Upon returning from another funeral conference I’m wondering what the “uptake” of new ideas, products, services and shared successes will actually make it back to the funeral homes of attendees. Having stated this, I realize that one size does not fit all in the funeral home world and I’m certainly not delusional to assume otherwise. The Independent Funeral Directors of Florida held their annual Conference/Tradeshow and I’d like to point out some of the presentation highlights for y’all to ponder my initial statement.
The kickoff was a panel with Justin Baxley, Lacy Robinson, John Bolton, Ryan Thogmartin and myself discussing with the attendees the broad topic The Future of the Funeral Industry. From my point of view, the discussions were lively, relevant and provided a platform for honest communication. Interestingly pricing was a hot topic (no cremation or Florida pun intended) and rightly so; the competition in the Sunshine State is fierce.
I listened to and took notes on a presentation by Justin Baxley of Hiers-Baxley Funeral Services and Lacy Robinson of Aurora Casket titled Sharing Life by Design: The Funeral Directors Guide to Relevant Funerals. The context was emphasis on communication and presentation skills within the arrangement conference and to offer funeral directors insight into modern approaches that blend together aesthetic details with the latest trends for honoring lives. The broad spectrum presented has elements for every funeral home no matter their zip code or clientele.
As usual and always on point, Ryan Thogmartin of Disrupt Media, Connecting Directors and Funeral Social provided compelling information regarding why funeral homes should engage consumers with his Win More, Suck Less-Killer Examples of Real Funeral Homes Dominating on Social Media presentation. The shear numbers of people that use Social Media regularly are reason enough, but more importantly a platform for funeral homes “to tell their own story.” The media inundates and highlights negativity about the errant few funeral homes, yet we all have the powerful medium to “lead the discussion” for positive engagement. Again, no matter the zip code or clientele, there is something of value for every funeral home.
The Funeral Commander (a.k.a.Jeff Harbeson) had opportunity to present Challenges to Funeral Service Providers & Using Social Media to Effect Change. The change in family structure, diffusion (the spread of culture traits from group to group), consumer segmentation (economically and where they spend their money), consumer behavior, and technology all attribute to the challenges we face as funeral service providers. All of these (and another long list created by attendees) could be addressed, if not solved with training. Corroborating Ryan Thogmartin’s message about using Social Media to reach consumers, successful examples used by DNA Memorial to spread the gospel to consumers that funeral directors offer the last chance to preserve a deceased person’s genetic record (DNA).
My case in point, with all the conferences and sharing of ideas, how many are actually manifested in some form upon return? As you know I believe “A vision is only a dream without execution” which is akin to Larry The Cable Guy’s “Get ‘er Done mentality. Please share something that you have learned at a conference/expo and implemented upon return to your respective funeral homes. From the desk of The Funeral Commander, Cheers Y’all! #thefuneralcommander