Watershed moments appear in every life. There are the personal ones like a wedding day or birth of a child. Then there are the public ones: Kennedy’s assassination; the moon landing; September 11th; the lockdown. Three months into our second year in business, suddenly normal was upended. Many industries were able to adjust rather quickly as employees worked from home. Senior living, on the other hand, was deeply impacted, leaving their marketing strategies in freefall. For many, 2020 was a dumpster fire of a year. For the rest of us, it was the year we learned to pivot in order to not only survive but to thrive.

New Challenges 

As our senior living clients were adjusting, adapting and adopting new strategies to weather the pandemic, Sabal Group was uniquely positioned to serve our clients. We were a sounding board as marketing teams developed and tested Plan B, C and D. In re-reading this May 2020 blog, I’m struck by how much I’ve forgotten in the intervening years. 

The prevailing assumption was that the target audience could best be reached by in-person events and direct mail. COVID taught us to see the advantages in digital outreach. Savvy communities pivoted to a stronger digital strategy, understanding the advantages of social media in reaching their target audience.

New Directions

The pandemic demanded new marketing approaches for the senior living industry. But change is scary under the best of circumstances. But as countless experts have opined, we must adapt or die. The most important lesson I learned in 2020 was that the ability to pivot meant we could adapt to change. And when the first new direction didn’t work, we could pivot again. Pivots need not be a one-time only choice. And they don’t have to be giant leaps. Even a small pivot can move you in a different and more effective direction.

New Approach, New Results

One advantage of change is that it gives us the ability to see with fresh eyes. Those who pivoted to a more holistic, omnichannel strategy continued to successfully get their message in front of the right audience. And over the last few years, they’ve continued to pivot in small and big ways to adapt to the ever-changing landscape. And like every other challenge, the more you do it, the better you become at adapting. You either adapt like Netflix or die like Kodak.

I learned many lessons in 2020. The most important one was the power of a custom audience when you really need to connect. Staying on our toes and pivoting means we’re ready whenever we get the call. And when we do, just watch us fly.