Hispanics seek out health technology and pay more attention to healthcare marketing than their non-Hispanic white counterparts, according to a new study from Klick Health and cross-cultural research specialist ThinkNow.
The study found that Hispanics are particularly responsive to health-related marketing. Some 38% of respondents said they paid attention to it, compared to 31% of their non-Hispanic white counterparts.
The aim of the research was to help healthcare marketers better understand the nuances in and around the Hispanic community, as well as quantify the importance of cross-cultural marketing.
“Health marketers industry-wide are missing an opportunity to meet the needs of the Hispanic community, which includes a lack of cross-cultural marketing programs to service cross-cultural communities with effective communication,” explained Klick VP of cultural intelligence Meredydd Hardie. “The foundation of meeting those needs is good data and information to understand your audience. This research isn’t designed to solve the problem, but it’s designed to be the first step to solving that problem.”
The research found that Hispanics often use health technology, including wearables and monitoring devices. Just under 60% of Hispanics are comfortable using technology-based products, while 56% reported that staying up-to-date on new technologies was important to them.
The results highlight an enthusiasm around technology that historically may have been missed due to unconscious bias, according to Klick SVP of diversity strategy Amy Gómez.
“For Latinos, mobile is often the primary way of accessing the internet,” she said. “They’re very comfortable with digital first and mobile first.”
Gómez stressed the importance of making healthcare providers aware of those preferences. To that end, she pointed to previous research showing that HCPs are less likely to prescribe health-tech solutions to Hispanic patients.
“It seems to be based on a certain amount of unconscious bias – a belief that they won’t know how to use the technology or they won’t be comfortable with it,” Gómez explained. “To me, that’s the real importance of documenting this: To get these life-changing technologies into the hands of Hispanic consumers and to engage HCPs in creating more health equity in this community. But even for the device manufacturers, there’s a large and undertapped community that is very eager to get their solutions.”
The study found that Hispanics were more likely to shop at Hispanic grocery stores for their health products, as opposed to mass or online retailers. This data point could inform marketers’ point-of-care strategies, the authors noted.
Another somewhat surprising conclusion: That there are shifting ideas about mental health within Hispanic communities. Past research pointed to a stigma around mental health, particularly among older people, but the data show that younger generations are embracing it.
“When we’re looking at Gen-Z and Millennials, we see different attitudes toward mental health and more willingness to accept a diagnosis,” Hardie said.
In particular, younger Hispanics noted that they served almost as mental health advocates for older people within their own families. “It’s something we haven’t seen before and it’s not a pattern we’re seeing replicated with non-Hispanics,” she added.
Ultimately, the study’s authors hope the data will help organizations tap into insights that will lead to smarter, more effective cross-cultural marketing.
“We’re hoping that the study gives healthcare marketers an in-depth view of Hispanics that they may not have had before, and makes them feel better equipped to address the community directly,” Gómez said. “When you think about the massive size of the opportunity – almost one in five Americans is Hispanic and in the under-18 cohort it’s one in four – this is a market to be reckoned with. Our hope is that marketers understand more of these attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that will help them be effective in reaching out to them.”