top of page

Mediator specific Marketing principles

The 7 Ms of Mediator Marketing


In this article we intend to revisit the traditional 7 Ps of Marketing. The goal is to create a new 7 Ms of mediator specific marketing principles, rather than generic terms linked to marketing as a whole.


Why? Mediation is a niche market and one that can only be won, by understanding the nuances of the sector. To succeed at marketing mediators, a good marketing consultant will need to ensure they are experts in mediation and the dispute resolution sector.


What is the traditional marketing mix? Traditionally, the marketing mix refers to the strategies (or marketing activities) that we have, to satisfy client needs and position our offering clearly in the mind of the client. It involves the 4 Ps; Product, Price, Place and Promotion (McCarthy, 1960) and an additional three components that help us meet the challenges of marketing services, People, Process and Physical Evidence (Booms & Bitner, 1982)


How do we adapt the principles that have formed the foundation of best marketing practice for decades?


The answer is to revisit each one, look at it closely and ask,


'How does that translate into an element specific to the mediation sector?'

Using that premise, the following is what I arrived at:



desk with pads and pencils on it in black and white

1. Movables Developing the 1st P of marketing – Product. Movables, refers to the service that a mediator’s business provides to clients. It focuses on what services the mediator offers to meet the client’s needs as the human factor responsible for delivering the service. The goal is to create the right blend of mediation services by demonstrating areas of expertise, reputation, experience and qualifications. A mediator should clearly demonstrate the value they can add as a mediator and differentiate their expertise from competitors. Questions to answer are, ‘How do I demonstrate my brand values to clients?’; ‘How do I promote my mediation services?’; and ‘What code of conduct or professional standards can I show to clients to reassure them of a certain standard?’

2. Money


Developing the 2nd P of marketing - Price This is the one element of the seven that focuses on the generation of revenue, rather than expenditure of marketing your mediation services and building your business, which the other six Ms do. A mediator needs to charge their mediation fees at the right level, to attract the right client in the right section of the market. Fees charged need to be competitive and realistic and should be representative of the added value that the mediator brings to the process. Mediation fees should also respond to the value that the client perceives the mediator to bring to the mediation process. Questions to ask are, ‘How do I market my mediation fees to clients?’; ‘What are my payment terms?’ and ‘Do I have a fee structure that changes depending on the type of mediation offered?’


3. Machinery


Developing the 3rd P of marketing - Place This is the place where clients go in order to retain your services and the methods you use to deliver them. We are talking here about physical channels such as the venue for the mediation and the location. If the mediation is not being held in-person, what platform do you use to mediate? It could be online (Zoom, MSTeams, Skype), or it could be by telephone. By promoting your ability to provide mediation services through a variety of channels you are demonstrating your flexibility as a mediator and showing you are multi-faceted. ‘How do clients access my mediation services?’



4. Messaging


Developing the 4th P of marketing - Promotion This is about your marketing communications. It is important to look at the channels that are used in order to market your mediation services effectively. For a mediator focusing on their digital marketing, this is likely to be via a website and social media channels. This might include your own independent mediator website, that of a mediation provider, organisation like CMC or of a publication like Legal 500. You have set up your mediation services, are available through defined channels and at a competitive rate but how do you tell clients about it? You need to communicate a message to clients. Remember AIDA? Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action. You need to explore what tools are available to you to help you communicate your services. Advertising and PR build awareness of a brand and create new audiences. Social media can help you to engage with clients. Networking helps to build new relationships. It is important to know your audience and know where you need to play your message to get it heard. Communicating also helps to build your reputation.



female standing with mobile tablet in hand

5. Medium


Developing the 5th P of marketing - People Who is the face of the organisation? Who do the clients see when they interact on the mediation journey? Maybe this is you or, if you are part of an organisation or member of a mediation provider, it is a team. The team’s knowledge of the mediation services you offer is vital to your success. Approach and attitude towards clients, needs to be optimum. They need to be able to differentiate your services from other mediators in a crowded market. A mediator is a personal brand. Clients want to be able to clearly see the mediator who delivers the mediation service. They also want to be reassured that that mediator will provide value and in what way that value will be given. This relates heavily to the first M – movables and the sixth – method.


6. Method


Developing the 6th P of marketing - Process The seamless running of your mediation services is attributed to what is happening behind the scenes. Understanding the steps of the client’s journey- from making an enquiry to requesting information to booking your mediation services- helps us to understand what processes need to be in place to ensure the client has a positive experience. When a client makes a mediation enquiry how long do they have to wait for a response? What information should they receive? If what format? What happens once the clients books your services? How can we use technology to make the admin process easier? Here focus also on the actual mediation process. How do you orchestrate the mediation? What type of mediator are you? – Facilitative, evaluative, transformative? Think about the phases of the mediation process – choosing a mediator, preparing for the mediation, opening joint sessions, negotiating a deal, writing a settlement agreement. All of these facets of the mediation process need to need to be demonstrated in the way in which you market your mediation services.

7. Manifestation


Developing the 7th P of marketing – Physical evidence Highlight the tangible cues of the quality of experience that you are offering as a mediator. These are particularly useful for a client who has not used your mediation services before. This includes testimonials, feedback, articles, webinars and your website. Also crucial to this is the setting in which you hold the mediation. Linked to ‘machinery’ you need to look at the environment you create when you are mediating. If you mediate in-person how do you layout the breakout rooms and main meeting room for the mediation? What kind of environment do you want to create – natural light, fresh air, nice views from the window? What are the venue’s facilities like? Think about the practicalities of the room layout. Accessibility of venue, signage, privacy, soundproofing, materials available (pads, pens, flipcharts) are all key considerations. Clients who book you for a mediation want to know that you have the expertise to orchestrate all of these elements. They want evidence of this is your marketing.


Conclusion


Marketing can and does work for the mediation sector. However, just applying the standard marketing principles - however well known and taught they are - is not enough when it comes to marketing mediators. We have to remember that it is an extremely niche market. It has a plethora of individual characteristics that make it what it is. We have to take these nuances and characteristics into account when we are marketing it. Otherwise, we are doing mediation and the mediators who work hard to do it, a complete dis-service. movables – money – machinery – messaging – medium – method - manifestation


References:

Booms & Bitner, 1982, Booms, Bernard H. ; Bitner, M J. / Marketing Services by Managing the Environment. In: Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly. 1982 ; Vol. 23, No. 1. pp. 35-40.



Comentarios


bottom of page