How Brands Can Get Hispanics And African Americans Invested In Healthcare

  • by April 4, 2014

How do you entice people to buy something that they don’t fully realize they need? 

This is the eternal conundrum for all marketers, but it’s especially challenging – and of national importance – when it comes to engaging more of our nation’s multicultural consumers in spending more resources on their health. 

The data tells the story, as no two cultural groups are more impacted by the Affordable Care Act than our country’s Hispanic and African American populations.  Out of the 41 million members deemed eligible for the ACA by the U.S. Government, 49% can be listed as “Non-white.” Considering that 63% of the population is listed as white, according to the last Census, this provides an opportunity for healthcare marketers to cater to emerging ethnicities more than ever before. 



Healthcare marketers are also well aware that these groups, historically, are dramatically underinsured compared to the general population. The White House has reported that Hispanics have the lowest insurance rate of all ethnic groups. Nearly one-third of Hispanics are uninsured – and half of Hispanics did not have a regular doctor, compared to only one-fifth of non-Hispanic whites.

This reluctance has extended to ACA adoption, as new research shows that only 19% of Hispanics and 20% of African Americans have looked for health insurance on the exchanges.

The lack of enrollment is caused by a variety of factors, but health insurance providers can control issues of education and awareness. It’s on their marketing departments to do so – but it must be done in a data-driven fashion to have the highest growth margins possible.

Step 1: Pinpoint Opportunities for Your Brand

Demographic segmentation is a good starting point for any marketer looking to target the consumers most likely to purchase. But it needs to be correlated along with key factors such as household spending and age. For example, a large majority of the country’s Hispanic population resides in California, Texas and Florida. However, the top three states for Hispanic healthcare spending (per household) are Florida, Hawaii and Wyoming. Are Hawaii and Wyoming key areas for Hispanics? Not necessarily – but it does help to demonstrate that certain populations are spending more money on healthcare in those areas.

Therefore, brands must also be examining Hispanic and African American populations from a hyper-local perspective, so they can equip agents and providers on the ground with the best possible picture of characteristics like median income, age and average spending on healthcare. This makes targeting and attracting these populations as efficient and effective as possible.

Step 2: Market In-Culture  

Another common mistake made by marketers is to place large quantities of emerging ethnicities in broad buckets. Hispanics differ greatly in language, country of origin and acculturation level. A 26-year-old, first-generation Dominican from New York is far different than a third-generation Puerto Rican that might live in the same neighborhood. They are the same age, they live in the same city and their families make the same amount of money – yet they are vastly different in terms of the content and messages they prefer to receive. The same applies to African Americans. While the language issue is not the same, African Americans differ greatly in terms of their self-identities and cultural affiliations. Brands must be able to segment beyond age and location, in order to reach these groups effectively.

All healthcare marketers understand that getting Hispanics and African Americans registered and involved in the industry is a challenge. But with the help of data and insight, marketers have a much clearer picture of the consumers that matter most to their brands. With these insights, marketers balance the need to attract new consumers with the insights to do so efficiently.

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