– Case Study –
The Option Group
The Option Group is comprised of a compassionate team of Geriatric/Aging Life Care Managers (GCM) that serve family caregivers, medical professionals, and professional family advisors in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Led by Ellen Platt, The Option Group has over 100 years of experience navigating the healthcare maze and has access to hundreds of resources to assist those in need.
Like many businesses, The Option Group had been impacted by the 2020 pandemic, which created unique and unforeseen challenges. Social-distancing and the inability to enter facilities and client’s homes as part of the company’s consultative approach forced it to reevaluate its business model and subsequent marketing strategy.
The Option Group (TOG) had additional challenges and opportunities as noted below:
- TOG’s brand and business primarily relied on the founder’s network and relationships. While strong, there was an opportunity to grow by expanding TOG’s bench and reach beyond 1:1 personal connections.
- Goals included improving and leveraging its digital presence and improving the exposure and education of TOG to its professional referral groups.
- Thus far, TOG’s marketing had primarily been DIY style. As a result, messages and marketing lacked cohesiveness and consistency and were not ground by an overarching strategy.
- Additionally, “The Option Group” as a stand-alone name was not descriptive enough to immediately resonate with the intended audiences.
- Direct, indirect, and perceived competition for “care manager”, “senior care”, “home healthcare” and other related terms and definitions contributed to buyer confusion.
- Additionally, with so many different types of services, succinctly yet accurately labeling what TOG does was a challenge to creating brand awareness in a crowded space.
- Since TOG does not directly provide medical and related healthcare services, conveying “navigation”, “consultation”, and “care coordination” requires some additional explanation.
Recognizing the critical need for marketing leadership, TOG considered its options to insource or outsource its marketing functions. Both partners in Accelerent, TOG, and Incite Creative executives met and found a common interest in senior care services. As a result of this trusted relationship, Incite was contracted as TOG’s outsourced CMO.
Discovery & Strategy Development
Before we could confidently address any branding, website, or digital marketing tactical changes, we first needed to establish a baseline. Our process included several steps, many of which are bulleted below:
- Conducted virtual Positioning Workshop to obtain team perspective, needs, and specific goals
- Conducted target audience & demographic research, including persona building and customer journey mapping
- Reviewed/evaluated Client-supplied industry data/financials as it pertained to cost of customer acquisition, profit margins, or other relevant reports that could impact business development, sales, and marketing initiatives
- Conducted industry and competitor research
- Interviewed consultants/vendors who played an active role in order to establish a successful working relationship and/or to be able to evaluate the ROI of their role
- Reviewed/evaluated existing marketing materials and strategies
- Identified/established benchmarks and measurable goals & methods for tracking them
- Evaluated existing brand name and reputation
- Determined what tools, be them offline, online, inbound, or outbound, should be added to the marketing mix to support the macro and micro goals and incorporate them into a 12-month Strategic Marketing Action Plan
USP & Brand Study
After completion of the Marketing Action Plan, we began to implement the action items in priority order:
- Unique Selling Proposition (USP):
- A USP has the opportunity to separate TOG’s services from its competitors and make it the preferred choice. And with a search result for “aging life care consultants in Maryland” as one example, resulting in over 40 million, a great USP will lower TOG’s cost of getting leads and increase its conversion rates.
- As the company name implies, TOG offers up “options”. While similar to “choices”, we’re saying that TOG doesn’t simply off up just a bunch of random options for its clients to sift through and vet out on their own, but that TOG provides clarity around those service options so the decision is more clear/easier/successful. As a result, the client gets better “care” (an important word to put the name & services in context), be it health, legal, financial, or otherwise.
- Brand Identity (Name, Logo, and Tagline)
- After conducting the aforementioned research, the team has chosen to focus its primary brand message around the eight (8) core decision support and implementation service areas it offers its target audiences.
- Having the continuity of messaging throughout TOG’s materials will help tell a consistent message that helps differentiate TOG from its direct competitors, and further differentiate it from direct caregiving service providers
- The petals convey “options/choices” but all point toward the center to suggest “client-centered care” as denoted by the heart icon
- The contrasting 45º petal is strategically overlapping the inner ring and suggests a “!” (crisis to care) create a “G” shape in the center “O” to reinforce the brand name
- The colors (blue and orange) are complementary (across from each other on the color wheel) hues. Orange is a very vibrant and energetic color. Because orange is associated with the fruit of the same name, it can be associated with health and vitality. Blue is used extensively to represent calmness and responsibility. Light blues can be refreshing and friendly. Dark blues are more strong and reliable. Blue is also associated with peace and has spiritual and religious connotations in many cultures and traditions.
