Supporting the Patient Experience - Why Multicultural Marketing is Vital

While the U.S. market continues to become more ethnically diverse, healthcare organizations face both challenges and opportunities to expand their customer base. After all, multicultural patients can become loyal customers — if marketers know how to reach them. However, in order to connect with these often underserved patient populations and improve healthcare for them, companies must embrace the unique marketing needs of these groups.

But why is it so vital that healthcare marketers embrace multiculturalism?

The Changing Face of the U.S.

Let’s break down the numbers behind the necessity for multicultural marketing in healthcare. It’s estimated that by 2019, the Affordable Care Act will have boosted the number of insured in our country by at least 32 million. More important, about half of those newly insured individuals will be non-white.


In addition, before 2020, more than half of children in the U.S. (the healthcare consumers of tomorrow) will be part of a minority race or ethnic group. This is a massive market for companies in the healthcare sector — and one that should no longer be ignored or marginalized.

A Unique Approach for Unique Groups

But for companies that are just beginning to appreciate the importance of ethnic and minority marketing, how is it possible to refine their messaging and leverage this pool of potential customers?

The answer is to focus specifically on patient needs. Examine the changing demographics and ask the following questions:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What products and services do they want to buy?
  • Does your current message resonate with these patients?
  • Does your current marketing plan reach these patients?
  • How do these patients approach healthcare differently than other groups?

Variables to Consider

Healthcare marketers must consider a number of factors when refining their messaging to reach patients in diverse ethnic groups. Here are some variables to keep in mind:

Chronic conditions: As an example, Hispanic patients suffer a high incidence of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, while Asian Americans have high rates of stomach, liver and cervical cancers. Additionally, African Americans are more likely to die from heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, cancer and HIV/AIDS than any other racial or ethnic group in the U.S. Marketers can’t standardize their message across all groups, because each group has its own health needs and concerns.

Channels: Marketers must take into account where each patient population group will best receive their message. Hispanics and Asian Americans are generally mobile savvy, so it makes sense that they would turn to mobile apps to manage their health and discover health information. Studies show African American and Hispanic people spend more time with radio each week than any other ethnic groups, making it a powerful outreach tool.

Language: Marketers must ask themselves if they are speaking the language of these groups — literally. That’s because research shows that that even bilingual consumers often prefer to receive media in their native language. In fact, 43 percent of Hispanics age 65 and older rely on Spanish-only sources.

Putting It All Together

As U.S. demographics continue to shift, healthcare organizations can no longer afford to ignore the impact multiculturalism will have on their bottom line. Marketers must adopt multicultural marketing strategies to reach a more culturally diverse audience, and evolve their communications to meet the needs of these broader patient populations. Organizations should create specific and engaging content that addresses these unique needs. When this occurs, both the patients and the companies will benefit.


Contact us to learn more about how Wolters Kluwer can help you reach our diverse audiences across the Lippincott network through print, online, and email advertising and custom projects.

Contact us to learn about our multichannel solutions to engage your target audience.

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