Successfully marketing health care to Hispanic and Latino patients requires a thorough understanding of community, language, culture and the intersection of the three.
Hispanic people are the largest minority in the United States and Latinos accounted for about half (52%) of all U.S. population growth between 2008 and 2018. Understanding how to harness Hispanic and Latino healthcare marketing to patients—while making sure that your messaging doesn’t get lost in translation—is critical.
Demographics and Language
Crafting Spanish-language versions of your marketing materials may seem like a good starting point when reaching out to Hispanic or Latino audiences. However, you must first understand what the words “Hispanic,” “Latino,” and “Spanish” mean before committing to a marketing strategy.
“Hispanic” refers specifically to people who speak Spanish or originate from a Spanish-speaking country. “Latino” denotes people from Latin America, which includes non-Spanish speaking countries like Brazil, where Portuguese is the national language. And people who are “Spanish” are from Spain, in the same way that “English” people are from England.
Put more simply, your Spanish-language magazine may be perfect for your Hispanic audience but may not encompass the entirety of your Latino audience. If you’re marketing to a sizable Brazilian population, you may want to consider publishing materials in Portuguese.
Split the Difference
Depending on the demographics of the audience you’re trying to reach, creating marketing materials completely in Spanish may cause you to miss some key healthcare decision-makers among Hispanic and Latino families.
According to recent data from the Pew Research Center, 40% of U.S. Hispanic adults speak mostly or solely English at home. Consider creating mixed language marketing materials that cater to Hispanics who speak both languages. “Spanglish” publications may better represent the everyday experiences of audience members who have grown up in multigenerational households with both Spanish and English speakers. Either way, seek community feedback when expanding on bilingual publishing options.
Though the U.S. is often described as a “melting pot” that encourages the assimilation of foreign cultures into one uniquely American experience, Hispanics and Latinos retain much of their cultural heritage and customs through close familial ties, use of the internet, and connectivity with others via social media. As such, some cultural practices and biases are resilient in these communities and may affect their attitudes toward health care.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that of all ethnic groups, Hispanics are least likely to seek out medical providers and services. This may be linked to a number of factors, including access to health insurance, an aversion to discussing health matters and a preference for family remedies over impersonal clinical visits. To better speak directly to Hispanic people, try highlighting care options in your marketing materials using a warm, personal tone that places an emphasis on family.
For example, a hospital may focus on its cutting-edge technology, quick appointment times, and certification as a National Cancer Institute-Designated Cancer Center in its typical marketing materials. When considering a Latino or Hispanic audience when marketing health care to patients, however, it may be better for the hospital to highlight its free childcare services for parents undergoing treatment or a financial aid program that helps cover the cost of care. While quick visits and time-saving turnarounds are highly appealing to many Americans, Hispanics and Latinos prefer building close relationships with doctors, so leaving short appointment times out of marketing materials for these audiences may be preferable.
Choosing how to deliver your marketing content is an important cultural consideration as well. The "digital gap" is much less significant when considering smartphone ownership. Offering mobile apps and other digital services may make it more convenient for Hispanics and Latinos to schedule appointments, find a primary care provider or keep up with medical news.
Healthcare Marketing to Hispanic Patients
If treated as its own economy, the combined buying power of Latinos and Hispanics in the U.S. would be one of the largest in the world. Don’t be afraid to mix up your messaging to tap into this market.
Find out how we’re guiding healthcare organizations to engage their communities .