Article Demographics and Culture

Marketing Pharma to a Multicultural Audience

Nov 29, 2012

Not many people attend a DTC (Direct to Consumer) conference and expect to get “Latinized.”  But DTC Perspectives’ first-ever Multicultural Health Marketing conference asked marketers to look at their pharma marketing efforts with a new lens – and we were happy to help them do just that.

Univision Deportes anchor Antonietta Collins participated in the conference in Orlando earlier this month to host the Latinization of America Quiz Show during lunch on the event’s first day.  The 100 marketers in the room competed by answering questions like:  Who is the highest paid actress on television? — Sofia Vergara; And what percentage of all Adult 18-34 growth will come from Hispanics in the next decade?  –88 percent.

So, we had some fun but we also got down to business. Author Tanner Colby kicked off the conference by advocating for an ad agency approach that breaks down the segregation of multicultural experts and practices.  These days, everyone should be an expert of cultures as we move toward a majority-minority nation.  That set the stage follow up discussions on understanding a brand’s multicultural opportunity, the importance of culturally relevant messages and more.

In my Total Market Strategy session, I drilled down on the range of creative options — from English-language adaptations, to shadow shoots, to Total Market creative, to original creative — for brands today.  In the case of Allegra, who developed original Spanish-language creative focused on educating the Hispanic community on the benefits of the drug, the pay off was big.  IAG research showed that the ads in Spanish outperformed the total category of Cold/Sinus/Allergy ads in English in terms of recall and likeability.  Hispanics want to hear from pharma companies, and are driven to action when they are spoken to in a culturally relevant way.

The “Marketing Products to a Multicultural Audience” panel featured Steven Millerman, director of Cross Cultural Marketing at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation; Steve Palmisano, founder of Ad Elevate and former senior vice president of Advertising at Pfizer; and Jeremy Shepler, director of Diabetes Marketing at Novo Nordisk.  Following are three takeaways from that discussion, moderated by Beatriz Mallory, former director of Multicultural Strategy at Johnson & Johnson:

1. Make Hispanic a business imperative.

2. A good starting point is to start budget allocation conversations with this:  marketing spend should be proportionate to the total share of the population you’re targeting.

3. Identify what success looks like before you conceive of and launch your campaign.

These rang true for all the participants in the room.  You know what did, too?  The recent Presidential election — It was a topic of conversation throughout the sessions and during our breaks.  Hispanics made a difference in the final counts in Florida and other key battlegrounds across the country such as Colorado, Nevada and Virginia.  They can make a difference for your bottom line, too.

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