Omaha, Nebraska—Funeral home owners can now protect themselves against low interest rates, thanks to a new pre-need product from Physicians Mutual. Cornerstone Index Advantage allows funeral homes to earn equity index‐driven growth rates instead of a fixed rate set at the discretion of the carrier.
One of the most important factors of running a good business is planning. I would add, specifically, planning as it relates to success – success in our business toward a common goal and in our profession in general. Consider this: What separates a business that is successful from one that is not?
This article was published in the July 2015 issue of The Director magazine and is shared with its permission. Learn more at http://nfda.org/nfda-publications/the-director.html
By Kelly Kohut
Most professionals who invest in marketing for preneed will eventually ask themselves how they can measure the success of that marketing. The answer can be found through some very simple tracking measures and an extensive evaluation of your customer base and the overall reach of your preneed program. At a basic level, if you can record and track the source of each lead who pre-arranges and/or prefunds, you will have a good understanding of which marketing avenues are bringing in consumers.
This article was published in the May 2015 issue of The Director magazine and is shared with its permission. Learn more at http://nfda.org/nfda-publications/the-director.html
Spacht Funeral Home Sold
By Laura Knowles on April 1, 2015
Bill Spacht couldn’t be happier that his one-time competitor has purchased Spacht Funeral Home in Lititz.
On March 25, it was official. Spacht Funeral Home is now Spacht Snyder Funeral Home.
“I wouldn’t say that we were competitors,” said Spacht. “We were colleagues who respected each other.”
This article was published by The Lititz Record Express on April 1, 2015
By Charles Anderson and Kelly Kohut
How do we best measure the success of our preneed program? Does the preneed to atneed ratio provide an adequate indicator of how preneed is impacting our business? What other indicators should we be watching?
This article was published in the February 2015 issue of
American Funeral Director magazine and is shared with its permission.
Learn more at http://www.americanfuneraldirector.com
Searching for the Beautiful Question: Pre-Need
by Glenda Stansbury
I have to buy a new car. Yes, that’s right, I said have to. I’m not a car person. I don’t look at styles or models, bells or whistles. If it goes “vroom vroom” when I stick the key in, then it’s a great car. I’ve had five cars in my entire adult life and driven each of them well past their expiration date because I did not want to go look for another one. But, my current car is twelve years old, has over 100,000 miles on it, and my company said it’s time to get a new one. Sigh. Now, I will say that I saw a very cute red Mercedes SUV the other day that caught my eye, but I’m thinking that’s not exactly what my sister, the CFO, had in mind.
Copyright: The Dodge Company
Posted with permission from the Dodge Magazine
Preneed Experts Dole Out Proven Tips to Reach Out to More Families
By Lisa Howard-Fusco
Not many people would question that funeral homes need to think about preneed if they want to boost market share, survive economic ups and downs and navigate the changing nature of funeral service. But the burning question continues to be: “How do I market my preneed program effectively, tactfully and efficiently?”
The Consumer Speaks
Deana Gillespie and Edward J. Defort
2014 NFDA Consumer Awareness and Preferences Survey
With consumer attitudes and preferences continually shifting, it’s often a more difficult proposition to give consumers what they want. And it’s always tougher when it comes to making funeral arrangements because not only has someone lost a loved one, but the public at large doesn’t really know what its options are. So, when determining what is important to the consumer, it is always best to ask. And for the third consecutive year, that is precisely what we did.
Physicians Mutual and The Outlook Group Continue to Fight Shortfalls
Physicians Mutual shook up the marketplace a year ago with a product enhancement that gave funeral
homes the option of requiring families to pay a different premium rate in order to lock in the price of a
prearranged funeral – and so far, the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, according to the
Franklin, Ohio, Oct. 6, 2014
Yvonnie Wiggins, Training Coordinator at The Outlook Group, was given the 2014 Obsessing Over the Customer Award by Tyler Anderson, President and CEO at The Outlook Group, during the Company-Wide Meeting in September.
