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Crafting the Customer Experience for People Not Like You

Special Needs Marketing Pays Big Dividends in Loyalty

If your next marketing piece could attract 53 million people in the United States who collectively enjoy 200 million dollars in buying power, wouldn’t you race to do it? Surprisingly, not very many companies have. I’m talking about the special needs community, an active and vibrant community who does and buys the same things the rest of us do each day.

The special needs market is the largest minority market today, but very few brands have been forward-thinking enough to be associated with it. It’s relatively easily to do. In fact, it’s better to be inclusive of the special needs community without saying anything about it. Retail giant Target found this out recently when they included an adorable little boy with Down Syndrome in one of their sale ads. Target didn’t say anything about him, didn’t put him in a “special” catalog. Instead, they just put him next to other adorable kids. Just one of many children you might see walking down the street on any given day. A normal, accepted – and included – child.

Since 400,000 people have Down Syndrome in the United States, it was a smart move, and one that parents of kids with Down Syndrome noticed.

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Twitter wins 2011 Social Media Popularity Contest

In spite of being dwarfed by Facebook’s sheer size, Twitter has been crowned the most popular social network of 2011. That is, if we measure popularity by media coverage. According to Highbrow Research, with the exception of two months (February and April), Twitter consistently edged out Facebook as the most talked about social media platform. Twitter received 50% of the media mentions while Facebook received 45% of the media coverage over the entire year. LinkedIn, MySpace, and Foursquare had to battle for the measly 5% media coverage left. Interestingly, Google + wasn’t even mentioned.

At first glance, it’s almost like David conquering Goliath. Facebook has over 800 million monthly active users to Twitters 100 million. Facebook users share 4 billion status updates every day while Tweets number 250 million. So why is the media talking about Twitter more?

First, Twitter users can be followed by anyone, and their tweets are public. Facebook is more private, allowing users to only share information with people they know. That alone leads to the media being able to follow Twitter easier. Second, Twitter is known for its high profile celebrity users who tweet about their lives prolifically. They announce pregnancies, divorces, and marriages, and all of that is great news fodder.

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