My baby queeen by senli.

Photo by Flickr user Senli

Remember the phrase, “keeping up with the Joneses”?

Seems our current economic condition has many people rethinking the “spend-with-abandon” philosophy that had seemed to be engulfing our culture.

And while I can hardly believe that Americans will never, ever again try to outspend each other for social standing, I know that we’re entering an era where people will, at least, think twice before they make big purchases.

I can’t help wondering how this will affect “traditional” funeral homes.  That’s the unfortunate part.  The better part is all the opportunities this presents for funeral homes that are already listening to what consumers want and offering them services tailored to their needs and ability to pay.

I’m sure there are funeral homes out there who are still serving a traditional clientele and will feel the pinch as those folks who want “the same service we had for dad 20 years ago” become more introspective about their funeral plans and look for options that fit their new reality.  And what happens to prestige funeral homes that are used to selling a well-known name and their standing in the community?

Recent reports show that luxury brands (and prestige or reputation funeral homes are just that) are feeling the heat from the economic meltdown.  That doesn’t take into account the number of mid-level and entry products makers finding few buyers for their offerings.

Which brings us back to the amazing opportunities I see for the industry.

For years people have been telling us they want to “have a party” or “spend the money on my kids, not a casket” and we’ve responded with interchangeable cap panels and colorful register books.  Some of us added butterfly releases or personalized memorial videos, in an effort to meet the new “personalization” trend.

So many of these answers were really just shots in the dark, hoping to hit the crazy, moving target that is the American funeral consciousness.

We have the chance, now that consumers are more likely to buy only what they need or truly want, to find out what the modern American funeral really means to today’s client family.