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Who Gets the Mattress? Marketing to Families in the Midst of Divorce

Divorce presents a unique sales opportunity. 

It’s a touchy subject, but like marketing to those getting married, those getting divorced often find themselves as consumers in need of half of everything. From living rooms to bedrooms, families enduring divorce are typically refurnishing life in two separate places. 

In this episode, Mark taps into Adrienne’s former life as an attorney with domestic relations experience and they discuss the emotional state of divorces, the pieces of furniture often top of mind and unique ways you can meet a customer’s needs during the tumultuous time. 

Need More Marketing Ideas?

Check out how virtual room scenes are converting higher sales in the online shopping experience.


Mark Kinsley: Adrienne has tons of experience with this, although she’s never done it. We start with a riddle here on the FAM Marketing Show, which begins right now.

Mark Kinsley: Welcome to the FAM Marketing Show Strategies, tips, and ideas to help retailers and brands grow their furniture, appliances, and mattress business.

Adrienne, do you have any clue what I’m talking about when I say it’s something you have a lot of experience? Although you’ve never done it,

Adrienne Woods: I have no idea. This is the first time we’ve ever done an episode where I have zero idea what we’re gonna talk about . But don’t worry, Mark is prepped. So, I mean, at least one of us knows what’s going on.

Mark Kinsley: I was laughing to myself as this topic came flooding into my mind because here I’m gonna give you a hint. You ready? And then we can get to our trivia question. Here’s the hint, you we have talked. The topic of marketing around marriage. Ooh, many times on this show and on other podcasts on the fam. So it’s not marriage, is it divorce?

Ding, ding, ding, . It’s divorce.

Adrienne Woods: I do have lots of experience on this.

Mark Kinsley: See, you have lots of experience with divorce, although you’ve never done it yourself,

Adrienne Woods: but that this is true, but do Okay, So for those that are not familiar with my background, my background is I’m an attorney and I have done domestic relations.

So I have probably done, I mean, 500 divorces is probably not beyond the realm of possibility.

Mark Kinsley: 500 divorces. I did

Adrienne Woods: a lot. I worked for a domestic relations attorney in law school and I mean, when you’re filing two or three divorces a day, you know, multiply that times two years. I’ve also been an attorney for 10 years, so I mean, yeah, I, I, maybe not quite 500, but more than 200.

We’ll, we’ll put it that way. Conservatively more than 200 wouldn’t surprise me if the number reached up to 500.

Mark Kinsley: Yeah, that is a lot. You’re cranking through ’em. Yes, and this is why I wanted to talk about this topic today. I don’t know if you know this from your experience in filing all those divorces, but it’s well known that January is divorce month.

Adrienne Woods: Ooh. I did not know that. I will say I did know just nationally. Divorces went up very, very high. Um, right in the middle of the pandemic.

Mark Kinsley: Yeah. Divorces went up in the middle of the pandemic. We know. Um, that was a kind of an aberration in terms of the, the rhythm of a divorce, let’s call it. Yes. Mm-hmm. . But, you know, here’s the stat for you.

32% of marriages end in the first 10 years. And so I think historically the, the stat that gets thrown around is like 50% of marriages into divorce. So we had talked about this past year how there were gonna be more weddings this past year than at any time since 1980. So as I was thinking about other marketing opportunities, you know, and, and look, it is an opportunity because when people get divorced, what happens?

You have to split up the household. They need furniture and mattresses. I’ve talked to men who’ve gotten divorced that are friends of mine, and they said, I just walked into. Rooms to go, or living spaces and I said, Here’s 10 grand. Please help me get set up. I don’t, don’t know what to do. So as we head out on the other side of the holiday season, people are gonna be making these types of decisions.

Now, Adrian, why do you think it is the divorce spikes in January? Or at least the decision to get divorce spikes in

Adrienne Woods: January? Because people don’t want to face a hardship during the holiday. They’re like, Let’s, I mean, so in my personal opinion, from the conversations that I have had, people are like, I want to give my kids one last Christmas together, even if it’s a miserable holiday together.

They just don’t want them to think of Thanksgiving or think of Christmas in a poor light because that’s when they got divorced. And so they punt it to January and that’s when divorces get

Mark Kinsley: filed. That’s what comes up from the research overwhelmingly, people that’s do the holidays. Mm-hmm. like you said, even if it’s a, a miserable last holiday.

