Marketers must stop ignoring people with disabilities

This community has a disposable income of $8 trillion.

Are we there yet?
Christina Mallon
Inclusive Design Lead
Wunderman Thompson

Tell us about one thing that’s happened recently that leads you to believe there’s still a problem. 

As a marketer and a person with a disability, I’m still shocked that brands are completely ignoring the needs of the disability community especially when this community has a disposable income of $8 trillion. Glossier is a millennial-targeted beauty brand that markets itself as a body-positive female empowerment brand. For a brand that prides itself on empowerment, I was surprised to hear that their website wasn’t fully accessible to users with vision impairments (285 million people globally) until last year, and their flagship location in NYC is not wheelchair accessible. Every customer touch point needs to be accessible for a brand to truly say they’re inclusive. Studies show that 2/3 of customers surveyed prefer to purchase products and services from companies that stand for a purpose that reflects their own values and beliefs and will avoid companies that don't.

How about something that proves we are making progress?

Brands are proactively asking how we can help them make their customer experiences more inclusive and accessible. We created an inclusive design consultancy group within the agency to be able to provide the best solutions for those brands. This consultancy wouldn’t have existed a few years ago - as there wouldn’t have been enough clients to support it. 

What else needs to be done to get there?

People with disabilities need to be considered as a consumer set. I’ve seen brands that feature people with disabilities in their ads, even though their products are not accessible for people with disabilities. Every touch point along the customer journey should be inclusive. 

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