Friday, March 05, 2010
"Fried Fridays: Simmering, actually..."
Marketing. It's all about marketing.
When times get tough, the tough get creative, and oftentimes that means creating a whole new way for people to look at your product...
DATELINE: PITTSFIELD, MASSACHUSSETTS
A mortuary is a mortuary is a mortuary. Or is it?
I understand business has been pretty dead lately, increasing the stiff competition between funeral homes. All of 'em now offer lay away plans, and pride themselves on being the last ones to ever let you down.
But at times like this, grave decisions have to be made to keep your business afloat. You have to arise from the ashes lest you be buried with burdening debt. It's not always an open and shut case, either. On the outside you might look good to others, but inside is a whole 'nuther story. It's hard to stay alive in these tough times, yet there is a strong need to keep a pulse of your community and potential clients.
So you create events you hope people will be dying to enjoy.
Nothing says 'Yummy!' quite like a chili cook-off competition at the Devanny-Condron Funeral Home. I think it would be cute if they made some of the rooms to look like red caves, and have competitors dress in red tights and capes and call it "Chili that's hot as hell!", but something tells me some uptight folks wouldn't cotton to that. Any way, that's only one of myriad efforts they're putting forth to get residents to understand what an integral part of the town a funeral home is.
(cue cricket chirps...)
They want people to understand they are the very center of community life. Guess I'd always thought of them as the center of community death, but I digress.
Another thing they're going to take a stab at is a murder-mystery show. Personally, I think Mrs. Thomas will do it in the Blue Chapel with a candlestick, but time will tell after the tickets sell. I bet I know what brand of coffee they'll serve, though....Maxwell House. Good to the last drop.
If you're celebrating your 50th anniversary, you get a free ride in their funeral limo. Now THERE'S a real treat for your long-lasting love, the opportunity to see what it looks and feels like before your next ride...
You see, a spokesperson for the funeral home wants to reshape the public's perception to one of understanding how a funeral home can be a place for happier occasions, too. That way, when they're actually holding a wake, there will a better sense of comfort now that the community has experienced happier times there.
I promise you, I can't make this stuff up.
They're on a roll, though. The Ether, er, uh Easter Bunny will make an appearance there as they have a little holiday egg hunt fun ('There's a special egg in one of the caskets, Timmy! Go find it!). Speaking of which, they might want to make little baskets in the shape of caskets, to really drive the point home how much fun they had.
An art walk is in the offing...I wonder if they'll have a silent auction? Will it be open to all mediums? Maybe they'll do like other towns do...like in Cherokee, NC there are a dozen large bear sculptures that local artists were hired to paint, or the traveling theme-painted cows....they could do the same thing with basic pine caskets, to add a little color to Pittsfield's wintry cityscape.
Of all their ideas, I think I like this one best: monthly birthday cakes to the Pittsfield Senior Center. Have your cake and buy a plot for it, too. Granted, it's a nice gesture, BUT....