Should You Hire a Marketing Agency or Keep Things In-house?

As a senior housing operator, you might be able to remember the days when prospects simply walked through the doors and referrals from hospitals put you ahead. But with new senior living communities opening across the country and prospective residents — and their adult children — becoming more digitally savvy, reaching your census and occupancy goals requires a totally different marketing approach.

The Power of a Proactive Marketing Strategy

When your prospective residents and their loved ones are looking for information about senior living and long-term care, they go online. They want to understand their senior living options, determine when it’s time to move into assisted living, figure out how to pay for it, and, ultimately, find the right community.

The potential to reach seniors and their adult children has never been higher — if you embrace a proactive multichannel marketing strategy that includes:

  • Search engine optimization

  • Content marketing

  • Social media

  • Email marketing

  • Inbound marketing and lead generation

  • Advertising

  • Marketing technology

Certain marketing tasks are better off kept in-house, such as live social media updates, certain aspects of social engagement, and customer relations.

But do you have enough team members in-house to not only take care of all things marketing but also research latest trends, attend digital marketing conferences, and talk to thought leaders?

Unless your staff has the specialized skills you need to succeed, outsourcing to an agency can make up for where your expertise falls short. Here’s a look at three reasons why senior housing operators should hire a marketing agency.


1. Immediate Impact

Keeping creative and tactical marketing activities in-house and running like a well-oiled machine can take a lot of time. Not only will you need to hire a marketing director, coordinator, and a graphic designer — or find an independent contractor or agency to help — but you’ll also need to spend time managing them.

When you work with an agency, especially one with deep experience in the senior living industry, you get the skills of high-level experts in a variety of specialties without having to hire them full-time. Once the agency understands your creative goals, the team is off and running, developing and executing new senior living strategies and campaign ideas to overcome occupancy barriers and convert inbound leads to sales — freeing you up to do what you do best.


2. Fresh Ideas

When you keep everything in-house, it can be harder to infuse fresh thinking into your brand. Additionally, in-house marketing personnel are likely to be so busy with their day-to-day tasks that adding new, larger projects could prove difficult if not impossible to execute.

An external agency can bring focus and get big, meaty strategic projects done precisely because they aren’t distracted by the daily reality of working inside the business. You’ll have access to a new point of view with their team doing market research and bringing fresh ideas to the table. An outside perspective can be exactly what you need to differentiate yourself from the competition.


3. Budget Flexibility

An internal creative team means you’ll not only need to cover payroll taxes and benefits but also expensive tools needed to properly run and track a marketing campaign. In the long run, working with an agency is less expensive and offers you more flexibility.

With an agency, it is easy to scale an engagement up or down, sometimes on a month-by-month basis. If you have a big launch, you can quickly scale up the agency work to support it. Then when the launch is over, you can reduce your agency investment and spend that money in other places. Working with an agency can be a great way to widen your marketing net without significantly increasing your overhead.

Given the advantages of using outside help, it is no surprise that research shows nearly 90 percent of marketers outsource some activities.

Marketing is part art and part science. For many senior living organizations, there are benefits of working with an agency and having in-house marketing personnel. When you partner with a marketing agency that works with your team to create shared value over the long term, you can drive your business to new heights.

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