November 2023

Page B6 november 2023 FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Section B By Mike Jamar Your Source for High Quality Funeral Vehicles Mike Jamar is founder and co-owner of Advanced Integration Technology. Mike has been working with computers since the early 80s and started Advanced Integration in 1994. Advanced Integration specializes in Internet inventories designed for specialty vehicles and equipment. HearseHub was created through a collaboration between Advanced Integration and Nomis Publications, and is now in its fifth year of service. HearseHub brings together funeral vehicles from a number of dealerships that specialize in high quality funeral vehicles. HearseHub offers funeral directors a large, and easy to shop inventory, of funeral vehicles. You can reach him at FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY NEWS Monthly Columnsonline at member and then imagine yourself traveling on it, this time on a narrow gravel road. The posted speed was 20 MPH and they meant it. On one side of the road was a steep mountain face, on the other was a shear drop off of several hundred feet. Nonetheless, the sites were both breathtaking and at times quite unnerving. In a word, wonderful! I find that many of my most memorable experiences happen most unexpectedly. This was one of those times. So if anyone has interesting information about the funeral vehicles at the convention, or would like our itinerary of our trip, please let me know. This is a backwards update, as I need updating. Last year when I heard the convention was in Las Vegas, I was so excited, as I love that town. I made sure we made no plans for October, expecting to be at the convention. Then early last summer I found that the convention was in September. Unfortunately, we had made vacation plans for September and of course it was precisely at the same time as the convention. Therefore, no convention for me. So, if anyone has interesting news about funeral vehicles from the convention, please let me know. Even though I was disappointed about missing the convention, our vacation could not have been better. As you may know my wife and I love road trips and we had heard such wonderful things about Idaho, we decided that Idaho would be our road trip this year. If you have an opportunity to visit Idaho, it will not disappoint. I could write a book on all we saw and did, but with the limited space I will recant the two most memorable parts of the trip. The first was Shoshone Falls. You may not have heard of Shoshone Falls, but it is referred to as the “Niagara of the West” and with good reason. The Falls is taller NFDA Update than Niagara Falls by 45 ft, but not as wide. However, unlike Niagara Falls, it is dependent on the snow runoff and therefore best seen in Spring and Early Summer. Being we visited in September, it was more like someone had left the water running in the sink. Nonetheless, the Falls formation was incredible and the valley leading away from the falls truly beautiful. The other most memorable part was our drive from Ketchum to Missoula, MT. Ketchum is a beautiful little town nestled in the mountains and adjacent to Sun Valley. Sun Valley is where the rich and famous go to snow ski. FYI Ernest Heminway loved Ketchum and is buried there. As usual we were letting Betty, our GPS, direct us to Missoula. If you read last month’s column, you may remember that Betty occasionally sends us on unanticipated excursions. We thought she had done it again. Betty had directed us to a state highway out of Ketchum. This highway went straight into the mountains where the sites were unimaginable. Up and up we went and then about 10 miles out of Ketchum the asphalt road ended, and we were on a gravel road. Those of you who have been on a steep mountain road, knows how scary these roads can be. Well imagine the scariest mountain road you can reyet officially), had only to prepare for the shifting advertising landscape, which was continuing to demand better and faster digital solutions—namely, search engine optimization and pay-per-click ads. “At the time, there was nothing that was built for the nuance of funeral service,” says Anderson. “We really had to engineer our whole SEO strategy from scratch, but we were happy to do it because our partners deserved something that was made for them and that produced actionable results.” In the five years that followed, @need grew exponentially. Lovingly coined @need’s “Tommy Boy Era,” @need went from a scrappy but tenacious two-person team with 10 great partners to a lean but mighty six-person operation with dozens of partners across the nation. Along the way, @need Marketing became a separate LLC that remains owned by Precoa but operates independently. “I’m so proud of how far we’ve come,” says McClanahan, now creative director of @need Marketing. “We’ve learned a lot and continue to add to our capabilities, but the one thing that’s never changed is the energy of our people. We maintain the same excitement and passion that we had at the very beginning when it was just Michael and I on the road, meeting with partners and learning about their funeral homes. We’ve been very intentional about building our team with brilliant, energetic people who share that same passion because honestly, there’s no point in being here if you can’t get excited about what our partners are doing.” In the next five years, @need looks forward to growing the right way with the right people, as well as to the technology and innovation that will allow them to reach families in new and creative ways on behalf of their funeral home partners. Suffice it to say, “There’s so much in front of us.” @need Marketing is a full-service agency that supports funeral homes’ complete offline and online marketing needs. With custom creative, buzzworthy public relations, data-driven campaigns, show-stopping videos, and effective online marketing strategies, they help funeral service providers reach more families and become their community’s go-to funeral home. Learn more at @need Marketing Celebrates 5 Years INDIANAPOLIS,IN— September marked five years in business for @need Marketing, a full-service agency dedicated to raising the bar for marketing standards in the funeral profession. The story of @need Marketing begins with the Outlook Group, where Michael Anderson worked alongside his cousin, Tyler Anderson, and Jenny McClanahan to fulfull the preneed marketing needs of their partners. Even before their merger with Precoa in 2017, requests had been coming in from partners—including Anderson’s own father, a funeral home owner in Cincinnati— for marketing support that boosted their at-need business. The team were able to get their feet wet with a few successful one-off projects, but were unable to fully expand the scope of the Outlook Group to include at-need marketing services for all partners. With the added resources of Precoa, things began to change. “Suddenly, we didn’t have to say no anymore,” says Anderson, now president of @need Marketing. “With the support of our new Precoa family, who totally believed in us, we were able to fully explore what an at-need marketing program could look like. Our goal was to proof the concept of an at-need focused marketing team with ten partners. We weren’t going to take this any further until we knew that we could serve them with the same level of thoroughness and competence we delivered on the preneed side.” It didn’t take long for Anderson and McClanahan to secure those ten partners. Confident in the custom creative they could provide, @need (as it was known colloquially but not that they receive the support and service they expect. Sweet Goodbye’s primary message, “Every pet deserves a Sweet Goodbye,” encapsulates its mission to provide comfort, dignity and respect during the challenging process of pet loss. Its commitment to compassion, animal welfare, ethics and sustainability positions them as a global leader in offering beautiful, eco-friendly, dignified, and ethical ways to say farewell to beloved pets. Sweet Goodbye’s standout consumer products, the Sweet The Sweet Goodbye Cocoon Kit Sweet Goodbye Wins “Product of the Year” Continued from Page B4 Goodbye COCOON® and the Sweet Goodbye CLOUD® have been developed and released to cater for pets of all sizes. All products are sold as kits complete with decorative garland to adorn your pet, a memorial heart marker, ceremony guidebook with poems and other useful information, along with a reusable cloth carry bag. • The Sweet Goodbye COCOON® (Premium Wool), is suitable for all breeds of dogs and large cats, is available in various sizes and nine vibrant colors. • The Sweet Goodbye COCOON® (Classic Cotton) offers a broader range of sizes and nine color combinations to accommodate pets of every size, from small pocket pets and exotics, up to the largest of dog breeds and similar-sized farm animals. • The Sweet Goodbye CLOUD® caters to smaller pets, from petite dogs and cats to rabbits, hamsters, birds, reptiles and fish. It offers various sizes and nine brightly colored options. For more information, visit www.sweetgoodbyeforpets. com and follow the company on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Sweet Goodbye’s products are available on their website and on Amazon, Etsy and