The Obsessing Over the Customer Award is voted on by Advance Funeral Planners and given to the individual who best exemplifies the following characteristics: anticipates needs, provides a one of a kind experience, and consistently exceeds expectations.
During the award introduction, Anderson shared that Wiggins’ “smile can often be seen through the phone and you can always count on her wanting to know how she can help you. No matter what’s going on in her life she always strives to obsess over our team and ensure everyone is taken care of. I always say that we are going to change her title to ‘Director of First Impressions’ because no one gives a better first impression of The Outlook Group”. As she accepted the award with love and appreciation, Wiggins simply said, “I love all of you”.
About The Outlook Group
The Outlook Group, based in Franklin, Ohio, has long leveraged their personal experience as funeral home owners to successfully provide a broad range of pre-need, training and lead generation services to funeral home owners. The company has recorded nearly 30 years of improved pre-need sales and training performance in the industry; a record regarded as unmatched in the profession.
By Michael Anderson
Vice President of Marketing and Business Development
The Outlook Group
FRANKLIN, OHIO – The National Funeral Directors Association’s 2014 Consumer Awareness and Preferences Survey supports the findings from the 2012 and 2013 Consumer Awareness and Preferences studies, the ZMET study and the Citrin Cooperman study: The consumer is changing, and if we as a profession don’t offer consumers what they demand, they will go elsewhere to find what they want.
Physicians Mutual Appoints Rob Reed as New President and CEO
Omaha, NE – September 9, 2014 –Physicians Mutual, a premier provider in individual health, life and retirement insurance products, today announced that its board of directors named Rob Reed as president and chief executive officer, effective January 1, 2015. Reed currently serves as executive vice president and chief operating officer and has been a member of the board of directors since 2005.
“Rob is an accomplished business leader with a combination of financial and operational acumen, making him uniquely positioned to lead the company,” said Physicians Mutual Chairman of the Board William Hamsa, M.D. “This leadership change comes at a time of strength and growth for Physicians Mutual. The company has the right strategy and the right people in place to ensure future success.”
Current Physicians Mutual President and CEO Robert “Bob” Reed will become chairman-elect of the board of directors and remain involved as an advisor to the new president and CEO, effective January 1, 2015.
Pictured left to right: Tyler Anderson, Arielle Jade Fouts (2013 Christian Chambers Mortuary Science Scholarship Recipient), Steve Brown and John Feher
Stop by our booth to see the latest innovation in inflation protection.
“When was the last time you looked – really looked – at your funeral home? An up-close-and-personal look may reveal some hard truths – outdated furniture, peeling wallpaper, a space that screams, “I’m a funeral home!” In other words, everything a family doesn’t want.
The NFDA Convention and Expo is October 20-23. Make sure to stop by our booth to see the reveal of the newest innovation in inflation protection — and enter to win a $500 Amazon gift card!
This month marks the successful one-year anniversary of Advanced Funding Solutions, a new pre-need program created to meet the growing needs of funeral homes across the country. Advanced Funding Solutions is a collaboration between The Outlook Group, one of the nation’s largest pre-need marketing organizations, and Physicians Mutual, a premier provider of health, life and retirement products.
The Outlook Group recently gathered for its annual company-wide meeting in Omaha. Attendees included more than 50 members from The Outlook Group’s home office, along with Advance Funeral Planners (AFPs) from all regions. Together they celebrated The Outlook Group’s partnership with Physicians Mutual, as well as the introduction of The Consumer Presentation Aid, a new resource for AFPs.
The Outlook Group would like to congratulate Victoria O’Connor of Lake Elsinore, CA, on her new role as Regional Development Director for the Southern California territory, as the Outlook Group continues to grow and support funeral homes throughout this region.
Michael Anderson, vice-president of The Outlook Group, points out, “Establishing a strong presence in Southern California is a top priority for The Outlook Group, and Victoria will play a critical role in bringing that to fruition. Victoria brings a wealth of leadership and B2B experience to the funeral homes we serve. I’m looking forward to watching her reinforce our commitment to them.”
