Study: Young Latinas are key decision makers, prefer English

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Effectively communicating health messages to the Hispanic community requires one key thing: reaching Latinas between the ages of 25 and 35. That was among findings in a survey commissioned by Cultur Health, the Hispanic healthcare communications agency of vox collective and Cooney/Waters Group.

The 25-35-year-old female demographic is significant, the firm argues, not only because the vast majority (89%) were found to be insured through an employer or spouse, "increasing their purchasing power for healthcare products and services," according to a press release. Cultur said this population links messaging to the larger community or, in essence, forms the final part of a cultural feedback loop.

The sample size for the online survey included 501 Hispanic women in that age range (there are 50.5 million Hispanics living in the US as of the latest census).

For marketers that want to tap into it, English is the way to go. Notably, most respondents (76%) said they prefer their healthcare information in that language. "Younger, acculturated Latinos who handle their family's health needs consume the information in English, then 'translate' it for their older, Spanish-speaking relatives," explained Cultur Health.

This doesn't mean pharma should scuttle plans for Spanish-language marketing materials, cautioned Roberto Ramos, president of vox collective: “Healthcare communication programs need to speak to both generations, through both the message and the medium,” he said.

Nor should marketers bypass everyone outside of the 25-35 age range. Instead, the study showed, even though these women are major influences in family health, their decisions are shaped by the input of the very people they take care of, and it's important to engage all relevant influencers.

In fact, reliance on social networks (the flesh-and-blood kind) is a hallmark of this group. For instance, "family, friends and neighbors" garnered the biggest response (64%) among respondents when asked to name influences on their decisions to buy OTC health products, followed by "pharmacist" at 52%; only 21% cited "advertising."

When asked where they go first for help with a healthcare concern, the majority (59%) said "doctor."

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