Just like all other businesses, the funeral industry is competitive. Finding ways to meet and exceed the expectations of the customer and set your company apart from the others requires personalizing and customizing your memorialization services for each family. Those who are mourning the death of a loved one are comforted by personal services that honor the deceased in a unique and special way. Memorialization and personalization of various components of the service and burial or cremation is an opportunity to customize each funeral and create a service that will be remembered.
“In recent years, consumer expectations have changed. There are over 500 channels on TV, coffee comes in 400 flavors and Amazon has taught us that everything we want can be delivered overnight. The funeral consumer is part of the Facebook generation and wants desperately to tell the story of their loved one’s life. Personalization is now an imperative for the growing funeral home. Personalize creates the WOW service that families expect from a modern funeral home,” explains Karl Weisenbeck of Funeral Home Gifts.
Personalization is important because it creates a bond between the family and the funeral director and helps the family get through the grieving process. Personalization means a great deal to the families because it allows them to not only mourn the loss but more importantly celebrate the life of their loved one.
Importance of Memorialization
Memorialization helps funeral directors connect with their families, support the grieving process, set their funeral homes apart from competition, and adds value to the funeral home. Bruce Felt of Memories by Design further breaks down the importance of memorialization in 4 parts:
1) Connect to a family on a personal level – When working with an individual or family who may be experiencing the worth moment of their life, a sincere connection is made when sharing the value of that loved one’s life. This is an opportunity to listen to the family and understand how the funeral home can create a special and unique service that best represents their loved one and how to honor them.
2) Support the Grieving Process – Funeral directors also understand how adding memorialization/personalization in a service can, over time, provide therapeutic healing in the grieving process.
3) Differentiate – With all things being equal when it comes to product pricing, one approach a funeral home should take to differentiate from competitors, is to be the leader when it comes to memorialization and personalization options. By committing to offer custom personal services that are unique to each family, a funeral home will develop a reputation of value in their community.
4) Add value….and revenue. When meeting with a family, a funeral home has the opportunity to share their own brand of multiple options in memorialization. This can create an invaluable and memorable service experience that only you can offer. Subsequently, once the value has been established, a fair price point will generate additional revenue.
Evolution of Memorialization
When the personalization movement began in the late 1990’s, there were very few companies that offered much in individualized customized products. Evidenced by products across every industry, consumers are now demanding more personalized products and services. In response, vendors in funeral service have begun to offer these types of products to their customers. This enables funeral homes to stay competitive and offer more options to families.
“The variety of options available has grown significantly. For example, our company began with cremated remains blown in glass orbs, but in order to remain relevant, we expanded our offerings to include pendants and touchstones. These gave the customer more “mobile” options for remembrance, as our two newer products could be worn or carried in a pocket or purse. Additionally, we have added the option of using earth instead of cremated remains to create allow for any family, whether traditional or cremation to create a meaningful memorial. Our newest addition to our product line gives the families an option of adding a fingerprint to any of our products. In most cases, we find that families do a combination of a fingerprint and cremated remains or a fingerprint and earth. However, many chose to only have a fingerprint engraved on their Memory Glass, as this one of a kind memorial has great emotional value with the print alone,” says Kim Price of Memory Glass, LLC.
The consumer’s desire for more and more options has made it possible for companies like Memories by Design and countless others, to introduce innovative products and grow product lines to keep up with the demand for more diversified offerings.
Funeral directors need to know that offering personalization to families isn’t as difficult as it may seem.
For example, “Memory Glass provides simple training for our customers that takes about 20-30 minutes. We know that funeral home schedules are unpredictable and we are committed to hosting multiple training sessions for our partners in order to make sure every arranger has an opportunity to be fully versed in our products and how to present them to families. As with any product, if the customer’s needs aren’t being addressed, then they will either be forced to settle or take their business elsewhere,” explains Kim Price.
In today’s industry, family members are much more informed about what is available to them. It is important to make sure families know what your funeral home offers.
“Funeral directors should understand the needs of families and just how important it is to have options available to customize and memorialize their loved ones. Whether it is keepsake jewelry or burial at sea or shooting cremated remains into space the new millennium customer wants options,” says Joni G. Cullen, Owner of Madelyn Company.
