Welcome to Bridge the Gap with hosts Josh Crisp and Lucas McCurdy. A podcast dedicated to inform, educate and influence the future of housing and services for seniors. Bridge the Gap aims to help shape the culture of the senior living industry by being an advocate and a positive voice of influence which drives quality outcomes for our aging population.

Strategy, Leadership, and Results from SMASH Marketing and Sales Summit 2023

SMASH 2023 hosted great thought leaders in our industry and we’re excited to release a recap highlighting the importance of strategy, leadership, and data-driven results.


We can make better, quicker decisions with our marketing spend and give that data to our partners.

Rick Westermann

Guest on This Episode

Josh Crisp

Owner & CEO Solinity

Josh Crisp is a senior living executive with more than 15 years of experience in development, construction, and management of senior living communities across the southeast.

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Lucas McCurdy

Owner & Founder The Bridge Group Construction

Lucas McCurdy is the founder of The Bridge Group Construction based in Dallas, Texas. Widely known as “The Senior Living Fan”.

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Bailey Beeken

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Joel Rosenberg

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Rick Westermann

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I want to see the best marketing out there in our industry.

Quick Overview of the Podcast

SMASH 2023 hosted great thought leaders in our industry and we’re excited to release a recap highlighting SMASH Founder Bailey Beeken, LCS Chief Marketing Officer Rick Westermann and Senior Director of Business Insights and Analytics Joel Rosenberg, and Marketing Consultant Lola Rain as they discuss the importance of strategy, leadership, and data-driven results.

This episode was recorded at SMASH Sales and Marketing Summit 2023.

Produced by Solinity Marketing.

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Welcome to season six of Bridge The Gap, a podcast dedicated to informing, educating, and influencing the future of housing and services for seniors. Powered by sponsors Accushield, Aline, NIC MAP Vision, ProCare HR, Hamilton CapTel, Service Master, Patriot Angels, The Bridge Group Construction and Solinity. And produced by Solinity Marketing.

Lucas 00:44

Welcome to Bridge The Gap with Josh and Lucas at a sold-out SMASH conference in Las Vegas. And we're sitting with the one and only Bailey, the founder of SMASH. We're so excited to have you here!

Bailey 00:54

Thank you so much. I am honored that you wanted to come and podcast our people and interview them. This stands for, for those that don't know, the Senior Care Marketing and Sales Summit. We've grown every year and I think that's just 'cause they love talking to each other and they spark ideas off each other.

Lucas 1:08

And that's what we've seen the past couple days we've been here. Bailey, very busy schedule for you. So we know we just want to pick your brain a couple of minutes here. What has been some of your big takeaways over the past two days?

Bailey 1:20

I will say that the energy that they feed off each other. We had a wonderful session by a woman named Michelle Seger. Amazing amount of information about how to get your sales teams motivated. Session we have with Nancy Har Hutt. She's very, very well-known. She talked about how to really identify personality and talk about personalization, which is a big, as you probably both know, a very big issue right now. Sometimes I think we don't have to have any sessions and everybody just needs to talk to each other because they learn a lot.

Josh 1:48

Well, I can tell you with this crew for sure. This is our first SMASH. Thank you for allowing us to be here. Me and Lucas had been talking. You can probably hear it in my voice because this is the end of the show, but I will tell you, we have not ever gotten so much content in such a short amount of time and I think that speaks to how much you have packed into SMASH, this sold out event. I mean, we've been in the industry a long time and this is our first one and you guys have been doing this a long time. So many of our listeners, after hearing little teasers of the content that you put together here, they're going to want to get involved, but apparently they're going to have to sign up as soon as this thing is launched because you guys sell out quickly. So what does next year look like and what do people need to be looking for from SMASH?

Bailey 2:31

So we'll be back here in Las Vegas. We'll still be in the, probably, second to third week of October. We always want to be a, not necessarily intimate, but a relational show, an event. Hop online, www.seniorcaremarketingsummit.com and try and do that in January, February, March and get your hotel room and sign up and you'll be here.

Lucas 2:50

Very good. Bailey, thanks for the invitation and bringing Bridge The Gap network to the SMASH show and conference here in Las Vegas. I know that our audience of thousands of thousands of listeners are going to really enjoy getting some of this great thought leadership so they can use it right now in their communities to help them in their daily walk continue to succeed and grow their community there. So thank you.

Bailey 3:12

Thank you both so much. We really appreciate it. Take good care.

Lucas 3:17

Joel Rosenberg at LCS, welcome to the show.

Joel 3:20

Great to be here. Appreciate you having me.

Lucas 3:22

Very glad that you're on the show today. You and Rick are about to start a panel discussion around data analytics at LCS. LCS, obviously a nationwide provider, a large provider in seniors housing, and I imagine you have a lot of data. Can you fill us in on that?

Joel 3:38

Yeah, we absolutely do. Our company has made data analytics a strategic priority and a top imperative for us. So we've been spending a lot of time over the past year, year and a half getting our data house in order so we can do a lot of these rich analytics that really help drive decisions. So Rick, and I'll be talking a lot about how we're using these analytics specifically within our sales and marketing teams.

