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Free Spirits: Connecting with This Unique Group of Funeral Consumers

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Have you ever served someone who:

  • Wanted the most one-of-a-kind tribute?

  • Was comfortable discussing their own death?

  • Was okay with having alcohol at a reception or wake?

You might have encountered a Free Spirit, 1 of the 7 consumer types* we identified in our study with McKee Wallwork + Co. To better connect with this consumer segment, you need to understand their preferences and expectations around funerals.

So, let’s cover everything you need to know about them!

*Each consumer segment has a different approach to funerals, comfort levels, and behaviors. We created profiles on each of these and are giving tips to connect with our changing families. Find a brief overview of all 7 types here or check out our first three consumer deep dives: Resolute Rookies, Great Expectations, or Distanced & Decided.

Free Spirits at a glance:

Assertive and imaginative are the words they would use to describe themselves.

This segment has more of an open mind about funerals than the other segments, but they don’t want anything too traditional or too religious. Free Spirits are more likely than average to identify as Atheist, and as a result, less likely to want religious elements at funerals. They’re the most likely segment to have discussed his/her own funeral or at least thought about final wishes.

These consumers are mostly likely to be organ donors and have tattoos 🐉 (38% have at least 1!). They also love their pets, and 61% say they have a closer bond with their pet(s) than some family members.


Free Spirits basic profile: 

  • Highly educated, with 85% having attended college or more
  • Income slightly above the national average at $72,800
  • The highest concentration of Atheists at 10%
  • More likely than the other segments to have tattoos
  • Skews 55-64 and is likely retired


Free Spirits funeral preferences:

This segment prefers cremation to burial, but they value customization and want a unique experience. Over 40% are comfortable with online planning. Free Spirits are also comfortable discussing death and said they would prearrange. In general, nothing is off-limits to them for a funeral service. They’re okay with a variety of locations and attire for a funeral, but as mentioned above, they don’t want anything too religious.

  • 56% prefer cremation to in-ground burial
  • 45% say tradition and ceremony are important parts of the funeral
  • 41% are comfortable planning a funeral online
  • 50% know a mortuary or funeral home they trust
  • 98% say it’s okay to take cremated remains home permanently and/or scatter them
  • 70% discussed their own funeral with someone
  • 49% have planned a funeral, memorial, or celebration of life


3 ways to cater to their preferences

To best serve the Free Spirit consumers, use technology and tools to help them plan a customized funeral or memorial for themselves or loved ones. 👇


#1. Emphasize preplanning

Since 7 in 10 Free Spirits have discussed their final wishes with someone, you can help them get their thoughts down through preplanning!

One way to do this is to provide an online preplanning tool (like this one) where families can preplan and pre-pay for services and merchandise from the comfort of home. They can also set an appointment with you to finalize plans.

You might be able to help them plan the most unique service you’ve ever held!


#2. Stay active on social media

According to the study, 92% of Free Spirits use social media, with 60% using it every day.

So, if you’re not active on Facebook or other social media, you need to be. It’s a simple way to start connecting with these consumers (and your community) in a more personal way. Plus, you can showcase your services, staff, expertise, and more on social media to connect with consumers online.


#3. Use the power of AI

41% of Free Spirits expressed they’re comfortable planning a funeral online and crave non-traditional options.

That makes Planning Center the perfect tool to connect with them! Planning Center gives families the option to plan a service online while keeping you in the loop with the details. They can e-sign documents, upload photos, message you directly, work on the obituary, and more.

Plus, it gives them the option to browse your services and merchandise (including prices!) before the arrangement conference. They can select different items for the service and have the opportunity to browse flower arrangements, keepsakes, and other merchandise.

Since they’re not a fan of anything too traditional, you can suggest outdoor events and venues, catering, video tributes, floral arrangements, keepsakes, and audience participation activities, such as a release ceremony, community painting, or tree planting. 

Learn more about Planning Center here >>>


Let the customization flow freely

In short, Free Spirits have given a lot of thought about their own mortality. They’re the least likely to have taboos around funerals and are more open-minded than the other segments.

Try some of these ideas today! With Free Spirits, nothing is off the table - so long as you help them plan the service they’ve always wanted.

For more information about Free Spirits and the other consumer types, please download our New Funeral Consumer eBook.

Passare can help you connect with consumers of all types! Request a demo and find out.