Becoming a Digital-First Business Is Harder Than You Think


By Leader Managing Editor Courtney Gould Miller

Oftentimes, when I ask a business owner about their digital-first strategy, I hear something like this, “Well, I have a website and I’m on Facebook, so I’m good, right?”

Unfortunately, establishing a business as a digital-first entity is not just about using specific technology or running digital marketing campaigns … it’s about rethinking the entire way the business operates. This concept is new to our profession but is becoming increasingly important for funeral and cremation providers to address.

But first, we need to address one very common misconception. When many business owners think about digital purchases, they may think consumers are only using this platform to seek out low-cost options. And, at the beginning of the digital migration, you may have been right, but this isn’t the case anymore. After all, some consumers are now buying houses and cars online, sight unseen.

Bain & Company projects that one-third of all luxury purchases will take place online by 2025. Consumers were already adjusting to this concept before the pandemic, but now that they understand the ease and convenience it offers, it’s only up from here.

Here are some specific examples of experiences that have traditionally been in-person but are now digitally driven.

  • The Wedding Industry – Ten or fifteen years ago, many consumers wouldn’t dream of designing an engagement ring or buying a wedding dress from the comfort of their own homes. Now, it’s an option that appeals to many consumers who prefer the convenience of doing everything with the click of a button. They don’t want to visit dozens of stores to hunt down the best price or look to fit their needs.

  • Interior Design – Homeowners who wanted the luxury of hiring an interior designer to reimagine their space had to deal with the inconvenience of bringing designers into their homes for measurements and other tasks. Now, companies like Havenly are doing everything online, and this concept has caught on like wildfire.
  • Healthcare – Consumers today can see a doctor through a telehealth visit without ever leaving the warmth of their own bed. It makes all the difference for a patient battling common illnesses like the flu or a sinus infection. Instead of sitting around in a doctor’s office or urgent care for over an hour or so, they’ve already got a prescription and are on their way to recovery.
  • Events – The quick rise of Zoom during the pandemic showed all of us that many consumers want to participate in an event but are OK with showing up in a new way. This made all of us realize that connections can still take place in a virtual format.

Consumer changes have directed companies from all industries into the digital-first landscape, which affects the ins and outs of the operation of businesses and the way they market themselves.

Wondering how to navigate all of this? You’re not alone.

I will be sharing digital-first strategies for funeral homes and cremation providers, including the topics below, at the MKJ Marketing Sea Summit in Boca Raton, FL, from March 7-9.

  • Lessons learned from a digital-first cremation provider
  • Digital-first opportunities for full-service brands
  • E-commerce through obituaries
  • Live text and chat communication tools
  • Moving preneed to a digital format

During the Sea Summit, we’ll also be celebrating 40 years of MKJ Marketing — it is astonishing what my parents have accomplished over the years, and we’ll be commemorating their legacy. Come for the summit and stay for the celebration! Click here to learn more and register today.

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