Why The Next 10 Years Of Funerals Will Blow Away The Last 10

October 11, 2016
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Guest article provided by: FuneralOne

The funeral profession has gone through a lot of changes over the last 10 years. Between the rising trend of cremation, the importance of online funeral products like websites and social media pages, and even the shift in the needs of today’s families, it’s hard to believe that the next 10 years could shake up the funeral profession any more than the previous 10 have.

But, as we look ahead towards the future of funerals, that’s exactly what we are beginning to see on the horizon…  a shake up in trends, services and even family needs that will have us looking back fondly at the last decade as a “minor bump” in terms of disrupting the funeral landscape.

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Don’t believe us? Here are just a few funeral and technology trends that are on the horizon, and will be sure to do more for the future of the funeral profession than we could have ever imagined just 10 years ago…

1. More people will send out their loved one’s with a celebration

If you didn’t catch our blog on the 5 Statistics That Will Keep Funeral Homes Alive, you may have missed the memo – today’s families don’t want the same ol’ hum-drum, gloomy funeral service that their great-grandparents had. In fact, they want exactly the opposite. 30% of today’s families said that they would rather have a party over a traditional wake, and one in four people said that they want their funeral guests to ditch the somber black garb and wear bright colors instead.

And this isn’t just a strange phase that our profession is going through that will soon blow over… every year, more statistics come out that show that families are looking at funerals as a chance for a celebratory occasion. And that should be news that thrills your funeral home, because it means that families are starting to value funerals as important life celebrations, and it is something that more people will begin planning ahead for so their service is uniquely them.

2. Funeral celebrations won’t be confined to the walls of a funeral home

Funeral personalization doesn’t just stop at the type of music that is played throughout the visitation, or what type of items you display at the service. More and more people are wanting the entire environment and space of their funeral to be completely customized to their loved one and their life story. In fact, nearly half of all funeral directors (49%) have already arranged a funeral outside of a religious setting… and we’re not just talking about an ash scattering at a local park, or a funeral service that takes place outside of a church. We mean full-on personalized spaces that tell the story of a person’s life. For example, maybe Grandpa’s funeral is held on the bank of his favorite fishing spot, or maybe the best place to celebrate Aunt Alice’s life is right in the backyard of the home that she lived in for 30 years. When it comes to telling a truly unique story of a person’s life, the options are endless.

3. Social media will make it easier than ever to tell a life story

These days, people share nearly every aspect of their lives online… they upload photos from their vacation, they use online calendars to invite people to important life events, and they even write status updates celebrating their biggest life moments. That’s crazy to think about when just 10 years ago, people were having to look through yearbooks, notebooks or photo albums to reflect back on their life, and now we have access to these moments in just a click of a button, thanks to sites like Facebook and Twitter. So when it comes time to look back on the highlight reel of a person’s life, it’s only natural that we will begin to turn to these social media sites in the future.

In fact, we predict that funeral homes will soon begin incorporating social sharing into many different aspects of the services they provide in order to better connect opportunities for memories, stories and healing. There are already a number of solutions out there for funeral professionals that utilize social integration, like f1Connect’s Social Memorial Pages. By encouraging family and friends to log in to their Facebook profile when their arrive on their loved one’s Memorial Page, visitors to your funeral home website can easily upload photos from their Facebook albums, or even spread the word about upcoming funeral service times by sharing the Memorial Page on their own Facebook wall… all without leaving your website.

Bringing social sharing into funeral home websites is already helping to bring the value and healing power of funerals into the places that families are already sharing and remembering… online. And this trend will only continue to grow in the future.

4. Websites will be able to smartly feed families the information they are looking for

Web pages are getting smarter and smarter every day with the way that they collect information and tailor targeted content to the people visiting their pages. You’ve probably seen it yourself… maybe last week you were shopping around for some new fancy embalming instruments on Amazon, and then a couple of days later, promotions for embalming instruments start popping up on your Google page, your Facebook News Feed, and even in the ads that follow you from site to site. Spooky, huh? That’s not even the half of it…

Soon enough, websites will be able to smartly tailor the content that people see on a webpage based on their past browsing history and the links that they click on. What’s the benefit of this? In short, people visiting websites would only be exposed to the content that matters most to them, rather than having to weed through a bunch of pages trying to locate the content that connects with their needs. For example, if someone visits your funeral home website and clicks a link about pre-planning, the content on your website could actually change the next time they visit so they are exposed to new educational content.This will help your website visitors find the information they are looking for faster, and will help sell the value of your services better… leading to more qualified leads and better educated families.

5. Technology will enable funeral professionals to be better (and more efficient) at their daily tasks

Ever wish that you just had a little more time in your day? (If you’re like us, you wish that every day…) Technology has already come a long way at helping to make funeral pros more productive and efficient through answering services, online pre-planning forms, e-commerce floral stores, and even educational resources that help families plan out their entire funeral online. But these revolutionary tech services are nothing compared to what the future holds.

The true future of technology in the funeral profession won’t just take over aspects of a funeral director’s job… it will enable funeral professionals to do their jobs better, faster and smarter. For example, our Life Tributes video software helps funeral professionals create stunning, cinematic memorial videos for families in just 15 minutes or less… all without having to email photos to a local video producer, or hoping that one of your funeral home staff members is a slideshow wiz. Life Tributes actually puts funeral professionals at the heart of the creation process so that they can be hands-on in designing the personalized elements that truly help their families… but the ease and speed of the software also ensures that you won’t have to lose out on the precious few moments you have each day, and can put your focus where it is needed most. 

6. Families will play a bigger role in the planning process

It used to be that families would come into a funeral home completely naive and underprepared for the funeral planning process. So they looked to funeral directors as the guide that would present them with the best service plan to choose from, the most appropriate product for their loved one, and even the complete itinerary and plan for their loved one’s final send off. But now, thanks to the internet, families have all of the information that they could ever want to know about planning a funeral right at their fingertips. The result? Many of the questions that funeral directors are receiving have gone from “what is cremation?” to “can you help me order this piece of cremation jewelry that I saw online?”

So the next generation of funeral directors not only need to know about the biggest trends and requests that are out there in the funeral profession… but they need to showcase the unique service elements they offer Otherwise, families will just go looking for another competitor that can fill their needs. Just check out Pray Funeral Home’s Explore The Possibilities tool (below) that helps families visualize the different ways that they can honor their loved one’s life, starting at a traditional ceremony, and ranging all the way to a unique, one-of-a-kind life celebration.

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