Marketing to Consumers with a Disability
Recently I decided to start a small business. I also decided that conducting research on how to market a successful business would be worth my while.
I wanted to learn how I could be explosive in the market…I knew I wanted to provide exceptional service, boast a quality product and, of course, make money in the process.
I quickly realized that I needed to target a specific audience or consumer. To do that, I needed to discover who my target consumers were. “That should be easy,” I thought to myself.
I reviewed marketing books, which outlined different types of customers and how to reach each particular group, but there was one “group” missing from all the books…people with disabilities was missing, and I thought that was odd.
I know from personal research (and knowledge/experience) that one group, people with disabilities, is one of the fastest growing minority groups. I also know that many of that group have a lot of disposable income and would be great customers for me. My quest for more information helped me learn a lot.
According to Rich Donovan, CEO of The Return on Disability Group, the number of people with disabilities is estimated at 1.3 billion. That means people with disabilities constitute an emerging market the size of China. Their friends and family add another 2.3 billion potential consumers who act on their emotional connections to people with disabilities. Together, they control over $8 trillion in annual disposable income.
That information really had me thinking about what life as a Trillionaire is like. I don’t know many people who wouldn’t want to be a trillionaire…so, it seems that marketing to the right population might yield high paying dividends.
After much research, and learning a great deal, I realized I wasn’t the first to come to this revelation. Have you seen the growing number of commercials that highlight the skills of people with disabilities? For instance, this Nike advertisement shows the potential of people with disabilities as they overcome challenges.
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obdd31Q9PqA (This is one of many Nike ads.)
- Have you seen this Swiffer ad?
These examples show that people recognize that citizens with a disability are a big part of our community, and if you want to market to the entire community, you have to be as inclusive and diverse as society itself.
Trust me, the people at Nike and Swiffer haven’t stumbled upon something magical. They simply recognized what many other companies are slowly realizing as well…to be successful you have to be inclusive of everyone, whether you’re speaking on race, age, sex or disability.
Pay attention to the commercials you watch, and see if they’re including people with disabilities in their advertising. It’s been said that “The Disability Market is the biggest new market out there.” With that knowledge, businesses that aren’t trying to figure out ways to reach people with disabilities, will soon find themselves missing opportunities.
Cornelius Booker is a senior member of the Regional Navigator team and a graduate of Oklahoma State University where he received his Bachelors in Marketing and later received his M.B.A with a focus on Business Marketing and Management. With his personal experience and passion for the disabled community, Cornelius’ insights are an invaluable asset to the Workforce Solutionsorganization.