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How to: 3 Steps to a Successful Provider-Agency Partnership in Senior Living



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Trading Places is a dynamic panel of senior living experts with experience in both provider and agency roles. This unique background provides them with insights into the needs of both audiences.

You'll learn how to:
*Negotiate a beneficial contract
*Establish a marketing budget
*Allocate marketing dollars most effectively

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How to: 3 Steps to a Successful Provider-Agency Partnership in Senior Living

  1. 1. TRADING PLACES: 3 Steps to a Successful Provider-Agency Partnership WEBINAR
  2. 2. Melissa Caravella Moderator
  3. 3. Kimberly Hulett Lifespace Communities to Creating Results Strategic Marketing
  4. 4. Paul Duffy North Hill to Compass Eight & ProjectQ
  5. 5. Tom Mann Erickson Communities to Love & Co.
  6. 6. Rochelle Valsaint TWS Marketing to Lenbrook Square Foundation
  7. 7. Kim Daly Nobbs Willow Valley Communities to Prajna Partners
  8. 8. What We’ll Cover Negotiating a Contract How to Create a Marketing Budget Allocating Marketing Dollars 1 2 3
  9. 9. Negotiating a Contract Tom Mann Rochelle Valsaint
  10. 10. Before You Negotiate •Decide if this is: • A one-off or short term project that requires a specialist or • A long-term partnership relationship to address long-term marketing
  11. 11. 4 Questions to Ask Yourself What level of knowledge does your team have on the services requested? What’s the ramp up/onboarding process to get things moving/implemented? Over what period of time do you expect the campaign/effort to be in place? If you started the project today, could you give the necessary project direction needed? 1 2 3 4
  12. 12. Planning Contract Negotiations • Know the difference between what you need and what you want • Know your bottom line so you know when to walk away • Define any time constraints and benchmarks • Assess potential liabilities and risks • Confidentiality, non-compete, dispute resolution, changes in requirements • Make sure all of the true decision makers are at the table
  13. 13. Step by Step Clarify interest Identify tangible & intangible needs (RFP) Discuss respective needs & find common ground for negotiation Identify options Identify valuable elements (e.g., property, money, behavior, rights, risks) Discuss what’s valuable on both sides (e.g., money, ownership, behavior) Design alternative deals Mix & match: Think in terms of multiple deals Discuss multiple deal package options Select a deal Analyze deal packages proposed by other party Discuss & select deal Perfect the deal Discuss unresolved issues & develop written agreement Build relationships for future negotiations
  14. 14. Agency Commission • Media commission system • 15% media commission • Adjustable commission rates • Negotiate to match client budget • Markups: production and service • Add a percentage markup to costs • 17.65% of net = 15% of gross Source: American Marketing Association
  15. 15. How to Write the Perfect RFP 1. Ask simple, direct questions. 2. Don’t let your legal department write the RFP for you. 3. Don’t let a “group” write it. 4. Think about what you need your agency to do vs. what you can afford. 5. Give a reasonable amount of time for the RFP.
  16. 16. Questionnaire Tool A copy will be sent to all attendees after the webinar
  17. 17. Establishing a (Realistic, Effective) Marketing Budget Kim Daly Nobbs Paul Duffy
  18. 18. Get Context and Information
  19. 19. Do Your Homework • Learn what you can about average marketing costs • Know the value of marketing – even with waiting lists • Pay attention to quality and quantity of competitors’ marketing • Know your competitors’ differentiators – and your own
  20. 20. DIGITAL TRADITIONAL OUTBOUND INBOUND Research Measurement CONTINGENCY Staffing Know the Tactics
  21. 21. Use Data to Drive Strategy
  22. 22. Consider Internal and External Capabilities Partner Wisely
  23. 23. The Case for Zero-Based Budgeting
  24. 24. Measure and Adjust • Set goals • Track results • Re-adjust strategy as needed
  25. 25. Know Your Metrics … And How to Find Them
  26. 26. Be Open and Honest with Your Agency Partner
  27. 27. Leverage the Talent of an Agency Partner
  28. 28. Allocating Marketing Dollars Kimberly Hulett Paul Duffy
  29. 29. © 2017 - Creating Results, Inc Your Brand Integrated Marketing Approach
  30. 30. Top of the Funnel: Awareness/Lead generation; New Inquiries doing initial research Middle of the Funnel: Re-inquiries/existing database, nurture to move closer to selection Client Goals
  31. 31. Example Scenario Client X – existing IL community, 1-bedroom inventory problem $360K MARKETING BUDGET 40 SALES NEEDED 7% SALES CONVERSION RATE Goals: continue to feed database for future (several hundred leads), short term 1BR conversion Efforts: TOP – digital lead gen MID – segmented DM, remarketing, e-mail marketing INFRA – collateral, sales training
  32. 32. Example Scenario Client X – existing IL community, IL expansion project $360K MARKETING BUDGET 40 SALES NEEDED 7% SALES CONVERSION RATE Goals: maintain existing IL lead generation and conversion for healthy existing census, pre-sales new project Efforts: TOP – print, digital, purchase-targeted e-mail, maybe broadcast MID – remarketing, e-mail drip campaign INFRA – VIP program, collateral
  33. 33. Know Your Prospect … • What does your ideal resident look like? o Where are they from? o How old are they? o What’s their income? o How do they spend their time?
  34. 34. Content Marketing: More Bang for your Buck
  35. 35. And Let Your Sales Team Sell
  36. 36. Questionnaire Tool A copy will be sent to all attendees after the webinar
  37. 37. Thank you for joining! WEBINAR


