Be More Innovative: How To Make Your Firm Remarkable

Posted November 16, 2016

5 min read

Many long-held advertising techniques are less effective than ever. That’s part of the idea behind Seth Godin’s purple cow concept—the idea that the only consistent way to garner attention today is to market a product in a remarkable way.

“The concept is about having a product or service that is unique, and it’s about having differentiated advertising, too, which makes an offering stand out,” explains Tyler Fraser, CEO of UPD Urns and founder of Funeral Radio. The idea is about differentiated marketing, and it’s also about having a remarkable product to begin with.

We sat down with Fraser to talk about ways that firms can stay strategic in how they approach their marketing and how they can become more innovative along the way. Here’s what we learned.

Pursue What Can Make Your Firm Unique

To forge their own path, firms need to start by knowing and differentiating their own strengths. But they also must choose to go after ways that they can create and provide an entirely different experience to families.

A place to start: think of what makes your funeral home distinct currently, and then get creative on how you can add to what you currently offer.

“There is a cemetery in Washington, D.C. that uses goats to trim the grass to cut down on all the weeds. The foliates grows pretty thick in this location, so that’s something that’s different and got them notoriety,” explains Fraser.

Sit down with your team and think about all your firm’s assets—your staff, the location, your digital experience, the facilities, the offerings, the knowledge you have, products you offer, and/or your approach. After doing inventory of all the value you offer families, then work to see what can make these areas even more remarkable.

Once you offer something that adds to the experience a family will have, then you’re equipped to use strategic marketing to make them aware of what you have to offer.

“On the marketing side, there’s a lot of different ways that a funeral home can differentiate their products and services,” explains Fraser. He recalls how, when living in LA, he learned the value of simple, striking marketing messages that are placed in front of the right demographic.

“I was driving around Rose Hills, Los Angeles, and seeing Dan Katz’s’ ads [I saw how they were effective in] communicating something simple, and generally kind of striking. He tries to really either tug at the heartstrings, or gets you to notice the ad.” It’s no different for funeral directors who want to use their website, social media, local media, community events, speaking engagements or other methods of gaining visibility and starting the process of educating families on what kind of unique experiences they have to offer, says Fraser.

“Don’t be afraid to adopt new technologies that will help a family memorialize their loved one, especially if these offerings stand out. Then make sure it is incorporated in your marketing message.”

Get More Innovative

Being innovative is one of the best ways to fuel growth and to fuel your marketing. Offering something new to families may allow you to get press coverage or benefit from word of mouth. Here are 3 ways to become more innovative:

Make it a habit to start consuming more media. Whether it be trade publications, blogs, news articles, magazines, podcasts or other content, encourage your team to get inspiration and new ideas by regularly reading, watching or listening to media.

A few examples of industry-related publications Fraser regularly reads include:

“Make sure the information is around them so they’re exposed to new ideas.” Fraser points out it doesn’t have to content from the industry specifically, either.

Embrace new ideas. When someone does have a new idea or suggestion, be open-minded and show that you value their input. “Treating the employees well is very important, so that they’re incentivized to imagine new products and services, or to improve on the existing products and services,” he says. “Provide a sandbox to be able to create new ideas, or put them in an environment where new ideas are rewarded and encouraged.”

Learn more about the customer experience. Innovation might not always come from families themselves, but sometimes putting yourself in their shoes can stimulate innovative ideas or help you to better problem-solve on their behalf.

Are you consistently asking families about the experience they have with your team? And, if so, what are you doing with their feedback and how are you acting on potential opportunities for your firm? As a team, leverage the feedback you get from families and be ready to change if it can help make your firm more remarkable.

“If your firm isn’t growing, it’s dying—and part of that has to do with how fast things are progressing,” says Fraser. “Technology is moving fast and if you stay with the status quo, you are not going to make it. Things are moving so fast, and things are changing so much that in order to keep up with the growth, companies need to continue to grow.”

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About Tyler Fraser

Tyler Fraser is owner of UPD Urns, a cremation urn and jewelry importer and distributor. When he’s not working with funeral homes, he hosts two shows on his podcast network Funeral Radio: Funeral Startups and Funeral Services and the Web. Tyler has pioneered 3D printed busts for funeral homes and memorials and is active in business and community events in the great Washington DC area. To contact Tyler visit

Categories: Industry

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