Juliette Mayers

Executive Director, Multicultural Marketing
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA)

Headquarters: Boston, Massachusetts
Web site: www.bluecrossma.com
Primary Business: Health Insurance

Do you engage ethnic business partners in your multicultural marketing process? If so, how?

BCBSMA in 2009 initiated and engaged two very important ethnic health care and business partners. One was with the Hispanic-American Chamber of Commerce (HACC). Key components of the partnership include creating both a B2B and B2C multicultural capabilities brochure in Spanish, assigning a bilingual sales rep, and collaborating with HACC on a healthcare event for Latino-owned businesses.

The second was with Whittier Street Health Center, one of the largest community health centers in the Boston area. The result of this partnership in year-one of the program, was a 22% increase in multicultural members who are patients of Whittier Street Health Center. Key components of the partnership included creating multicultural health care educational materials in English and Spanish, collaborating on programming and support of Whittier’s programs, training for Whittier staff about BCBSMA products and services, appointment of a sales representative for Whittier and sponsorship of Whittier’s events including the Men’s Health Summit, Links to Women’s Health and the International Gospel Concert.

List the various ways your organization begins to understand the culture of the groups it wants to reach.

In 2008, BCBSMA conducted a comprehensive planning and marketing research study that resulted in identification and validation of the Hispanic and AfricanAmerican market segments as areas of growth and opportunity. BCBSMA has done qualitative and quantitative studies to assess the multicultural marketplace and based on those studies, we have approximations of the racial and ethnic composition of our membership. Many studies have concluded that there are differences in outcomes and access for minorities, and collection is now a high priority for the state of Massachusetts and for healthcare providers.

Multicultural Ambassadors extend BCBSMA’s reach into the community. BCBSMA also has a team of Spanish-speaking Member Service Representatives and Spanish-speaking representatives who regularly attend multicultural health fairs and staff the BCBSMA booth.

What is your most rewarding career accomplishment?

As it relates to Multicultural Marketing, it is the ability to combine my expertise in Marketing and Diversity to achieve bottom-line results for BCBSMA while supporting our company’s commitment to being an outstanding corporate citizen.

How does your organization show how your products or services will benefit and/or meet the needs of different groups targeted?

In January 2010, BCBSMA launched a new web site for multicultural consumers in English and Spanish. It helps the visitor access information on how to choose a health care plan that is best for their family, lots of nutrition and health information, and how to find a doctor. It’s very user-friendly and includes a “rollover glossary” that lets the user mouse over a term for instant definitions of commonly used health care and insurance terms. BCBSMA Multicultural Marketing asked its PR firm, Colette Phillips Communications, Inc, New England’s premier multicultural marketing firm and a 10-year vendor for the company, to create a dynamic brochure that would have applicability to multicultural consumers as well as wide appeal to crossover audiences. The result is a brochure that is vibrant and informative, communicating information about BCBSMA with compassion and warmth. And while it was culturally sensitive, the piece’s theme, which highlighted the importance of family, appealed to consumers from all walks of life.

Please include any other relevant topics, innovations or ideas you would like us to know about your multicultural marketing program.

BCBSMA in 2009 developed and launched the Multicultural Marketing Ambassadors initiative, a means of extending BCBSMA’s reach into diverse communities and actively engaging the community. The inaugural team of 20 Ambassadors support Multicultural Marketing events and activities and work in partnership on company-wide outreach efforts to build brand awareness and to provide consumer healthcare education, resulting in membership growth and enhanced value for BCBSMA. The Ambassadors undergo comprehensive training in cultural competency and the company’s products and services

This article has been sponsored by:
Leadership Council on Legal Diversity