Friday, August 08, 2008

Atmosphere - imagine that

Atmosphere – imagine that

Mix the following and what have you got?
Personal invitations, special event, horse drawn carriage, balloons, jazz quartet, a wild fiddler, several food and drink stations never running out, atmosphere, over 800 guests, local dignitaries and Mercedes luxury buses to shuttle the overflow from parking down the street.

Give up?

Surprise – it’s a new funeral home.

This was the VIP open house for Bay Gardens Funeral Home in Hamilton, Ontario.

You are forgiven if you are thinking, “Yeah right, - a funeral home? No way!”

From a marketer’s point of view – this grand opening was a fabulous example of how to launch a new product or business.

From an entrepreneur’s point of view – this bold new funeral home is an example of how to compete in a competitive and saturated market.

It’s important to note that a product launch does not make a successful product. Success starts with a smart business strategy. That’s difficult and soul searching. Once you’ve got that figured out the launch and operational issues are easy decisions. Just follow your strategy.

If you think it’s hard to get people to attend your open house or product launch just imagine how difficult it is to get people to go willingly to a funeral home. Considering that most funeral homes are pleased to get 100 guests at a grand opening – 800 guests is amazing. What’s more amazing and significant is that these 800 guests were potential clients and not suppliers or sycophants that often attend these events.

So why did so many people attend this event?

I suspect that it was because of the community work and powerful relationships built by Bay Gardens President, Jan Nichols over the past couple decades in the local funeral business and especially over the last three years since the launch of the first Bay Gardens Funeral Home in Burlington, Ontario.

Yes – the event was first class. All the fine details were exquisite.

However, nothing beats the power of strong relationships. I believe that the core strategy of Bay Gardens is relationships – relationships with the community and relationships with people.
That’s why Bay Gardens starts by building relationships with their staff. They already have over 600 applications for part time work and they haven’t advertised yet. That’s why they encourage community participation. That’s why they invested $500,000 in first class meeting rooms that are designated for use by local non-profit organizations. And it’s free – but only to non-profit organizations. This non-profit area is bold and unique.

That’s why Bay Gardens named the rooms after the local waterfalls and partnered with the local conservation authority. How many funeral homes name the rooms, Salon A and Salon B? A video of local waterfalls played in the screens during the VIP event and this video will continue to run. All 800 guests received a coupon courtesy of Bay Gardens for admittance and a tour at any one of several local conservation parks.

Why was this launch so successful?

Because there was a clear strategy, they were bold and they paid attention to lots of little details.

Why do I believe that they will not only succeed but overwhelm the competition?

Because there appears to be a clear strategy that is built on building strong relationships. If your business is suffering I suggest that you review the state of your relationships. Strong relationships beat branding, pricing and slow economies.

Bonus: This is a funeral home with atmosphere - imagine that. Walk in the front door and you face a two story indoor waterfall.

Below is a short video clip of the Wild Fiddler. The first thing you see is the two story waterfall. This hardly looks like a funeral home.

George Torok
Marketing Expert
Marketing Speaker
Canadian Business Speaker

No comments: