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The coronavirus pandemic brought about unexpected challenges in almost every industry. One profoundly impacted, yet less visible, sector on the front lines is funeral servicesThey are seeing increased demand while simultaneously needing to rapidly adapt services to meet the requirements of social distancing. This is particularly complex in an industry that centers on interpersonal connection, both in providing support to families and facilitating social gatherings that allow loved ones to bring comfort to one another. 

Early on, as the impact of COVID-19 started to growNorthstar Memorial Group, which manages multiple locally-branded funeral homes, recognized a need to pivot in how they provided services. Mission-critical was revamping services in a way that allowed them to continue their promise of providing personalized care, comfort, and planning services to families unable to meet in person.  

Towards this end, their team developed an initial plan for: 

  • Expanding remote pre-planning services for pre-need customers 
  • Making it easier to plan remotely for at-need customers 
  • Hosting virtual funeral services that incorporated personal touches and opportunities for connection 

NorthStar Memorial Group’s leadership first engaged Endeavor to assist in the strategic planning process, to ensure that remote offerings were designed to meet both functional and emotional needs. After a plan was in place, there was a need for a marketing strategy to communicate about the new services. An identified priority need was a high visibility touchpoint, a TV commercial that would be deployed in multiple local markets.  

Unlike most highly visible touchpoints that take weeks to plan, produce, and deploy, this commercial needed to be created and implemented within a week. To make this happen, Endeavor facilitated an agile, teamwork-centered approach in collaboration with Northstar’s marketing leadership 

By using an agile approach in which the team met daily to provide real-time feedback on draft content and design, we were able to meet the deadline of having the commercial ready to launch in a week 

An essential component in the process was our production partner, S4 Studios whose team provided same-day turnaround on requested revisions. Moving forward, the commercial will serve as a foundation for the broader marketing campaign which will include multiple touchpoints and tactics (email, social media, paid digital advertising).  

 See the commercial here: https://vimeo.com/407343034 


Here are some tips for agile implementation of marketing strategy, which were important to the success of this process: 

  1. Start with your organization’s mission and value propositions as a foundation to messaging, to ensure that your message is aligned with the overall promise. This is particularly important in agile, quick-moving implementation as there is a temptation to “just wing it” to hasten deployment. 
  2. To make sure everyone is aligned on the goals from the beginning, include everyone from the core team (those who will approve the final product) in the planning process to identify priorities and outline a vision. Also, it’s critical to obtain a commitment to quick feedback and turnaround time. 
  3. Depending on the specific timeframe allowed, incorporate daily (or every other day) update meetings to discuss feedback in real-time and prioritize what changes need to be made. The customer should have early opportunities to see the drafts being created and will develop a sense of ownership from being involved in every stage of the process. 
  4. Prioritize impact vs. effort/time requirement of suggested changes to help keep the project on schedule and determine where to focus efforts. The agile approach requires that the most valuable changes or features are implemented first. 

Looking for a partner for developing or implementing Marketing Strategy? Contact us 





COVID19, Health Brand Management, Healthcare Marketing Strategy, Marketing 360, Strategic Marketing Planning

Ryan Nash Vice President, Brand Marketing

Ryan Nash is a results-driven marketing executive with award-winning, hands-on experience developing top-tier brands by creating unparalleled customer experiences helping...

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