New for 2017
Memorialization and Personalization Products
BerylMartin was created originally by a time of loss of one of the founder’s parents and that loss and the events that followed created such a peace and celebration of life for everyone involved that it opened a line of comfort products to help others and ultimately grew into the organization to what it is today.
“We offer a variety of products in 100 different designs to be the perfect accent to the life of your loved one. Several new products we have released this year include our Pocket Memory video tribute, Cremation Portraits painted with the ashes of a loved one and Fuzed collage prints. Our premiere printing includes prayer cards, personalized memorial tribute folders and books, brochures, programs, bookmarks, “I remember” cards, thank you cards, portraits, casket panels, and a variety of photo keepsakes such as lighted crystals, crystal key chains, and Fuzed glass portraits. In addition to a premium commitment to design and personalization in our products, we make all of them available with same day shipping,” says Brian Tucker of BerylMartin.
BerylMartin offers a large variety of quality products to be able to serve everyone’s needs. Orders even ship the same day if placed before noon.
“The quality of our product line of printed items, the variety of products we can offer such as portraits and Fuzed glass portraits and ornaments. The technology that we have developed with the eRegistar program of computerized memory books with the register, photos, memories, and lasting comforts to each family. We are the leader in the personalization industry with new ideas and products not seen or used before,” explain Brian.
Over the years, experience has shown that funeral homes using BerylMartin products and services see an increased market share and added revenue, as well as image enhancement and greater name recognition in the community. These are intangibles that cannot be bought with advertising money but come with the clients’ perception of your funeral home’s personalized care and with the fine tributes that go home with visitors who see the comfort and value of returning to your funeral home when their time of need occurs. Many products lend themselves to the aftercare and remembrance of each client and this always reflects well on the funeral home.
Contact: (219) 922-8935 | www.berylmartin.com
Funeral Home Gifts offers a full array of products to create a fully personalized service with their one stop shop website. All products are delivered next day including free delivery.
Funeral Home Gifts is most known for their tapestry Tribute Blanket. This heirloom-quality blanket is woven, NOT printed and provides grieving family members with comfort for many years following the loss of a loved one. Delivered next day for $84.99 including shipping. A smaller printed blanket for families who prefer a size which is suitable for wall display is also obtainable through FHG.
In addition, Funeral Home gifts also offers a keepsake pillow urn which provides comfort inside and out, displays the image of a loved one for lasting comfort, and also has a keepsake pocket where families can place precious personal items of remembrance such as jewelry, locks of hair, cremated remains, etc. They also offer a custom cap panel which is printed in high definition, hand assembled, and sized to press fit perfectly into the casket brand that you provide to your families. A frame which can be easily assembled onto the cap panel and used by the family as wall décor is available as well.
“Our products create a WOW service experience but also have value and staying power AFTER the service. Our blankets go home with families and sit on a couch and become a conversation piece amongst friends. Our cap panels can be framed as wall art. Pillows and Plaques have staying power in the home and on the couch as well. Our products tell a story of your funeral service LONG AFTER the service is over,” explains Karl Weisenbeck of Funeral Home Gifts.
It is important to note that Funeral Home Gifts Tribute Blankets are woven – NOT printed. They are heirloom quality blankets that will be passed down from generation to generation. All FHG products are highest quality and delivered next day including free delivery.
“Beyond the quality of our entire line of products, our people maintain a level of commitment and partnership with our funeral home customers that is beyond reproach. We realize that you have one chance at a funeral and it needs to be perfect. We do our part to assure that it is,” says Karl.
Contact: (800) 233-0439 | www.funeralhomegifts.com
Lamcraft offers desktop laminators and a wide range of lamination products, many specifically created for the funeral home industry. The Lamcraft product line includes pre-sized memorial bookmarks, micro-perforated sheets for imprinting, clear pouches in a variety of sizes and other specialty lamination items.
“We have a proven track record of more than 40 years of serving the funeral home industry. With years of experience and using only the highest quality materials, we excel in quality and service. All of our products are made in the United States; most of them are created on-site in our facility in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. We have a design department to custom design one-of-a-kind Tribute memorial bookmarks per your, and the family’s, specific instructions,” says Richard Gentry of Lamcraft, Inc.
Lamcraft is committed to assisting customers in serving the families by providing them with an extensive variety of durable, well-constructed lamination memorial items. They are constantly updating their product line to meet the changing needs of the industry.
