Remember when Hillary Clinton campaigned against Barak Obama in the 2008 Democrat primary, and her campaign ran a commercial asking the question: “Who would you call at 3:00 in the morning?”
The question was meant to undermine her opponent’s credibility, experience, veracity and ability to serve in the office of the President.
Considering the intersection between ADR and marketing, the advertisement’s basic question remains relevant today, regardless of the now-forgotten motives behind it.
ADR professionals are building better mousetraps everywhere, all over the world, from private practices through nonprofit organizations. Yet, many businesses, organizations, professionals in other fields and private individuals, have little practical awareness of the work, or skills, of a mediator, an arbitrator, a dispute resolution private practitioner, or a community based resolution center.
The general public lacks awareness. This is often because ADR professionals know how to get to peace, but they don’t know how to market what they know, their processes, their procedures, their approaches or their philosophies, to a world that needs them now more than ever.
We spend a lot of time in the field talking to—and at—each other about whether facilitation or transformation is a better approach to resolution. We spend a lot of time in the field lamenting the fact that there are very few people who understand and appreciate the unique and interdisciplinary collection of talents, skills and philosophies that make us able to sit down at a table and unite parties in conflict. We spend a lot of time lauding the volunteer work that many of us do, even as government dollars dry up and private funding is stretched thin. But, who will people in conflict call at 3:00 am, if not us?
A lot of the solutions to these problems can be solved by applying effective, data driven, reality tested marketing techniques. Some of which are as old as the Roman Empire, others which are as new as the Wild West of social media—all of which are being used in business right now.
Building a better mousetrap is great, but if no one buys it—or beats a path to your door—how do you tell your target audience—people with mice infestations—that you've got the solution to their problem?
Over the next two years, I will be writing articles (twice a month at around 500 words a piece) focused on raising provocative questions and providing cutting edge answers to marketing issues and concerns for ADR practitioners here at ADRtimes.com. I am excited to get started. If I miss the mark (which I have been known to do), I will actively listen and engage with you and seek to understand first, then be understood.
Please feel free to contact me via email or explore my blog, The HSCT #Communication Blog, as well as take the time to talk with me via Twitter, the HSCT Facebook Page or even connect with me via LinkedIn.
All right. Let’s get going…
By Jesan Sorrells