Automobile marketers are some of the biggest and best advertisers on the planet and have been for a while – so it’s safe to assume that they’ve learned some things along the way.

Think of BMW – the ultimate driving machine. Or Ford trucks – built Ford tough. Or Saab – born from jets.
If Senior Housing Sold Cars
Not one of these commercials talks about braking. Or going forwards. Or the fact that they have headlights. There’s hardly any mention of features at all in a car commercial. What they’re selling is an emotional connection with an experience. If you buy this 7-series BMW, then you’ll have that chiseled jaw, and the beautiful woman in the passenger seat, and the open road will unfurl before you.

Now let’s think about senior housing marketing. We talk about a “home-like atmosphere”. We talk about “a well-appointed lobby” or “anytime dining” or “a central location”. We offer move-in specials.

Where’s the inspiration in that?

The irony is, that most senior housing communities have loads of incredible success stories. People who went from waiting to die to embracing life. People who found new meaning in the relationships they made in their communities. Lives that were changed because of senior housing.

In a recent webinar he did for us, Dan Hutson, Chief Strategy Officer of Cornerstone Affiliates (the company that includes the and ABHOW) shared his critiques of most senior housing marketing, and his thoughts on how we can all improve.

Dan Hutson of Cornerstone Affiliates

Dan Hutson of Cornerstone Affiliates

It starts with focusing less on features like your well-appointed lobby, and more on success like the stories of people who are living healthier and happier lives after moving into your community. His aspirational model is Proctor and Gamble, and their “Moms” campaign associated with the Olympics. Those ads don’t talk at all about diapers or laundry detergent. But I bet you remember them – and the company that ran them.

You can watch the recording of our conversation with Dan, download the slides of his presentation, or read some of Dan’s thoughts on senior housing marketing. Or, if you want to see the putting Dan’s ideas into practice, visit their Facebook profile or their website.

If you want a laugh, take a look at Dan’s concept of what it would be like if senior housing marketers sold cars.

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