Josh 4:00

Well so, Cliffnotes version for our thousands of listeners that could not make it to this sold out show. Give us some of the key takeaways that you're hoping that these attendees, these leaders and sales and marketing are going take home with them.

Joel 4:14

I think a few stand out to me. First, would be you have to decide where your investment's going to be. Are you going to invest in the skills at your company or are you going to rely on your, these really great providers here at the conference? Either way it's understanding what can you do with your data. Can I bring my CRM data together with my EMR system data? There's some really powerful analytics you can do if you tie those together. So it starts with understanding what decisions you want to make along that investment journey. A big takeaway for us, and I think you'll hear about this afternoon, is around analytics that work for you. There's so much data that you can put out there around conversion rates, lost lead trends, understanding where your lead flow is coming from, but what does it all mean? So we try and be really business oriented and present solutions and dashboards and tools that work for our sales team. So we'll highlight a few of those later this afternoon such as our sales and reporting BI platform we call Sales 360. That really brings all that data together into one dashboard, allowing our sales and marketing leadership teams to make the decisions they need.

Josh 5:19

Wow. So I can only imagine many of the providers across the country are sitting there thinking, well I am definitely not LCS and where do I even begin? So to unpack that, for your average listener of this podcast that's trying to think, well where do I start? What would you say to that community leader?

Joel 5:38

I think it begins with first, what are the metrics that matter? When you're a community leader, what are the things that matter to help you understand how your community's doing? And then specific to sales and marketing, I really want to get into who is your CRM provider? Your CRM provider likely has some really robust reporting packages, but you may not know about all that functionality. So if you don't have that horsepower to invest in those skillset, really lean on your technology providers to help you out with that.

Josh 6:06

Because almost every provider here, big or small, they're investing, as you said, in probably multiple technologies that all are collecting data points. And so you're saying make sure you're leveraging those to the max.

Joel 6:19

Exactly. A lot of times these providers have their standard reporting packages, but in many cases, unless you ask the "What else" question or "Hey, I've heard of others doing lead scoring, can we do that?" You might not necessarily know about it. So it's really understanding your provider's capabilities and really being able to dig in and understand what they can offer.

Josh 6:40

So with this effort, give us behind the scenes. LCS is obviously making a huge time commitment investment into this. What is the hoped results coming out of this as you guys are driving towards goals?

Joel 6:53

Our company has made a significant investment in this and it takes patience, it takes a lot of time to bring this data together, but once you do, it's, we have an expectation that our leaders are making decisions with analytics. And so we started out with a lot of self-service reporting, right? We have to level the playing field of information so that each of our key leaders, both at LCS corporate and our communities have the same data to make for decisions. And then it's also about getting into some of those more predictive analytics, right? Helping you understand where your next move-in may come from, which market is emerging. So it's also piling up those next more deeper analytics to help work alongside you again.

Josh 7:34

Lucas, that reminds me of a guest that we just had on the show talking about conversation leadership and a good talk. And if you both have the same data, that's going to equal a good talk.

Lucas 7:43

Great conversation. Joel, thanks for taking time with us today.

Joel 7:46

I appreciate the opportunity. Thank you.

Lucas 7:49

We are bringing into the conversation here, Rick Westermann, the CMO at LCS, we're continuing this conversation. Thanks for taking time with us today by the way.

Rick 7:58

Yes, absolutely. Thanks for having me.

Lucas 7:59

So you and Joel are about to start a panel on all the big initiatives at the sales and marketing team there at LCS around data and analytics and so many more things. Big picture, what are your goals coming out of 2023 going into 2024?

Rick 8:15

Yeah, great question. I'd say overall, like this is based on sales and marketing. We've been getting some quick wins with analytics, but the work that Joel's doing is really trying to build this foundation for LCS, right, of tying all of our systems together so we can spend more smartly across the funnel. So we're trying to get some of those incremental wins as we go. As we look forward for next year. I mean it's once again challenging market, right? We're coming into budgets, where are we going to make some big investments? So we are looking at some AI opportunities to try to get some wins on the board, got to grow our lead pipeline, we gotta continue to increase conversion, we gotta continue to get high quality leads in the funnel. So that's what Joel and the team are helping us do is look at conversion rates a little bit differently, right? So we started looking at things like measuring a conversion instead of just to a success, what percentage of our leads are being lost closed each month and looking at it in a cohort basis, right? So on a 30 day basis, what's that conversion to lose-close so we can make better, quicker decisions with our marketing spend and give that data to our partners.

Josh 9:14

What you guys are doing, I can only imagine that impacts the entire organization, not just marketing and sales. There's not hardly been a podcast that's gone by that we've not talked about providers positioning themselves to be in the value-based care model. Is that also part of this play of implementing this technology?