“We are dedicated to customer-centered service. We will tailor any of our products to meet the specific needs of each funeral director. For instance, we will print any verse desired on any particular product and can create any size lamination pouch to order. We recently introduced our For Keeps™ Thank You Cards that feature a non-laminated surface for writing a message and a detachable laminated keepsake bookmark, with mailing envelopes provided–a first in the industry,” explains Richard.
Contact: (800) 821-1333 | www.lamcraft.com
The Madelyn Company is a family owned and operated company that delivers quality customizable keepsake jewelry with a lifetime guarantee and unparalleled customer service. The keepsake company has built a reputation that sets them apart from their competition.
“Each time an order is placed it is treated like our first order. We take great pride in our product as well as the customer we serve,” says Joni G. Cullen, Owner of Madelyn Company Keepsake Jewelry.
The most important thing to know about Madelyn Company Keepsake Jewelry is that they stand behind every piece with a lifetime guarantee. If situations arise, they are taken care of immediately. Additionally customers should know that all Madelyn Company pieces are vessels and most can be personalized with engraving or a photo laser etching.
“We have seen the industry progress from a basic casket funerals and urns hiding in the closet to products like ours, keepsake pendants worn close to the heart to hold cremated remains, flowers from the service or possibly a lock of a loved one’s hair. This type of personalization was slow to catch on however…We have been in business for 23 years and back then we waited for the phone to ring and today we have people answering the phones. Memorialization through personalization is what the consumer is asking for today,” explains Joni.
Contact: 800-788-0807 | www.madelynpendants.com
Meadow Hill was the first provider of fingerprint keepsakes to funeral service starting in 1998.
Thumbies are crafted in solid .925 sterling silver and 14k gold as well as other metals including a proprietary white bronze, sold as Noble Bronze™. Meadow Hill products are cast rather than laser etched. This provides a lasting impression that withstands constant wear and has a high level of touchability.
Meadow Hill also offers a pet companion line called Buddies, which offers the same products cast with pet prints including but not limited to paw and nose prints.
New this year for Meadow Hill is the Phoenix Collection, a line of cremation keepsakes. Each Phoenix piece contains small amounts of cremated remains that the funeral home sends in with collection kits provided by Meadow Hill to the funeral home or crematory. Cremains are mixed with a resin material that is impervious to water and other elements. An additional product launch this year is Thumbies Organics, a line of free-form pieces that come in three sizes.
“Meadow Hill allows a funeral home to offer the best quality products and see increased revenue. Our keepsakes are cast product, not etched or rotary cut, meaning that they will last for many, many years. Our pieces are original designs and concepts, and are crafted entirely in the USA. Orders are shipped within just two weeks, but we can ship within 48-72 hours with our option Fast Track option. And it sounds like a small detail, but we use a proprietary identification system during production that allows us to track every keepsake, but doesn’t mar the piece itself with an identification code. Finally, homes will see higher margins with Meadow Hill,” explains Adrienne Kalmes of Meadow Hill.
Contact: (847) 713-8252 | www.meadowhillco.com
“When we say we do just one thing and do it well, we’re referring to Celebrating Life and Preserving Memories. We partner with funeral homes and families to produce professional tribute videos and other services using professional hands-on, human touch techniques rather than generic automated software programs. Like a funeral home, we’re real people who can customize through memorialization/personalization like them. As an extension of our customers, working with the same level of commitment and quality as them. We save them time, create new revenue opportunities, offer differentiation and improve consistency and quality,” explains Bruce Felt of Memories by Design.
Memories by Design offers the following:
Tribute Videos – Hands-on, professionally produced personal Tribute Videos that use the human touch rather than generic automated software programs.
Living Legacy, A Video Biography – Personal on-camera interviews with senior family members who share their life stories with their family.
Loving Memories Photo Album – A collection of Restored Photos placed in an attractive and secure hardbound coffee table Photo Album.
Other Occasions Video Services – From anniversaries and birthdays to weddings and reunions, we offer customized videos that celebrate life and preserve memories.
Photo Restoration – Hands-on professional editors remove scratches, watermarks and other imperfections to bring photos back to their new-near status.
Memories by Design does the production for you. They are an extension of their business, maintaining the same consistency and quality in service as their customers. Like their funeral home partners, Memories by Design is an industry expert when it comes to what they do – offering a personal touch and customization. They can help funeral homes save time, create new revenue opportunities, offer differentiation, and improve consistency and quality.
