And they prefer it that way.
Instead of chasing the latest social media craze or reinventing themselves on the advice of a stranger, owners have simply gone back to familiar tactics. While most of what they used to do to attract business has become less profitable, it still beats guesswork. Guesswork is too expensive for their budgets.
“I advise senior care businesses on their marketing strategies” says Mike Devaney, a Seattle-based consultant. “I can say that most business owners are extremely skeptical of anything they've never heard of or don't understand. I proceed with new strategies very cautiously.”
Does their cynicism help them survive? It's not clear. Smaller senior care facilities have a 75% fail rate in Washington State (the same rate as venture backed, Silicon Valley start-ups). Many of those care home owners undoubtedly were loose with their wallets, and threw away too much money on bad advertising.
Other closed care homes probably failed because they were too tight with their marketing budget and underestimated how much it costs to grow a high-ticket business.
Either way, getting small business owners to spend on newer marketing today with the expectation it will pay for itself tomorrow is a tall order in 2014.
Mike Devaney is a copywriter and marketing consultant in the senior care industry. He helps care home and home care businesses connect with clients by using a unique carrot and stick approach. His website is MikeDevaney.com.