Often times, when I tell a client there are 56 million people with disabilities in the U.S., they often have no concept of how diverse this segment is. Only when we talk about the diversity of disability do they begin to realize how different their needs are.
If your company is planning to target consumers with disabilities this year, it’s also important to understand the distinctions between segments, and how products are used. For an example, as the result of a customer inquiry, Nike invented the FlyEase, a high-performance athletic shoe, for people with disabilities who have limited mobility and/or dexterity. Nike’s design team identified that this barrier impacted the ability for people to easily put their shoes on and tie their laces. They went a step further to create a solution, after understanding there are millions of people – young and old – who wanted the ability to put their shoes on independently, lessening frustrations for kids with disabilities, people with Cerebral Palsy, Arthritis or Multiple Sclerosis. By identifying influencers – occupational therapists, parents, caregivers and teachers – they extended their reach. They segmented the market and created an innovative product, which is the first of its kind.
I’ve developed a basic segmentation grid, which has provided clarity for clients. You can use it to define: the customer, disability type, demographics, primary/secondary goals and challenges, and what the solution is. I’ve included an example below:
Disability market segmentation removes ambiguity and allows companies to precisely reach consumers with specific needs and wants. It also provides a framework to measure revenue growth, customer satisfaction, and customer retention. The metrics build the business case for companies, and moves them beyond compliance and checking the box.
My Challenge to You: Host 2 or 3 listening sessions for specific disability groups and ask participants about their needs and preferences. Analyze the results and share insights with your company’s cross-functional disability inclusion team. This inexpensive solution will help your team create an informed marketing and outreach plan.
Throughout the year, I will provide actionable steps to integrate disability inclusion within your organization. Feel free to drop me a line and let me know how this process worked for your team.
Here’s to a great new year!
Carmen Daniels Jones