grupo parada


Half_full_half_emptyThere are huge opportunities in Hispanic Healthcare and Pharma Marketing. No market expert has any doubt about that. Several multicultural agencies are readying for the Healthcare opportunity including Multicultural Healthcare Marketing agency Prime Access appointing Chip Weinstein as new CEO, Prime Access former CEO Steven Millerman creating his own agency called EmCay and Multicultural Marketing firm XL Alliance also entering into the space. Yet, what has been achieved so far versus the size of the opportunity? Is the Hispanic Healthcare Marketing and Advertising glass half full or half empty?


Hispanics are under insured when it comes to Healthcare and there is a great opportunity in  marketing pharmaceuticals, particularly for diseases such as diabetes where Hispanics over-index. Yet Health and Pharma Advertising are not a really large category in the Hispanic Market and it is not yet really clear if the opportunity ever will be really taken advantage of by Corporate America.

Marcelo Rodriguez, Founder and Partner, Grupo Parada

Asked whether he thinks that Hispanic Healthcare and Pharma marketing opportunities have been really taken advantage of by marketers, Marcelo Rodriguez, Managing partner and Founder of Grupo Parada (picture), says “Absolutely not. Especially when it comes to reaching Millennial Hispanics. Only 7% of advertising is devoted to digital media in a group that spend most of their time online. There are definitely many areas that can be optimized. Local for example, is a huge opportunity, there are many online searches about Health insurance in Spanish and no results show providers in the large metro areas. While digital is a great way to market, nothing beats the personal interaction when it comes to Health Care enrollment”.

Steven Millerman, CEO, EmCay

Steven Millerman (picture), who in late December stepped down from his CEO position at Prime Access to pursue another venture with his own agency called Emcay, tells Portada that his focus will continue to be within the multicultural space with primary focus on health. “My passion for this space is like never before and only continues to grow. The opportunity for the industry is absolutely huge and I want to be a part of making that happen for the industry,” says Milerman who previously in his career worked as Head Cross Cultural Marketing in Novartis.


Opportunities: Technology, Strategy and effective Personal Interactions

Chip Weinstein, CEO, Prime Access

Chip Weinstein, photo left, the just appointed new CEO at New York headquartered agency Prime Access says that “One big opportunity is the technology that’s now available to better determine multicultural ROI. It enables us to help our clients isolate multicultural patients vs. general market patients in analyzing promotional response. It’s an interesting paradox: we’re experiencing technological advances on many fronts in health care, but at the same time we know that the individual decisions that drive health and wellness, and indeed successful patient outcomes, are quite personal and emotional. I think our challenge will be finding ways to leverage this particular aspect of wellness and achieve the appropriate balance. We do intend to lead in this area.” Prime Access clients include, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Merck & Co., Novo Nordisk and Genentech Inc.

EmCay’s Millerman tells Portada that he feels that one important area of opportunity in Multicultural Healthcare Marketing is Strategy. “Functionally speaking, my primary focus will be strategy, which is where I still feel the biggest gaps are, however, I will also provide standard services from creative to media as opportunities come up. I also have several unique offerings that I have that will be HCP focused and not necessarily just consumer focused.”

We’re experiencing technological advances on many fronts in health care, but at the same time we know that the individual decisions that drive health and wellness, and indeed successful patient outcomes, are quite personal and emotional.

Have Hispanics consumers and Health Insurers taken advantage of Obamacare?

Was the affordable Care Act a defining moment to jumpstart Hispanic health care marketing? Has the number of enrolled Hispanics substantially increased? Marcelo Rodriguez of Grupo Parada, the New York based Digital Marketing Agency that has worked on many Healthcare enrollment outreach campaigns, says that :It´s hard to know, data has not been release yet. Last year, there were almost 2.6 million that got coverage since the new law started which is still low when we take into consideration that almost 30% of Hispanics 18-60 are uninsured.”

Rodriguez adds that the recent Immigration reform will not have an impact on the number of Hispanics who are eligible for ACA: ” The Obama administration specifically excluded people who obtain deferred action from participating in Obamacare. People who get deferred action will be considered ‘lawfully present.’ Under current law, many categories of lawfully present individuals are not eligible. People with deferred action are eligible only for Medicaid emergency services.”

There is still a long way to be walked in order to exploit the Hispanic Healthcare and Pharma Marketing opportunity. That also includes understanding and knowledge Big Pharma and Healthcare’s Corporate Marketing departments have of the Hispanic consumer. As Solomon Romano, Multicultural Marketing Strategy Director at WellPoint says, it is essential that “a marketer needs to understand the common values that unite most Hispanics.”

Ronald.BautistaRonald Bautista,  Digital Marketing Strategist at Grupo Parada.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) enrollment process has shown many challenges in making a connection with the Hispanic community. Hispanic “Young Invincibles” (between the ages of 18 and 29) play an important role in the success of the ACA and they have proven to be the hardest to reach Hispanic population.

This community feels uninformed and indifferent; two roadblocks healthcare providers have faced during the enrollment period.