“Our belief in celebrating life and preserving memories is so personal that we use hands-on expertise and the human touch in everything we create,” says Bruce.
Contact: (509) 343-0113 | www.memoriesbydesign.com
Memory Glass’ skilled artists hand blow beautiful, one of a kind, pieces of art. Within the solid, hand-blown orb, touchstone, or pendant, they are able to suspend cremated remains or earth, creating a truly unique permanent memorial. Memory Glass has a patented laser engraving technique allowing them to include a fingerprint on any of their pieces so their products can be offered with or without earth or cremated remains integrated into the design.
Additionally, Memory Glass offers a truly unique piece: Together Forever. Inside this one-of-a-kind memorial, they are able to include two separate sets of cremated remains or earth from gravesite or other meaningful location. Together Forever can be used with any of the Memory Glass orb designs. The family will select a color of glass they would like each individual’s cremated remains or earth to be mixed with. The end result is that you have both loved ones individually represented within the same piece, yet they still are separately identifiable.
“Memory Glass is unique to many other memorialization products because we give the opportunity to maintain a physical tie to their loved one when using cremated remains or a fingerprint. This is something emotionally tangible that families can hold in their hands whenever they want to feel especially close to their loved one. That is also what makes the concept of using earth so important. For families who choose a casket burial, they are able to use earth from the gravesite or some other place of significance to remain close to their loved one. In fact, there are many folks who actually use our orbs or hearts on a lighted stand as a light,” says Kim Price of Memory Glass.
“Additionally, Memory Glass offers unrivaled experience and security. We are the original glass keepsake company in the death care profession, and have been in business since 2002. As an independent family-owned business, Memory Glass has grown since its start, and is now offered in over 2,000 funeral homes nationally and internationally. Our products are offered in all of the large funeral home chains across the country, as well as small and regional owner operators. Our memorialization process has been thoroughly vetted and proven to be excellent in every way. Each stage of our process is completed under video surveillance cameras, which ensures the integrity of cremated remains and provides peace-of-mind for both the funeral home or cemetery and the end consumer,” she continues.
Each piece of Memory Glass is as unique as an individual’s fingerprint, as they are uniquely and artistically made one at a time. No two pieces are exactly alike.
Contact: (866) 488-4554 | www.memoryglass.com
Perfect Memorials offers cremation jewelry, cremation urns, and engraved memorials as well as various other comfort products such as ornaments, teddy bears, and outdoor memorials. Perfect Memorials also employs a team of skilled engravers that use state-of-the-art technologies to produce some of the most beautiful products in the industry.
“Perfect Memorials offers personalization on a majority of the products available for purchase. Refinements are regularly developed to increase the opportunities of personalization and the efficiency of our engraving specialists to complete orders expeditiously. In most cases, personalized items will ship the same or next business day after the order is submitted. We provide a vast variety of products in addition to precise personalization, prompt shipment and impeccable customer service setting the bar high for other competitors,” says Haley Murry of Perfect Memorials.
Pricing, availability, and speed of service is what separates Perfect Memorials from their competition. They offer same or next business day shipping on most of the products offered on their site as well as a best price guarantee.
Perfect Memorials offers a wide selection of memorials that are sure to satisfy the needs of all different types of consumers. Perfect Memorials offers classic brass and aluminum urns, wood, 3D resin, and many custom biodegradable options that cannot be found anywhere else in the industry. They also offer thousands of different styles of cremation jewelry and comfort products that will help funeral homes and crematories grow their margins while at the same time creating even greater customer satisfaction.
Contact: (800) 979-8767 | www.perfectmemorials.com
More and more families are seeking a funeral that is more personal in memorable in unique ways. Showcasing a hobby or pictures of a once in a lifetime vacation together, honoring their service with Military funeral and Honor Guard are all ways of offering a tribute that is unique to the individual. A flag case on display with personalization provides a reminder to families and grandchildren of veterans families so that they better understand the role their veteran played in our country’s freedom.
There are also more and more products available, from caskets, to video tributes, and keepsake items for the family that will make a funeral home stand out as one who offers a memorialization and not just a funeral – SpartaCraft does just that.
SpartaCraft is American Made for American Heroes. They guarantee high quality flag cases and excellent customer service and are able to offer same day personalization and same day shipping.