Understanding Personas & Visualizing the Customer Journey
All clients are not built alike. However, there are some common attributes. Understanding TOG’s target audiences beyond just demographics, but also getting in their minds and hearts, enabled us to map out a plan to meet them where they are, and serve up the right information in the right way at the right time.
By creating customer journey maps for all of TOG’s targets, we were able to more clearly see where we had gaps and opportunities along the pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase stages:
- “Juggling Jane” (adult child with aging mom)
- “Family Advisor Franklin” (family advisor such as an estate-planning attorney or financial advisor)
- “Doctor Dan” (parent’s doctor)
- “Social Worker Sally” (parent’s social worker or discharge planner)
- “Athletic Andre” (retired professional athlete part of the 88 Plan)
Creating a Strong Digital Presence
With a clear sense of the personas we wanted to attract and their buyer journey, we were now equipped to address the gaps in TOG’s digital presence.
We utilized several different tools of the trade to understand where TOG fit into the competitive landscape and therefore where there were opportunities to gain traction. This intel informed our digital marketing strategy and execution plan.
To achieve TOG’s goal to improve its digital presence, the foundation on which it would be built needed to be rehauled.
Starting with a revised site map, we created a structure that would support TOG’s goals and the SEO strategy we defined as a result of our competitive research phase. We then provided SEO guidance to the lead writer and wire-framed out the design. The image on the left was the “before” that had been audited. The image on the right shows the new elements and proposed composition.
As you can see from the wireframe, video was going to serve as an integral channel to help us tell TOG’s unique story.
Knowing that family caregivers need to feel confident in the providers they choose to work with on behalf of their loved ones, we created a video strategy that would enable prospective family members to “meet” TOG before the first conversation. Having obtained compelling stories from the care management team during our research phase, we knew these heartfelt videos would touch the hearts of those in need. Collaborating with fellow Accelerent partner, Zinnia Films, we shot the videos with dramatic lighting and allowed each care manager to share one of their favorite client stories. Take a look. It will bring tears to your eyes!
The care manager stories weren’t the only videos we created.
Hosted on YouTube (owned by Google — the World’s largest search engine), videos have the potential to dramatically impact one’s search engine results. Knowing this, we set TOG up with a dedicated video library page on its site. It houses care manager bio videos, blog teaser videos, as well as explainer videos to help prospects connect their need to TOG’s services.
These videos were used on all of the applicable social media platforms and incorporated into email marketing campaigns. When combined as part of a holistic content marketing strategy, TOG drove a tremendous amount of traffic to its website.
Once on-site, the goal is to keep users engaged and ideally, obtain their contact information for retargeting and lead nurturing. We accomplished this by creating several opt-in opportunities. Beyond the standard “subscribe to our newsletter” we also put lead magnet infographics at the top of TOG’s landing pages and included them in centrally managed email signature lines that could be regularly updated and tracked.
The illustrative style and iconic brand elements are carried out consistently across all of TOG’s marketing touchpoints. This approach counters the otherwise overdone cliché stock images and carves a unique spot in prospect’s hearts and minds so they recall The Option Group above all others.
Effective Content Marketing Takes Collaboration & Technology
When managing an omnichannel marketing initiative with a combination of internal and external team members, having an organized, collaborative, system is essential.
We addressed this issue by creating a cloud-based database that was visible across all departments no matter where they were located. Each initiative has been strategically aligned with the customer journey so that we can be sure to cover all stages. In real-time, all team members can access and interact with each other and have 100% visibility into every initiative and its results.
From blogs, videos and social posts, PR opportunities and events, to downloadable lead magnets and email campaigns, we can see it all! This insight helps us be more responsive and drive better results because we are personalizing and tailoring the user experience.
Combined with TOG’s CRM (Zoho) and integrated with MailChimp and Google Analytics, we are able to provide a clear picture of how all of the individual channels are working in harmony.
The Right Group for Growth
After six (6) months of working together, The Option Group and Incite Creative have accomplished a tremendous amount.
The Option Group has recently acquired two practices enabling it to now provide services across three states — Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. Ellen has added to her team, the workload is being better shared across departments, and new B2C and B2B business opportunities are taking shape.
Take a look below to see the results we’ve already achieved together.
Cautiously optimistic, the team slowly adopted our strategy. Some team members were quicker to try things such as video property walk-thus, but as other saw positive results (709 video views on the example below), others dipped their toes in the extroverted waters as well.
We are proud of the results we have obtained to date, which include at last reporting, the following:
Director of Strategic Planning, The Option Group
We’d Love to Put Our Knowledge to Work for You!
The customer journey has changed! Have you pivoted to meet your healthcare or senior living clients where they are? If not, Incite Creative can help!
Incite Creative is a member of LifeSpan Network.