The Right Way of Death: Restoring the American Funeral Business to Its True Calling

The Right Way of Death: Restoring the American Funeral Business to Its True Calling

by Eric Layer


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What if you've been right all along?

What if everything you think (but can't say) about funeral service is true?

Death care isn't what it used to be. Cremation rates are sky-high, customers have changing expectations, and new competitors materialize every day. It's no surprise that an entire generation of family funeral home owners are wondering if this is the time to get out.

This book has the answers. Author Eric Layer has spent his career helping brands navigate the winds of change, after spending most of his life in and around the family business of funeral homes and cemeteries. He leverages that unique perspective to paint a vivid picture of what today's funeral directors are getting right-and what they're doing wrong.

The current uncertainty around death care is not morticians' fault, but it is their problem. The calling is hamstrung by mixed messages. It's tough for a modern funeral director to decide whether to be leader or follower, salesperson or confidant. But there is a right way to do death, and funeral professionals are experts. The future of the business will require a recognition of that truth so that those who work in death care can reclaim the soul of the calling and guide families with care and confidence.

Layer's firm, McKee Wallwork + Co., has spent more than a decade meticulously researching and consulting with funeral homes and related businesses. The firm has been a pioneer in industry research, having fielded the first-ever national funeral consumer psychographic segmentation study and co-invented the Death Care Genogram, as well as the Death Disruption Index. In The Right Way of Death, you'll find a crisp and insightful portrait of the modern business of death that draws evenly from that extensive research, business case studies, and poignant personal anecdotes.

An engaging, thoughtful, and surprisingly enjoyable rebuttal to Jessica Mitford's controversial 1963 book The American Way of Death, Layer's The Right Way of Death is a must-read for any American funeral director, cemeterian, or mortuary owner ready to do death better.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781735610924
Publisher: McKee Wallwork + Company
Publication date: 09/21/2020
Pages: 258
Sales rank: 777,851
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.63(d)

About the Author

Eric Layer has spent his entire life around funeral service. His parents were married in the chapel of the mortuary where they both worked, and his childhood was marked by firsthand experience with the funeral homes and cemetery where his family built their careers. Today, he leads the death care division at McKee Wallwork + Co., an internationally recognized marketing advisory firm that specializes in generating momentum for stalled, stuck, and stale industries and brands. There, he has consulted for a number of globally recognized funeral brands and has played an integral role in their campaigns, products, and research efforts.

Eric lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with his wife and two sons.

Table of Contents


A Note on Terminology


Section 1: You've Been Right All Along

  1. The Split Personality of the Calling
  2. A Lost Generation
  3. Nonreligious Green Burials on Mars
  4. The Right Way

Section 2: The Lies We Tell Ourselves

  1. Lie #1: We'll Always Have the Body
  2. Lie #2: We're All Things to All People
  3. Lie #3: Merchandise Matters

Section 3: The Solution

  1. How We Work
  2. How We Sell
  3. How We Make Money
  4. Optimizing to Death




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