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I just returned from LeadingAge Maryland’s annual conference, filled with excitement over the nuggets of inspiration I’ll be able to share with our senior living partners. The theme was Life On Purpose and the education and general sessions didn’t disappoint.

Here are some of my top insights from the conference.

Living with Intention = Life On Purpose

John Cochran, CEO of HumanGood, opened the conference with a focus on intention and evolution.

Here were some of his key points that really resonated with the me:

  • The rise of the Boomers and their future considerations of senior living means unprecedented opportunity and change in the industry and the overall view of aging.
  • In fact, their very perception is changing how we position communities within marketing. You should remove retirement from your messaging and if your community name includes Senior, you should think about changing it.
  • The senior living market is moving, and prospects are evolving. In fact, the market may be moving away from us. If you don’t move with it, you’ll be left behind.
  • According to one national survey, 80% of senior living providers thought they were delivering excellent customer service. But only 8% of residents said they were receiving excellent service. As an industry, we need to reexamine how we serve our constituents.
  • You pivot or you die. The time is now to rethink how you position your core business and focus in order to be responsive to the desires of tomorrow’s prospects (read: the Boomers).

Design Thinking: Understanding the Customer Journey

During this session, facilitated by staff and students from Johns Hopkins University, Maryland Institute College of Art, University of Maryland, the focus was on how we can leverage empathy to understand the needs and challenges of our prospects.

At Creating Results, we focus on understanding and influencing the Customer Journey, and we know that to be successful you must have an intimate understanding of who your prospects are and what they experience throughout their journey to becoming (hopefully) a resident.

As a group we plotted the tasks, barriers and solutions for individuals who had hearing difficulties in certain situations, following the first three steps of the Design Thinking Process: Empathize, Define, Ideate.

The big take-away … if we can identify the objections and hurdles our prospects experience, we can effectively position ourselves as a solution, as THE solution.

Recently, the Creating Results team worked with a client to explore what their prospect journey looked like and how to effectively position themselves. The team is currently implementing some of the learnings to improve their marketing and prospect experience!

After the session I had a sidebar with one of the presenters and loved an approach she shared with me for how to arrive at prospective solutions to the problem:
1. Determine your problem (for example: having to cut positions at work)
2. Create a metaphor for the problem (for example: having to lose weight)
3. Identify solutions to the metaphor
4. Try to translate metaphor solutions to original problem

Just Say YES!

During lunch we were treated to a TEDTalk from Shonda Rhimes: “My Year of Saying Yes to Everything.”

In the piece, Rhimes talked about what drives her success and fuels her passion for work. She said: “When I am hard at work, when I am deep in it, there is no other feeling.”

Rhimes called the feeling “the hum,” and talked about what happened when she lost it and how she got it back. After the video, our table talked extensively about our hum and what inspires us in life and in work.

We were asked to reflect on these questions, which I think are incredibly insightful for thinking about our inspiration and how we continue to ensure that we are serving our residents and teams fully:
1. What does your work hum sound or feel like?
2. When do you feel like you are living life on purpose?
3. What things help balance your work hum with the rest of your life?

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About The Author

Beth Mickey

Beth has more than 15 years of marketing experience and 10+ years experience working with both 55+ and Senior Living as a Certified Aging In Place Specialist (CAPS), and serves as Client Services Director for Creating Results. As an expert in e-engagement, Beth applies her experience in strategic planning and execution of digital marketing efforts for her clients to identify opportunities to leverage online and offline marketing avenues as part of an integrated marketing approach. Her experience serving both in a client and agency capacity helps her gain an understanding for her client’s needs and goals to maximize program performance and return on investment.