410.235.7070 Join Our E-Letter
businessGPS Taking You From Where You Are to Where You Want to Go.

How Cremation Trends Will Affect Your 2016

How Cremation Trends Will Affect Your 2016

December 31, 2015

Funeral directors have a bad rap.

They're not the serious, gloomy guys who wear black all of the time. I know this because I spent some time with them. Let me tell you, these guys are no dead beats. They're actually quite a happy, lively bunch.

Recently, I while I was speaking at the NFDA, National Funeral Directors Association, I discovered a key business insight that can make or break your upcoming 2016.

Question: “Who is the wise man?”

Answer: "Someone who learns from everyone."

Listen closely because the biggest breakthroughs typically come from outside your own industry. And if you pay close attention, you might just learn a huge insight from a bunch guys in the death and burial business. Are you ready? Here goes…

Are you trendy?

Most people don't think of the funeral industry as a particularly trendy industry. After all, no one can evade death or taxes, so there must always be a pretty steady supply of business. Wrong.

Just like every other industry in the world, the funeral industry is constantly evolving.

What's the new trend? Well, the statistics have just tipped. There are now more cremations done in the US than traditional burials. That's right. More families are now opting for a "memorial service at the beach for mom post-cremation" than the old-school "pastor at the graveside."

Here's why. Using numerous studies, Pew Research Center has discovered some fascinating statistics about just how liberal our society is today.

  • 29% of Millennials (ages 17-34) consider themselves religiously unaffiliated. That's a 3x increase since 1928.
  • Over 50% of all Boomers (49-66), Gen X (35-48), and Millennials approve of marijuana legalization.
  • The vast majority of all ages today support same-sex marriages.

Seeing these numbers, does it come as a surprise that the majority of our society is now choosing cremations, a more liberal funeral style, over traditional burials?

What does this have to do with you?

Every industry in the world is constantly changing. The best industry leaders always ask themselves, "are we relevant"? Are there new opportunities in the market? How can I find a new niche and dominate it?

Look at this great example.

I have a friend at NFDA who has made it big in the funeral industry.

Here’s how. You see was an artist, just like every other aspiring craftsman. He was struggling to grow his business, because when push came to shove, there was nothing unique and no HUNGER for his art. He was just selling art along with thousands of similar artists.

One day a customer asked him to design an urn for a relative's ashes post-cremation. He did the job, and he could have just left it there like most people would have. But he had his opportunity antenna wired. Instead of blowing it off as a one time job, he decided to simplify, codify, and multiply what he did and dominate that niche.  You see smart entrepreneurs are always looking to leverage everything they do, which artists hate. They love creating a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. But one-of-a-kind masterpieces aren't scalable so they're not a profitable business model.  

He was an early mover and started designing custom cremation urns. He jumped in to an unsaturated industry, leveraged it, and became a key go-to designer with his own product line. Think about that for a minute. By going deep into a niche he developed an entire line. If you would have asked him 20 years ago, "what do you think you will be doing in the future?", he would never have said, “selling a line of cremation urns.”  

Today, if you're a cremation urn designer, your competition is fierce. The market is flooded now. This artist's key to success was to be an early adapter.

Cutting edge= bleeding edge

Now, there's a reason why not everyone jumps into a new industry right away. The cutting edge is also known as the bleeding edge. It's much safer, although less profitable, to invest in a niche that's already been proven successful.

Because, not every new niche succeeds.

Did you hear about Apple's Newton PDA? No? Well, that's probably because it's Apple biggest technology flop. In 1993 Apple came out with the precursor to our modern day smartphones. But instead of dominating this technology niche, the device was a total failure. It was too expensive (around $700) and had poor handwriting recognition. Moreover, experts explain that it was simply too early.

However, Apple learned from there mistake and eventually did truly dominate that technology niche later with the infamous iPods, iPhones and iPads.

Not every niche has a secret pot of gold behind its door. Think strategically before you leap, but if you fail at first, don't be afraid to try again like Apple.

*To get our FREE e-book on how to dominate a niche by going from Vendor-to-Expert,


Why did Apple succeed?

That's the billion dollar question (literally) that we've all be asking.

One answer is that they don't fall in love with their product line. Although Steve Jobs presented each new device with such a thrill and excitement, Apple is known for their one-step-ahead-of-the-game innovation. If the market is receptive to more, they bring on more.

NEVER FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUR PRODUCTS. Don’t let anything become such a sacred cow that when the market shifts you are left holding on to your outdated product or service. Markets are always shifting, perhaps ever so slightly, and you must match your products and services to the current wants and needs of your customers.

Here are 3 practical steps to successfully navigating niche marketing:

1. Take a look at your past orders. Can you find any trends? Are your customers asking for one type of product in particular? Generally trends don't hit you between the eyes. Analyze your history and look for a scalable trend.

2. Don't put all of your eggs in one basket. Find a trend and dedicate a small part of your resources to that product line. Build your niche market slowly and steadily. Three M dedicates 15% of their product development to trying new stuff. Most of it fails, but they also get home runs like reflective materials and tape flags.

3. Your bread butter may change over time. Often you'll discover that what you thought would be your primary revenue stream is actually outpaced by a product or service that you originally considered an outlier. Don't be afraid to refocus your business.

Here's how we did this.

When Brand Launcher started 10 years ago it was essentially a marketing company. But over the years, by keeping our pulse on our target market's needs, we discovered that our clients needed more than just marketing to truly succeed in business. We began offering longer-term coaching in other aspects of business growth such as personal development and overall business development. Today, this is our primary focus.

*Take our 2 minute business assessment to start implementing Brand Launcher's business growth techniques into your business.*

Think big for 2016. Find a niche that you, as an expert, can successfully dominate. Then, run with it.

Give us a call at 410-235-7070 or CLICK HERE to schedule a time to find out how Brand Launcher’s Growth Engine can help you discover your niche and dominate it.

Taking you from where you are to where you want to go,

Jon Goldman