How to reach Hispanics with healthcare messages? Mine the data first, Klick says

One in 5 Americans are Hispanic (with projections of 1 in 4 by 2050), so properly serving this community is not only important but also necessary. Klick Heath and cross-cultural research technology company ThinkNow have some data-based ideas about how to do just that.

First bit of advice? Cross-cultural marketing to Hispanics is about more than just translating something into Spanish. It’s about real understanding.

“If you are not starting by mining for the insights about your cross-cultural segments and then integrating those insights into your strategy, you're going to miss the mark,” said Amy Gómez, Klick Health SVP and head of cross-cultural marketing. “It’s not about adapting work. It's about integrating the insight. Now, what do you need to do that? You need excellent, high-quality data about cross-cultural segments.”

The research findings were published in the latest issue of the “Journal of Cultural Marketing Strategy,” and presented at the 2022 DTC National Conference this month.

The high-quality data Gómez referred to can clear up some old misconceptions—as well as unconscious biases—about the demographic group. Whereas doctors have been less likely to prescribe health tech to Hispanics, it turns out they are exactly the right audience: 59% of Hispanics are very comfortable using health tech, nine percentage points higher than non-Hispanics.

Hispanic people are also happy to use patient portals, digital prescription refills, fitness apps and wearables, the report found. In fact, 56% said that staying up to date with technology was important to them (versus 44% of non-Hispanics) and more than half believe technology can help them live healthier lives (51% versus 43%).

The findings that really caught Klick Health VP of cultural intelligence Meredydd Hardie’s attention, however, was that despite the common belief that Hispanics are unwilling to talk about mental health, there is a big movement to change that—especially with the younger generation.

“We found that those individuals are often acting as advocates, even for their parents or grandparents or aunts and uncles within their family. They're acting as advocates for mental health in general and working to change those attitudes,” Hardie said.

“What’s interesting is we did not see that happening across every aspect of health—it was specific to mental health, and we also didn't see that happening across other populations," Hardie added. "So it was specific to this Hispanic community and that was just a fascinating finding.”

Plus, marketers need to pay attention to this demographic on a more basic level, because they are paying attention to marketing. The data revealed that Hispanics are more interested in healthcare advertising than non-Hispanic whites.

And yes, it’s “Hispanic,” rather than “Latinx.” Despite the rise of the term Latinx, which is wonderfully inclusive and gaining traction in some high-profile circles, it’s not how the majority see themselves.

“I have a huge admiration for the rise of the term Latinx, because it's trying to get around the very gendered nature and the binary nature of the Spanish language," Gómez said. “But the truth is, while it's gotten very popular in the media and in academia, only about 3% of Hispanic people identify themselves as Latinx. So we chose to use the term that the majority of Hispanics use."