The title is what you’ll be saying after the first few paragraphs here.  Of course, I want you to keep reading, so when you get to the part about the chiropractor, don’t stop.  Because it gets better.

 Funeral homes operate within a pretty specific geographic area.  Most directors can tell you where their customers come from, right down to which side of the street of the farthest neighborhood goes to the next town for funeral services.  Because of this, funeral directors usually only compete with a very specific group of other funeral homes, much like chiropractors on the west side of town usually only compete with others in the same area.

And there’s a whole group of business professionals who thrive on location marketing.  Everyone from vehicle oil changers to hairdressers, from veterinarians to dentists benefit from being close to their clients.

“Just wait a minute!” you say.  “We’re not like those people.  We provide a VERY important service that can’t be left up to just anybody!”

Point taken.  But don’t hairdressers provide an important service?  How many people want a BAD haircut?  Haven’t you ever met (or been) the person who got a bad haircut and threatened to sue?  Isn’t your dog’s health EXTREMELY important to you?  Don’t you want your dentist to get it right the first time?

I’m not suggesting you act like any of these other professionals.  But I think you should pay more attention to the way they interact with the community.  Watch the way they deal with other members of their profession.  Ask a chiropractor how much marketing help he gets from others in his field.

A number of dentists have found benefits from grouping together to purchase advertising in their communities.  Could that work in the funeral profession?  HINT:  The answer is “yes!”

The most persuasive and, therefore, expensive advertising medium is television.  Why do I think it’s the most persuasive?  Because being able to afford television advertising confers upon your company a level of respect and a certain amount of trust from the public.  People say to themselves, “They must be good or they wouldn’t be able to afford to run commercials.”

Most funeral directors overlook TV commercials because local stations have viewing areas that encompass a large number of communities, and therefore reach farther than their target market. 

What would happen if funeral homes from five local communities (all covered by the TV station but none in direct competition) banded together to create memorable advertising and promote their affiliation?  Of course, each would have to agree to abide by certain convenants of their affiliation, much like members of a homeowners’ association do.  The group might need to hire an attorney to draw up agreements with specific penalties (a fine or dismissal from the association) if ethical standards aren’t met.

But I believe such an association could allow more funeral homes to reach their public.  It would also bind together like-minded funeral homes and encourage sharing of business and funeral-related knowledge.

 Anybody willing to try it?

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