Home Care Marketing Strategy 2011: the Message

Understanding the messages that resonate with the target is the third step in developing marketing plans for home care. Differentiating is the first step and understanding the target audience is the second step in developing homecare marketing plans and creating strategy.  Your agency provides in-home care. But what is it that people are buying?

If you are selling private duty in-home care services they are buying peace of mind if they are adult children at a distance or local but unable to provide the care themselves. They are buying safety and security, so that the living at home experience when frail is one that assures they will not be subject to abuse, neglect or predators of any kind. They are buying quality time so that the time the family or loved ones can spend with their frail elders is quality and not filled with the tedium of daily caregiving tasks.

For referral sources who are charged with making a good, appropriate referral to discharge their patients from their care into another level of care, they are buying efficiency in transition. They are buying a relationship that allows for continued involvement with either the doctor or the facility should the patient have a need for that type of care or intervention in the future. They are buying assurance that the patient will be cared for in a legal, medically competent manner so their referral is a positive one in the eyes of the family, others in the care team and the government oversight entities.

If you are selling in-home services to an indigent population dependent on your agency to keep a frail person at home to avoid institutionalization they are buying consistency, qualified caregivers/care providers, assurance that the designated hours approved are spent, assurance that those hours are enough to accomplish the intended tasks with communication back and agreements to change if they are not, partnership in care so that the goals of the agency on aging or county department on aging can be met through your agency’s service delivery.

Each of these messages is different depending on what your agency provides and who you need to reach to sell services. And, within each of these three types of differing messages are subsets that may respond to a different message. Doctors respond and expect communication differently than social workers. Families respond and expect communication differently than elder law attorneys.

Add to all of this messaging the fact that, in  most cases, as an in-home care provider you are offering services that no one really wants to have to buy. No one wants to be frail, home bound, unable to provide self care. No one wants that for their family members or friends. So, the message also has to be one that takes that into account and is gentle, reassuring, and the message needs to be found when that person seeking care has the need.

Developing strategy is not rocket science, but it is a science and an art. And done well by someone who understand home care marketing and strategy, taking the time to create a strategy that takes into account differentiation, targets and messages will make all the difference in the world as to whether or not the intended targets actually “hear” and respond to your marketing efforts.