Marketing To People With Disabilities
Posted by admin on April 11 at 08:22 AM

We all know -- but sometimes forget -- that people with disabilities have the same range of preferences, perceptions, attitudes, habits and needs that drive consumer behavior of people without disabilities. Eric Lipp, executive director for the consultancy Open Doors, notes that the disability market controls more than twice the discretionary spending of the estimated $67-billion teen market. Yet, not even half the marketing dollars are targeted at the disabled community. Lipp shared 10 tips for marketing to people with disabilities.

1. Make sure ad is clearly identifiable. People buy from people that look like them. Use people with disabilities to market products that serve the needs of people with disabilities.

2. Use qualitative research for product placement. Test your marketing approach and products with people who have disabilities. Develop promotional strategies that target individuals with disabilities and their family members.

3. Direct mail is a very effective way to reach many. Braille or large type pieces would be effective targeting people who are blind or vision impaired. And include direct marketing via newsletters from national organizations, local newspapers, magazines and the Internet.

4. Include people with disabilities when hiring. Keeping your employee base varied will help you do the same for your customer base.

5. Get involved with community organizations that support disability issues. Attend annual consumer focused conferences. Become involved with the disability community by sponsoring and/or participating in local or national events or projects.

6. Thoroughly test your product or service before going to market. Select people with a variety of disabilities to be part of your strategy.

7. Remember to match disability to your demographic. Older people relate to other older people with vision and hearing disabilities. However, baby boomers don't self-identify with the disabilities of age.

8. Understand that all disabilities are different and affect each individual differently. Recognize the diversity of the disability market. Do not assume that one size fits all. Keep an open mind about what persons with disabilities can or cannot do. Advances in technology, rehabilitation and medicine, coupled with changes in societal attitudes, make many activities previously thought impossible for people with disabilities possible.

9. Work with what you have. Develop simple modifications to make existing services and products accessible.

10. Have no fear. If their needs are met, customers with disabilities become loyal users as well as “advertisements” for the products and services they have received and use.