death of a spouse
  2. Death of a parent with no living spouse
  3. Loss of a child
  4. Suicide
  5. Veterans
  6. First responder
  7. Indigent or financial challenges
  8. Expedient cultural needs (e.g., Muslim, Jewish, etc.)

If you think of the families you’ve served in the past year, which of these scenarios is the most common? For most of you, the answer is #1, the death of a spouse.

Women outlive men by an average of 5 years. That means, in most cases, you are working with a woman who has lost her husband.

Rather than targeting all Baby Boomers, the person you want to market to is a….

Baby Boomer + Family Planner + woman + her husband just died

The next step is to review a list of families you’ve served in the last year and highlight each of these women. Then, identify which one you really enjoyed working with, and write a list of common attributes. 

One of my clients did this exercise, and here’s his list.

  • 72-year-old female
  • Still wants to look like a million bucks
  • Keeps herself well done
  • Wears jeans
  • Retired
  • Goes to their cabin up north
  • Kids are raised, and now she’s a grandma
  • Attends church – strong faith, gets there most of the time
  • Service to others is somewhat important
  • Has a pension and social security, so money’s not a problem.
  • A couple of nice cars
  • Worked hard, but now she’s enjoying the fruits of their labor
  • Republican but not passionate about it
  • Proud, confident, rigid, obstinant

Now it’s your turn. Write out your list and define your target market. I guarantee it will improve your ability to win more calls and serve more families.

Until next time


PS: Based on the negative emails I received in response to last week’s newsletter entitled “Is Gen X Really Your Target Audience?” I’ve annoyed some marketing people at Tribute Tech. Apparently, they didn’t agree with my position that they were wrong and that Baby Boomers are your target market for years to come.

Oh well….they’ll get over it. Plus, I received way more emails from funeral home owners who agreed with my position!


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