Pharma Marketers Should Speak 'Salud'
The influence of the Latino culture can be witnessed in many facets of American life today – from the foods we eat to the music we hear to the faces we see on television and movie screens across the country. With Census figures reporting that the Hispanic population will account for most of the U.S. population’s growth throughout the decade, Hispanics’ sphere of influence will only increase. And nowhere can this influence be potentially most felt than in your company’s bottom line.
According to Pew Research Center, one in four births today is to a Hispanic mother – accounting for the booming population of over 50 million. Yet research from United Healthcare’s OptumInsights shows that Hispanics are more likely than non-Hispanics to have disease symptoms without a diagnosis. This, in turn, leads to poorer health outcomes.
But it also presents an opportunity. With less than 1% of DTC advertising dollars today directly targeting Hispanics, this consumer remains a largely untapped customer base with tremendous growth potential.
To help healthcare brands connect with Hispanics, Univision recently commissioned the Hispanic Patient Journey study, shedding light on the cultural nuances that influence these consumers from awareness and information seeking, to diagnosis, to adherence.
One of the most compelling findings of the study showed that Hispanics have a strong desire and need for healthcare information. Studies show that television is the primary media source for Hispanic health information, and online media becomes increasingly important amongst symptomatic and diagnosed patients. Yet, word of mouth is still significant; 57% of Hispanics cite friends and family as a source of health and nutrition information versus 41% of the general population.
These findings suggest that marketers must ensure that word of mouth doesn’t lead to misinformation by focusing on educational messages tied to their brand benefits, usage and treatment. Marketers should also infuse cultural relevance in their creative by highlighting the social nature of these consumers. Showcasing friends, family and madres – who tend to be the Chief Medical Officers for the family – will resonate.
The Patient Journey Study also found that Hispanics tend to desire a deeper relationship with their doctor than non-Hispanics, but feel they are not realizing that relationship. Across the board, Univision’s research indicates that Hispanics described their relationship with their doctor in less favorable terms than non-Hispanics. For example, 36% of Hispanics say their doctor “respects my opinion” compared to 49% of non-Hispanics and 40% of Hispanics say their doctor “understands my needs and makes me feel at ease” versus 55% of non-Hispanics. Hispanics were also significantly less likely to report that doctors discussed benefits and side effects with them (29% vs. 53%).
These insights show that healthcare brands will be well served to build trust with Hispanics; portraying doctors as personable and willing to spend time cultivating relationships with their patients may create a comfort level and personal connection with a brand.
Smart marketers know that following the consumer is an important growth strategy. That’s why GlaxoSmithKline’s marketing director, Brian Lange, included Hispanic on a list of five things pharma marketers must “wake up to” to ensure their future growth during his presentation at the recent DTC National Conference.
The good news is that the opportunity is a very real one and the consumer insights do exist. Marketers who provide higher-quality information in a culturally relevant way will create a long-lasting, positive impact on the overall health of the Hispanic community and their bottom line.