Taking Care with Jeff Waldman & Tiffany Clancy of Bethesda Health Group
We’re spotlighting Jeff Waldman, Vice President and Director of Marketing and Tiffany Clancy, Marketing Strategist, of Bethesda Health Group. Founded in 1889, Bethesda is St Louis’ premier provider of senior living, care and services. Paradigm first partnered with the company in 2015 and we’ve since worked together to transform the way they communicate online.
Let’s talk about your marketing in general. How is marketing senior care services different than, say, marketing a hospital?
With hospitals, you’re typically marketing to a short-term duration of care. Patients come in, they get their care and they leave. And so there’s a lot of messaging around the quality of physicians and equipment. On our end, we are marketing to long-term relationships and care plans that will benefit our seniors for the rest of their life. So our marketing message centers on lifelong commitment and supportive care.
What are the biggest marketing challenges you’ve noticed in your space?
In the last five to ten years, we have seen a drastic increase in competition: more communities, more home health agencies and more private duty facilities. As baby boomers start to retire and seek out senior care services, we are facing more competition than ever to get our message heard.
On top of that, we’re seeing a more scrutinizing audience. Seniors today are not oblivious to the internet. Their increasing ability to access information online has elevated their standards for an engaging quality of care. Because they know that, if you don’t meet their expectations, they can easily go online and find someone that will.
How has Bethesda navigated those challenges over the years?
The prevalence of the internet really forced us to rethink where and how we were spreading our message. Years ago, we had a pretty basic website and zero social media. And years ago, that worked. Fast forward to now, if we did not have a comprehensive presence on the web and social media, we would not be thriving.
Once we embraced online and started taking our online visibility more seriously, the door really opened for us. We recognized that value in search, content and social media and made it a higher priority within our company to invest in those areas. And that felt risky at the time. Print and in-person events had always worked for us, so why change things? But revamping our online presence absolutely improved how we find our audience and how they find us.
A lot of businesses struggle to generate blog content in-house, but Bethesda makes it look easy. What’s your secret?
It’s like any other marketing initiative: if your people buy into the value of it and make it a priority, then it will get done. At a deeper level, that means developing a culture internally where it is important to communicate directly with your audience and understand how they get their information.
For us, blogging fit into that quite nicely. We create calendars to manage topics and timelines and work with Paradigm to optimize each one to fit our SEO goals. There is no shortage of senior care experts here at Bethesda, so we’re able to treat them as sources for our articles and get their buy-in on the work we do.
Where do you see the industry going in the next few years? How are you preparing for these changes?
In an increasingly competitive environment, we are continually investing in our brand. We want to make sure people understand who Bethesda is, what we stand for and what we have to offer for seniors and their families. We know that the only constant in marketing is change, but utilizing our established mediums and adapting to new ways to communicate our message will always be a priority for us.