The Two Types of Funeral Home Advertising

There are two types of advertising; brand awareness and direct response. In this lesson, I discuss which one you should use when advertising your funeral home.

The transcript is below the video, and a ChatGPT summary is below that.

Transcript – The Two Types of Funeral Home Advertising

Hi, this is John Callaghan. Welcome back to the series on Advertising Your Funeral Home.

This week, we’re specifically going to talk about the two types of advertising and which one you should use.

It’s important to understand that marketing and advertising are very different things. Marketing is the umbrella. It is everything you do to attract a family, including the level of service you give to that family.

Advertising is different. It is a subset of marketing. You pay some form of media to put your message out there. So, we’re specifically talking about paid advertising and how you are going to get your message out to the market.

The two types are brand awareness and direct response, and they’re very different.

When I first came into this industry 20 years ago, almost everybody was doing exclusively brand awareness. I came in and started using direct response. Guess what? It worked a lot better.

But there’s still a lot of brand awareness out there. Some of this industry’s longtime entrenched marketing agencies still use brand awareness. They’re welcome to, but you’ll see in this presentation why that’s not a good idea.

Brand awareness.

Your goal in brand awareness is to build what’s called top-of-mind awareness, TOMA. That’s your real goal in this whole thing. You’re trying to get people to remember you so that when their need happens, they’ll call you.

It’s all based on hope.

Now, typical channels can vary. You have to be careful because you could use brand awareness or direct response on just about any channel, but this is where you typically find it.

Most television ads are brand awareness. Most radio ads are brand awareness. A lot of social media, especially on Facebook, is brand awareness. The vast majority of YouTube ads are brand awareness.
You’re just trying to get people to remember you so they call you when their time arises.

The formula for brand awareness is creativity plus repetition. You create something that hopefully they’ll remember, and then you repeat it over and over and over again.

Therein lies the problem. Most funeral homes do not run their advertising anywhere near enough to build up the repetition. They spend money creating a really good ad but can’t afford to run it the millions of times that you need to run an ad to get people to actually remember it.

Repetition can be very expensive, and repetition is something that most funeral homes can’t afford.

Direct response.

Your goal in direct response is to get somebody to take action now. You want them to do something as soon as they hear your ad.

The typical channel for that is Google, which is, by far, the most dominant direct response channel these days.

Facebook can be if you do it right. All the Facebook advertising we do is direct response. But a lot of the advertising that other agencies do in this industry is brand awareness.

Another very common channel is direct mail. You think of all the pre-need mailers that some of these companies mail out.

That’s all direct response. You’re sending out a mailer. You want somebody to return a survey, and then you’re going to call them up and give them the pre-arrangement guide, set an appointment, and all that kind of stuff.

The formula for direct response is attention, interest, desire, and action.

The big difference, though, is that it all happens within one ad.

In brand awareness, you create the ad, and the structure of it or the content doesn’t really matter, and then you run it as many times as possible. In direct response, the formula is all encapsulated within that one ad.

Get their attention, turn that into interest, cultivate that into desire, and then get them to take action. You do that all within one ad, and it works.

The rule of thumb, if you have more money than sense use brand awareness. If you can afford the repetitions, then why not? It works, but you’ve got to be able to have a lot of money.

But if you have more sense than money, direct response.

Now, the funny thing is that with direct response, you still build brand awareness because you’re still making a connection with somebody.

You do build brand awareness with direct response, but not vice versa. Brand awareness does not build direct response.

The rule of thumb is that large corporations use brand awareness. Why? Because they can afford the repetitions. But a small to medium-sized business, direct response.

What size are the vast majority of funeral homes? Small to medium-sized businesses.

Unless your revenue is over a hundred million dollars a year, you should not waste money on brand awareness. Every ad you put out should be a direct response.

Two types of advertising: brand awareness and direct response. The key difference is the focus and structure of the ad itself, your ability to measure the results and generate a return on investment.

I’ll be back next week with more information about how to advertise your funeral home.

Bye for now.

ChatGPT Summary – The Two Types of Funeral Home Advertising.

In the article, John Callaghan addresses the distinction between marketing and advertising in the context of promoting funeral homes. He emphasizes that while marketing encompasses all activities to attract families, including service levels, advertising is a subset of marketing where you pay for media to convey your message.

Callaghan differentiates between two types of advertising: brand awareness and direct response. Brand awareness aims to establish top-of-mind awareness (TOMA) so that people remember and choose the funeral home when needed. This typically involves channels like TV, radio, and social media, with a strategy based on creativity and repetition. However, the challenge with brand awareness is the cost associated with achieving sufficient repetition to be memorable, which may be prohibitive for most funeral homes.

On the other hand, direct response advertising is designed to prompt immediate action from potential clients. It uses channels such as Google and direct mail and follows the AIDA formula: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. This method is more measurable and can yield immediate results.

Callaghan suggests that large corporations can afford brand awareness due to their budgets allowing for extensive repetition. However, for small to medium-sized businesses, such as most funeral homes, direct response is more practical and economical. Even with a direct response approach, a brand awareness effect is achieved, but the reverse is not true. He advises funeral homes with revenues under a hundred million dollars a year to avoid spending on brand awareness and focus on direct response advertising instead.

In summary, the article guides funeral home owners to use direct response advertising as a cost-effective way to generate immediate results and build their brand within the constraints of their advertising budgets.

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