What are we trying to accomplish when we announce that we are creating new marketing efforts in order to grow the use of the Collaborative Divorce Process in Texas? In one of my previous incarnations, I was an entertainment executive responsible for programming theaters and amphitheaters with live entertainment. I had a mentor who used very few words when he gave me advice on marketing: “Sell more tickets!!”
I would sit back in my chair and think about that phrase over and over. What does this pearl of wisdom really mean? Find more customers? Find better entertainers? Build bigger theaters? Perhaps, all of the above. Bottom line, of course, was to put more butts into the seats. This meant I had to understand why does a person buy a ticket to a live event? What motivates them beyond price and availability? What am I putting out there that might persuade them to spend an evening away from home and spend their hard-earned cash?
Collaborative Divorce isn’t a car. It isn’t a can of soda. It isn’t a commodity. It’s a better way for the family to experience and survive the trauma of divorce. The advertising industry spends millions of dollars every year testing the most effective ways of reaching a consumer in order to persuade them to buy a particular product. Divorce is our product. Not just any divorce, but, a collaborative divorce. We all know why it is superior to a litigated divorce.
I believe people hire their divorce guides (sometimes called lawyers or counselors or accountants) to get through the process first based upon their personal experience; second based on someone else’s experience/recommendation; and lastly because one person sounds better than the alternatives (personality, location, cost, etc.).
Where is a central place that we can identify that potential clients go to find their guides? The Internet/Social media/Facebook seems obvious and we are already there. That has been CDT’s focus for the last several years. Our website had nearly 75,000 visits in 2019. Good bang for our bucks. We can measure the activity and, at least anecdotally, determine if there has been a rise in activity as a result of our digital media campaign.
So what are our other marketing choices? Brochures; Business Cards; Flyers on windshields? The professionals point to the big four: TV, Radio, Newspaper and Outdoor Advertising.
- TV is really expensive, especially in a presidential election year.
- In the Dallas Fort Worth area, 20 Collaborative Divorce Attorneys have joined together to form the North Texas Collaborative Divorce Alliance. Together they have purchased advertising time on the public radio station, KERA 90.1, during the “Think” radio program Monday through Friday from Noon to 2:00pm. This is proving to be a cost-effective investment of only $150.00 per month per member for a massive reach throughout North Texas.
- Newspaper, unfortunately, is a dying medium. The print newspaper reader is aging rapidly and the cost of an effective print newspaper ad is still prohibitive for what is only a one time shot.
- The theory behind Outdoor Advertising is that a static sign gets seen by a lot of eyes as they drive by or shop at a mall or go to a restaurant. Can we put a specific thought in a person's head about Collaborative Divorce that is respectful of their privacy and prompts them to want to know more because their sister mentioned last weekend that she and her husband were struggling in their marriage. Or a therapist might be reminded to refer a patient to a collaborative lawyer instead of a litigator. Or the CFO of a company might think about packaging collaborative legal services inside of the company’s benefits next year. Sign advertising is less expensive, static and requires repeated exposures. It is difficult to measure but we know it works because the industry continues to thrive.
The next step in our continuing to build the brand awareness of Collaborative Divorce in Texas is to utilize some traditional media options. They are already doing it in North Texas. Part of the 3 tiered marketing strategy of CDT has been to that CDT creates the statewide brand, practice groups then expand the brand in their markets and professionals leverage that into their practices. The opportunity is for practice groups to increase the awareness of Collaborative Divorce directly in their individual markets.