And then also there are tax implications to divorce. So a lot of times people get out of that calendar year. Mm-hmm. . Now I, I’ve got some more stats about other big spikes in divorce months and how you can think about messaging and market. To people who are going to have their households split up. I know it’s not like a super comfortable topic, but it’s reality.

It is reality. And these people are gonna need help during this transition and you can be there to help ’em. Um, before we go down this rabbit hole further, okay,

Adrienne Woods: this is a good time, Tri time. Tri time, Okay. Who’s slogan is think d.

Mark Kinsley: Oh, can I just answer now? Do I have to wait until the end of the

Adrienne Woods: show? Um, that’s the, yes.

The rule is we wait until the end. Do you know the answer? You’re fine.

Mark Kinsley: A hundred percent know the answer.

Adrienne Woods: I did not know the answer. I’m this question. I I

Mark Kinsley: did not at all. I’m not, I’m not gonna, I’m not gonna give any hints. I’m not gonna give anything away. I won’t give options.

Adrienne Woods: If you know it, you can text us and we’ll announce it at the end of the show.

But if you, I did not know this. When I saw that, I was like, Oh, I wonder if Mark knows that, because I definitely.

Mark Kinsley: Yeah, I can tell you a ton of the backstory on this one as well. Okay. Then we’ll get to that. But let’s get to this. I’m a little older than you, Adrian. I mean, for the longest time, like I was the youngest person walking around it seemed like, and now this is not happening anymore.

Adrienne Woods: So I have a new game that I think we might also consider playing. It’s basically, Are you a Gen Xer?

Mark Kinsley: I’m technically, they would say a bleeding edge al.

Adrienne Woods: Oh, are you? Cause I was gonna say, I listen to the radio and it’s like every Wednesday morning they play this game and it’s just like a generations game of Gen X versus the millennials.

And it’s always trivia to see if the millennials can answer the Gen X trivia and vice versa. And I thought if we’re different, that would be a fun game to play. But you think you know the answer to the who Slogans think different? You can text us. Mark will guess. And if he’s right, then give us the backstory.

Mark Kinsley: And how you text us is you go over to fam.news and in the bottom right hand corner there’s a little box that you can pop up or it pops up on its own. That’s our podium number. So text us your answer or just text us if you, you know, wanna say it, you know, say your shout out to the fam. Perfect. Okay. And if you have thoughts on this topic around.

Can you tastefully and artfully market to people who are getting divorced? Well, I think there are ways to do it. Now, let’s, let’s, uh, as you’re thinking about that, the ways that you can market to people who are getting divorced, like I said, January is the big month where divorces begin to spike in terms of filings.

And it looks like a lot of these divorces are finalized around March. So if you think about the buying cycle for a mattress, a lot of times people. We’ll decide to buy a mattress and then it takes, you know, 30, maybe up to 90 days in many cases for that purchase to be fulfilled for them to actually complete the transaction.

So, okay, Gut check me, Adrian, so far. Does filing in January and then completing the divorce in March. Does that sound like an accurate timeline?

Adrienne Woods: It is an accurate timeline. I’ll kind of give you background just for at least Arkansas. So in Arkansas it’s a minimum of 30 days. So even if you’re in complete agreement, you say, I’m gonna file January the first.

You will not be divorced until at least January 30th. At all. And if you filed at, you know, 8:00 AM then they’re not gonna file until 8:02 AM or 8:01 AM on January the 30th. That’s just the way it works in Arkansas. So I would, and other states have similar timeframes, so yeah, and assuming most people aren’t in agreeance, I’m currently working on a divorce and it’s completely amicable, but they still have stuff they’re going back and forth on.

So it’s gonna be probably closer to 45 or 60 days before it’s actually finalized. So yeah, if you file in January, March seems like an totally appropriate timeline.

Mark Kinsley: And then if you have the super messy divorce, those timelines go six months longer. So

Adrienne Woods: right now I’m doing a modification of child support and they filed in July and it’s November.

And theoretically there’s not a lot to argue over other than money. But yeah, I mean, it’s not uncommon for a divorce to take, I think the average in Arkansas is six to nine months because most people have children and it’s just messy. I mean, you get a lot of emotions involved in that.

Mark Kinsley: Yeah. Assets, you gotta break up children schedules, you have to figure out schools, people are moving.