“We offer American Made flag cases for Veteran Burial flags as well Military spec urns. We offer personalization in the way of custom engraving and service specific medallions for the flag cases or urns that honor the memory of a loved one and their service to our country. We will soon be able to offer laser engraving so a person can have a specific emblem or message engraved directly onto the glass, making their flag case truly unique and personal to their loved one,” says Maggie Nunns of SpartaCraft.
“American Made for American Heroes. It’s more than our logo, it’s our honor and we take pride in the quality of our flag cases. SpartaCraft flag cases are American Made with lasting quality. Our flag cases are not made on an assembly line, each one is made by hand in North Carolina. We use only American hardwoods for our cases and we are able to ship the same day as an order is placed,” she continues.
Contact: (800) 282-8044 | www.spartacraft.com
Tukios is the fastest and easiest way to create memorial videos, and they can be completely personalized. If there isn’t a theme that quite fits an individual, you can make one in a few minutes.
“Family members don’t visit a funeral home thinking, ‘Let’s make Mom’s funeral just like every other funeral we’ve been to.’ They come in knowing that their Mom was different from everyone else and believe she deserves a unique service. That’s where personalization becomes crucial. If the deceased is treated just like every other case, the family will notice. There are endless ways online and in retail stores now where family members have been exposed to all the possibilities of customization. If they know they can get it elsewhere, that’s where they will go,” explains Curtis Funk of Tukios.
Tukios really makes it possible to create a memorial video in just a few minutes. They have tools to avoid scanning photos and burning DVDs and allow you to create an HD video and provide it to the family in a much more modern format. Tukios is the fastest and easiest way to create memorial videos that can be completely personalized. If there isn’t a theme that quite fits an individual, you can make one in a few minutes.
“The process of using Tukios saves funeral directors a significant amount of time and money. We have several exclusive features that get the family more involved and produce a higher quality product than the competitors are capable of doing,” says Curtis.
“Don’t be afraid to personalize everything that you can. The more personalized the experience is, the more the family will love your funeral home. Don’t be afraid to personalize everything that you can. The more personalized the experience is, the more the family will love your funeral home,” he continues.
Contact: (801) 682-4391 | www.tukios.com
Today’s consumer wants more than “cookie-cutter” funeral arrangements. They are seeking services and products that make the funeral personal and unique for their loved one. Life celebration is more than just a catchy phrase. Consumers want to have the ability to celebrate the accomplishments and memories of the person they have lost. This celebration can come in many forms and can be accomplished with more of a personalized service and products that represents the desires of these consumers. As the consumer becomes younger and more tech savvy they know what is possible with technology today. Making custom graphic memorial stationary and video tributes are almost expected now. With this in mind the funeral homes and funeral director need to move to satisfy the needs and wants of their customers because today the customers know it is possible. Today’s customers also want to feel special, things that set their family apart from all the other families that the funeral homes serve.
“Memorialization is changing with new product offerings and unique service ideas funeral homes provide. It is wise for funeral directors to stay on top of these changes and watch and learn from other innovative funeral homes providing these products and services. It is also important to learn about the needs and wants of today’s generation and what they expect in service for their loved ones. This leads back to tech savvy customers and their expectations if the funeral home cannot offer it they may get passed up by customers looking for a funeral home that can provide the specialized services like custom memorial cards, register books, video tributes, personalized candles to be used in the service,” says Brandon Frazer of Life long Memories.
When Lifelong Memories first starting offering photo based personalization products almost twenty years ago the cork board with photos pinned to it was considered personalization. At that time with the computer technology available custom memorial cards starting being printed in-house, eliminating the need for custom printing and overnight fees. The funeral home has the ability to customize as needed all the way up to minutes before the funeral, last minute changes to pallbearers among other things are all possible now. This type of personalization has become the industry norm and many consumers actually ask for it. Today personalization can be accomplished from photo based products up to very elaborate services such as transporting the loved one to the cemetery in a fire truck or the last ride with the casket being pulled with a motorcycle.
“Most of our products are made right here in Wisconsin including our Candles, Register Books, and Stationary. By producing our products here in our own manufacturing facility we have achieved the highest quality products while staying very competitive in our pricing,” explains Brandon.
Contact: (888) 454-3356 | www.lifelongmemories.net