Meet Tyler and Tyler. Besides sharing a name, these two members of Precoa’s leadership team share a purpose. Tyler Hornibrook (TH), Vice President of Marketing, and Tyler Anderson (TA), Vice President of Business Development, believe in the power of results-focused craftsmanship.
In their recent conversation, they reveal how the high standards set by Precoa’s ProActive Preneed® system consistently result in doubling preneed growth for partners across America.
TH: Back when Mark Hornibrook and Bret Davis founded Precoa, they resolved to build a company on the foundation of kindness, progression, and craftsmanship. My father is an architect by trade, so he has always been intentional about how things are built. In architecture, appearance is never more important than function. An elegant building still has to stand. He illustrated this same idea several years ago when he wrote an article about our direct mail testing. Marketing, done right, is more science than art.
TA: The bottom line is that craft takes time. We promise to significantly grow and sustain preneed sales for our partners, and we do so because ProActive Preneed is optimized at every touchpoint. But behind this promise, you’ll find years of rigorous testing. Every detail matters. I mean, what good is a desk made from solid oak if you can’t always count on the drawers to slide open?
TH: Over the years, we’ve been reminded that craftsmanship means different things to different people. An advertisement with impeccable design is great, but if it doesn’t get results, what’s the point? Knowing how important results are, especially in the business of preneed, we clarified our values still further. In revising “Craftsmanship” to “Results-focused Craftsmanship,” everyone at Precoa understands our aim.
TA: In our profession, no one has much choice about craftsmanship. When your funeral home receives calls, you need to act. On average, you have 72-96 hours to memorialize someone’s entire life. You immediately become a resource for care, guidance, and support, and you can’t afford to make mistakes. You have to be exact.
TH: Knowing this, we understand our responsibility. We partner with the best funeral homes in the country, and our marketing efforts need to strengthen them. We hold our lead generation, recruitment, technology, sales management, and Funeral Planning Center (FPC) to the highest standards. They need to function seamlessly because the best homes deserve the best results.
TA: When I think about our promise to our partners, I think about substance. Before we even partner with a firm, we provide an in-depth market share analysis that serves as the basis for our marketing plan. The funeral home receives valuable insights into demographics and market share, but more importantly they see projections for what we can do. And what we can’t. Our partners need to be clear about our outcomes.
TH: I think it’s easy for some companies to compartmentalize craftsmanship instead of encouraging it at every level. About two years ago, one of our teams planned to update the software for the FPC, but they quickly learned that nothing on the market met their standards. Other software highlighted speed and quantity, not quality, so they built their own. They spent two years from development to launch, a lot of which involved sitting down with our professional planners to see exactly how they used the software, and the results were stunning. The app became more intuitive yet more detailed, the algorithm we developed led to better call strategies, and the calendar became uniquely flexible. When every employee is committed to craftsmanship, it makes a difference.
TA: Ultimately, these tools helped more agents build relationships with more families, which touches on what you mentioned earlier about craftsmanship—much of this will never be seen by our customers, but it is crucial that it works well.
TH: What testing and analysis show is that you can always find opportunities for improvement. Creating highly visible marketing platforms from scratch is thrilling. But improving what you already do well? That is how you become more efficient and consistent, which has always been our goal. We need to help our partners achieve the preneed results we’ve promised.
TA: I come back to the constant need for an objective. With 82% of baby boomers using social media, we knew digital marketing had demand. We also knew that 80% of companies were still unable to quantify the value of their social media efforts. Before we even built our program, we took the time to make sure preneed sales, not likes or clicks or other vanity metrics, would be the outcome for our partners.
TH: We’re slow. And that’s intentional. Our goal is never to be first to market but to arrive with the highest level of quality. Over the past 18 months, we subjected 650 campaign variations to more than 700 tests as we built and launched our digital marketing program. Using the same sales pipeline metrics that we use to track conversions through direct mail, we observed clear results in the digital realm. These weren’t just the vanity metrics you mentioned, but hold, set, and close rates that nearly matched our most successful marketing channel. Through validated learning, we’ve consistently grown preneed sales for our partners, often by more than 2X. Digital marketing simply helps us reach even more customers so that we continue to achieve these outcomes.
TA: Again, our funeral home partners trust us with their premier brands. Nothing pleases us more than to hear from our partners and our employees, “Precoa thinks of everything.” From the new resources we offer our partners to our sales meetings and incentive trips, our goal is to strengthen every single relationship.
TH: If you set out with clear intentions, you get meaningful results. You might sit next to someone for months and never truly know them, yet if you spend an hour intentionally trying to build a connection, the relationship you form can last a lifetime.
TA: Precoa begins any relationship by diving into the details. For our funeral home partners, our first step is a free market share analysis. Please reach out if you’d like to get one started.