I often get ideas of what to write about for my blog, articles and guest blogging, based on something that triggers me.
Today, I was given more than enough fodder for what I consider to be a much-needed post.
Let me start by saying, next week is my birthday. I’m getting as close to Medicare age as one can without yet being able to qualify.
As a result, I’ve noticed a change in the type of marketing mailers I get. Everything from short term life insurance offers, reverse mortgages, hearing aids, walking aids, arthritis meds, dentures and today, cremation.

Demographic Marketing

Marketing specific products and services based on one’s age, geographic region, hobbies, and habits is a good idea, but what about products and services for vibrant seniors? Not all seniors are ready to give it up. There’s a whole slew of us who are more vibrant than we were in our thirties and still going strong.
But I digress. How a company markets can either make the experience pleasant or as occurred today, downright creepy.
Here’s what happened… I received a mailer from a very well known mortuary that has facilities across the United States. In the mailer was an invitation to enter their contest to win… wait for it…. A CREMATION!
It’s not that I’m opposed to cremation. I’m very much in favor of this choice if someone chooses it over a burial.

Sensitive Experience

From my personal experience, a cremation is something that isn’t a grand prize for a contest. It’s something that is very personal and sensitive. It’s something that is emotional and not to be raffled off. It’s something that families often decide together about a loved one, but not something I care to win in a contest.
I could be way off base with my feelings, but when I posted the following comment on my Facebook wall, I received quite a few comments from friends who seem to feel the same way.
My comment was…
Is it just me or does it seem super weird to receive a mailer to enter a contest to win a free cremation? Hey, just because I’m turning a year older in a few days does not mean I am going anywhere.
A few of the responses were…
Top of Form
What? This is so weird
ME:  I agree. I’m all for contest but this one creeped me out. And I’m also all for cremation, if that’s what one chooses.
Comment: The mortuary probably thinks cremation is a good prize, but no one else does! It’s probably hard to get people to think about “pre-need” burial (buying ahead of time, before you actually need a funeral) but it saves about half to buy ahead and person will need it eventually.
ME: I get that, but it’s still doesn’t minimize the creepy factor to win that as a prize.
Comment: They’d probably do better with a trip to Hawaii than a cremation as the prize.
Comment: Wait….what?????
Comment: Seriously!!
Comment: It’s weird. As a marketer I might have recommended a different approach but at least they’re marketing.
ME:  I agree on the different approach and yes, they are marketing, but I think they may have been poorly advised.
Comment: Horribly advised!
Comment: That burns me up.
Comment: Been getting those kind of things for years. Always just creepy!

Planning is A Great Idea

Many people plan ahead and take care of the purchase of cremation services in order not to have this weigh on their loved ones once they pass. Or they secure services for parents, children, spouses and other family members. Planning is wise and very, very different than a contest. Pre-purchasing is often done when special offers are made. It’s all about taking care of one’s affairs in a prudent way.

How Do You Measure Success?

Who knows, I may be way off base with my feelings about this type of marketing for such a sensitive service, but from the comments from others, I don’t think I am.
Will this marketing campaign work for them? I have no idea. Only they will know for sure. But the question that begs to be answered is this, “Is success of a campaign measured merely in dollars made or is it measured in another way?”
For some campaigns, it’s strictly about the money, but for most, it’s about connection to your market.
Again, my voice is not the end all be all, but lots of people seemed to find it as creepy as I did. Perhaps I’m not off base with my response.

What are your thoughts on this type of marketing campaign for a mortuary?

  • Okay?
  • Not okay?
  • Could care less? Comments welcomed.