There exists a growing market in the United States that not only boasts a population of 54 million, but also has nearly twice the buying power of the red-hot teen market.
"The fact is, the population of people with disabilities has a discretionary income of more than $175 billion," says Dina Dorich, director of the office of public affairs of the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities (www.pcepd.gov), a federal agency in Washington, DC, that addresses workplace and employment issues faced by people with disabilities. A fact sheet on marketing to this demographic, recently published by the committee, suggests that business owners:
- define why this market sector needs the businesses' products and communicate that clearly;
- test their marketing approach on people with disabilities;
- keep an open mind about what people with disabilities can or can't do;
- use people with disabilities as models, actors or spokespeople in advertising and brochures.
For more significant outreach to people with specific disabilities, you'll have to define each segment. For instance, print materials targeting the visually impaired should be transcribed into Braille. And always be aware of the language used when referring to individuals with disabilities and learn the accepted verbiage.
A recent survey produced by Pitney Bowes Inc. found that U.S. consumers prefer direct-mail offers over telephone solicitations by a 4-to-1 margin.
Gwen Moran is president of Moran Marketing Associations, a public relations and marketing communications agency in Ocean, New Jersey, and creator of BoostYourBiz.com, an online marketing resource center. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- President's Committee of People with Disabilities, (202) 376-6200.