Yep. It’s a, it’s, it’s terrible for people. Um, so let’s talk about the data that’s public, at least in the state of Arkansas where you are familiar with the laws. Whenever somebody files for a divorce, is that published somewhere? Is that public information?

Adrienne Woods: It still ends up in the paper. So I always tell people, especially when we go to file, I’m like, Your name will end up in the paper.

I just want you to know that now only like four people still read the paper, but all filings are also available online. So at any point in time, if you’re just nosy or if you wanna keep status of your case and don’t wanna bug your attorney about it, you can go online and figure out the status. It’s all public information.

Mark Kinsley: Yeah. And if you’re nosy and you’re a marketer, uh, you could go online, uh, conceivably in your local county or your t. And you can look up people that are getting divorced and you can find their household information and you can start marketing to them. You can mail to them. Now, from a messaging standpoint, I think there’s certain amount of sensitivity we need to demonstrate and exercise here because it is a, a very tough time for people.

So positioning yourself as you know, were your guides, uh, to help you through this, to help you through this transition. And you can kind of keep the leg language even vague. Are you facing a big life transition? Um, we’ve, we’ve been here to help people in the past. So if you’re moving to a new household or you’re getting settled in, here are the things we have, here are the offers we have, here’s how we can make your life easier.

Um, but I, I think it’s these, these folks who are going through this experience of divorce, they’re gonna need help. And so why shouldn’t you position yourself to help ’em out?

Adrienne Woods: Absolutely. And if you can even offer some sort of, because it is public information, like a discount or a financing option, because a lot of these people, you know, they’re splitting their entire household.

So maybe you get the entire bedroom set, but you have no living room furniture. Or you know, you’re moving into an apartment that has zero appliances and cuz you’ve left all that cuz they got the house. Things like that are not necessarily things you automatically assumed that you had saved money back for.

Cuz you’re putting deposits down on new places to live, learning how to pay your own bills for the first time. So Absolutely, absolutely. It’s a very niche market, but it’s a growing market of

Mark Kinsley: people. Yeah, and, and like I said, 32% so every 10 years, and if that’s a rolling total mm-hmm. , a third of people in your community are ending up divorced.

And that’s couples, right? Yes. So there are two people there. So there are two households to potentially furnish or split assets and furnish parts of it. Um, so it’s a pretty big number. Um, whenever you talked to people getting divorced, did you ever get into. Splitting up the assets and and what were the biggest headaches.

And the reason I ask is I think it would be really valuable for retailers to be able to talk to people getting divorced and say, how? Is your mental state right now and how I can, how can I make your life easier? What are the problems that they present? What are the things that they say so that you can come in with an actual solution instead of just products, meaning like, we have this, this service that we, that we operate for people going through these types of transitions and we do X, Y, and Z, and it’s super simple steps.

You see what I’m saying? Like understanding the mentality and the stressful mind frame that they’re in could help. Create some sort of package deal that was an easy. Sure.

Adrienne Woods: So I have a funny story that I wanna tell you and then I have a great answer to this. So I worked on a divorce in college. This is before I ever even went into law school, but I was working for an attorney and we had a guy come in who was the attorney’s client, and I’m sitting there at the front desk and he is steaming mad.

And the judge had, they were so mad at each other, the judges had to get very, very specific. And he’s like, You will split 50% of all Tupperware. And so the wife, what she had done is she had split the Tupperware and given him all the lids, and she had kept all of the actual Tupperware pieces and she had split it 50 50.

And of course he was irritated over that because that’s how petty people get during divorces. Okay. But fast forward to a couple summers ago, uh, it’s probably, probably summer of 2020, helping someone through a divorce. They had this beautiful hallmark, I mean, absolutely beautiful, and a lot of pieces were custom made for the home.

And so she’s like, I’m not getting the home, and so I’m not gonna be able to keep this couch, which doesn’t, you know, seem super big, but it was custom made for this area. But the thing that she was most concerned about was outfitting her kids’ rooms at her new house. Because she’s like, We’ve made these beautiful rooms for these people.

And so in answer to your question, when you’re starting to think about people that are going through those huge life transitions, the things that matter to them are their kids. And they don’t want their kids to feel like they’re getting, you know, the short end of the stick because now they’re going to mom or dad’s house and their room over there isn’t as nice, and so they’re not gonna wanna be at their house.

