MarketingLocated in the Pannill Health Center (just off the Corson Lobby), the Marketing Department comprises four staff members: Nancy Wayland (Director of Marketing), Kim Wetsel and Tina Salcedo (Marketing Sales Counselors), and Melanie Tomasi (Marketing Assistant/Move-In Coordinator).
The mission of marketing is to be a resource to educate and to share expertise about Sunnyside with prospective residents. The Marketing Department uses a variety of approaches to accomplish this, including many onsite marketing events, Staycations (where those interested in Sunnyside can spend some time here getting acquainted with the community), the Horizon Club (where prospective residents can participate in Sunnyside activities such as trips and using the Wellness Center), and Marketing on the Move (where the Marketing staff travels to various cities around Virginia to introduce Sunnyside to a wider audience). Residents who would like to help with some of these initiatives are encouraged to contact Nancy at 568-8243.
The Marketing Department typically schedules one or two events a month for prospective residents. In September they offered a “Harvest Your Wellness” luncheon at the Bethesda Theatre, where Annie Shaffer made a presentation on the redefinitions of retirement that involve maintaining a sense of purpose through life-enriching activities.
As part of “Marketing on the Move,” representatives from Sunnyside and its sister institutions Summit Square (in Waynesboro) and King’s Grant (in Martinsville) go to various cities around Virginia to make presentations to interested prospective residents. They recently made a presentation in Roanoke and in October will travel to northern Virginia. On the schedule for next spring is Virginia Beach. Nancy Wayland refers to these moveable feasts as a “marketing gem” for they introduce Sunnyside to a much wider audience and marketing representatives can personalize answers to specific questions.
Perhaps the first association that comes to mind when one hears the word “marketing” is “sales” – but Nancy Wayland would prefer that this association be “education.” She strongly feels that the mission of marketing is to be “a resource to educate and to share our expertise with prospective residents.” If residents commit to an independent living residence at Sunnyside – whether a Highlands apartment, a cottage, or a villa – the “sale” is simply a by-product of an informed decision about their future.
Nancy, Kim, Tina, and Melanie have all been both extraordinarily busy and extraordinarily successful recently, for the occupancy rate is an impressive 92%. From January to September of 2017 there were 33 “move-ins” to independent living at Sunnyside, one fewer than in all of 2016 and in all of 2015 . . . and between September and December of this year we’re expected to have 11 more move-ins—a 33% increase.
Activity has been particularly strong at the Grattan Price Villas, which will soon have full occupancy. Perhaps one factor in their popularity has been the recent renovations – outside on the patios, and inside on the lobbies and on each floor. (These villas were constructed in 2002, and this was their first redo.) New lanterns have been installed, and patio furniture and new décor, pictures, and flooring are all in place.
Another sign of the success of the Marketing Department is that there are now 300 people on the wait list for the various independent living residences. Of course, not everyone is called when a new residence becomes available because some future residents have specific requirements or preferences (a cottage with a basement, for example, or a two-car garage, or a villa with a particular floor plan). One patient couple signed up for the wait list in 1987 and will probably be moving next year—until now the time just hasn’t been right for them.
Nancy and her colleagues at Marketing love to share their expertise about Sunnyside as a desirable retirement community. They have found that the key thing that potential residents want to know is not “What do we have to sell?” but rather “What do we do at Sunnyside—and how can this community enhance my life?” --John Noffsinger