Care organisations: How marketing and finance collaboration is key to boosting occupancy

Brendan Flattery

Managing Director, ERP

Following the effects of the pandemic on the care sector, many care homes have been left facing the challenge of reduced occupancy and the impact that has on their income. Care homes are trying to figure out how to get those occupancy figures back up - at a time when many families have either postponed plans to move loved ones into a home or even taken them out of a home to help protect them against Covid-19. So it’s really not a straightforward situation.

According to forecasts, occupancy rates in the care sector will return to pre-pandemic levels by November 2021, but that still leaves a number of months where care homes need to implement plans to help increase cash coming into the business - and forecasts could change depending on the behaviour of the virus in the coming months. We have all learned that it’s an extremely fast changing situation.

Collaboration is going to be key for care homes right across their businesses. None more so than between marketing and finance, who will need to work closely together to present a viable plan to the business to increase occupancy.

Financial data informing marketing strategy

Marketing is crucial to boosting and maintaining occupancy levels at all times but when income is lower than where the business needs it to be - the finance team should have a voice in marketing strategy too.

It’s about being smart with the funds that are available and implementing marketing tactics which are going to yield a near instant impact on occupancy levels. For example, it’s no good at a time when many beds are empty that the care home (or group) is directing funding towards brand building exercises or targeting audiences nationally when they really should only be targeting their services within 20 miles of the home - we know families will be determined to find a care home close to them for their loved ones. This is where finance teams should have influence over the marketing strategy which is going to bring about the best results for the business.

Clearer picture of results thanks to visibility of data across the business

And collaboration doesn’t just mean communication. Technology has a really important role to play too. If a care home has an integrated CRM (customer relationship management) system, which is connected across other areas of the business like financials, the marketing team can have a much clearer picture of the impact their activity has on business revenue.

And that is a position many care home groups want to get to - those who work collaboratively best are already doing it - it’s about creating a cash-focussed culture across businesses - many people in marketing will of course understand the impact their activity has on bringing in leads and referrals, but they may not be fully conscious of the impact activity has on costs to the care home or group.

With an integrated CRM and a finance team working closely with marketing, you can certainly begin to create a culture across the business that puts the numbers at front of mind. Something which doesn’t just have benefits at times when money is tight, but also can be part of a strategy within a care business to fuel growth.

We already work with a number of care businesses whose finance team take advantage of our financial management software for HSC. It enables finance teams to organise and analyse the financial data their business produces, to help optimise processes, reduce costs and manage compliance better. This is while giving them a platform to use accurate data to share with the marketing team to help support their campaign planning, in order to ensure cost-effective but impactful marketing of the business.

Explore resources to help your care home grow post lockdown

Find out more about our finance and accounting solutions for care homes