As early as 2018 surgeons may be able to identify cancer cells within 10 seconds for more efficient tumor removal, reports The Verge. In the words of the research and development team, the MasSpec Pen is an “automated and biocompatible handheld mass spectrometry device for rapid and nondestructive diagnosis of human cancer tissues.” That means better tissue cuts and an accelerated diagnostic and therapeutic decision-making process.

How might this medical innovation be brought to market?

To start, Viv Marketing suggests broadening the typical scope of target market research.

We know from the CDC that white women have the highest rate of breast cancer, followed by black then Hispanic. Too, as just one example, we know that MD Anderson Cancer Center, one of the top breast cancer hospitals in the United States, is located in Orlando, FL, where 40% of residents are white, 28% are black and 25% are Hispanic, indicating wide diversity among the hospital staff and doctors. (And of course, this is just one sliver of the pie: the study may also include lung, thyroid and ovarian cancer patients, hospital staff and doctors at cancer centers nationally or even globally, R&D team members as well as investors as deemed necessary.)

The standard approach to target market research would be to develop one standard for surveying and/or one standard for focus groups and apply it across all participating patients, hospital staff and doctors. 21st Century marketing for cutting-edge devices demands a more inclusive approach. Marketing research must be delivered with linguistic and cultural responsiveness for accurate results.

Linguistic responsiveness is pretty straightforward – surveys and focus groups are delivered in bilingual format: in English where English speakers are participating, in Spanish where Spanish speakers are participating, etc.

Cultural responsiveness is much broader. The Education Alliance at Brown University writes, “Culture plays a role in communicating and receiving information, and also in shaping the thinking process of groups.” Characteristics of this approach to target market research might include culturally mediated focus groups or reshaping the structure and format of sessions or surveys to more readily meet the needs of people from various cultures.

This goes not just for a spec approach to marketing research for MasSpec Pen. Anymore, in this global market, medical device marketing must acknowledge and respond to varying linguistic and cultural needs in order to accurately represent, effectively reach them and boldly motivate target audiences, nearly all of which are culturally and linguistically diverse.

From there, certainly video marketing and educational app development might be recommended, among other ways to bring the device to market. These materials, too, would be custom developed to be culturally and linguistically responsive to the respective audiences they reach.

Just as devices are becoming more precise, so too shall their marketing programs.

Wendy O’Donovan Phillips is CEO of Viv Marketing, serving the medical industry for 10 years. The agency offers more than 50 different marketing tactics, all backed by research. Wendy has been honored by the American Marketing Association for excellence in her field, and she has been hired by the American Dental Association as an expert consultant in marketing.