VIDEO: Joe Joachim and Ryan Thogmartin Talk Cremation, Boomers & TechnologyDecember 11th, 2012
Ryan Thogmartin of Connecting Directors sits down with Joe Joachim, CEO & Founder of funeralOne to answer a few questions about the future of the funeral profession, cremation and the perfect online presence.
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How do you think the funeral profession has progressed over the last 10 years?
Looking back 10 years ago, there was always an interest in technology, but it was never like it is today. Back then the consumer was just starting to use the Internet and now look how much the Internet has exploded over the past few years.
The Internet has changed the way families make purchasing decisions, interact with products and research things, to the way they value brands – and it’s forcing our profession to change the way we present our offerings.
So now, it’s not just the progressive firms who are now looking to leverage technology and the Internet… it’s anyone who wants to stay in business, really.
What would you say the consumer is demanding most nowadays?
At the end of the day if you can boil it all down, what families are looking for more than ever is something… different.
In my opinion, families are simply looking for better funerals. Great funerals celebrate the life lived and all those things that were connected to that person’s life like their relationships, the memories, the stories… you know the things that really characterize that person.
That’s the difference between a healing experience and just a traditional funeral. And unfortunately, families just aren’t interested in traditional funerals anymore.
In the future, where do you think the funeral director needs to position themselves to be successful?
I think the issue we’re all facing is that we all need to do a better job of communicating what the true meaning and value of a funeral is.
Our challenge is not getting families to understand more of who we are, how amazing our staff and location is or how nice our new coach is… that’s not it. Instead, the challenge we need to address is getting families to better understand the true meaning and value of what we do.
And I think that starts with getting online. Think about it… where do you go before you make a purchasing decision? I’m going to take a wild guess and say you’d probably go to the Internet, read reviews and go to blog posts to find out what people have said about the products or services you’re interested in buying. That means our value will have to be displayed in that way… an educational one.
Why do you think cremation is rising?
The reason why I think cremation is rising is because families are not seeing the value in a traditional funeral, and they don’t know what other options they have, so they opt for cremation. In response to that, a lot of funeral practitioners are creating a low cost brand, or a cremation society and just focus on lowering the price of cremation.
And guess what? When it comes down to price, nobody wins – not the family, not the funeral director and not the profession. What we end up doing is creating something that is a commodity, when what we really need to do is focus on educating those families better and letting them know that their funeral doesn’t have to be so traditional.
I think we should all work together to educate families better than we ever did before on what a funeral is, what it should be and what the options are out there, because that’s the problem. The problem is not price, the problem is that they don’t see the value.
So how can funeral professionals show consumers our value?
Well, it’s more important than ever to have the right website presence that demonstrates your value, educates families, and shows them how you’re going to help them. That way, they’ll say “wow, I never knew a funeral could be like this!”
I would suggest asking yourself this: what if every family you served could understand the true meaning and value of the services you provide before they walk into your doors? Could you imagine what that can do for your business? You’ll no longer need to spend all of your time trying to reinforce something when they already know your value.
I think once families know their options, understand the value of a great funeral, we’ll start to see more families wanting to celebrate their loved one’s life, regardless if they choose cremation or not.
Have anything to add to the conversation? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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