Pollara 3.0 - Public Perceptions & Your Action Plan


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The Canadian funeral industry just received the findings from our 3rd Consumer Survey - Pollara Report. While some companies pore over the results once they are released, others take the attitude of "but my market is different" and unfortunately is like stating I don't want to make money like my grandparents did.

Robin Heppell uncovers some of the gold nuggets deposited in the survey results and will read between the lines and let you know what to focus on and what to steer away from. Attendees will leave with an Action Plan to help to put them in front of the public's wishes instead of just watching them pass by on the side of the road.

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  • Are You a Born-Again Undertaker? IFDA Annual Convention - June 26, 2007 Robin Heppell, CFSP - www.funeralfuturist.com
  • While organizing a reception following a funeral is generally very prevalent (80%), this element is carried out somewhat more frequently among women than men (82% vs. 77%) Canadians in the Atlantic provinces have a much lower instance of holding a reception following the funeral (52%), whereas the Prairies and Alberta have slightly higher incidence of receptions (90% and 88% respectively). Q8. [ASK IF ANSWERED ‘Yes’ in Q2.] Did you arrange a reception following the funeral?
  • Church, family/friends’ home, and the funeral home are the most frequently used locations for holding a post-service reception, with over 70% choosing one of those three locations. Just under one in five receptions are held at a funeral home (19%). This share could be increased, e.g., through building awareness of such services. Q9. [ASK IF ANSWERED ‘Yes’ IN Q8.] Where was the reception?
  • Professional services, out-of-pocket expenses, and the specifics of the resting place are the more valuable aspects of the funeral service. On the other hand, items such as memorials, transportation, casket/urn, or vault have less value to respondents Q11-18. [ASK IF ANSWERED ‘Yes’ IN Q2] You mentioned you have arranged a funeral for another person. How would you rate the value received for the money you spent on each of the following aspects of a funeral services? Please rate the value on a scale of one to ten where one means not at all valuable and ten means very valuable.
  • There is a good level of interest in learning about ‘green’ funerals, likely inspired by a heightened interest in more environmentally sustainable lifestyles Ontarians show the highest interest in this type of funerals (59%) This concept has less appeal in the Prairies (46%) Q36. [ASK ALL] Would you like to learn more about ‘green’ funerals and burials and the associated costs?
  • A lack of knowledge/information on the subject results in a wide spread of perceptions of what ‘green’ funerals should cost relative to a traditional funeral. About 1-in-3 Canadians expect ‘green’ funerals to be more expensive (especially among the younger segment- 35%), about the same proportion expects such funerals to be less expensive, and another 25% think they should cost the same. Q37. [ASK ALL] Would you expect an environmentally friendly funeral to be more or less expensive than a traditional one?
  • Relatively high interest in green funerals does not translate into high degree of willingness to pay more for such an option 65% of Canadians are unlikely to pay more for an environmentally friendly funeral Q38. [ASK IF ANSWERED ‘a’ OR ‘b’ IN Q35.] Would you be willing to pay more for an environmentally friendly funeral?
  • The two main components that would be most often selected as a part of a ‘green’ funeral are cremation (79%), which is already a preferred option among many respondents, and the scattering of ashes (58%). While respondents generally have considerably less interest in other ‘green’ funeral elements, they appeal relatively more to the younger cohort. Q39. [ASK IF ANSWERED ‘a’ OR ‘b” IN Q35.] Which of the following ‘green’ funeral components would you choose for your funeral and burial service?
  • When looking for information on funeral services, funeral homes are by far the most often mentioned point of contact (66%), which is probably a reactionary effect – a function of the fact that most people do not pre-plan funerals, and turn to funeral homes only in response to a death or an impending death. After funeral homes, family and friends, the internet was the most often used non-personal search source (31%). The internet usage has doubled since the last study (16% of those who researched funerals used the internet in 2004) indicating that there is an opportunity for the industry to more effectively integrate this medium into the whole offering. Q65. When searching for information on funeral services and various aspects associated with arranging a funeral, which of the following sources did you, or would you rely on to provide you with needed information? Please select top 3 preferred sources.
  • Those who seek information on funeral services online (33%), use it to gather information (92%) and connect with the family/friends of the deceased (sending condolences, 72%, or signing online guest book, 64%) rather than making more tangible decisions (e.g., purchases, pre-planning (49%), or pre-paying a funeral (23%)) Q68-77. [ASK IF ANSWERED ‘a’ ‘ INTERNET’ IN Q65 OR Q66] In which of the following ways would you use the internet?
  • Pollara 3.0 - Public Perceptions & Your Action Plan

