WellPoint’s Solomon Romano: “A marketer needs to understand the common values that unite most Hispanics”

#Portada14 speaker Solomon Romano, Multicultural Marketing Strategy Director at WellPoint, Inc will present a case study on “WellPoint’s Hispanic Health Initiative” next Thursday September 18 as part of the 8th Annual Hispanic Advertising and Media Conference. Portada interviewed him to learn about his views on Health Care Marketing and the impact of Obamacare on enrollment of Hispanic consumers.

Solomon Romano, right, with members of WellPoint's Marketing Team
Solomon Romano, right, with members of WellPoint’s Marketing Team

Portada: What do you love about Health Care marketing?
Solomon Romano, Multicultural Marketing Strategy Director, WellPoint: “I believe that access to health care is one of the more fundamental human needs, after food and shelter. I enjoy health care marketing because consumers are empowered to make better decisions about their overall health when they have the information they need. Early in my career I felt that the most palpable way too make a difference in people’s lives was through direct one-on-one outreach opportunities. While this work is very fulfilling and important, I now also understand how marketing decisions at a higher level can impact the wellbeing of many in an equally profound way. The part I like best about my job is that WellPoint is very much focused on the overall health of its members and the community. One of the programs we launched called Kickstart Your Health is focused on addressing certain health inequities that are more prevalent in the Hispanic community, such as diabetes and asthma. The program teaches Hispanic children and their families about asthma care and the importance of healthy eating and exercise in a fun and engaging way.”

Do you think “Obama Care” has been a positive legislation for the Hispanic population?
S.R.: “The Affordable Care Act has opened up the opportunity for millions of Hispanics to gain access to care — many of them having health insurance for the first time. Of course, there are many Hispanics that have had coverage for many years who take a proactive approach to managing their health. But there are many others we are meeting in the community every day who have never had health insurance don’t go for regular check-ups; and there are those who may have a chronic condition yet do not have regular access to care. These individuals are the ones who will benefit most from health care reform. By law, all the new individual plans offer zero copay on preventative care visits and no limitations on preexisting conditions. This means that everyone enrolled under the new plans can have access to care regardless of the condition of their health. And, with premium assistance, families who earn less can receive help to pay for the cost of their plan.”

In what way is marketing to the Hispanic population particularly challenging and interesting?
S.R.: “As with all multicultural marketing, Hispanic marketing is challenging because of the wide range of nationalities and cultures that are encompassed under one general ethnic group. Not only do we have to adapt our message depending on the geographic market we are trying to reach, but we are also finding out that people in different locations frequent different types of venues and have different trusted sources of information. While these differences present a challenge, this is also what makes Hispanic marketing interesting, since one has to learn to understand the cultural nuances of each population you are trying to serve.”

Do you think a person needs to be Hispanic to be a good marketer towards the Hispanic population?
” No, I don’t think this is necessary, but it’s important that the person has good observation skills and a natural curiosity to learn about other cultures and customs. The marketer needs to understand the common values that unite most Hispanics. And, it helps to know their customs, music preferences, preferred media, and beliefs as it relates to your product or service.”