Springboard Consulting LLC recently honored Toys ‘R’ Us with a Disability Matters Award in the category of Marketing/Marketplace in part for their annual Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids, an easy-to-use resource featuring specially selected toys that aid in the development of children with physical, cognitive or developmental disabilities.  As the mother of two children with special needs and the founder and president of Springboard Consulting, popular M2Moms® speaker Nadine Vogel has long been a fan of the Toys ‘R’ Us Toy Guide telling us last fall that in addition to being visually appealing and easy to use, the Toy Guide was appropriate and authentic—representing a variety of disabilities in content and photos, including ‘hidden disabilities.’

According to Vogel, having a big retailer such as Toys ‘R’ Us put such an emphasis on families with special needs children sends an important message to consumers and brands.  “It says in a very big way that just like any other family, parents who have children with special needs make purchasing decisions about where to shop, what to buy, etc. with their child’s needs and interests first and foremost,” says Vogel.  And with approximately 23 million parents who have at least one child between the ages of 5-16 with a disability, this demographic group has become a vital part of any brand’s marketing to mom strategy.  Adds Vogel, “If you’re not marketing to this very large, loyal population, you’re really missing out!”

Awards were also given out in the categories of Diversity/Workforce, Work Life/Workplace, and Small Business.  “The disability community is the largest and fastest growing minority segment in the world, and in the U.S., it surpasses the Hispanic population by 5 percent,” said Vogel.  “Meeting the needs of this most important segment through workforce, workplace, and marketplace initiatives can no longer be considered just a strategic advantage.  It must be approached as a business imperative.”

You can meet Nadine Vogel during this year’s M2Moms®-The Marketing To Moms Conference, October 27 & 28, 2010, at the Chicago Cultural Center.