• Joanna Thomson

The best marketing methods for clinical trial awareness

As we said in a previous article on patient centricity (check it out here), survey-experts IPSOS MORI revealed in a recent report that the industry today is now facing worryingly-low levels of patient confidence. Overconfidence on the part of CROs and research operators, says the study, is a resounding factor. In fact, only three in ten respondents (30%) ranked their confidence in biopharmas implementing patient-focused missions as 8/10 or more; whereas half of biopharma associates ranked their confidence to the same degree. With Forrester Consulting’s 2019 Survey finding a 35% difference in confidence between marketeers and second-party data, it’s clear that overconfidence isn’t just a research issue - but, looking at patient confidence and consumer confidence side-by-side, it may be more detrimental to the former.


Whether the root problem lies in a miscalculated feasibility or ill study planning, it’s clear that the research-patient communication involved has broken down. Today, we take a look at the best marketing strategies for research in 2020 and consider how their impact could shape clinical trial awareness for the better. Check out our breakdown below.


Traditional methodologies


While postal questionnaires certainly are a thing of the past, some traditional methodologies are still relevant to trial marketing today. The issues arise when these particular strategies aren’t contextualised and updated to suit the needs of current candidates. The pamphlet at the doctors’ surgery is still effective - as long as it is relevant.


A simple rule of thumb for updating the old is this: make sure it’s clear. Be pragmatic and say it how it is. Research by Pixus shows that people tend to be put off by convolution. Lengthy sentence structures and flowery vocabulary are seen as elitist and not relatable to the ordinary individual. So, when it comes to the ‘how’ of communication, be concise.

Equally, the ‘what’ is just as simple. Regardless of medium, make sure people are informed about all details of the study - or at least as much as they can know. Be sure to include the duration, location, time, etc. to ensure patients are confident with the study’s purpose. For legal reasons, all risks must be put to the candidate upfront; but, remember that it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. A successful risk-communication strategy isn’t about bluntness - it’s about being knowledgeable, and being able to simplify the knowledge in a way that is understandable. Again, be pragmatic and think sensibly. Don’t make potential candidates worry for their health but don’t straight up lie either. Clarity is a tough skill to gain, but it’s one that any researcher should master in order to obtain and maintain high patient engagement.


Let potential candidates and current patients know that you are open to telephone interviews and email correspondence. For those in the UK, applications such as MyGP are now available to eliminate the backlog of appointment requests and provide a less daunting method for patients to disclose their concerns. More options for communication means more time for researchers to form considered and helpful responses to patients' issues. Ultimately, widening accessibility works towards eliminating the stigma surrounding the researcher-patient consultation.


Digital methodologies


With around 4.57 billion people now online (as of April 2020), technology, as we now know it, is no longer a toy-thing for the younger generations. Coronavirus-induced isolation has seen an increase in social media usage across a variety of age groups, with more people now using a smartphone or smart-device than previously recorded. Technology truly has saved us from boredom and connected us with our loved ones when we physically can’t; and, for the benefit of clinical research everywhere, this dependency on tech will continue long after the elimination of the virus.

Patient recruitment, when making full use of technology, has the potential to completely revamp the outcomes of clinical research. On average, 86% of clinical trials do not meet patient recruitment targets, with this kind of worrying statistic long accepted as a commonplace occurrence in the industry. So, if the world is now pretty tech-savvy and our past methods of patient-recruitment appear to be failing us, it’s only common sense that the patient-recruitment crisis must have a technologically-inspired solution.

Digital marketing and automated recruitment dashboards are now the necessities of any clinical researcher. As we now have a high population of ideal candidates using technological applications, the modern researcher must make use of technology that can directly target patients and can efficiently process data from these interactions. The establishment of a social media presence and the use of a patient recruitment dashboard is bound to take the stress out of a traditionally low-success procedure.


For a fuller guide to clinical trial marketing, check out Citruslabs’ own 4 ‘E’s of patient engagement. A quick but comprehensive manual, our 4 ‘E’s provide the ideal checklist for researchers of all expertise and monetary situations.

Here at Citruslabs, we've created the ideal patient recruitment dashboard to help any researcher improve their current metrics. With over 3 million patients on record, we ensure researchers are connected to a thoroughly educated and engaged pool of participants; so, it is no wonder why we have such high patient confidence! Linked directly with our #1 health app in 17 countries, Mindmate, our patient-recruitment dashboard provides researchers access to our patient database via an easy-to-use interface that is guaranteed to streamline any clinical trial.

  • Interested in finding out more? Get in touch with us here, and check out our archives for all our top tips and tricks on running successful clinical trials in today's constantly changing industry.

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