  • Kimberly Hulett is President of Creating Results. Prior to joining Creating Results, she was Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Lifespace Communities.
  • Paul Duffy is the founding principal of CompassEight, a marketing consultancy. He is also a founding partner of Project Q Boston LLC, a central Boston senior living community focused on the LGBT community.
  • Tom Mann is a Principal and Executive Vice President with Love & Company, earlier in his career Tom served as Senior Vice President of Advertising for Erickson Retirement Communities.
  • Rochelle Valsaint is the Manager, Brand and Communications at Lenbrook Square Foundation, prior to that she worked for 20 years in advertising agencies and consulting.
  • Kim Daly Nobbs is the Principal and Founder of consulting firm, Prajna Partners.  Prior to that she was the Chief Marketing Officer for Willow Valley Living.
  • We also want to let you know that you can submit questions throughout the presentation, and we’ll ask our panelists to answer at the end of their sections.
  • 1. How much education will you and your team need to be successful implementing and/or maintaining the programs/efforts put in place?

    5. Be ready to give clear input/direction for a project brief
  • 1. Please ask simple, direct questions. “As the leading [Industry] manufacturer [Client name] working relationships and marketing efforts with retailers are very important so we would like to have you describe examples of your agency’s experience working with quick-response and retail-type accounts. Specifically we would also like you to cite examples in which the agency’s work and creative and otherwise has produced sales and driven client revenue. Indicate the types of programs such as customer loyalty, competitive response and what the results were.”  2. Please don’t let your legal department write the RFP for you. “In case any bidder should fail to conform to these said instructions, its bid will nevertheless be constructed as though this communication had been so physically annexed and publicly initialed.”  3. Please don’t send out an e-mail to your entire marketing team and compile a list of everyone’s questions. [these 3 appeared in one RFP] “How would you describe and measure effective advertising?” “How do you measure the effectiveness of your clients’ advertising and spending?” ”How do you plan and measure the effectiveness of client expenditures?” 4. Please take a moment and think about what you need your agency to do vs. what you can afford to spend. “Required services will include but not be limited to: development and implementation of comprehensive marketing communications plans, corporate identity, direct marketing and promotional campaigns, events, community and public relations outreach for multiple audiences, conceptual development and production of promotional brochures (including but not limited to) sales kits, premium, newsletters and other collateral material, conceptual development and production of electronic media campaigns, tv, video, radio, web and e-commerce communications, out-of-home and direct marketing/promotional campaigns, media planning and placement of a variety of print, ….. execution of sponsored public events programs, flexibilityand availability to meet at designated [CLIENT] office within two hours of being called upon.”  The budget - $4M over two years.  5. Please give the agency realistic time to complete the rfp.  While you may want to see how fast they can respond, trust me, you’re more likely to get cookie cutter responses and lack of real insight to the agency you’re about to hire. “Please respond to the questions outlined above and mail back 12 bound copies of your response, video and print materials plus 1 unbound copy of your response by Friday, May 7.” [We received the rfp 4 days prior]  Truth is, most agencies actually do put a lot of heart and soul into their responses. If you make the process simple for us to respond to, we’ll make it simple for you to choose an agency that’s right for you.
  • The most important part of budgeting effectively is coming to the process with context and information.

    Do a post-mortem on past budgets to identify strategies to maintain, abandon and fine-tune

    Know what you don’t know and learn more
  • Do your homework:
    Learn what you can about average marketing costs per unit for both existing and new offerings
    Understand the importance of funding ongoing marketing—even if you have waiting lists
    Know what specific tactics cost in your area. Be an educated consumer.
    Pay attention to the quality and quantity of competitors’ marketing
    Know your competitors and (your own) differentiators, strengths and weaknesses inside and out

  • Know the landscape in terms of the various expense categories to include in the marketing budget
  • Use data (combined with your expertise and that of your partners) as a foundation for strategy.
    This is crucial in making the case for the dollars you need to CEO, CFO and Board.
  • Don’t step over a $5 bill to pick up a nickel.