How can healthcare providers overcome the Hispanic communication barrier?

There is a lot of information available regarding the ACA, but there is a reason why all of that information is not translating into more enrollments. According to a Google Study, Hispanics get their healthcare information from TV and the internet. However, after seeing a TV advertisement, 78% of Hispanics searched online for more information.

Healthcare providers must follow through the media preferences of young Hispanics. Young Hispanics do their research through search engines from their smartphones, use videos on Youtube as help in their research, nearby healthcare providers is important to them, and they are more likely to make the purchase online.

In order to overcome the communication barrier, institutions have to implement a better digital outreach: 

  • Campaign must be about motivating Hispanics, not about fear. Fear of fines and illness doesn’t work to convince and encourage enrollment. After all, the target group is called “Young Invincibles”, and wellness to them is about how they feel right now, not in the future. The campaign must create an experience, the feeling of wellness from enrolling.
  • Health goes beyond medicine. There are other options to content that are attractive to Hispanic culture, food for instance, can be directly related to enrolling under the ACA. Institutions must connect other Hispanic interests with the ACA experience that will derive in educating and enrolling the community.
  • Build trust and sustain it. Hispanics are searching for reliable sources of healthcare information. Institutions can benefit from educating not only by enrolling, but also by building a positive reputation in the community. This can derive in increasing word-of- mouth and more loyal clients.

One of the benefits of Digital Media Strategies is how the campaigns can be relevant to the culture of different segments of the Hispanic community.

Enrolling the “Young Invincibles” under the ACA is a big Hispanic community challenge, and the solution begins with building trust and making a connection for local healthcare providers and enrollment counselors.

The ways to reach and engage young Hispanics are within our grasp. The time to make it happen is now.

Hispanic Health Marketing and Advertising has never been a substantial line item for Corporate America. Will this change with the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare)? To answer this question Portada’s editorial team interviewed health marketing and advertising experts.

Photo: Ep_jhu. CC License.
Photo: Ep_jhu. CC License.

A look at the top 50 2012 Hispanic market advertisers as compiled by Kantar Media, reveals that pharmaceutical companies and health insurance providers do not belong to the big ad spenders. In fact, pharma and health companies are notorious for their absence among the top Hispanic ad-categories. Genoma Lab International’s position as number 1 in the Kantar Media ranking with US$ 255.6 million is misleading , because the majority of Genoma’s advertising is on cosmetics and well-being products, not on pharma.  The other health/pharma organization among the top 50 is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at place 39 (US$ 35.7 million Hispanic ad spend in 2012). Are the pharma and health categories finally going to grow substantially as a result of the ACA?

Under the Affordable Care Act, each state has an Exchange – a website designed to help people shop for and buy a health plan. For example, in New York state the New York Health Benefit Exchange begun taking applications on October 1 for coverage that begins January 1, 2014. It is predicted that approximately 15 million previously uninsured persons will now be able to get insurance. Hispanics should amount to a sizable share of them.

There is no question that the ACA will have an impact on healthcare companies increasing their spend on the US Hispanic market, but I don’t believe the ACA will be the catalyst to make this happen on a significant level.

Health insurers like Nationwide and Wellpoint have kicked off marketing blitzes to rise their profile in order to be selected by consumers at the health exchanges, however none of these efforts have been Hispanic specific.

Asked on whether we will see a substantial increase in Hispanic marketing expenditures, Steve Millerman, CEO of Prime Access, says that “there is no question that the ACA will have an impact on healthcare companies increasing their spend on the US Hispanic market. However, I don’t believe the ACA will be the catalyst to make this happen on a significant level. Many of the key challenges and reasons why the healthcare industry has not fully embraced multicultural marketing to date will remain the same pre and post the ACA taking full effect.” Millerman, who previously in his career led the Multicultural Marketing unit at Novartis, adds that :the ACA is not an overnight event ; it will be a gradual transition over years.”

What players should be at the forefront of the ACA Hispanic marketing push?

What players should be at the forefront of the ACA Hispanic marketing push? According to Millerman, “all insurance companies, especially those with high regional access in key Hispanic markets, should certainly be at the forefront. For pharma companies, the opportunity is phenomenal. I would envision that those companies that have already activated their Hispanic engagement will be making adjustments to fully understand the opportunity and invest. But the key question remains, what is the opportunity? On a macro level, yes, we’ll have millions coming into the system, but when we break it down into sub-segments based on therapeutic areas, brands, age groups, potential co-pay amounts and coverage, the opportunity may not be as large for some brands versus others based on the patient profile most suitable for the medications at hand. This is no longer about macro-targeting but micro-targeting. ”

