When it comes to inclusion, marketers tend to focus on demographics, but what about the one in four American adults who have a mental or physical disability Are marketers missing out on creating meaningful connections and relationships with a quarter of the population?
The 2022 Accessible Marketing Survey from Capterra examines the state of digital marketing accessibility in relation to disabilities.
“When your company ensures content is fully accessible to all people, it’s communicating qualities such as inclusivity, transparency, responsiveness, openness, and more,” writes the report’s author Meghan Bazaman, a senior analyst at Capterra. “By taking a more proactive approach, marketers can reach more customers while generating a positive brand perception.”
How are marketers tackling accessibility?
Some 83% of marketers say their company has stepped up its efforts to make digital marketing content more accessible, but most of that effort prioritizes demographics before physical ability.
Marketers say the top benefits of accessibility are improved customer service, better customer loyalty and an improved user experience.
The top way marketers are making digital content more accessible is by incorporating visual accessibility features, followed by hearing accessibility, speaking and voice assistive technology, cognitive and mobility.
Most marketers believe their digital accessibility features are effective, although the area most would like improvements is “more agile” and “more intelligent” voice capabilities.
Marketers are prioritizing features to make content more accessible for those with visual and hearing disabilities but the prevalence of cognitive disabilities among US adults is significantly higher.
Barriers to accessible content
The top challenge cited by marketers is cost, with 69% agreeing that creating accessible digital content is expensive. Other barriers include difficulties assessing performance, problems with design and coding, and a lack of staff.
Half of marketers say social platforms are the most difficult channel to ensure content is accessible, followed by email, events and websites.
How brands can improve digital accessibility
Education and training is the top way marketers think their company could be motivated to improve accessibility, followed by a decrease or increase in customers, internal policy changes and either ramifications or rewards.
Bazaman recommends that marketers focus on improving content accessibility for those with cognitive disabilities.
“This could entail altering the appearance of content so it’s easy to comprehend, well organized, clean, or simplified. Also, designing easy-to-navigate content with clearly identifiable links or buttons,” Bazaman writes.
The report highlights 32% of marketers disagree that their company’s workforce is representative when it comes to disability. This gap in disability diversity means marketers are losing out on valuable perspectives, Bazaman writes, recommending: “Marketers should start by soliciting feedback from or working directly with individuals living with disabilities.”
Dominic Varacalli, president of AudioEye, highlights tools and guidelines in this SmartBrief article that marketers can use to improve accessibility, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“You should make accessible marketing imperative, if you aren’t already,” Bazaman writes, noting, “Ultimately, you’ll be serving the needs of your customers, establishing better connections and doing the right thing.”
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