Victoria comes to the Outlook Group with a broad background in marketing and sales. Victoria has worked as director of admissions and financial aid at two colleges in California, where she spearheaded aggressive plans for growth and developed outstanding and effective admissions teams. Victoria’s experience also includes her position as director of sales and marketing at a senior living facility. Her eagerness to help enhance a productive team in a progressive profession led her to join The Outlook Group, where she can apply both her extensive sales analysis and presentation skills. Victoria’s familiarity and experience in several parts of Southern California also play an important role in what she brings to this RDD position.
My 9-year-old granddaughter Reilly and I were having a discussion about pet cemeteries recently. She thinks it’s a good idea for people who love their pets to have a place to go when they want to remember them after they’re gone. I decided to take this opportunity to see how she feels about the need to have a place to visit with me once I’m gone.
10 Tips for Marketing Preneed Services
Preneed services in your funeral home are a way to serve families before a death occurs and can help ensure your future. You can build on your legacy by actively educating your community about the value you provide. You can rely on your traditions to assure your families their plans are secure. But how do you generate the interest? Tyler Anderson, CEO and president of The Outlook Group, offers these marketing tips for preneed services.
The Outlook Group was pleased to participate in the recent ICCFA members’ initiative to help the people directly affected by the tragedy in Boston. More than 100 photos were posted on members’ social media pages to show support and more than 200 members participated in raising funds for The One Fund by posting the photos.
The ICCFA Annual Convention and Expo is April 10-13. Make sure to stop by our booth and enter to win one of three prizes valued up to $2,000 — including Academy Training!
Marketing is one of the most important aspects of growing a business, and is an investment that will pay for itself over and over again, pointed out Michael Anderson, vice president of marketing and business development for The Outlook Group. Unfortunately, it is often misunder- stood or neglected due to a lack of time, resources or knowledge of its potential, he added.
The Outlook Group would like to congratulate Kyle D. Aler in his new role in Business Development for the states of Tennessee and Georgia. Kyle will be focusing on this new opportunity along with continuing his role supporting Raymer-Kepner Funeral Home in Huntersville, North Carolina as an Advance Funeral Planner. As the Outlook Group continues to grow and support funeral homes throughout the Southeast, Kyle is looking forward to the opportunity. “As a funeral director who has worked in all aspects of the funeral business, it’s a humbling opportunity to take this step. I look forward to building relationships with funeral homes throughout Georgia and Tennessee,” Aler states.
The guarantee versus nonguarantee argument is continuing to pick up steam, especially with the lagging economy, lower death rates and higher product prices.
“It continues to be this ongoing debate,” said Tyler Anderson, president and CEO of the Franklin, Ohio-based Outlook Group, which teamed up with Physicians Mutual to offer Advanced Funding Solutions, a new preneed program created to meet the growing needs of funeral homes. “There are so many varying opinions.”
Franklin, Ohio, January 28, 2013 – The Outlook Group welcomes Steven G. Brown who will be joining the company as the Regional Development Director supporting Schoedinger Funeral & Cremation Service in Columbus, Ohio. Brown has over 15 years of experience in the insurance and financial industries, including roles as an underwriter, administrative services manager, and marketing specialist. Brown leveraged his entrepreneurial skills when he successfully started and operated his own insurance agency for six years. Most recently, Steve spent 10 years with Nationwide Insurance as a Sales Manager in Columbus and Northwest Ohio before moving to the Nationwide Sales Academy to lead all of their many Commercial Agent and Sales Manager training workshops. Steve has his Ohio P&C, Life & Health, and FINRA Series 6, 26, and 63 licenses. Steve graduated from The Ohio State University where he played varsity athletics and enjoys football, lacrosse, hockey, and anything that has to do with being outdoors. He lives in the Columbus, Ohio area and loves to spend time with his wife and two young girls.
In a related move, Everett Collins is assuming responsibility for new business development in Ohio. Collins has held a variety of roles at The Outlook Group and most recently supported Schoedinger Funeral and Cremation Service in Columbus, Ohio. John Feher, Vice President of Sales for The Outlook Group, stated, “This is a great opportunity for The Outlook Group to support additional proactive funeral homes throughout the state of Ohio. Everett brings a lot of experience to the table and I am excited to watch him build new partnerships in our home state.”
