7 Industry Leaders Predict the Future of Funerals

 

Everytime the f1 team hits any industry conference or event, we ask leaders we run into the same question:

Where do you see the future of funerals going in the next five to 10 years?

Why do we ask this? Because we all know that we’re in the middle of a wave of change.

And while it’s easy to get caught in it – it’s really a good idea to look up every once in a while and see where we’re headed.

These 7 industry leaders have peeked into the future, and here’s where they see the wave of change landing in the funeral profession. The opinions are varying, but there’s one thing for sure: things are changing!

Check out their predictions below:

 

Prediction #1: We’ll move away from tradition

“I believe that we are going to move to the what we call ‘traditional funeral’ to ‘memorial rituals.’

-Mares from a Montreal Funeral Home

Key takeaway: Instead of focusing on what everyone else around you is doing, start focusing on the special unique gifts your funeral home offers to your families. Think highly personalized.

 

Prediction #2: Millenials will become a force too powerful to ignore

“While millennials are making a lot more decisions today, we’re actually turning a blind eye to it still. It’s actually the grandchildren who have their cell phones out making decisions in the time of need during the arrangement conference.

So the changes are going to be more in our digital marketing. You’re going to need apps that are enabled in smartphones so you can actually care for your family quickly.

We’ll also need to bring more transparency into how we do the business.

I forsee even things like chain of custody, where someone will be able to see mom on their phone, where she is in the process of care, and whether she’s being cremated or buried. And that gives peace of mind. And that’s what our job is, to provide families peace of mind during the hardest time.”

-Andy Lopez, Gaffney Funeral Home

Key takeaway: Start paying attention to the needs of millenials now – don’t wait. They are quickly becoming the decision makers. Do the research. Conduct interviews. Take notes. Now is the time.

 

Prediction #3: Funerals will move back to nature

“I think funerals and grief support will become smaller, more personal, highly individualized, and off-grid in every sort of different way.

I believe the trend will move quickly to funerals happening in a bigger variety of locations. Also, the timeline of when a funeral happens; I think we’ll see a change from funerals happening three days after the death, to two months or maybe a year later.

Also, I see us moving from traditional, religious based services to non-conventional ones. I think there’s kind of a move back to nature, and natural options. Nature is going to be the place where funerals take place, and natural disposition options are all going to be on the increase.”

-Jason Troyer, Mt Hope Grief Services

Key takeaway: How are you serving families who want to do a funeral months from now? What options do they have? How are you serving families who want to bring the funeral back home? Ask yourself these questions now, so that when the trend emerges, you’ll be ready to serve this market (that is, if you want to).

 

Prediction #4: We’ll simplify, not complicate

“I that I think the funerals are going to go low tech, not high tech. I think we’re headed towards green burials with families digging the site and having the service. No more caskets. No more urns.”

-Kathy Grande

Key takeaway: How much of your bottom line depends on casket sales? Start creating newer and more diverse streams of revenue and test, test, test.

 

Prediction #5: They’ll look more like a wedding, less like a funeral

“More celebration. Less “funeral-y”. More event planning. And families getting very engaged in the process. Making a celebration an event that’s more like a wedding, and less like a funeral.”

-Ryan Thogmartin, Connecting Directors

Key takeaway: Where are your funeral celebrants? Your celebration of life planners? How busy are they? If they’re really busy, EMBRACE that. If they’re not busy, start educating families on their value. If you don’t have any, hire one!

 

Prediction #6: There will be less brand loyalty

“The word tradition is probably something that we need to let go of. Because families who have traditionally called your firm, no longer have brand loyalty. They no longer have that loyalty to that one particular funeral business, because we’re much more of a mobile society today. “

 

Key takeaway: Don’t assume a family will continue to choose your funeral home because they always have. Let it be because your service is invaluable.

 

Prediction #7: Families will want to be more involved in the process

“We have to keep making it meaningful for everyone involved, and not overwhelming families with too many choices. This requires a fine balance because you can give families a package and say “let me do this for you”, but some families want more input.

I know one of the big things that the Baby Boomers and Millennials are changing is they want to do it themselves. I understand. Basically, we did it ourselves for my wife’s grandmother but that’s different because we know what we’re doing. That’s one of our biggest challenges –  families who say ‘I can do it myself,’ and then they come back and they say ‘well, that didn’t work.’

As my wife says, years ago you did your wedding all by yourself and hired a funeral director for your funeral. Now people are hiring a wedding planner and they’re doing it themselves for the funeral.”

-Joe Pray, Pray Funeral Home

Key takeaway: How are you starting the conversation with your families when it comes to planning the funeral service? Is it a conversation that has meaning and story behind it, or is it just a list of services? Consider each service a chance to tell a story, not sell a product.

 

What are your predictions for the next 5-10 years in funeral service? Share them with us in the comments below.

Joe Joachim

funeralOne

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