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Marketing to Hispanics: A Cross-Generational Approach

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

Male doctor playing with baby patient sitting on mom's lapWhile many other industries are catching on to the needs of the modern Hispanic consumer, healthcare has been slow to catch up. Of all ethnic groups in the United States, Hispanics are the least likely to have a doctor they see regularly or even to have health insurance. About 22% of Hispanic Americans do not have health insurance, while 24% do not seek regular care.

It’s the fastest growing demographic in the U.S., but also one of the most underserved in terms of marketing, especially in healthcare. As you’ll see, a lot of this has to do with old school perspectives of what marketing to Hispanics should look like. But it's also a failure to realize the nuances in generational marketing within the multicultural population.

Related: Multicultural Marketing Agency

The Importance of Reaching Different Generations

In general, the type of marketing message that appeals to an elderly person is different than that of a  younger generation. Marketing 101 tells us that a 65 year-old woman responds differently to a message about healthcare than would someone in their 20s who likely experiences fewer health troubles. But this is especially heightened with Hispanic audiences in the U.S.

That’s because a 65-year-old first generation immigrant will have a different experience in the US than a 25-year-old 3rd generation Hispanic American. The latter is able to quickly research the information they need and feels more confident navigating the healthcare system, calling the doctor’s office, or filling out a form. A first-generation immigrant, on the other hand, might face multiple obstacles in understanding our healthcare system, including language barriers, mistrust of the healthcare system, or a lack of access to insurance.

The In-Between Generation Making the Decisions

Many Hispanic homes are multi-generational. Perhaps the most important generation healthcare marketers should keep in mind includes those caring for both their children and their elderly relatives: the in-between generation. These are people in their 30s and 40s, with more information and experience navigating the healthcare system than their parents.

As the children of immigrants become more knowledgeable and successful than their parents, they often provide the healthcare guidance necessary to make the best health decisions. You may be hoping to reach an older patient pase. But even so, your marketing might actually target a younger generation making a parent’s or grandparent’s healthcare decisions for them.

Marketing to the In-Between Generation

Remember, these in-between generations of Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers are often caring for themselves, their parents’ healthcare, their in-laws’, and their children’s health. This generation has a lot to tackle and is most concerned that their families are able to trust their chosen healthcare providers.

They may or may not speak Spanish—but that’s no longer the most important part of marketing to Hispanics. When younger generations of second and third generation Hispanic Americans are making many of the major healthcare decisions for an entire household, what’s important is that you speak to them on a cultural level. Acknowledge the nuances of caring for an entire household of mixed generations. And provide an easier way to keep everyone involved with their healthcare.

Reaching Out to Busy Households

In Hispanic communities, there’s often a lot of pressure on the in-between generations--moms in particular--to be the primary caregiver for the household. In their own way, these moms (and many dads) often are the healthcare providers for their families.

With so much pressure to run a household, they’re running on clockwork. They have limited time to do research on healthcare options for their kids, grandparents, parents, themselves, their spouses, and kids. You can ease their pain of having to do this research by getting in front of these potential patients when they need you.

Don’t become something else on their to-do list. Keep reviews on your website so they know what others are saying about your team. Ensure patients have easy access to information about your services and any important educational resources. Make scheduling simple, and don’t put patients on hold for long blocks of time. And make sure patients can find you in the first place with a mobile-friendly site and quality search engine optimization. These are the basics of marketing to Hispanics and any demographic, especially as healthcare moves towards a model of consumerism.

Marketing to Hispanics Across Generations

Elderly Hispanic Americans often have someone else making healthcare decisions for them. Of course, this isn’t true across the board. Regardless of their situation, Hispanics are the fastest-growing mobile consumers in the country--and this is true across generations. They’re all seeing your ads online and taking note of your brand.

While it may be helpful to use Spanish-language ads to target these older generations, it’s not always necessary. Again, what’s most important to the multicultural demographics is to ensure your marketing resonates closely with their own cultural experiences.

Your marketing and your level of care should show that you understand the challenges of a first-generation immigrant, as well as the challenges of a younger head-of-household struggling to provide care for everyone. Segment your marketing by identifying those differences to cater to an older audience or a younger decision maker. And most importantly--make sure this new approach to marketing carries over to how you treat people and empathize with people within the office.

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