Proof that retirement village marketing has never been more important than now.

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Over the past three weeks, we have been to most of the states of Australia and can report that retirement village sales are either soft or strong, depending on the operator’s marketing effort.

Strong investment in marketing, strong sales. Half-hearted investment in marketing, slow sales.

Passion and action are the obvious keys to sales success.

Speaking to Mark Benton, CEO of Oak Tree, with 30 villages on the Eastern Seaboard, his sales have never been stronger. Nor has his investment in marketing. He is in the office at 6.30 every morning and leaves no marketing or sales stone unturned.

In Perth two weeks ago with Novacare CEO Gordon Genat, his sales at Busselton had been slow but he decided on action, investing heavily in radio, letterbox drop and press for an open day. He achieved four new strong sales leads he didn’t have the previous week. They are currently being converted.

Aveo was slammed by the media across June to December. The deposit rate dropped from 29 each week to zero immediately after the Four Corners show. But they got that figure back up to 29 in just 19 weeks and now forecast that they will achieve their 12-month sales budgets by June 30.

They did not hold back on marketing – July to December they invested $6.5 million in marketing and commissions for existing villages and a further $8.5 million on new developments stock.

Sounds a lot but the cost would be far greater on their share price if they don’t reach their sales budgets – each $.50 drop in the share price is worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

And we can easily point to operators with villages nearby that have not responded to slow sales by investing in marketing, their sales remain slow.

Moral: ‘Passion and action’. If you don’t act and invest in marketing you will be the first to have slow sales when the market dips and the last to enjoy sales growth when the market improves.