    1. 1. Pollara 3.0: Public Perceptions & Your Action Plan by Robin Heppell, CFSP
    2. 2. Why a New Entrepreneur to Funeral Service will be More Profitable than a 4th Generation, 100 Year Old Funeral Home?
    3. 3. <ul><li>How does that make you feel? </li></ul>
    4. 4. Why? Because… <ul><li>Entrepreneurs listen to the the public </li></ul><ul><li>They’re not clouded by the past </li></ul><ul><li>They put themselves in front of the money </li></ul>
    5. 5. Entrepreneurs of the Past
    6. 6. 5 Nuggets to Make You More Profitable <ul><li>The Service Offering that Consumers Want </li></ul><ul><li>Where’s the Party? </li></ul><ul><li>Get Your Pricing Right </li></ul><ul><li>Do Green Funerals Mean More Green Backs? </li></ul><ul><li>Winning the Call before They Phone </li></ul>
    7. 7. How will we uncover these? <ul><li>What the public is saying? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the deeper issue? </li></ul><ul><li>How you can benefit? </li></ul><ul><li>What you can do – Your Action Plan </li></ul>
    8. 8. <ul><li>The Service Offering that Consumers Want </li></ul>
    9. 9. Give them what they want <ul><li>81% feel that funerals should celebrate life (not dwell only on its loss). </li></ul><ul><li>73% want a Celebration of Life for themselves </li></ul>
    10. 10. Biggest Business Mistake… <ul><li>Defining our Most Profitable Service Offering with something that the public doesn’t see much value in… </li></ul>
    11. 11. FUNERAL - fu·ner·al <ul><li>Funeral Director (our definition): </li></ul><ul><li>A traditional service for the deceased at a chapel or church with the casket present </li></ul><ul><li>Merriam Webster: </li></ul><ul><li>the observances held for a dead person usually before burial or cremation </li></ul>
    12. 12. Memorial vs. Funeral
    13. 13. Michael Jackson’s Service Photo by Bauer Griffin
    14. 14. Michael Jackson’s Service <ul><li>Google Results… </li></ul><ul><li>Michael Jackson Funeral Service: 39,300 </li></ul><ul><li>Michael Jackson Memorial Service: 9,640,000 </li></ul>Photo by Bauer Griffin
    15. 15. Don’t make the same mistake <ul><li>Don’t define “Celebration of Life” so that it limits you on services & merchandise that you provide </li></ul>
    16. 16. Rebrand Your Services
    17. 17. Your Action Plan <ul><li>Copy & Paste Your “Traditional Service” and Rename it: Celebration of Life and don’t mention the casket being present or not </li></ul>
    18. 18. <ul><li>Where’s the Party? </li></ul>
    19. 19. Reception following the funeral?
    20. 20. Location of reception
    21. 21. Entrepreneurs: Follow the Cash
    22. 22. Ask this question for every call <ul><li>Have you decided where you are going to have the reception? </li></ul>
    23. 23. Your Action Plan <ul><li>In the short term, make Strategic Alliances with local restaurants and offer this as you would any other service offering. </li></ul><ul><li>Long term, consider onsite reception area. </li></ul>
    24. 24. <ul><li>Getting Your Pricing Right? </li></ul>
    25. 25. <ul><li>Why doesn’t the public love caskets like we do? </li></ul>
    26. 26. Provincial Maple
    27. 27. Value of various aspects of funeral service
    28. 28. Price Restructuring 101 <ul><li>Take your AFV of each service offering including the average casket </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce the price of the casket by 30-50% and add it to that service fee </li></ul><ul><li>Re-price other caskets with same percent </li></ul><ul><li>Repeat on all service offerings </li></ul>
    29. 29. Your Action Plan <ul><li>Lower merchandise fees and increase your Profession Service fees. </li></ul><ul><li>This is the Funeral Service Profession, isn’t it? </li></ul>
    30. 30. <ul><li>Do Green Funerals Equal More Greenbacks? </li></ul>
    31. 31. Interest in ‘green’ funerals
    32. 32. Cost expectations of ‘green’ funerals
    33. 33. Pay more for an enviro-friendly funerals?
    34. 34. ‘ Green’ funeral components
    35. 35. Your Action Plan <ul><li>Read the Green Funerals in Canada document. Create a green service offering – just like Celebration of Life, you are just rebranding your main offering and making a few adjustments </li></ul>
    36. 36. <ul><li>Winning the Call before They Phone </li></ul>
    37. 37. Sources of information on funeral services
    38. 38. Internet usage in funeral organization
    39. 39. Become the Funeral Expert <ul><li>By providing information about various aspects and options that are available. </li></ul><ul><li>This is most successfully and easily achieved by creating short videos and articles for the Internet. </li></ul>
    40. 40. Your Action Plan <ul><li>Create 1 FAQ Video / Article per week answering questions about your services and funeral options in general. </li></ul>
    41. 41. Question? <ul><li>Do you HATE it when your Competition offers low-ball prices over the phone, and then bait and switches client families during the arrangements? </li></ul>
    42. 42. “ Your competitor’s prices are a lot less than yours…”
    43. 43. Bonus Nugget <ul><li>People surveyed suggested that there be lower fees and no hidden fees. </li></ul>
    44. 44. No Hidden Fee Guarantee <ul><li>We guarantee that the price we give you over the phone will be the price 
that you will pay. </li></ul><ul><li>Guaranteed! </li></ul>
    45. 45. Your Bonus Action Plan <ul><li>Implement your No Hidden Fee Guarantee policy at your funeral home for price shoppers. </li></ul>
    46. 46. RECAP: 5 Nuggets to Make You More Profitable <ul><li>The Service Offering that Consumers Want </li></ul><ul><li>Where’s the Party? </li></ul><ul><li>Get Your Pricing Right </li></ul><ul><li>Do Green Funerals Mean More Green Backs? </li></ul><ul><li>Winning the Call before They Phone </li></ul>
    47. 47. 2 Most Profitable Nuggets <ul><li>Short term: Creating a Celebration of Life service offering </li></ul><ul><li>Long term: Creating a Reception option or offering </li></ul>
    48. 48. Robin Heppell, CFSP <ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>www.FuneralFuturistTips.com </li></ul><ul><li>www.Facebook.com/funeralfuturist </li></ul><ul><li>www.Twitter.com/funeralfuturist </li></ul>