Accessorize: Accessories Can Deliver More Than Dollars
Now I'm as mercenary as the next guy, but my eyes were really opened to the possibility of making a difference to an audience that wasn't even on my radar. And these audiences are not small. For example, the American Federation for the Blind reported in 2010 that an estimated 21.5 million adult Americans either "have trouble" seeing, even when wearing glasses or contact lenses, or are unable to see at all.
Of course, not all accessories lend themselves as directly to quality-of-life enhancement as bone-conduction headphones do, but marketing to this audience in a way that addresses their needs can be rewarding in more ways than one. Features that add to accessibility of all users can be designed into future products without necessarily adding additional cost. Some of those features can break the tie between your company and a competitor. Maybe your product includes some of those features already but, like me, you didn't even think of it. Now it's just a matter of bringing that to the forefront. I was amazed to find the number of outlets looking to bring helpful messages to the disabled and special-needs audiences: newsletters, blogs and conferences, some of which are specifically geared to bringing technology to their constituents.
In retrospect, it all makes perfect sense because accessories enhance products; they exist to deliver a more complete user experience. People with disabilities are the ones whose lives would likely benefit most from things that enhance their experience with a product. As manufacturers in an industry whose innovations change the world, consider supporting the groups that will most benefit from change. Look at your product offerings and consider how you can support alternative markets. We all want an improved quality of life. Now let's be a part of expanding it so more can experience what it really means. DS