Rick 9:32

Yeah, I'd say absolutely. And when you look at kind of what we're doing overall, Joel's a partner with our head of technology, Frank Vetter, partner with Josiah Carter on our FPNA team, and they're working at a full BI dashboard that's going to start to pull all of our reporting. Think of all of our disparate systems that we all have in our organizations just to one dashboard. So instead of going on site, you think in the industry, a regional comes on brings us this big packet of reports and they go through it with department heads, right? Why not have access for that department head to prep for that visit ahead of time with the exact same dashboard that their director of operations management's going to come in with?

Josh 10:09

Oh yeah, because I mean I can only imagine it would be a very one-sided conversation otherwise. And so you're unleashing the horsepower for lack of term and the brainpower of everyone in your organization. You may look at data and interpret it maybe one way. I may see the data a different way, but when we bring our heads together, it's better for the whole organization, right?

Rick 10:29

That's right. Yeah. You're giving these really talented people, you know, our food and beverage directors, time to look at what is that director of operations going to bring and what does my executive director want from me? Clear expectations, clear analytics, and we're all looking at the same thing. Pretty excited about where we're heading next year.

Josh 10:45

So investing that much. You're also investing in so many people, so why not get the most out of the people that you're investing in by giving them the tools and the resources to make good decisions. I love it. Lucas, this is awesome.

Lucas 10:57

It's such a great conversation. The panel that you are about to have. I can't wait to hear some of the Q&A that comes out of that. And for our listeners, I know that they've probably got some questions right now. Linkedin is going to be a great place for us to continue this conversation and I know the LCS is going to be sharing some of this information as well. Rick, thanks for spending time with us today.

Rick 11:14

Yeah, thanks for the quick conversation guys. Appreciate it.

Lucas 11:17

We have one of SMASH's own social media influencer here. Lola Rain, welcome to the show.

Lola 11:25

Hi, it's nice to be here.

Lucas 11:27

It's good to see you and it's great to meet you. And I think specifically today you're going to be giving our audience and our listeners some insider information about some of the keynote speakers at the conference.

Lola 11:38

Yes. So we had our first keynote speaker on day one, Matt Paxton of Legacy List, which you may have seen on PBS and Legacy List is a great show. He goes into people's homes, looks at all of their belongings, helps them to downsize. He's literally the number one downsizer in the nation. He's gone into people's houses and seen how difficult it is to give up your belongings. So one of the things he spoke about yesterday was how we are attached to these belongings because of their memories. The kitchen table, right? It's not the kitchen table that you're attached to, it's the memories around the kitchen table. So as an industry, when we are trying to work with prospects saying, "You need to move into our community, it's not that hard to downsize." They're looking at their stuff saying, I can't give up all of these items. This is my identity. These memories are my identity. If I give these items up, am I going to forget all of my memories? And so we need to address that, salespeople and I'm a marketing expert, and so when I create marketing content for provider organizations, I have to think of it from really speaking to that person's fears about losing their identity. Because what we often do in our marketing is saying how great we are. Come and eat good food and meet great people and don't be lonely but we don't say anything about their identity as an individual and what they're leaving behind.

Josh 13:07

That makes a lot of sense. So you guys have had a wealth of information here at SMASH and 2023 it sold out pretty quickly and so I'm sure there was some folks that hoped to attend but just waited too long. Good news is there's another one coming, so they'll have to get on the train early, but give us another little taste of what maybe some of the guests that couldn't be here that they missed.

Lola 13:29

On LinkedIn I've been posting all about the different sessions that we've had, speakers and takeaways and putting out polls, trying to understand the greater community of sales and marketing professionals and senior living. So really interact with the LinkedIn page and that way you can stay in the know of what's happening at smash. We had Beverly Jackson talk, she's from Zillow, and she previously was with MGM Grand. She highlighted how Zillow has transformed over how long it's been around a couple decades, I believe. And she talked about how it's really not just about the home, right? It's about the entire experience. How do we look at our industry and go, it's about the entire experience. It's not just about this apartment. The stories and graphics that are told within their commercials and their advertising and how the word Zillow is now used everywhere and there's this zestimator and people use the word Zillow in all sorts of popular culture.

Lola 14:33

How do we learn from what they've done and make our industry much more top of mind? There's such a huge opportunity for creating great marketing and I don't know that as an industry we've ever created great marketing, we have an opportunity to kick butt and I wan to see the best marketing out there in our industry. And that may be that we don't spend a million dollars on developing a commercial that we spend a couple thousand on it, but spend a couple million on advertising that commercial, putting it on YouTube and boosting it from there and getting it in front of hundreds of thousands of people. If we could do that with our advertising, we could totally shift this industry.

Josh 15:16

Well, Lucas, as she said, we need to kick butt in. What better place than to get educated to do that than at this SMASH 2023. Strategic leadership, so much information, and I love that you guys not only had some of the industry's best leaders, but you brought some folks in from outside of the industry to give us some unique perspectives that sometimes we just get kind of lost in the forest as we're wading our way through it. So great insights. Yeah, I really appreciate the download on these speakers and what great information here at SMASH 2023.


Thanks for listening to Bridge The Gap podcast with Josh and Lucas. Connect with the BTG network team and use your voice to influence the industry by connecting with us at btgvoice.com.

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