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VIDEO: Why The Funeral Profession Isn’t Changing (And How to Overcome It)

Video originally posted on the FuneralOne blog

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to have Alan Creedy stop by the new ConnectingDirectors.com office and talk about a number of the issues facing funeral service and funeral professionals. After leaving our office Alan made the drive up to Detroit, Michigan to visit the FuneralOne office. While in Michigan, Alan and FuneralOne CEO and Founder Joe Joachim, recorded a few videos addressing changes in the profession and why funeral professionals need to adapt to these changes.
 
We have a few videos we recorded with Alan as well, but we think this video addresses very timely topics and offers great direction for funeral professionals on how to keep moving forward.
 
In the video below Joe Joachim sits down with Funeral Consultant Al Creedy to talk about the NEW client family journey.

 

They talk about how the client families of today are changing, why the funeral profession should catch up, and how we can start building brand loyalty with social media.

 

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  • http://www.eFuneral.com/ Mike Belsito

    I enjoyed watching this video — certainly informative. I did want to mention that the video cuts out at 8 minutes, 30 seconds — but it looks like there was more to the video as the end was pretty abrupt.

    • Krystal

      Mike, yes the video did end quite abruptly – that’s because there’s more to come! We had Joey and Alan sit down and really dig deep about the profession’s biggest challenges, so it was natural to break the conversation up into a few separate parts.

      - Krystal Penrose
      funeralOne Blog Lead

  • http://www.facebook.com/leah.yomtovianroush Leah Yomtovian Roush

    Alan and Joe,

    You made a number of great points in this video. Funeral directors need to realize that even families who have raved about them in the past are not guaranteed to come back in the future. It’s hard to measure exactly how the industry is changing, but we know from data provided by search engines like Google that more and more families are using the Internet to find information about prior to making a decision – and that includes funeral planning. But funeral directors can and should make use of easy Internet tools to re-connect with their families. It doesn’t take long to create a website and blog posting adds a lot of value to funeral home marketing efforts. In addition to taking advantage of the Internet, funeral directors may also want to reconsider their marketing mix – do traditional marketing efforts work to the extent that they used to work? How many people still receive and use the yellow pages, for instance? What percentage of people make a funeral planning decision based on a billboard, TV, or radio ad? It would be interesting to see how these types of traditional marketing investments pay off in terms of bringing in customers.

  • Tim O’Brien

    Excellent – abruptly ending video – best line was by Joe “need to find alternate routes of connection with your community.” That’s success in a sentence

  • BT Hathaway

    I think the most important point (that we all keep missing by the way) is what Alan says at the very beginning, “They don’t really have a model to build upon.”

    No, we don’t.
    There are a lot of ideas floating around (the most expansive of which is the “experience economy” concept which Batesville and others pushed very hard starting 10 or more years ago), but despite lots of trial and error by many funeral homes, we haven’t yet found a combination which creates a new form of economic certainty for our industry.
    What we have failed to notice is that not all categories of business get to expand into the “experience” realm. For instance, it is almost impossible to find a full service gas station these days. Once upon a time everyone paid a little extra to get their gas pumped and their windows washed. Then a social and economic shift pushed consumers in a different direction and consumers found themselves quite comfortable with the new status quo. And no amount of “experience” up-selling will get people to pay more for their gasoline.
    Something similar is indeed possible for our business. THAT’s the scary part, the creeping sense that no matter what we do, many of us might not be needed the way we have been for generations.
    Does it have to be that way??? I don’t know. Maybe there is some combination of services that will reinvigorate our relationship with consumers. I look for an example every day. I just know that so far I haven’t found anything that amounts to much more than busy work. We funeral directors need new sources of margin and can’t seem to find it. We just have more and more vendors coming at us with more and more sophisticated ways to consume what little margin we have left. And that’s NOT a sustainable approach to business.
    Where indeed is the widely applicable model that doesn’t just keep us busy but which actually keeps us in business? If it’s out there I haven’t seen it yet.
    BT Hathaway

    • Tim O’Brien

      I’d suggest that there are several models to build on – there just isn’t one already prefabricated for Funeral Directors.
      Look outside the casket box and there are great examples of engaging your community all around you. One of Jay Abraham’s favorite pieces of advice is to look at other industries, what is working there and bring it into your profession – works extremely well – tim

      • BT Hathaway

        The problem that needs to be solved is not “engaging the community”–there’s lots of ways to do that.

        The problem is what will we do for people once we have engaged them? And what we find over and over again is that once the casket leaves the picture, we end up with a much less profitable business, and less profit leads to lots of other business changes that are very difficult to navigate.

        Alan has said it in other videos. There seems to be a great deal of consolidation coming to our industry and that isn’t going to be much fun to work through. There will be a lot of proud and well run facilities that the consuming public will not keep economically viable. That’s the scary part for many in this business, the sense that generations of hard work might not be valuable for much longer, and that a reasonable retirement might be slipping beyond one’s reach just like so many other Americans.

    • Krystal

      A lot of businesses in other industry’s have found ways to connect with their consumers in ways that don’t use up a lot of monetary resources. Take social media, for example. Some small businesses have gone from being virtually unknown to becoming a national hit just from having a social media presence. And, it’s a fact that companies who use blogging, for example, generate 80% more leads than those who don’t. I think our profession need to not only adapt to the fact that our customers are social media addicts, but use it to our advantage to 1) Reshape the poor view of our industry 2) to find new ways to grow our business and 3) increase awareness of the value of a ceremony.

      - Krystal Penrose
      funeralOne Blog Lead

  • LSzabo

    One of the most innovative people I know and one of the most thoughtful people I know relative to funeral service. The message between the lines has to be very disturbing for funeral service operators. These two gentlemen are very well traveled in the industry and have a more global perspective than most. Most local perspectives would benefit from this discussion and I for one am looking forward to the addtional installments on their talk! And Joey, go see Bashar about that hair!!

  • Pingback: 5 Reasons Funeral Service Finds Happiness in Serving Families | Funeral Blog. The official blog for the funeral & cemetery professions.

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