This past week, I had the honor to attend and speak at Senior Care Sales & Marketing Summit (SMASH) in Las Vegas. While there were dozens of speakers and topics over three days, I thought I’d share highlights from my two favorite sessions.

Creating a Social Media Measurement Framework
Jim Sterne is truly a godfather of analytics and I was excited to see him on the conference schedule. He’s the founder of a host of associations and excels in making measurement more accessible to marketers. In his session, Jim talked about the ‘opportunity to see’ your messages on social media: Who to target and Which platforms to utilize. He also outlined What to measure: awareness, sentiment, influence, competition, action and value.

He reminded the audience that powerful brands have recognizable logos and associated attributes (some brands like Doritos are even removing their names from the logos to appeal to Gen Z). When it comes to influencer marketing, Jim advises we look at where the conversations are happening, which is more contextually relevant than singling out influencers that may not know your audience or industry intimately. He also recommends chopping up 1-hour videos into one-to-two-minute segments, as consumers prefer shorter length, even if they watch more of them overall. His session was helpful in framing up common challenges around measurement. Check out Jim Sterne’s website for more insights.

A Lead Generation Powerhouse: Proven Strategies, Platforms & Tactics That Deliver
Sam Ruchlewicz is a seasoned digital marketer and instructor currently at Warschawski Agency. In his presentation, he took the audience through a customer journey, highlighting major touchpoints. Sam used buying a smart phone as an example of his recent customer journey. Journeys commonly start on Google, accessing publishers for product roundups, reading social media posts and customer reviews. He reminded us our behavior has changed (shorter attention spans) thanks largely to the invention of the iPhone in 2007. The result is brands having trouble capturing and retaining attention of consumers. Platforms like Amazon, Google and Facebook are determining how we live, sometimes at the expense of privacy and transparency. In exchange, we get simplicity and convenience. Sam then went on to highlight the core challenges marketers face in today’s digital age and how to address them. He suggested reframing perspectives, structuring for successful campaigns. He quoted Neil Patel and the concept of thinking of growth frameworks instead of campaigns. One way to do this is to lose the ‘funnel’ by reframing perspective, accepting customer control and focusing on intent. This foundational funnel insight is core to omnichannel marketing.

He reminded us to tier campaign structure, starting with local community and working up to regional and corporate brand level. This is particularly relevant to the senior care (as well as hospitality and retail) sectors. Sam also proposed an alternative to the outdated sales and marketing funnel:

Sam then touched on platforms other than Facebook (remember to separate FB & Instagram campaigns for optimal campaign performance) and Google. He touched on Microsoft’s Bing, Twitter (his clients are seeing 20% of total lead volume with 10% of overall ad spend) and YouTube. He loves Quora and reminded attendees to tag your site with the Quora pixel to unearth data about site visitors for free. It’s an excellent platform for early-funnel research. Similarly, he’s a fan of Reddit for advertising: sub-reddit targeting provides a strong awareness and education play, with relatively low the lower cost (brands haven’t discovered it yet). He recommended using Google Tag Manager (GTM), session variables and measurement protocol to create consistent measurement and experiences across campaigns. Sam also suggested testing Sequential Ads on Google as well. He reminded the audience that most Google industry searches are for “nursing home” nationwide, although “senior living” is more common on the West Coast. From a paid perspective, Sam suggests owning 85 percent of branded search, as the remaining 15 percent is incrementally expensive. He touched on top content marketing ideas based on research: guides, videos, listicles, newsletters and expert content. He provided a few suggestions to optimize overall campaign performance:

One parting thought that relates to the omni-channel theme, is to find ways to help your prospects NOT need to complete forms. Good reminder to leverage auto-fill or remove forms entirely where possible.
The SMASH conference was informative and managed to bring in other big-name digital marketing experts, including Catfish Comstock. For more insights, check out the conference hashtag: #SMASHSRCARE. I look forward to attending next year.

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