Multicultural healthcare marketing: How to reach a diverse audience
The population in the U.S. is increasingly diverse. Do you have a multicultural marketing plan in place?
The U.S. Census Bureau projects that by 2044, more than half of all Americans will belong to a minority group. But even today, the population of the U.S. is racially and ethnically diverse—or multicultural. It's crucial to make sure your healthcare marketing efforts reflect this.
Multicultural healthcare marketing 101
Minority and ethnic populations are often an underserved group in healthcare, even though their healthcare needs are great. The rates of several serious diseases—such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease and stroke—are higher in some multicultural populations. While this makes them a prime audience for your healthcare services, it pays to put some special thought into how you reach out to them.
When marketing healthcare services to a multicultural population:
Consider culture, customs and beliefs in how you present content. Religion, culture, beliefs and ethnic customs can all influence how people understand concepts about health. For instance, in some cultures:
- Decisions about healthcare are a group effort by the family. This is especially true in the Hispanic/Latino population, where multiple family members may attend a doctor's appointment.
- Advice about eating habits may be difficult to accept if it means a radical change in the foods someone typically eats or how those foods are prepared. Food plays a big role in defining many different cultures.
It helps to do some basic research into the minority populations in your community and how their cultural values may influence their healthcare decisions. Armed with that information, you may be able to make some simple changes in your content that will show people that you respect their beliefs and traditions.
For example, when giving tips for a healthful diet, you can make it clear that no foods are off limits—even fatty or salty ones—if eaten in small amounts. That will help reassure people that foods that are part of a culture can still have a place at the family dining table.
Another idea: Instead of using a photo of a just a patient and a doctor, consider using one of a couple or several family members talking with a doctor. This type of photo will resonate with families in which people don't go to the doctor alone.
Show diversity with photos. Speaking of photos, be sure the ones you use in your direct mail publications, on your website and all of your marketing materials reflect the entire makeup of your community. Even if your community is mainly non-Hispanic White, chances are you still have at least some people residing in your service area who are ethnically or racially diverse. They will appreciate—and remember—being recognized as part of your community.
Try a focus group to test your messages. If you want to make sure your marketing materials will attract—and not offend—the diverse members of your community, consider organizing a multicultural focus group to review your healthcare content. Their feedback may save you from making an embarrassing mistake.
Identify providers who speak multiple languages. Do you have providers who speak languages other than English? Highlight that fact in their profiles. And consider establishing a speakers' bureau in which these providers give community talks about health issues that affect ethnic and racial groups.
Work to lower language barriers. Make sure all of your healthcare marketing materials and patient forms are printed in the first languages of the patients who seek your services or of the patients you are trying to attract. If you have interpreters available for patients and their families, make that known in your multicultural content and specify which languages your providers speak.
Is your multicultural marketing strategy working?
Coffey has a team of experts who are sensitive to diversity and who can help you develop a multicultural healthcare marketing plan that is inclusive of all members of your community.
To talk about your multicultural marketing needs, schedule a meeting with one of our business development consultants.
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