Sunday, November 6, 2011

Emerging market of people with disabilities is impressive

From MediaBizBlogger by Vincent P. Staskel, M.S., a retired Legal Rights Advocate and Consultant. His 32-year career has included working on IDEA, ADA, SSA Claimant Legal Representation, and Media Arts Inclusion in the not-for-profit, business, and governmental sectors. He is presently very active in the promotion of performers-with-disabilities in the entertainment industry. Vince can be reached at


There are many interesting and positive trends in marketing to persons-with-disabilities (PWD) that the disability media should heed.

First and foremost we must utilize and advertise to the pwd community. We are a part of the community and know how important the purchasing power is of these consumers. Although the recent 2009 Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) report of $1 trillion a year in spending has been criticized as "happy fluffy numbers" because it included family and friends. That should be the point of the study. Disability spending DOES include family and friends. They are themselves consumers and/or supporters in the cause. Do not overlook them in your marketing strategy. Even if there is some fluff this is still powerful consumerism;

What To Look For

The second phase of the marketing strategy is to identify either "disability friendly" or "disability owned/operated" products and services. It's a lot easier to sell accessible travel agencies then taking an unknown travel agency and proceed at your own risk. Here of course the trust in the information is very significant coming from one of us!

Do not shy away from medical suppliers, pharmaceuticals, or advocacy organizations because they may promote the "Medical Model." In all honesty even as an early activist I still needed those basic needs of everyday disabled life. Especially now that we are reaching older age, yours truly included. These companies are ripe for advertising revenues.

Promotion Is Key

Our philosophy of promote one and all are promoted is a driving force in our marketing strategy. Every opportunity to Share information, events, and products increases tremendously within the pwd community. Take advantage of those social media postings that show great marketing potential. Again, they are disseminated to all persons viewing the web page including our supporters mentioned above.

Disability Media outlets do an excellent job presenting pwd performances, publications, special events, and products. Co-sponsoring and ad trade-offs are wonderful ways to get the word out. Both outlets benefit with cross promotion. This expands our sales and audience coverage area. The Hotel Industry reported a very impressive 14 per cent increase in income after making and advertising accessibility renovations. Yes in fact disabled consumers do buy when accessibility is known.

Points of Consideration

Recent Disability Marketing Statistics reveal that of the 54 million persons with long-term disability;

- 73% are the heads of households

- 46% are married

- 58% own their own homes

- 77% have no children

- 48% are principal shoppers.

The aggregate income of persons-with-disabilities tops $1 trillion. As these disability marketing statistics show this is more purchasing power then the pre-teen and teen markets combined. If you include families of pwds companies can reach four out of ten consumers in the disabled community.


As baby boomers age and we see an inclusive media ascendancy of performers, producers, writers, and filmmakers coupled with an emerging disability media industry there is a huge marketing potential.

We are very confident there is a bright future developing within the disabled community. Just watch and listen.