Carlos Garcia (Garcia Research) shared a compelling story last week with California Assemblymember Cristina Garcia to convince her of the need for the Insights Association's proposed amendment to S.B. 790. Powerful stories, so important when presenting insights from your research and analytics, are even more vital in advocating for the research and analytics industry.

Research I conducted with medical professionals and their Latino patients on issues related to Type 2 diabetes in the Latino community helped manufacturers of diabetes medications and devices better tailor their communications and educational materials to make them understandable, clear, and free from dangerous mis-interpretations.

Simply translating materials that may work in the general (Anglo) market can lead to serious problems, and it was through carefully coordinated in-depth interviews (IDIs) and focus groups with medical professionals and their patients throughout California and across the country that we were able to guide our clients to better and more effective approaches. Advertisements that worked perfectly among non-Latinos were mis-interpreted with potentially dangerous implications.

This is vital research about how to prevent and manage a major threat to public health. Had we not had the ability to reach medical professionals, our depth of understanding would have been greatly diminished.  Not having access to these key medical experts (they are, after all, the ones directly interfacing with patients) would have represented a significant handicap.  It's important to get the substance as well as the tone just right, and research with doctors was key.

I got down to specifics with Cristina:

  • One aspect of the work I did had to do with the journey from first diagnosis through the various physical and emotional stages, up to insulin-dependence and the complications that can ensue.  
  • The emotional journey was also a part of our work, because the best treatment is only as good as the patient compliance, so the tone of any communications and educational effort is crucial to positive outcomes (like lower A1C levels).
  • Another part had to do with various types of medications to see which approaches and combinations were working best for their patients.
  • We also studied blood sugar monitoring devices and how advertising promoting them that sounded fine in English and was perfectly well translated could still be misunderstood.  

I concluded for Cristina that the goals of the bill in question are admirable, but unless the amendments were included that would exclude legitimate marketing research from the bill's prohibitions, this well-intentioned effort could inadvertently represent a threat to public health. The work we do as marketing researchers makes a difference, and we need to be able to continue to do this to protect our communities.

If you have an advocacy story to share like Carlos', please get in touch with the Insights Association today.