Tips for an Accessible Marketing Campaign

Published August 11, 2022

When planning a marketing campaign, companies aim to reach as many potential customers as possible. Inclusion of all people in the community is a major component of this strategy.

Among the demographics important to consider are people with disabilities. When planning ways to reach individuals with various ability levels or with impairments, companies should prioritize accessibility. 

Accessible marketing involves representation, thoughtful strategy, and ensuring that the public can easily perceive information. Here are some ways companies can build an accessible marketing campaign. 

Accessibility in marketing matters

From an ethical and practical standpoint, companies should prioritize marketing to potential customers of all ability types. Businesses that people may want to frequent or partner with should allow equitable access to their content.

There is also a legal incentive for accessible marketing. Most businesses fall under the jurisdiction of ADA Title III. This title prohibits discrimination in places of public accommodation. While this typically refers to physical barriers, websites that receive government funding are also liable under this law section.

This is predominantly the case for websites containing business locations or contact information. Target and the National Federation of the Blind, a 2006 case, provide precedent for this. The courts ruled that Target's website served as a "gateway" to its physical locations due to its integration with its website.

Prioritize accessibility from step one

To effectively account for the accessibility needs of potential customers, diligent planning must occur in the early stages of a marketing campaign. Unfortunately, accessibility is often an afterthought in strategizing, leading to issues down the line. If accessibility is hurriedly put through a checklist after the campaign is complete, there is a higher likelihood that something will be dismissed or forgotten.

What is commonly defined as “disability” contains a depth of conditions, experiences, and abilities. For example, marketing teams must consider incorporating different vision levels, intellectual capabilities, and mobility impairments into their campaign strategies.

Implementing accessibility strategies early on is the best way to ensure not to exclude someone. 

Accessible ad and product content

An important step in accessible marketing is ensuring the accessibility of ad and product description content. Companies can do this by delivering text with a legible font, easy-to-read color schemes, and proper color contrast. Companies can ensure digital accessibility by consulting the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).

WCAG includes specific instructions and standards for foreground and background color ratios.  Other means of accessible ad content include clear and concise messaging, easy to navigate landing page, and using text alternatives.

In addition to the aesthetic of advertisement campaigns, marketing teams should pay close attention to their product descriptions. Once a customer sees an ad on a website or opens a marketing email, the goal is to get them to click for more information. Using inclusive language when writing product descriptions will help to drive sales.

Representation in advertising

When planning a marketing campaign, a company should strive to help all potential clients feel included in their messaging. Before the designs roll out from a marketing team, it's worth reflecting on the demographics of their target audience. 

Representation is crucial for all communities, including individuals with disabilities. Potential clients with disabilities may feel more welcome and seen when you include them in your advertisements. This could lead to a return on any investment and a growing customer base.

A lack of representation risks alienating a potential client base. In early 2022, an Australian activist publicly launched a petition demanding accessibility from dating apps. Her petition states that apps like Tinder and Bumble should include people with disabilities in their advertisements.

Commitments to inclusivity

The most straightforward way for a company to create an accessible marketing campaign is to make a public commitment to inclusivity. Companies often incorporate inclusive or adaptive product lines within their brand.

An example of such a company is Lego. In 2020, Lego launched a campaign for a line of Braille Bricks. According to Lego’s press release page, “ LEGO Braille Bricks introduces a fun and engaging way to help children with vision impairment develop tactile skills and learn the braille system.” 

This commitment to accommodating differing ability types benefits the company and its potential customers. For the company’s benefit, introducing this inclusive product has increased its customer demographic and raised its reputation amongst the disability community. 

The potential customers of Lego also benefit. Young individuals with visual impairments now have a means of enjoying a childhood play staple they may not have previously been able to enjoy. Through this product and the company’s commitment to inclusion, differently-abled children have a chance to feel included and considered. 

Vendor Directory now offers an impartial listing of digital accessibility vendors.  Search for products and services by category, subcategory, or by company name.  Check out our new Vendor Directory here.