And so helping. Fashion rooms for their kids, asking them about their children. How can we make your home their home? It doesn’t have to be a second home. It’s just how can we make your space feel like home to them? And I think keeping things like that in mindset, and even just asking the person who’s getting divorced, how do we make your living room, your living room, This is your space now, what does that look like?

What is something you always wish that you had? You know, in this specific house, this lady was like, I really love my entryway table. And they were arguing over the entryway table and finally she just gave it to him. And I said, But now you get to go get an entryway table that you really love. That’s all you, That will always be yours.

And you don’t have to fight over it and argue over whether or not it belongs here. So I think that might be a good piece to start with, is just asking people what makes it feel like home. We’re not just decorating a space, we’re making it a. For you to feel safe in and to feel comfortable, cuz presumably if you’re at this point, you’ve probably struggled with, you know, feeling outta place for

Mark Kinsley: a while.

I think it’s such a great pause point to talk about the kids, because I’m always thinking of what is the, the immediate emotional entry point and, and it is gonna be the children because like you said, you wanna make sure that now that they’re gonna be at dad’s house or now that they’re gonna be at mom’s house and that’s not the core environment they’ve been in.

Mm-hmm. , how do you make it feel like home? And that’s gonna be their number one priorities. Friends. Friends I have that have gone through this experience, it was the top. A friend of mine was trying to get these bedrooms set up for the boys and make sure that even though it wasn’t home, it felt like home and they had their own little signature and identity and stuff.

That was. Meaningful to them. And you know, a lot of that can be, I think, spurred along even though you don’t have your own stuff there, by letting them have creativity and be a part of the process. So maybe that, that’s what you can, as a retailer can do is say, Hey, are you thinking about your kids’ new space?

Um, as you head into this life transition, we can help make it their own and make it whimsical and make it fun and magical and make it a place they want to. Now let’s face the facts. When it comes down to it, each parent is gonna want the kids to want to be at their home. Mm-hmm. . So I think there’s a big opportunity to start with the kids and then that gets you right into a conversation with that person about how you can, like you said, get them an entryway table or new pieces that feel like home and feel like their own.

Absolutely. Man, I, you know, this. A total, It was a, uh, curveball conversation. You didn’t know it was coming. No. And no, you just brought in home, Adrian.

Adrienne Woods: Thank you. Well, I, you know, Thank you. I appreciate it. I’m like, Oh, this is something I can talk about. Um, you know, and in Arkansas, just to throw this out, in July of 2020, we no longer are a primary custody state.

We’re a joint custody state by default. So you have to prove. It’s not in the kid’s best interest to be with both parents 50% of the time. So kids are automatically out the gate. You file going to be with each of you half time. So you wanna make their spaces something that they feel comfortable in, cuz they’re going to be there at least half the time.

Mark Kinsley: Now let’s face the facts. Divorce. You’re gonna have to think different.

Adrienne Woods: Oh, good. S segue. Good segue. Okay, who is it? And then tell me the story.

Mark Kinsley: Bring it in full circle. So the tagline, so this is a trivia question for today. The tagline, Think Different. Who owns it is from

Adrienne Woods: Apple. And how do you, I did not know that my choices were Apple, Tesla, or ibm, but I truly did not know that it was Apple until I read this.

Mark Kinsley: It’s funny because if you, if you evaluate the language, you have the verb think and the ad verb should be differently. But they, they dropped it and they just, So e even out of the gates, it kind of is punching language and society in the mouth. And this was, um, originally, I believe the tagline for the 1984 Super Bowl commercial that Apple rolled out where they had this Olympian.

You know that that was the year, Of course, Big brother. Was supposed to be on the screen in every person’s home. And so they had this athlete with a, a hammer throw, like an Olympic hammer throw, come into this theater and throw it at this screen and bust through Big brother. Um, and then of course, you know, the Apple computer tagline was, Think different.

But yeah, that, that, that goes back to the Apple days.

Adrienne Woods: Interesting. I didn’t know that. So now I know that’s the Apple slogan. Think. Good for you. So here I’ll take us out if you don’t mind, Mr. Kinsley, you think that you have a marketing tip that’s worked for you such as marketing to divorce people? Email us@marketingfamm.news.

Also be sure to subscribe and never miss an idea that could make you a

Mark Kinsley: think different person.

Adrienne Woods: See, it’s not as easy when you have to come up with that on the fly. Join us each week and we will bring you more fam marketing magic.

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