Successful clinical trial recruitment can result in study results that help propel a medical product or drug into the national awareness. On the other hand, difficulty in clinical trial recruitment can result in poor results or higher costs for the trial. Those conducting clinical trials need to communicate to a number of audiences to increase the recruitment potential.
Potential trial participants must be found and motivated, of course, but there may be others involved in the final decision. The patient may ask a trusted physician about the trial, or physicians might recommend the trial to their patients. Medical and nursing staff may be helpful in convincing the patient to participate. Some others in the health care team, such as physical therapists or pharmacists, might also be involved, depending on the nature of the trial.
To reach all of these various audiences, it is necessary for clinical trial marketers to set aside a budget to develop an integrated marketing strategy which includes consistent brand messaging across both traditional and non-traditional marketing channels, and uses different promotional methods to reinforce each other. Because of the many ways in which consumers now receive their information it is almost impossible to predict with 100% accuracy which one marketing outlet will be most effective. That is why it is necessary to incorporate a variety of communication opportunities, while still reinforcing the same basic message.
- Traditional Advertising: This can be used to help establish the overall brand message for the trial. It alerts the medical community and potential participants that a trial is available and builds curiosity.
- Trade Awareness: Strategically placed advertisements or articles in trade publications can help raise awareness within the medical community. It can help to present the scientific aspects of the trial, while supplying doctors and medical support personnel with information they can help communicate to possible participants.
- Online Marketing: Physicians and patients alike may decide to search online for further information about the clinical trial, so it is crucial to have a search engine optimized website available that strictly deals with elements of the trial. It must be easy to find through SEO or PPC tactics and dynamic enough to engage all audiences. Content should be designed to take the site visitor on a precise path from interest to acceptance.
- Social Media Marketing: Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter can be used to increase interest in enrollment as well as maintain patient participation throughout the entire length of the trial.
Clinical trial marketers can no longer rely on one standalone marketing strategy to insure the success of their recruitment efforts. The most successful trials will utilize all of the communication opportunities at their disposal to create awareness and motivate participation.
Instead of investing more and more money into trial management, clinical trial marketers are well-advised to devote a reasonable budget to the development, implementation and execution of an integrated marketing strategy that reaches across media outlets to communicate and inform.