Monday, June 28, 2010

The CCRC industry needs Innovators

Last week I spoke with Rob Love of Love and Company, a senior marketing specialist who serves the continuing care retirement community (CCRC) industry.  Rob was very generous with his perspectives on the current state of the CCRC market, possible futures for the industry, and where I might fit as a newcomer.  Here are just a few of the impressions I gathered during our conversation.

My friend Bob Milanovich, who referred me to Rob Love, works in the not-for-profit segment of the CCRC industry.  Rob Love focuses on serving non-profit communities, and he explained that he prefers to work with mission-driven rather than profit-driven organizations.  Rob believes that the quality of care tends to be a bit higher in a non-profit setting. (I'd like to find the research he mentioned that demonstrates this difference.)  He also has the sense that non-profit communities are a bit more stable, not beholden to shareholders or focused on quarterly profit reports.  There may be a bit more risk or volatility in for-profit continuing care retirement communities.  (I wonder how/whether this affects the employees and residents.)

According to Rob, many continuing care communities are 10 years behind what today's potential residents want and need.  Their facilities may not have been updated and their approaches to selling the benefits of their communities may have become stale.  Both the physical and social infrastructure of many CCRCs need to be upgraded.

Who works in sales/marketing?  Rob informed me that the typical marketing director is a woman in her mid 50s, who returned to work when her kids started school.  Often she started as a receptionist and eventually worked her way up in the sales/marketing department until she became director.  This observation is not meant to disparage these people, only to point out the potential benefits from a broader range of disciplines and experience as the industry moves forward.  The CCRC industry really needs innovators.  Some of the most effective executive directors that Rob knows have come from other industries.  One of the best CCRC executives came from banking, making a significant impact with strategic-planning and team-building in the CCRC setting.

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