by Wendy O’Donovan Phillips


Pricy vendors on deck with no real relief. A whirlwind of projects and deadlines with no true momentum. Communities gone rogue with misaligned brand or marketing plan. No marketing strategy followed by all. Marketing ROI leaking like a sieve.

This is what marketing in the senior living industry can look and feel like at times – particularly if your organization is in the throes of growth by acquisition or merger. You are not alone – we regularly hear this story from your peers, and there are solutions.

You don’t have to fix the whole challenge at once. In each section of this quiz, you can assess whether your team is caught in the marketing whirlwind and get quick tips on how to focus marketing efforts to generate a steady stream of move-in-ready leads more readily.

1. Across how many channels are you currently marketing?

a. Three to five

b. Five to seven

c. More than seven

If you answered (c), you may be caught in the marketing whirlwind. While it’s essential to diversify your marketing efforts, spreading yourself too thin across multiple channels can dilute your messaging and result in lower returns.

Quick Tip: Align with the right marketing partner who can support your organization in determining through programmatic survey data which channels have the highest ROI and align with your target audience’s preferences. This can be accomplished by the right firm in four weeks, giving you clarity that will benefit the organization long into the future.

2. How many brands are you currently managing?

a. One cohesive brand with a clear and documented message, look and standards followed by all

b. One brand without clear and documented message, look and standards followed by all

c. Two or more distinctive brands that each have clear and documented messaging, look and standards followed by all

d. Two or more distinctive brands without clear and documented message, look and standards followed by all

If you answered (b) or (d), your organization is likely leaking budget on watered-down brand awareness approaches.

Quick Tip: Targeted branding for all your communities will improve outcomes from marketing throughout the funnel, from brand awareness to nurture marketing to intent marketing. We support organizations like yours in gathering voice-of-the-customer data to inform brand development, creating a clear and documented message, look and standards and ensuring the whole team follows those standards. It’s a four-week process that provides clarity and efficiencies for years to come.

3. How do you measure the success of your marketing efforts?

a. By census/number of move-ins

b. By the number of leads generated

c. By SQL-to-number-of-move-ins ratio

If you answered (b), you are on the right track. However, it’s crucial to track the quality of the leads generated, not just the quantity. By measuring (c) SQL-to-number-of-move-ins ratio, you will reduce the sales cycle and lower your cost per resident acquisition. The key questions here are: Are they move-in-ready? Are they a good fit for your community?

Quick Tip: Consider reallotting a portion of ad spend per community to strategic content marketing. We suggest the use of programmatic survey data to create educational blogs, email campaigns and direct mail campaigns that truly resonate with your future residents, build trust with your organization and convert qualified leads for your sales team. The process can take about two weeks to start, and over time accumulates into SEO-rich content for your website and a lead-generating machine that is working for your team while they are busy making move-in agreements.

4. How do you nurture leads once they express interest in your community?

a. Send general emails and brochures

b. Assign someone from the sales team to follow up with them

c. Implement a comprehensive lead nurturing program

If you answered (c) Implement a comprehensive lead nurturing program, you are ahead of the curve. Nurturing leads is a crucial aspect of the sales cycle, and it requires a personalized approach.

Quick Tip: Similar to above, consider reallotting a portion of ad spend per community to nurture marketing campaigns and a robust CRM that allows salespeople to identify who is engaging when and how. Again, programmatic survey data can best inform the strategic development of these campaigns and ensure your organization is getting maximum return on nurture marketing spends. The process takes roughly two weeks to start, and adds up to more targeted sales conversations and more move-ins in a matter of a month or two.

Marketing in the senior living industry can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. By focusing on the channels that generate the highest ROI, focusing brand awareness efforts, generating high-quality leads and implementing a comprehensive lead nurturing program, you can attract a steady stream of move-in-ready leads and increase your occupancy rates across the entire portfolio.

Ready for a long-term solution?
Learn exactly how to irradicate the root cause of marketing inefficiencies for good.

Yes, I want a complimentary strategy session with a Big Buzz expert today so I can get:

✅ Clarity on the root causes of current marketing issues

✅ Research and industry intel that will help eradicate lead issues for good

✅ A clearer vision for reaching the organization’s desired future state

✅ A free initial nurture marketing plan to invite warm leads to move in now

No charge, no obligation, no sales pitch. Promise.


Big Buzz is a marketing agency delivering a steady stream of move-in-ready leads to teams serving the senior living industry. For more than 15 years, Big Buzz has helped senior living marketing and sales teams nurture leads to increase occupancy, grow and scale. CEO Wendy O’Donovan Phillips is the author of the book Flourish!: The Method Used by Aging Services Organizations for the Ultimate Marketing Results, has been published in McKnight’s, has been a regular contributor to Forbes, and has been quoted in The Washington Post, ABC News and Chicago Tribune. The Big Buzz leadership team regularly lectures in front of audiences ranging from 25 to 3,000 attendees, including at Argentum and various LeadingAge chapters. Agency awards and accolades include recognition for excellence by the American Marketing Association, Gold Key Award Winner by the Business Marketing Association, and Top Advertising and Marketing Agency by Clutch.

by Wendy O’Donovan Phillips



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