Amid the healthcare debate in the U.S., one key data point cannot be overlooked: There are 58 million registered and documented Hispanics that go to work every day, shop and make healthcare choices for their families. The U.S. Hispanic segment continues to represent an enormous opportunity for brands in the healthcare sector, and to win their trust amid healthcare uncertainty, brands must become their “neighborhood doctor.”
To Hispanics, their doctor is the person they trust the most but it’s also not uncommon for Hispanics to rely on folk medicine or family members’s counsel as their first line of medical care. It’s important for brands to strike a balance between the two, positioning themselves as experts and at the same time as their confidante. To do so, brands should consider the following in their marketing communications efforts for 2018:
1. Define the Hispanic audience
With Hispanics accounting for $10 billion in health, wellness, Rx and OTC purchases, brands must develop a strong, focused objective. First, it’s important to understand this consumer and the unique healthcare challenges they face. A young bilingual consumer will be different than a Hispanic baby boomer. There is no one-size-fits-all within the Hispanic market: linguistic, educational and even cultural differences can present a barrier to health care education. Whether it’s developing trust through community campaigns or encouraging purchase through a B2C strategy, it will be important to define who the audience is first, even if it’s a tiered audience, so that the strategies and tactics ladder up to that audience’s key passion points.
2. Pilot in a local market
Face-to-face hyperlocal marketing is key to reaching the U.S. Hispanic consumer. To increase brand accessibility, it’s important to meet them in their communities.
Begin by piloting in one Hispanic-dense market first. To choose the pilot market, gather local market insights to determine which market is most important to the business. Brands will find that the nuances between the different ethnicities that make up the Latin segment in the U.S. can vary market per market and, consequently, the approach will differ by market.
Consider Houston, for example, which according to projections by the Texas Demographic Center and Rice University's Hobby Center for The Study of Texas, will be 60% Hispanic by 2050. The Hispanic population in the city is predominantly Mexican, which is very different from the predominantly Puerto Rican population of New York City. There can also be an opportunity to explore emerging Hispanic markets like Denver, Atlanta or Minneapolis.
Next, determine how your brand will show up. Whether it’s developing a wholly owned initiative, attending and sponsoring local events like street festivals, or connecting with the local press and influencers, there are several strategies and tactics that can be low cost, with a high return.
3. Create a tangible touchpoint
Once you’ve got a direct line to this consumer, it’s important to create a tangible touchpoint. Whether it's a free health screening or healthcare seminar, providing access to stakeholders they trust (such as celebrities, experts, doctors, etc.), or making resources available in Spanish, these simple touch points can go a long way. Speaking to them directly will not only help educate them about the brand but provide an opportunity for a two-way conversation.
4. Invest in tools
Invest in tools that facilitate their healthcare journey. Personalization in-language and in-culture will help this demographic feel informed and empowered when it comes to their health care needs. Offering in-culture rather than simply in-language resources can make a huge impact in how your brand engages with Hispanics.
5. Determine the timeline
To win the Hispanic segment, healthcare brands need to ensure that they are investing in them year-round. Engaging Latinos during a moment in time like National Diabetes Month or Hispanic Heritage Month is a good start, but there is a big opportunity for brands to continuously speak with this segment to demonstrate their commitment.
Ultimately it’s about building short-term strategies while investing in the long term. Amid the healthcare debate, Hispanics are losing trust in the system, and as a result are looking carefully at which brands they purchase. A brand that takes the time to invest in the Hispanic consumer is a brand they will trust — and stay loyal to.
As brands head into 2018, it will be more important than ever to keep a close tab on your Hispanic consumer, investing in them both from a marketing and a communications perspective, continuing to underscore how important this market is to your brand with true commitment to the segment — because when you’re family to a Hispanic consumer, you’re family for life.