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Opportunity Insights: Marketing Healthcare Services to Hispanic Demographics

By Stewart Gandolf, Chief Executive Officer

By Charlie DeNatale, Healthcare Success Media Supervisor

hispanic family cheering in excitementReaching and attracting new patients in the Hispanic audience is a healthcare marketing opportunity that can’t be ignored. But marketing to Hispanic audiences holds challenges for healthcare providers, due to the Affordable Care Act and changing demographics. And regardless of your location, this may be a largely untapped opportunity for doctors, medical group providers and hospitals.

Truly effective marketing that reaches the Hispanic population in the United States requires a greater cultural awareness, cultural sensitivity and carefully tailored planning. For physicians, hospitals, clinics and care centers to serve the Hispanic population, the marketing message must be tightly connected to the community.

Among the challenges is the fact that the Hispanic marketplace is more diversified than many people are aware, and not exclusive to California, Texas, New York and Florida. While these areas are important, many other parts of the nation also reflect Hispanic population growth.

hispanic latino population map

Some of the factors that top the list of marketing considerations:

Country of Origin and Subcultures. The single most important segmentation factor among advertising to US Hispanics may be their country of origin. The US Hispanic market is comprised of subcultures from over 20 countries in Central and South America, the Caribbean and Spain, with the majority (63%) of Mexican heritage.

The culture, beliefs, opinions and consumer behavior patterns of U.S. Hispanics are not identical, as a result of the influence of differences in their native countries' geography, indigenous ancestry and colonial origins. For example, the California Hispanic marketplace is far different from the New York Hispanic marketplace. Likewise, there are distinctions for Cubans vs. Puerto Ricans vs. Mexicans vs. South and Central American cultures vs. any other Spanish culture.

Precision plan: Healthcare marketing, advertising and communications approaches require careful research and planning. Individual approaches will vary, tailored to the area, the practice, the procedure or service offering, and the key media available.

Communications channels for healthcare marketing to Hispanics…

Broadcast media (radio and television), as well as social media, are important marketing and advertising channels for reaching and attracting the Hispanic audience.

  • The Hispanic cohort watches about 33 hours of TV weekly and stream 6.9 hours of video monthly.
  • When watching TV, 40 percent of Hispanic adults prefer to watch English language cable networks and 39 percent prefer watching Spanish language TV stations.
  • More than 90 percent of Hispanics listen to commercial/terrestrial radio every week. Of this, 53 percent are male, and 47 percent are female. The average time listening to radio is 12 to 13 hours per week.
  • The most unique aspect of Spanish-language radio stations is the average time spent listening.
  • The most listened-to radio time period for Hispanics is from 10 AM to 3 PM.
  • The preferred radio musical format is Mexican regional, followed by contemporary pop hits, Spanish Contemporary and rhythmic contemporary hit radio.

Of all the Ethnic groups, Hispanics index higher than any other ethnicity in use of social networks, on-line streaming, use of smart phones and tablets.

  • 77 percent of Hispanics own a Smartphone
  • Hispanics 18-49 years of age lead the market when it comes to app downloads and usage, according to Nielsen’s Mobile Media Marketplace
  • Hispanics like the Internet because it's a teaching and educational tool
  • Younger and more affluent Hispanics can be reached via online advertising.

Best Practices insights for marketing to a Hispanic audience…

Cultural relevance and appropriate use of language in your marketing messages to the Hispanic market can make or break your attempts to attract their attention. In addition:

  • General-market-targeted campaigns typically achieve strong engagement among most sectors within the Hispanic community. These same campaigns can also be quite successful in affecting Hispanic consumers’ attitudes and behaviors.
  • Women are not the main influencers related to healthcare decisions. Fathers/Brothers/Husbands are more influential.
  • Targeted Spanish-language advertising has an important role, often producing incremental awareness of the advertising, beyond what the general-market campaign will achieve.
  • The digital advertising and social media environments are enormous opportunity areas for targeting, tackled with the right strategies.
  • Different Hispanic age groups prefer their advertising messages in certain languages. For example: If you want to speak to 18-34 year old Hispanic Adults, 35 percent of them consume their media in English, 25 percent in Spanish and 40 percent claimed English and Spanish equally.
  • Historically, when trying to reach Hispanic Adults 35+, it has been documented that the best way to reach this audience is in the language that they speak at home.
  • Among Hispanics, 35-64 years of age who were born in the US, 32 percent said they prefer to consume their media in English.

Preferences vs. Responses

Hispanics may prefer English or Spanish language ads, but which language ads actually generate better response?

  • When asked about "effectiveness and persuasion" 70 percent of Hispanic adults found English ads less effective than Spanish ads in terms of persuasion and response, according to Advertising Marketing Review.
  • If you are selling a service, such as Healthcare, 56 percent of Hispanics surveyed said they respond more to Spanish language ads than English language ads.

The more your advertising "engages Hispanics", the more effective the advertising will be. Most industry experts conclude that this is one reason that Radio and digital advertising does well with Hispanics.

Additional marketing insights and recommendations…

  • Differentiate the market opportunity between Hispanics and non-US-born Hispanics.
  • Communicate accurately to Hispanics in both English and Spanish.
  • Language translation with marketing channels can be critical. Cultural meanings can translate differently, so it's important to communicate in the appropriate language grammatically and structurally.
  • Custom Hispanic publications have a tremendous influence on Hispanic families, according to the CDC and Mediamark Research.
  • Community outreach programs are important tools for close connections and building trust.
  • Referrals are important to Hispanics in making their choices for physicians and care facilities.
  • Minority newspapers are a reliable form of credibility within the Hispanic community, according to Meidamark Research.
  • Print and Radio more effectively reach older influencers in the household.
  • Television is a less efficient medium, but nevertheless remains an important planning consideration.
  • Hispanic Healthcare employees can set an example in their community, educating Hispanics on healthcare and facilities for their families.

Marketing to Hispanics for healthcare services may be an important business opportunity for providers, group medical practices and hospitals. But there are many challenges that require careful research, proper planning, marketing message and media selection to be successful.

Perhaps we can help. Contact Healthcare Success. Let’s talk about your unique marketing situation, and how to reach this important and growing audience segment.

And for additional reference, read Lost In Translation: Does Your Hospital Marketing & Advertising Communicate? or listen to our previous podcast titled: Building Credibility with the Hispanic Community.

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Charlie DeNatale, Healthcare Success Media Supervisor – has over 30 years of experience in media planning, buying and research with specific expertise in national, regional and local direct response broadcast strategies and analysis. He previously was media director of Christopher Thomas Associates and Lobo & Petrocine in New York, and is currently overseeing and managing all media plans and budgets for more than 30 clients. Charlie attended Upsala College and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Radio and Television Broadcasting.

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