Marketing Mix: Big role for Digital Media…

According to Millerman, “the marketing mix should remain unchanged overall, and should reflect the necessary range to reach the target consumer profile regardless of pre- or post- the ACA. I foresee digital to play the biggest role given a lower price point vs TV, a quicker  response  to change, and the easiest to consistently fuel with information. As people will want to and will need to learn more about the ACA and their respective plans, digital communication will play the most significant part to address the consumer needs.” Marcelo Rodriguez, Managing Partner of Grupo Parada, a Hispanic digital media consulting firm, tells Portada, that digital media will play a crucial role in  enrolling uninsured Latinos to the healthcare system under the ACA. Rodriguez notes that “enrolling Latinos in the healthcare system is a win-win situation for healthcare providers. There are more than 10 million uninsured Latinos in the US. Many of them only seek out medical attention in emergency situations. It is more cost-effective for both parties to engage in preventive measures. By educating Latinos on preventative methods healthcare providers can avoid the rising financial and opportunity costs of emergency care. They can begin this process by making healthcare information more culturally and readily available via digital media. There is an increasing demand for information on health related topics and keywords in Spanish within the United States specially local information.”

I foresee digital to play the biggest role.

…are pharma digital media campaigns increasing?

Mathew Granish, Digital Media Director at Prime Access, the agency led by Millerman that last year was acquired by Global Advertising Strategies.  notes that he has seen increased digital media buying activity among pharma brands. Prime Access and Global Advertising Strategies work on over 30 pharmaceutical products across leading therapeutic categories (cardiovascular, oncology, infectious diseases, vaccines, etc) and some of the world’s largest global brands. Among those are Merck & Co., Inc. and Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. “We are seeing increased activity for our brands. There is more emphasis on patient education / disease awareness / prevention, given the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, but we are definitely seeing an increase in digital media for pharma across the board.” As an example Granish cites  a campaign aimed at US Hispanics for a diabetes medication. “The campaign will have branded and unbranded elements, so as we are promoting a specific product, we are also educating the healthcare consumer on the condition itself.”

The bottom line is there are many other variables that play a role in building a strong case on why one should invest in the healthcare environment.

Not a panacea

The ACA should not be seen as the panacea of all Hispanic healthcare marketing ills.This is partly because Pharma marketers have been hesitant to invest in Hispanic outreach  because they have not been able to measure the ROI from their efforts. Agencies and marketers need to offer those in-depth analytics to demonstrate the validity of the business case for each campaign.  Prime Access’ Millerman concludes: “The ACA will unquestionably contribute to the business case of increasing spend within the US Hispanic space, but we should not disregard the fact that even with the high Hispanic populations now, the healthcare industry has not leveraged Hispanic marketing. The bottom line is there are many other variables that play a role in building a strong case on why one should invest in the healthcare environment. Understanding healthcare and understanding Hispanic healthcare are critical components to building a strong business case for clients. The high number of stakeholders in the system, life cycle considerations and the importance of strong analytics adds to the complexity of this dynamic, which is drastically different from other industries.”


silvia.echeverria.paradaSilvia Echeverria is Communications Strategist at Grupo Parada.

Close to 15 million Hispanics will benefit from The Affordable Care Act (ACA). The enrollment started on October 1, 2013 and coverage goes into effect January 1, 2014. With its primary focus on preventive care, early detection and early intervention, Latino/Hispanic patients will be required to assume more responsibility for their own personal health management.

Technology has impacted every aspect of the Latinos’ daily life.

EEUU HISPANOS SALUD COLESTEROL (Previsión)It has rapidly changed the way they access health information, seek treatment and will have a major impact on the patient-doctor relationship.

Like many other industries, the healthcare industry will be facing a digital transformation which creates opportunities to leverage “big data” in ways that are more relevant and engaging for users. More than ever, insurers, HMOs/managed care and hospital groups need to develop communication strategies that connect culturally with this growing and thriving population.

Perhaps the mode of enrolling Latinos that are uninsured is through digital media.

There are 15 million Latinos without health insurance, and 61.4% of them fall between the age range of 25-35 years old. If high digital media users fall close to this age group then it is plausible to say that one mode to use enrolling the uninsured Latino community, is through digital media.

To increase patient volume, both hospitals and insurance companies must think digital, and act social. There are 53 million Hispanics in the US and of those 53 million, 58% have computer internet usage at their homes. It is important to keep in mind that patients consult a multitude of sources through their journey to wellness: 48% of them research more than 2 weeks before scheduling an appointment.

Out of every $4 spent in healthcare, $3 are spent in the treatment of chronic diseases – which many can be prevented. Prevention lowers the cost of caring for clients with chronic diseases for hospitals and insurance companies. This outcome is achieved through prevention and patient teaching.

Dr Mirian Zavala, DNS, RN., Chair of Policy Committee at the Association of Hispanic Healthcare Executives (AHHE) shares the importance of enrolling uninsured Latinos in healthcare insurance plans under the Affordable Healthcare Act.


Did you know that one-third of New York’s population is Hispanic?

Of that population 80% speak Spanish at their home. About 15 million Hispanics are currently uninsured and as the enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act has started, Hispanics will need healthcare information more than ever. This information has to be readily available in the language of their preference at the moment and places where they are looking for them.

Join us: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 – From 5:45pm to 8:30pm At St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, 1000 Tenth Ave @ West 59th Street, NY.


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