The World Health Organization (WHO) released a report in 2011 that revealed that up to 15.5% of the world’s population deals accessibility requirements of one kind or another. The 2011 census (PDF) put India’s disabled population as 2.21% of the overall figure. The census figures of 2011 are not very different of those of 2001 when India’s disabled populace estimated to represent 2.13% of the global population, indicating how long the problem has been prevalent.
It is a common to feel lonely and excluded in terms of accessibility to everyday products and services. Including the disabled community into mainstream life is multi-faceted and requires efforts from everyone including friends and family, care takers and the business sector. Although it may seem somewhat daunting, there are, in fact, numerous strategies a business can employ to both firstly analyze their market and then target the disability market as well as keeping a competitive advantage.
Go to the source
When developing or redeveloping your marketing strategy, make sure that you include people with special needs on your marketing team. No one understands the needs of disabled people more than they do themselves. If you don’t include people with special needs on your team of marketers you will never be able to fully understand the demographic and miss the market completely. Focus on each and every aspect of the marketing mix, making sure you fully tailor your marketing strategy to an all-inclusive audience.
Support the community
It is of vital importance to show support for those with accessibility requirements within your own community. Encourage your staff to attend meetings within your town or city that has a relevant focus on disability and make sure to introduce your company as one that fully supports the community. Invite job seekers with special needs to apply for vacant positions within your organization, encourage relationships with a range of suppliers and make disabled customers and clients feel welcome at your company. Create a positive image and reputation for your business that states you are fully inclusive.
Know the community and your market
It cannot be reiterated enough how important it is that you know your customer. The primary building blocks of marketing make it vital to know exactly who you your target market are. Always remember that customers will support a business that is supportive of their personal identity.
Create a communication channel
It is always a good idea to create an employee advisory committee and employee resource group and make it one of their goals to evaluate organization-wide workplace accessibility. Groups such as these offer employees the opportunity to network, address common areas of concern and receive support from one another.
Advertise your support
Make sure your company brand is all-inclusive by integrating people with special needs into your various advertising campaigns as models, actors and spokespersons. Statistics indicate that the disabled community is a large one with substantial buying power and by including everyone within your marketing you are sending out a very clear message to the world. Always remember that people with disabilities are more likely to patronize a business that is willing to employ them and include them in their marketing efforts.
Advertise in mainstream media
Reach out to customers both through mainstream media as well as in various publications and social media platforms. Make sure you regularly include disability-angled content that will make all individuals feel both welcomed and appreciated. When you are marketing your disability-friendly product/service you are not only aiming your efforts at those with special needs but at their friends and family as well. These allies will be more than willing to support a company that is making the effort to be accessible to their loved ones.
To tap into the very prolific disability market your company has to remain competitive while keeping your approach relevant. Make sure all new ideas and marketing efforts reflect a universal design to make ensure equal access to and full participation by the disabled community.
This article was written by Jackie Edwards as a guest. Thank you for this wonderful write-up
About Jackie Edwards
I’m Jackie and I’m now an editor, researcher, and writer. I formerly worked in IT, specialising in software engineering and later, web design.
One of my special interests in my previous career was making sure websites were designed with accessibility in mind, whether the user had a cognitive, hearing, mobility or sight impairment, which made web access difficult. This was important to me as I am on the Autism Spectrum.