Episode 32: Megan Seeman: Marketing Senior Living with a Data-Driven Strategy

Megan Seeman, Director of Lifecycle Marketing at Brookdale Senior Living, explains how her team communicates with prospects, residents and their loved ones at every stage of the journey. 

Megan Seeman always tries to remember that she’s not just selling a product, she’s helping someone make a decision that will shape the rest of their life.

Seeman is the director of lifecycle marketing at Brookdale Senior Living, the largest senior living provider in the U.S. and the world’s largest Alzheimer’s and dementia care provisioner. Brookdale is also the winner of Virsys12’s 2021 Customer Success Award for passion.

In this episode of How I Transformed This, Virsys12 founder and CEO Tammy Hawes and her co-host Clark Buckner talk with Seeman about her unique challenges and opportunities that come with marketing a senior living community. She also discusses the renewed importance of email communication and the benefits of gathering clean data.

Guiding Prospects Through Their Decision-Making Process

Lifecycle marketing acknowledges that different customers need different types of information and messaging depending on where they’re at in the consumer journey. This is especially important for a company like Brookdale, because choosing to move into a senior living community is a huge and important decision. 

“We’re not selling shoes, we’re not selling hamburgers, this is a decision that someone is making for the rest of their life,” Seeman shared. “There are so many different thoughts that go through your mind. Where is it located? What are the amenities? Am I going to be socially engaged? Are there opportunities for me to continue to learn and thrive? Who are the people I’m going to be around?”

For people who are helping a parent or other relative make the transition into senior living, it’s especially important to build trust and help them feel that they have all the information they need to make the best decision for their loved one.

“We have other channels that are responsible for customer acquisition, and then once we have those prospects in our pool, it’s my team’s responsibility to make sure we are nurturing them all the way from lead to visit to move-in. And then once they become a resident, making sure that they feel at home to help retain them as well,” Seeman explained.

Leveraging Data to Understand Customers 

Because Brookdale offers a range of services along the continuum of senior care, Seeman and her team try to learn as much as possible about who they’re communicating with at any given time. 

For example, a person who is looking for an independent living community is at a completely different stage of life than someone who requires Alzheimer’s and dementia care.

To better understand the demographics, needs and interests of her audience, Seeman relies heavily on data. 

“I talk a lot about data at work,” she shared. “The importance of clean data, and making sure that the information around our prospects and residents is accurate. Because we want to make sure that we are providing an experience that they’re looking for.”

The Value of Email Communication 

It may seem counterproductive to spend time focusing on digital marketing for an audience of seniors, but Seeman has found that more and more people are open to and even expecting email and text communication.

“It’s interesting, because there’s so much protection around our senior population and aging adults. They get so much marketing concerning scams,” she shared, “They’re on alert. So that’s definitely an area where we have to build trust.”

Email became especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, as a way to educate residents and keep families informed about what was happening in the senior living communities. In the midst of the pandemic, Brookdale made the transition to using Salesforce Marketing Cloud for their emails. This platform has equipped them to send emails on a massive scale and access even more data about who their audiences are and what they’re looking for.

“We sent about four million emails in 2020, and we’ve increased since then,” Seeman shared. “Email really did emerge as a channel that could help build that trust and communication.”

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