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Inclusive marketing: Opportunities to empower all people

Today, on Global Accessibility Awareness Day, it's a good time for marketers to take a closer look at the experiences we design for our customers. There are one billion people in the world living with a disability, and 70% of those disabilities are not visible. If our marketing is not accessible to them, we're leaving a lot of opportunities on the table.

The reality is, most of us don't know where to start. So, let’s begin this journey together learning how to be inclusive marketers.

There are three key areas to focus on when developing an inclusive marketing strategy that will ensure long-term loyalty and business growth: inclusive products, audiences, and thinking.

Inclusive products

Consider how the design of your products, services or experiences may prevent people with disabilities from being able to use them. The key here is developing empathy that allows for discovery of how people may be excluded from your product or service. Then, innovate and fix the exclusions so everyone is included. 

Inclusive audiences

If you deeply understand your customers, you can uncover audience opportunities, and design campaigns from their point of view, with resonating empathy. As a marketer, empathy is your superpower. It will better equip you to authentically connect and be an inclusive storyteller, inspiring loyalty from your customers and a better overall customer experience.

Inclusive thinking

Inclusive marketing shouldn't be an afterthought, like a token stock photo. If it’s incorporated throughout your business culture, it will come through as your brand’s real-world commitment — through your engineered products and your marketing campaigns. Uncovering your benevolent brand attribute within your company’s mission is a great place to start to formulate your inclusive marketing strategy.

Modern Marketing is Accessible Marketing

To learn more about how to embrace an inclusive mindset and build in accessibility from the start, check out the Modern Marketing is Accessible Marketing on-demand 60-minute course from Microsoft Advertising, as well as a downloadable ebook. This course reviews how designing for people with disabilities has far-reaching impact for the general population. For example, when you consider the extended support network of family and friends of people with disabilities, the potential audience reach increases to 2.3 billion people who control an incremental $6.9 trillion in annual disposable income. This course provides a methodology for innovation called Inclusive Design, and it also covers ten accessibility principles that marketers can apply to ensure that we're creating inclusive experiences.

You can also join the Microsoft Advertising focus group where we'll strive to make Microsoft Advertising’s UI as accessible as possible. If you or someone you know has needed digitally accessible experiences, this focus group would love to have your insights!

If I haven't yet piqued your interest on how inclusive marketing can uncover new opportunities, consider some of the following statistics on the new consumer, who no longer views brands as separate entities but rather as an extension of their values:
 
  • 91% of millennials and 93% of moms will switch to a brand that supports a good cause.
  • 70% of millennials and Generation Z will choose one brand over another if it demonstrates diversity in its promotions.
  • Nearly half, (47%) of millennials say they’d choose an inclusive brand over a competitor who offers a similar product.
  • And finally — if you could increase your ads to be 25% more effective, wouldn’t you jump at the chance? According to a Kantar study, the most progressive ads are 25% more likely to be effective where they tend to trigger more positive engagement and consumers feel the ads are more enjoyable, relevant, and surprising.
At the heart of inclusive marketing is getting close to your customers. This creates empathy, helping you uncover valuable insights that lead to discovering untapped business opportunities. Not only will you drive business impact, but you'll also bring return on purpose, because ultimately, you're contributing to empowering all people. And after all, driving a return on investment and doing good in the world — that is the new cool.