    Think about where it makes sense to do things yourself and where it makes sense to engage partners with greater expertise.
  • Talk about zero-based versus cost-based approaches
    Myths and benefits of cost based:
    Myth: You start from a blank page. Truth: You begin with fixed expenses and
    Greater accountability
  • Measure continuously and re-adjust strategy as needed
    Establish realistic goals
    Keep close to your CFO
    Inventory Mix and Urgency
    Think about RESULTS allocations as well as Budget Allocations
    Database Management: Scrupulous details. Consistency. Training.

    Be flexible – take the long view
  • Agencies need YOUR input in order to build and make sense of an integrated marketing plan
    Don’t be wary of questions…. The more info they have; the more nuanced and nimble a budget will be
    This means access to database
    Sharing knowledge of the Competitive Horizon

    They in turn will be able to share best practice and help to establish benchmarks and goals
    Be flexible – take the long view
  • You should not expect to have integrated marketing skills in house.
    Understand why you have hired an agency. They should COMPLEMENT your in-house skills.
  • KH

    Biggest key to a consultancy/agency being able to allocate marketing investment is to think of the Pin the Tail on the Donkey game – the consultancy will be working with client to remove the blindfolds to understand the client goals and current situation today.

    There are a lot of channels that can be considered in creating a Marketing Plan – some traditional – CLICK, some more recent, but here to stay – CLICK, and some many forget – CLICK. In the center is not necessarily what one might think – the organization – CLICK, but rather the organization’s target audience and what they value.

    So, what will a consultancy be seeking to make marketing investment allocation recommendations:
    Understanding of life cycle of community: fill-mode, stabilization, blue sky, expansion – will also look beyond one year
    Understanding of client internal assets that will be/can be assisting with marketing and/or other partners that will be at the table and are important to leveraged/included.

  • KH

    From the previous section, we learned that understanding census goals is extremely important. It is inherent that consultancy will be seeking/further quantifying those – including not only opening and closing occupancy goals, but also attrition or turnover projections.

    The next step is understanding the conversion rate of the sales team. This helps consultancy to understand how many leads are needed to achieve census goals.

    From there, the consultancy considers the client goals in relation to the purchase journey of our target audience. We have grossly over-simplified the purchase journey in this image to make the point that some goals will require awareness, some lead generation, some nurture or conversion and some what we would call infrastructure or foundational items. This is critically important on allocation recommendations. For example, if a community is initiating a new project and needs an audience to market said project, there will need to be large focus on creating awareness and generating leads, usually requiring a larger investment and channels such as print, digital, DM. On the other hand, if a community is established and is trying to overcome a specific inventory challenge with census, generating new leads will not solve that immediately due to the gestation period of an IL lead. So, in that case, marketing investment would be more mid-funnel, nurturing existing leads that may convert faster, perhaps equating to smaller, more targeted DM and event marketing tactics to the existing database.
  • Let’s try to illustrate with very high level examples for the essence of time. I will share two scenarios, both with the same budget, sales goal and conversion rate, which in reality would need to be a conversation in and of itself because those numbers may not be realistic with the goals of each client.

    For example #1, we have an existing IL community with decent census seeking incremental growth and they have a 1 bedroom inventory problem. As I shared previously, consultancies will consider short and long-term planning to set community up for long-term success. Even though the 1BR inventory is an immediate problem, overall census cannot be ignored to maintain the long term health of the community.

    So, as you can see, Efforts would be allocated toward lead generation in TOP of funnel, albeit digital due to maximum results and cost effectiveness; Mid funnel efforts would focus on segmented and frequent DM, remarketing and e-mail marketing to nurture existing leads in database toward the 1BR availability and there may be infrastructure effort needed in the form of additional collateral and sales training to convert the 1BR marketing tactics.
  • On the other hand, for Community Y, efforts would be allocated differently. You’ll notice that there would still be TOP of funnel efforts, but they would be beyond digital (as in the previous scenario) and also include print, purchase-targeted e-mail and maybe broadcast. In this case MID efforts may be dedicated to nurturing those new leads for the expansion project through remarketing efforts and an e-mail drip campaign leading them firther thru the purchase journey. The INFRASTRUCTURE efforts would also take on a different flavor, needing to develop collateral for new product and a VIP program to build the expansion project database and early buyers.

    Again, in both cases there would need to be conversation up front in Paul’s and Kim’s topic in establishing the budget because the same budget for both scenarios may not be realistic AND, the consultancy would be addressing the short and long term health of the organization and their goals, and ready to adapt and adjust allocation throughout.

    Paul, what would you share from the provider perspective regarding investment allocation?
  • Establish a prospect profile
    Local (geographic & cultural) knowledge is important
    Know the profile of your collegial competitors
    Where are they from?
    Age & Income Parameters
    How do they spend their time (and where)

  • Events & Content Based (Events) Let your residence and whole team shine and are cost effective and inclusive
    Allow face-to-face opp;ortunities
  • Don’t expect sales team to have marketing skills.
    Give them every chance to be face-to-face with a prospect
    Allow sales team (and senior team) to develop vital referral network
  • ×