A Unique Marketing Challenge

While at the conference at the Kingston Business School, wee discussed various different business types and business models and which forms of marketing strategies suited each best. Marketing strategies and campaigns obviously vary from one type of business to the next. A local electrician in a specific area might benefit from Social Media Marketing, Google Adwords as well as offline methods including small advertisements placed in local newspapers. On the other hand an engineering firm that manufactures a specific type of mechanism used by mechanical engineers will certainly not benefit as much from advertising on Social Media and in the local tabloid. We used the example of a “Sober Living House” in one of our sessions to really get the juices flowing as to what the best means of marketing this type of establishment would be. First we needed to look at the client and examine their business model to ascertain what kind of client they were trying to attract.

Addiction can have a far reaching affect, family members and friends will also have to deal with the problem. The ones that are most involved and have to deal with the issues; are the close family members. The addiction and problems it causes can separate families who were once very close to each other due to, a lack of communication or sometimes embarrassment from the family member towards the one suffering from the addiction. Both the addict and family members start to avoid each other and situations which could cause confrontation or embarrassment. This can result in isolation from a lot of normal activities and social gatherings. Having the family come together and provide support for each other is important to help everybody overcome the situation. Based on this information we reach the conclusion that in many cases it is best to market this kind of product directly to the family and friends of the addict (potential new Sober House client), rather than the client themselves. Generally these people are looking to help their family members or friends, whereas the potential client themselves in probably not looking for help nor in a sound state of mind. What exactly is a “Sober Living House” ? Well, it helps to know ones client’s business inside out before considering initiating any kind of marketing campaign for them. We used Scotswood Retreat, a home for sober living, Cape Town, as our example for this exercise.
Some general consequences of addiction among the family include:
Socially: Avoiding family and social activities, so as not to have to explain to others your situation. The family member might also want to avoid embarrassing situations with the person who has the addiction.
Emotionally: Sometime the person with an addiction might not come home at night and may do things they would not necessarily do if they were not addicted. Living with an addict can therefore be distressing and difficult. The situation can also have a further reaching impact on their work and social lives.
Psychologically: The person with the addiction may lie, steal and fight a lot because of the problems the addiction is causing. Communication is often broken in families with addiction, where lies are being told and trust is broken. Eventually the family member begins to think the worst all the time.
Physically: There is a lot of anxiety and stress involved with families and addiction and this can cause headaches, fatigue, lack of appetite to name a few.
Money issues: Families can experience money issues when trying to help their loved one with addiction, by helping with groceries and other necessities that are usually neglected, because the money goes into whatever addiction the person may have.
The role of the family to help and be involved in the process of recovery for the person with the addiction; is very important. The whole family must be involved in the treatment process so that a complete and successful recovery can take place. This description of the potential clients that would be referred to, or in need of a sober living environment, gives us great insides on who we should be targeting in our online marketing campaigns. The example sued in this exercise, Scotswood Retreat, has a detailed website on sober houses in Cape Town, where we can glean even further information to assist us with this exercise,
Here are a few things to help family members of addicts to cope:
Going to family therapy sessions may help to open up communication and to talk about what the various problems and issues are. Therapy might provide the tools necessary to help all family members including the member with the addiction.
Connect with groups of people, who are going through similar experiences, this can help break the feeling of isolation and aid in any personal problems they might have.
Learning and reading up about the addiction can help to give more confidence in the treatments provided and understanding of the actual problem. Education on the subject can also help family members see how it actually affects brain chemistry. This can help to avoid blame and to let go of any anger, so everybody can focus on the healing process.
To be aware of the time it takes for changes to occur in the family member with the addiction. There might be disappointments and feelings of discouragement, but don’t give up and try to focus on the recovery.
Family members of an addict should also take care of themselves, they also require a recovery time. Make sure to schedule family time and to participate in activities that would relieve stress and anxiety. Remember that addiction can only be effectively treated with everybody getting involved and staying positive.

All these facts lead us to the conclusion that, when marketing a business such as a “Sober Living House”, we are in fact 90% of the time, targeting their family and friends and not them directly, so our marketing campaigns and strategies need to be planned accordingly.