Funeral Home Marketing: Hard Choices…Choose Wisely


I have this posted on the wall beside my desk and read it at the start of my workday. Read it over, and then I’ll connect it to the funeral business.

Marriage is hard. Divorce is hard. Choose your hard.
Obesity is hard. Being fit is hard. Choose your hard.
Being in debt is hard. Being financially disciplined is hard. Choose your hard.
Communication is hard. Not communicating is hard. Choose your hard.

Life will never be easy. It will always be hard.
But we can choose our hard.

Choose wisely.

That’s a good reminder that life is often hard, but you have choices.

Running a successful funeral home business is the same way. It’s hard, but you have choices.

If you are the leader of a funeral home business, I believe one of the most important choices you have right now is how you will respond to the Baby Boomer wave.

There are 78 million Baby Boomers, 50% more than the Silent Generation. In the coming decades, they will be the primary market for funeral services.

The wave itself is inevitable. You cannot fight it, but you do have a choice as to how you will respond to the wave.

I believe you have three options available to you.

Option #1 – Ignore the Baby Boomer wave

This is a valid option to consider if you are only focused on the short term. If you plan to sell your business in the next few years and retire from funeral service, this might be your best option.

Changing your business to attract and serve Baby Boomers will take an investment of time and money. Like many investments, this one will take time to pay off. But if you don’t have time to reap the rewards of serving Baby Boomers, you might be better off just saving the money.

You will need to keep in mind that the Silent Generation wave is in decline. It’s peaked and is on the way down. You can ride that wave down to the bottom, ignore the Baby Boomers, and let the next owner worry about catching that wave.

Realistically, you would be lucky to get five years out of this approach. But like I said, if you are planning on selling soon, this might be a valid option.

Option #2 – Ignore the differences between the Silent and Boomer generations

This is similar to the first option, except that you will only serve the segment of Boomers who want the same funeral experience as the Silent Generation.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of Boomers do not want the same funeral experience their parents or grandparents had. I have seen several studies on this topic, and the most common figure seems to be around 70%.

That means that only 30% of Boomers want the same traditional funeral you have been offering for decades, and 70% want something different.

If you ignore the differences in the generations, you can only expect to serve Boomers from the 30% slice of the market.

If you are the only funeral home in your market focused on that slice, you might be able to survive, but as revenues decline, you will need to reduce overhead to stay in business.

You will ride the Silent Generation wave down to the bottom and then ride a small slice of the Boomer wave. Realistically, you might be able to get five to ten years out of this strategy.

Option #3 – Transform your business to serve Baby Boomers

This option is the most work but also has the greatest reward. If you can change your marketing to attract more Boomers and deliver a service they truly value, you can ride the Baby Boomer wave for the next two or three decades.

The key is that it is possible to serve both the Silent and Boomer generations. You just have to use a different approach to marketing and have other service packages to offer. You can ride the Silent wave down and the Boomer wave up. It’s not easy, but it’s possible!

I just finished a new webinar entitled “How to Catch the Baby Boomer Wave”. It’s set up for an automatic replay every 15 minutes, so you can watch it whenever time permits. Here’s the link.

https://www.winmorecalls.com/auto-webinar-registration

In that webinar, I give multiple examples of firms that I have helped make the transition from the Silent to Boomer waves. Not surprisingly, they are all growing and have even done well during the pandemic.

By the way, there is nothing to buy on the webinar. It’s just useful information to help you catch the next wave.

Those are your three choices; ignore Boomers, serve a small slice of Boomers, or catch the Boomer wave and prosper. Choose wisely.

Embracing change is hard. Ignoring change is hard. Choose your hard.
Growing a funeral home is hard. Closing a funeral home is hard. Choose your hard.
Catching the Boomer wave is hard. Missing the Boomer wave is hard. Choose your hard.
Preserving your family’s legacy is hard. Losing your family’s legacy is hard. Choose your hard.

Business will never be easy. It will always be hard.
But we can choose our hard.

Choose wisely.

Until next time

John

PS: Watch the webinar and choose wisely. https://www.winmorecalls.com/auto-webinar-registration

John Callaghan

Fractional Chief Marketing Officer for Funeral Business Builders

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