Why is divorce mediation not better known?
This is my personal observation: many friends, relatives or people writing me from our websites, such as divorcemag.com and marriageandseparation.com, etc. are not aware of mediation as an option for their divorce. When they ask me to help them with their divorce, they usually start by saying: “I need a divorce lawyer, can you recommend one?”
I would recommend a few divorce lawyers for them to choose from and I would also suggest other options for them to consider, including a financial expert, therapist and the possibility of using a divorce mediator or a collaborative divorce lawyer. Most of them have never used any of these services but have heard of them except for a divorce mediator or a collaborative divorce lawyer. (For the purpose of this blog post, I am going to talk about just mediators. Although a lot of my comments apply to the rest of the divorce professionals.) Most of them ask me “what is a divorce mediator?”, or “why do I need one if I am going to use a divorce lawyer?”
Those conversations almost always lead me to this question: Why is divorce mediation not better known? After all, it has been around for many years.
Are mediators interested in marketing?
My company, Divorce Marketing Group, has promoted many divorce professionals for almost 20 years. Mediators are rarely our clients. We have talked to many mediators as to why most divorcing couples do not know about divorce mediation and why don’t mediators market themselves. Most of the time, their answer is this: We don’t make the kind of money divorce lawyers do and we cannot afford to do marketing or promotion.
Being a marketer, I can’t help but feel that answer helps to explain why people don’t know about divorce mediators. No service or company automatically gets consumer awareness, that awareness has to be generated and built over time. Not only does each mediator have to market their own practice, the industry as a whole has to market mediation.
On Friday, Oct 23, I am scheduled to speak about eMarketing Divorce Mediation Practice to family mediators at the annual conference for the Academy of Professional Family Mediators. www.apfmnet.org/pg26.cfm I am hoping I will have more observations after my presentation on Oct 23. [Additional notes since my presentation at the conference: The mediators we met at the conference were very interested in marketing. The participants at our presentations were full of questions. Several of the volunteers for the APFM talked to us about marketing the Academy. They were in agreement that we need to increase the general awareness of mediation.I am hopeful that we will be able to work with them to increase the public’s awareness of mediation.]
Will you be the Justin Beiber of Divorce Mediation?
Sure, you’ve heard of the story of Justin Beiber getting discovered through his video on YouTube, and look at where he is now. But that’s a very very rare case. Can you really bank on having your practice getting known that way? If not, I suggest all mediators should take an active role in promoting mediation and your own practice. Talk to the association you belong to, ask them for their marketing plan to increase the public’s awareness about divorce mediation. Attend some online marketing seminars. A lot of them are free even though they may not be specific to your business. Also, seek guidance from people who can help you promote your practice. If you plan on being a mediator for a while, it is worth making this investment of time and money. It is time you make the public aware of mediation as an option for divorce because it is a very powerful option that deserves to be better known. After all, most mediators tell me they want to make a positive difference with people going through a divorce. I assert that that mission will be better accomplished by making a difference with the level of awareness of divorce mediation first.