Baseball, Analytics and Senior Living

For anyone who grew up in or around Kansas City, the name Buck O’Neil is synonymous with baseball. The former Negro Leagues superstar and Kansas City Royals scout was one of the finest ambassadors the city ever had. He also knew a thing or two about the game.

I bring up Buck O’Neil because we may be able to learn a thing or two from him that we can use as senior living marketers. As a scout, Buck no doubt understood that baseball is a numbers game. Today, in the world of saber metrics and analytics, it’s even more a game of digits and formulas. Senior living is that way, too. We tend to measure everything from occupancy to satisfaction.

He also understood, however, that success goes beyond the numbers. For example, Buck once stated that the first time he heard Bo Jackson’s bat connect with the baseball it was a sound he hadn’t heard since Babe Ruth was hitting balls over the fences at Yankee Stadium. Numbers didn’t tell him. The sound was all he needed.

As marketers, we spend much of our time playing the numbers game and we should. The numbers give us our baseline – a place to start. They tell us about occupancy, attrition, sales successes, failures and much more. As a marketing partner, we pride ourselves on understanding our clients’ numbers inside and out. We don’t stop there, however.

Our team prides itself on being able to hear the “sound of the bat” and not miss it. For example, a client recently came to us with a familiar concern – the current climate is making it tough to find and hire good people. They had all the numbers – how the pandemic played a role, job applicants vs. open positions, you name it. What they didn’t have was the differentiator – the crack of the baseball bat. Answering the question, “Why would someone want to work here?” is never solved by calculator. It’s a heart issue. A communication issue. It’s even more than marketing. It’s real life.

The numbers say people like to digest shorter blog posts these days, so we’ll leave this one here. I’ll say if you want to hear the rest of the story, or want us to take a look at a unique problem you’re having that goes beyond just the numbers, we’re here to listen. We’ll never be as special as Buck O’Neil, but we’re trying to learn to think like him, one client at a time.

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