Michael Anderson, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, celebrated his one-year anniversary with The Outlook Group this month. “It has been an exciting first year to say the least,” said Anderson. Anderson’s path to the funeral profession is a unique one. He is a registered pharmacist and received his B.S. Science at Butler University in Indianapolis. He also attended The Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan where he received his M.B.A.
Anderson joined The Outlook Group after a successful 12-year career with the pharmaceutical concern, Eli Lilly and Company. “I had a wonderful career at Lilly – I met great people who taught me a lot and had a tremendous impact on me.” At Lilly he held a variety of roles in sales, alliance management, six sigma and marketing. “I was fortunate in that I was able to start my career in sales working directly with our customers. And throughout my career Lilly continued to challenge me with additional opportunities & experiences.” Anderson also commented on how his experience as a Six Sigma Black Belt helped change the way he thinks. “Six Sigma taught me lessons I’ll never forget, such as getting input from your customers – at all times – and the importance of measuring results. Those lessons are relevant today,” said Anderson. Just prior to leaving Lilly, Anderson was a Marketing Director for the Cymbalta Brand Team.
When the opportunity arose, Anderson jumped at the opportunity to get back into the funeral profession. “Growing up in a family of funeral directors and working at the funeral home at such a young age, funeral service has always had a special place in my heart. Watching firsthand the impact that my dad and my brother had in our community – it is something special. And now I get to work with my cousin (Tyler Anderson) and my uncle (Charles Anderson)…it’s just something I couldn’t pass up,” said Anderson.
As the Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, Anderson helped spearhead the collaboration between Physicians Mutual and The Outlook Group which resulted in the launch of Advanced Funding Solutions in August of 2012. Anderson also helped to revamp the existing marketing materials and launch three new campaigns that funeral homes can use for lead generation. Anderson also oversees training at the Outlook Group as well as the new marketing analytics capability, Insights. “This first year has been wonderful for a multitude of reasons and I am blessed to be surrounded by family and so many friends.”
John Feher, Vice President of Sales shared, commented “having Michael on our team has stretched the way we do things. As we continue to innovate, he challenges us by asking “why” we do what we do and “how” can we do it better. The marketing and branding campaigns Michael developed for our Funeral Home customers are some of the best I’ve seen. Never before has The Outlook Group been able to assist a funeral home with a complete branding campaign as we are now.”
The Outlook Group is pleased to announce the Christian Chambers Mortuary Science Scholarship in honor of one of the finest directors in funeral service. For the next 20 years, a scholarship of $2,000 will be awarded annually to selected students in a mortuary science program accredited by the American Board of Funeral Service Education. Chambers holds his B.A. from The Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science and joined The Outlook Group in 1992 after working at-need at his family funeral home in Columbus, Ohio. His knowledge of the funeral profession combined with his extensive pre-need experience has given him a unique ability to assist funeral home owners, managers and pre-need sales professionals.
“First, I’d like to thank Charles Anderson and The Outlook Group for allowing me the opportunity to grow with such a great company. I am also honored to have worked with all of the funeral homes I have had the good fortune to partner with over the past 21 years.” Chambers added, “I am passionate about the funeral profession and it means a lot to me to be able to give back through an opportunity like this.”
For more information about the scholarship, please visit:
What will funeral service professionals remember most about 2012? Rising cremation rates? Major acquisitions? Mismanaged trusts? The increasingly important role of celebrants? And how will all that happened in 2012 affect the year ahead?
Rather than relying on a crystal ball for answers, we turned to two wellknown igures in the funeral industry: Charles Anderson, founder of The Outlook Group and owner of Anderson Funeral Homes & Anderson Life Celebration Center in Franklin, Ohio, and James D. Price, executive vice president of the Tampa, Fla.-based Foundation Partners Group, and former senior vice president, chief operating oficer and co-founding partner of Keystone Group Holdings, for their thoughts on the state of funeral service in 2013.