Consider Different Marketing Strategies For Hispanic Subgroups

When marketing to the U.S. Hispanic population, it is important for insurance companies to use a strategy that takes into account the social and cultural characteristics of the targeted Hispanic subgroup.

The marketing strategist should recognize that since Hispanic sub-markets differ, they should be analyzed, just as the sub-markets of any other social groups are analyzed, in terms of socioeconomic, psychosocial and sociopolitical background and experiences.

For instance, releases with a distinctive ethnic slang should be avoided. To cite an example, a release with graphics that homogeneously depicted one ethnic group proved offensive to a Hispanic audience that identified with the mestizo (a person of mixed blood). Likewise, a brochure that exemplified the Hispanic consumer with a flag from Spain was not received well in Los Angeles, where the majority of the Hispanic market is of Mexican origin.

The marketing strategist should also be aware of the size, multigenerational structure and significance of the Hispanic family. According to data from the Census Bureau for the year 2000, 30.6% of Hispanic households consist of five or more people, compared with 11.8% for non-Hispanic white households.

Because of this, insurance companies that do not already do so should consider designing and promoting life insurance products that cover the entire family, including the primary insured, spouse, children, grandchildren, and even the grandparents.

Another factor to bear in mind is the time orientation of the targeted subgroup. Given the financial situation of some Hispanics, their present-day reality is far more important than the future. As a result, many do not opt to participate in programs that provide benefits based on future events or that require employee contributions.

Even when they understand the value of the product, many still prefer the option of bringing home more money to cover their day-to-day needs. Despite that, other subgroups, for example, the rapidly growing pool of professional and affluent Hispanics, invest in long-term commodities and permanent life insurance products.

When targeting Hispanics from Central and South America, the marketing strategist should take into account the sociopolitical and psychosocial experiences to which some of these immigrants may have been exposed. These might include exposure to guerrilla warfare, repression and political conflicts.

Moreover, some of these immigrants last lived in areas where recent natural catastrophes seriously disrupted normal living and working conditions. Because of the impact of such experiences, these immigrants might be distrustful and suspicious of programs that offer protection against future events beyond their control.

It is therefore important to develop a trusting relationship with these individuals, perhaps by establishing peer groups to explain the value of insurance benefit programs.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, January 14, 2002. Copyright 2002 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.


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