Tips For Devising An Integrated Media Plan

The senior living industry is, at its core, all about relationships. You develop deep and meaningful relationships with your residents, most of all, as you meet them, bring them into your community, learn from them, help them enjoy their lives to the fullest, witness them change over the years, and much more. Beyond that, you develop relationships with your residents’ family and friends, who may often stop by to visit and become part of your larger community.

You develop relationships with the employees at your community, from the professionals who create thoughtful activity plans to the food service employees who work hard every day to deliver a superior experience to your residents.

“Some of the most important relationships you develop are with your prospective residents and their families, too,” says Taigen Thorne, Director of Public Relations & Media at Sage Age. “In essence, sales boils down to relationships, and it’s far more difficult to sell someone on your product or service if you don’t have a strong, trusting relationship with them.”

One way to build those relationships is through the media and public relations. The way you are perceived by the public, and portrayed in the media, are powerful influencers for your brand and community. Just as your marketing plan must be integrated with your sales outreach, it’s important that your media plan is integrated into the bigger picture of your marketing goal.

Today, we’re going to talk about what an integrated media plan looks like, and share some insight into how you can create a media plan that is simple, effective and supports the big-picture goals of your overall marketing plan!

What are the essential components of a media plan?

If you have an outline of your marketing goals, strategic initiatives and a plan of attack for each quarter, you’re in a good place to add a media plan to the mix. If not, that’s probably where you should start!

A media plan should include the following:

  • Goals. You can’t go anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going! Your goals should be clearly defined so you have a target to hit and can clearly define success or failure. Your goal could be to establish your company’s expertise and thought leadership in the public eye; build goodwill with your potential customers; introduce a new product or service to the market; or mitigate a negative image or perception in the marketplace. Whatever your goal, you should choose one, or two – max – and document it thoroughly, including any ancillary sub-goals that you’ll need to meet in order to attain success.The key here, too, is to make sure that these goals line up with your greater marketing goals. The goals you set for your media plan and strategy should support and benefit your greater marketing goals.

  • A clear budget. Media buys and the time required of your team to conduct media outreach and research can get expensive. The related materials you might need to create, like videos, content, images or all of the above, can also get very pricey, very quickly. For that reason, it’s important to establish a clear budget and identify what will be allocated where, so you can dive into your objectives with fully open eyes! Aligning your budget with your larger marketing budget, and being clear about where the money will come from is critical.

  • The right media. The options here are pretty endless, but they should align with the first two steps we’ve already described. The publications and platforms in which you choose to advertise your clients should be carefully selected. First, consider your geographic target market – are you trying to reach a national audience or a local audience. For instance, a new acclaimed Alzheimer’s program that operates B2B would be marketed throughout the nation, but a Mother's Day Brunch at the local senior living facility would be much more valuable and affordable if it only targeted the local market. Secondly, consider your demographic. You want to find publications and platforms that a specific demographic will be reading within that defined geographic area. While it is usually standard start with the most popular newspaper in the designated market area, you should always search for senior-centered or religion-centered publications that pertain to your specific target audience. Finally, end each media plan where you began, defining the goals. Make sure that the publications and platforms you select are feeding your goals.

  • The right audience. Again, this will be found by the previous three questions. Use your goals, budgets and media opportunities to hone in on the audience that makes the most sense for those three things. All four of these things must align in order for your plan to be effective. For example, if your goal is to launch a new product or service, and you have enough money to create a great product video but limited funds for media itself, a good target audience would be potential customers on social media.

  • A way to track your success. Each piece of this process should have clear ways of tracking success or failure. It’s pretty clear whether or not you meet your budget, but you should also give thought to how you can measure whether or not you’ve reached your target audience and if you’ve met your overall goals. Some ways to track that is to ask prospective customers how they found out about you, and use whatever sales tracking software you have at your fingertips to track the value of the leads you gain from your outreach. That information can inform the next iteration of your media plan and outreach, but you can’t know what’s working and what isn’t without data!

Nurturing relationships with your prospective customers is a never-ending process, and the opportunities are pretty much endless in terms of ways and places to do that. The media and your public relations efforts is just one avenue for fostering better relationships with your prospects and the public. Align those efforts with your greater marketing plan, and you’ll wield some powerful influence!

Proven Sales and Marketing Expertise That Connects with Today’s Seniors

If you are managing a senior living community and are in need of expertise in precisely profiling, targeting and connecting with your target markets, contact us for more information today. Sage Age Strategies is a multiple award-winning, strategic growth and marketing organization that operates exclusively in the senior living industry. For more information, please call or email Adrienne Mansfield Straub at 570-601-1720 ext. 100 / adrienne@sageagestrategies.com.

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