What Consumers Really Think About Funerals

This article was written by ReneeM, on October 22, 2012

What Consumers Really Think About Funerals

More than 160 people ages 50-70 (Baby Boomers) were interviewed
in-person for 90 minutes on their opinions of traditional funerals.

The goal was to better understand what modern consumers are seeking in end-of-life service or ceremony.



Here are 10 highlights of their findings:

  1. 99% of funeral home facilities reinforce consumer attitudes toward death. The earth tones in the interior of a funeral home actually makes consumers feel as if they’re in a tomb. And, the exterior of most funeral homes looks like a mausoleum.
  2. A traditional funeral is seen to Baby Boomers as a lonely, lifeless tomb. They feel along, cold, confined and forced to face reality on their own.
  3. Funeral home advertising, as well as all pictures and visuals that funeral homes publish into this world reinforce consumers fear of being “trapped” in their grief. Think about it… how many funeral home advertisements have a grieving widow or a hearse in them? We need to reinvent and rethink our advertising efforts.
  4. Despite popular belief, Baby Boomers actually have an intense interest in talking about death and dying. They want to know their end-of-life options, and do something creative to celebrate their own life.
  5. Of all subjects interviewed in this study, not a single participant said they wanted to do nothing for their end-of-life. This means the opportunity to eliminate direct cremation IS there.
  6. Many alternative seekers have an intense interest to explore the topic of death, so they’re not afraid to talk about it.
  7. The negative feeling toward funeral directors isn’t as prevalent any more. They’re not seen as “bad” people, but as gatekeepers who are just there to do their jobs and nothing more.
  8. While many interviewees shared negative thoughts of traditional funerals, many people were excited to explain what they want in their non-traditional funeral. In fact, many interviewees hugged their interviewer because they finally had a chance to talk about how they want their end-of-life to be.
  9. Boomers see non-traditional funerals as their “crowning performance”. They want to be the writer, the director and the star. Funerals, to them, should be a celebration event that truly reflects them.
  10. Consumers want their service to be:

    – Improvisational: freedom to imagine and celebrate life in the way they see appropriate
    – A real, true account of their life: friends & family will share their personal stories
    – My life will be on display: family & friends will see the real them
    – My values will be on display: family and friends will see what was important to me – such as religion.
    – I want to feel like I matter: They want to be remembered that they’ve made a difference and touched people in some way.

(Information provided by The Funeral Service Foundation, the Olson-Zaltman Associates, and FuneralOne.)



DailyContributor.com: If you are entering immortality, why not go out with a bang?

A man, who died after being shot last Thursday, April 22 in Puerto Rico, was embalmed in a non-traditional way.

Visitors at his wake will find him riding atop his motorcycle and complete with the attire and sunglasses.
He is positioned as if he was revving the engine and in a fast highway.

David Morales Colon - Motorcycle Funeral

David Morales Colon, 22 years old and a victim of shooting, was positioned in the lifelike manner as requested by his family, who brought the motorcycle at the funeral home after he was killed.

The motorcycle, a Repsol-liveried Honda CBR600 F4, was a gift to Colon by his uncle.

The funeral home responsible for the unusual setup is Marin Funeral Home in Hato Rey in San Juan, the very same one that embalmed another shooting victim standing straight in 2008.

One can say that Colon is riding to the afterlife.

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