Lakeshore Group Markets To Seniors

July 9, 2007
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HOLLAND — With its second year nearly complete, the Senior Marketing Group-Lakeshore Area has become a significant force in the senior communities of Ottawa and Allegan counties.

The 90-member group was founded in 2005 by Tricia Cranmer, outreach coordinator for Hospice of Holland, and Abby Reeg of Evergreen Commons Senior Center, who at the time were chair and vice-chair, respectively, of the Ambassador Committee of the Holland Area Chamber of Commerce.

"We noticed that we kept getting invited to different groups' events on the same day," said Cranmer. "We wanted to get a couple of these groups together so we could collaborate and not duplicate each others' efforts so much."

Originally intended to be a dozen or so like-minded businesses, the Senior Marketing Group has since swelled to 90 businesses from Holland, Grand Haven, Coopersville, Fennville and surrounding areas. Meetings are held once a quarter on topics generally related to marketing.

"So often, people assigned to marketing roles in health care organizations are not necessarily marketing personnel," said Cathy Blackburn, director of community services for the Freedom Village Holland retirement community, current co-chair of the group with Cranmer. "There are some that are professionals in marketing, but more often they are nurses or admissions people."

The Senior Marketing Group is not limited to health care organizations. It is open to all organizations that in some way serve seniors. The group's main goal is to educate and improve services to seniors in the community.

"It's better to work with each other than against each other," said Blackburn. "As we have more and more seniors, it's important that they understand all the things out there to meet their needs and to enhance their life."

Last month the group hosted what has become its signature event: Senior Community Day. The second annual event introduced 70 vendors to 500 seniors and included 12 seminars and 12 screenings.

Several business relationships have been created through the group, Cranmer said, noting an operational partnership between homecare companies and several members that have begun advertising with print, radio and television media participating in the group. A membership directory is available to all members.

The group's next meeting is at 8:45-10 a.m. Aug. 2 at Freedom Village Holland at 145 Colombia Ave. in Holland. The program is "How to Get Noticed by Local Media," and will feature Grand Rapids Press lakeshore reporter Shandra Martinez and other participants yet to be named.

For more information, call Blackburn at Freedom Village Holland, (616) 820-7600 or Cranmer at Hospice of Holland, (616) 396-2972.    

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