Marketing your potential
With weeks remaining until the SAIF AGM weekend, from 11 to 13 March, I am delighted that it will, once again, include our Funeral Planner of the Year Awards, as we are due another celebration of your hard work and the success it has brought.
There will be plenty for us to talk about, as once again you are all pushing the market forward spectacularly. We are only halfway through the first quarter and already 2016 has been as busy as could be hoped.
That is largely thanks to your efforts to take advantage of 2016’s major marketing push. Golden Charter’s first national TV advertising campaign has been running for almost a month now, and Independents have already made full use of it.
That particularly includes utilising marketing materials, from press adverts to window stickers, specially designed to go alongside the TV advert, that can be used by any funeral director selling Golden Charter plans. Some sellers have also looked into the more specialised help available, including the option for exclusive sellers to have a personalised TV advert broadcast with their own contact details. Those of you still to get involved can get in touch with your local Golden Charter representative and work out exactly a plan that maximises your own benefit.
Aside from the TV advert itself, funeral plans have been promoted already this year by national press advertising, targeted work online, and delivering literally millions of branded leaflets. Your involvement has been integral to that.
As for where that leaves us in the grand scheme, recently I have outlined some potential leaps forward for the profession, and at the AGM weekend there will be more to say. In particular, that will include some more very good news about future plan maturity values that I look forward to sharing with you.
In looking at the profession as a whole, the AGM offers the perfect opportunity to assess future challenges. As we continue to grow, the cost of sustaining that growth at present levels also rises, and that leads us to choices about how this can be funded. The AGM weekend will offer us the chance to reflect on the options and discuss how we can fund continued growth and maintain our steady advance in market share and maturity values. As ever our goals are ambitious, but independent funeral directors are already helping us take steps forward. Funeral directors’ contributions to diversifying our products through offering Wills with some plans and promoting other legal services is producing tangible financial benefits, which I will illustrate with specific examples in Wales. But of course funeral plans sold by Independents remain the backbone of everything we do.
That is clear as we approach the Funeral Planner of the Year Awards – many of the companies celebrated at that ceremony are ones that have consistently pointed the way forward. Last year’s national winners sold an average of 66 plans for every 100 at-need funerals they carried out; a perfect example of the progress that has led so many families to choose to safeguard their future through funeral planning.
Those figures can sound daunting, but they are a direction marker for what we can achieve. To grow the funeral planning profession we need to follow the advice of our new Director of Marketing, Karen Trickett, who recently outlined to funeral directors who sell Golden Charter plans that if everyone sells one extra plan then we all benefit greatly. To put this in context, previously FPA figures have suggested that around a third of funerals are pre-paid, so any figure above 33 plans for every 100 at-need funerals will mean you are maintaining or growing your market share.
It will be an eventful weekend, and there is much cause for celebration, as the Funeral Planner of the Year Awards will reflect. In the end though, what it boils down to is clear: if we are going to continue to grow against competition, we all simply need to do more of the same excellent work.
See you at the Vale.
Golden Charter Chief Executive