Hispanics remain the nation’s fastest growing population, representing an untapped opportunity for health care marketers.

And if growth matters—and you know it does—health care marketers need to seriously consider targeting the Hispanic market segment, said Roberto Ramos, one of Padilla’s multicultural experts.

“Hispanics offer close to $1.7 trillion in purchasing power—more than Spain and Australia,”

“Hispanics offer close to $1.7 trillion in purchasing power—more than Spain and Australia,” he said. “They are a vibrant part of a new multicultural mainstream and a powerful and rising health demographic group,” said Ramos.

Hispanics make up the largest minority group in the U.S, with a population of 56 million—bigger than Canada and second only to Mexico—as the market with most Spanish speakers in the world. This group, in fact, is expected to reach about 106 million by 2050, about double what it is today, according to U.S. Census Bureau population projections.

Eighty percent of Hispanics in the U.S. have health insurance and, according to a recent Univision/Nielson health survey, they place a high priority on the quality of their health care, coming in second only after family as a life priority.

On the health front, the nation’s obesity epidemic significantly impacts Hispanics and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports Hispanics are more likely than non-Hispanic whites to die from diabetes, chronic liver disease and kidney diseases.

“There is a clear opportunity to tap into this Hispanic market,” Ramos said. “Hispanics have an appetite for more customized, culturally-sensitive approaches that will drive their health care choices.”

“Hispanics are among the youngest in the nation, and the timing to engage Hispanics is right,” said Ramos.

About one-third, or 17.9 million, of the nation’s Hispanic population is younger than 18, and about a quarter, or 14.6 million, of all Hispanics are Millennials (ages 18 to 33 in 2014), according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. 

Hispanics respond to marketing and communications campaigns that stress healthy traditions inherent in their culture.

“The most important element to remember is that Hispanics want healthy, happy lives for their families,” said Ramos. “This is consistent with their vision of the American dream, which seeks to shed remnants of mediocre health care access in most of their countries of origin.”

A second powerful insight is the close relationship Hispanics have with their doctors and pharmacists. The Univision/Nielsen survey also showed that Hispanics cite the importance of regular doctor visits.

“This is consistent with a cultural tradition that places an emotive premium on close relationships, conversations and wise advice,” said Ramos. “Establishing a circle of trust should be the strategic mindset for all health care marketers seeking to authentically connect with this consumer.”

Ramos stressed the importance of mapping out Hispanics’ patient journey, paying close attention to Hispanics’ broader circle of trust and the extended role their communities play—family, friends, community, trusted influencers, etc.

“From the family dinner table conversations to the word-of-mouth element in physical points of contact such as the bodegas and community centers, to the powerful support system around colleges and universities, your approach should include stories and tools that speak to their reality and needs,” emphasizes Ramos.

The Hispanic media has a powerful influence on Hispanic engagement. Multiple studies confirm Hispanics consume and value traditional, social and digital media, particularly those that target their culture.

Health marketers should also consider how a campaign will play out at the grassroots level to more deeply penetrate and extend messages with greater impact.

They need to ask fundamental cultural questions.

What are some of the voices that you will engage? What are the points of fusion that make sense for the story to unfold? For instance, pharmacies and bodegas are powerful meeting places.

Often health marketers need to consider the language barrier.

Programs should be executed in English, Ramos said, because second generation Hispanics are the most powerful, rising demographic group and the ones driving population growth in the U.S. Hispanic communities. Most importantly, they are the ones serving as the bridge between the Spanish-dominant populations and the mainstream.

“A complete in-culture approach would then continue the brand’s mainstream conversation to also include English-dominant Hispanics,” he said.

Spanish remains important, too. A clear majority of the Hispanic population still prefers information in Spanish, given the emotive, trust-building familiarity of the language. The Spanish language also conveys an engaging cultural experience and provides an opening for storytelling.

A health marketer needs to have—at the heart of any campaign—the idea of a healthy life being at the foundation to allow Hispanics to build and acquire the Hispanic American dream—one healthy, inspired family member at a time.

“Hispanic consumers are waiting to hear from you, and how you can facilitate their health care journey,” said Ramos.

Roberto Ramos, Padilla Multicultural Expert
Roberto Ramos. Trend forecaster, branding strategist and marketer. Roberto brings over twenty years of innovative communications experience to some of the world’s leading brands across industries. His ongoing focus is on identifying big sociocultural shifts and the powerfully unique commercial and creative opportunities they present. Well versed in global strategies, Roberto also has extensive experience in speaking to multicultural segments.