Healthcare Marketing to Hispanic Patients

by | Mar 7, 2018 | Consumer Engagement

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.

Cultural Longevity

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.

Cultural Mobility

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.

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