As consumers’ preference for cremation continues to grow, and the purchasing options for items such as caskets, cremation urns, cremation jewelry and other Memorials products become more widely available, funeral homes and Cemeteries are finding that they had to re-position themselves in the market in order to survive in today’s economic climate. They can no longer rely on merely providing a perfunctory service. They now have to convince bereaved families that the only way to truly honor loved ones is with a professionally managed funeral and internment, which they can best provide. This is particularly important if they don’t want to miss out on what’s just coming out of first gear, in the shape of the baby boomer generation.
It’s estimated that over the next thirty years or so, the “Death Care Industry” will see a surge in business as members of the baby boomer generation pass away – provided they can adapt to cater for the individualistic tastes of this group of people.
The long-awaited benefits of the passing of the baby boomer generation will only be reaped by those funeral providers who are willing and able to provide the alternative Celebrations of Life that the boomers are predicted to want in place of the more traditional, somber affairs.
If funeral directors are worrying that the baby boomer generation will shun their local funeral homes for the restaurants or clubs where they spent most of their lives, then they need to consider how they can persuade clients and prospective clients that a funeral service is more than a just a farewell party. A funeral is an integral part of the grieving process and can help those left behind to deal with the passing of a life and move on. A funeral can also provide a degree of closure for loved ones and as such needs to be handled appropriately. That doesn’t necessarily mean in hushed, darkened rooms by somber-looking men in black, but rather in a way that recognizes and understands how to deal with family factions and intense emotions, both of which, understandably, are likely to surface immediately following a bereavement.
Salespeople in today’s industries are all trying to position themselves as trusted counselors. Insurance agents, financial advisors, and even computer systems vendors all want to be regarded as being able to provide valuable counsel. But funeral providers are already experts in this field. They have experience of providing professional, sound, and comforting counsel at one of the most traumatic times in a person’s life. And it’s this aspect of their business that they can capitalize on and use as a foundation on which to succeed.
However, while the value of providing such counsel shouldn’t be underestimated, it’s important that funeral providers also show that they’re willing to change if they want to reap the potential business benefits the passing of the baby boomers is predicted to generate. That means moving away from the stark, dimly lit funeral parlors of yesteryear to an environment that conveys an atmosphere of flexibility and accommodation. Many funerals nowadays involve the use of visual and audio equipment, and funeral directors will have to be able to provide this type of multi-media event to their clients, particularly as the members of the baby boomer generation are expected to want to go out as they’ve lived: By spending top-dollar on themselves in order to proclaim their individuality.
For a funeral business in today’s climate, the ability to offer tried and trusted counsel is the best of all foundations from which to market its services. Add a little flexibility and the willingness and capability to meet tomorrow’s demands and the future needn’t look so bleak.