Happy Spring! My apologies for the broken link to last month's blog post in the email. You should still read that post if you didn't get a chance to - click here (it works)! Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth at the ICCFA Convention in Nashville - great venue and great city. It was nice seeing familiar faces and the several new ones we met as well.
I am very excited to have been featured in American Cemetery & Cremation magazine's "Ask the Expert" feature for their April Issue! If you have a copy, you can find it on page 4, and if not, be sure to pick one up! ACC is a great publication, and their editorial team works hard each month to bring readers unique and thoroughly reported stories. Below is a short excerpt from the interview.
Q: In this 24/7 news world we live in, how important is it for cemeteries to have a plan in place to address potential issues, from odors in a mausoleum to the conditions of the cemetery grounds?
A: I have a Google Alert set for mausoleums, and almost every month I come across a new story about mausoleum conditions. Social media, for better or worse, empowers consumers (and employees) to look and share, to see and be seen. The resources and information available to them, and their ability to voice their stories and experiences, is amplified to a degree that we have never seen before. Reputation is so important, especially when information is only a click away. That shouldn't be something that sounds scary or intimidating - in fact, it's a good thing - but it does require a new kind of effort and focus on our part.
Q: What are some of the issues cemeterians in 2017 are facing?
A: First and foremost, aging mausoleums that are 80 percent occupied, 100 percent sold and dealing with mausoleum-related concerns that require a plan. There are also a number of contemporary concerns that have been added to our 'big four' (fluid, odor, infestation, and casket deterioration) - obesity, climate, cremation, land, aging, media, and safety. All of these categories are going to not just impact your existing building, not just your cemetery or funeral home, but death and dying writ large.
Q: What impact has cremation had on the industry?
A: Everyone knows it - cremation has had a massive impact on our businesses. I expect we will see a balancing out of the cremation rate as the death rate begins to rise with the baby boomer generation, but even so - cemeterians and funeral directors are constantly trying to find ways to provide for families while also keeping their doors open. Our priority is to make sure our customers have buildings they are proud of and buildings they can continue to sell. And, down the road, hopefully out customers will have a supplier relationship that will give them the confidence to invest in more buildings in the future.
Q: Do the ways you are reaching customers today differ from when the company first launched?
A: Yes and no. Face-to-face time has always been a cornerstone for us, and our whole team travels at least once a month visiting customers, prospecting, attending trade shows and conventions and association meetings. But the blog has been a great way to establish new lines of communication, and email marketing and correspondence (within reason, we never want to clog anyone's already full mailbox) has been an excellent new tool for us.
As for the rest of our month, Dave will be attending the Catholic Cemeteries of the West Conference in Lake Tahoe next week, and Jordan and Bill will be at the New Jersey Cemetery Association Conference in Atlantic City. Enjoy the nice weather, and thanks for reading.