Healthcare marketers are intensively data-driven when analyzing the results of their campaigns, but are they as disciplined when developing creative communications on the front end? Our research has shown that a small investment of time and resources upfront can pay big dividends with results on the back end.
Just as there are no shortcuts to a healthy lifestyle—balanced diet, exercise, plenty of rest and relaxation—there really are no shortcuts to a healthy marketing campaign.
This fact is even more pronounced when it comes to patient recruitment for clinical research studies. The pharmaceutical industry develops new therapies using a rigorous scientific process, but unfortunately that rigor often does not translate when it comes to marketing clinical trials to potential patients.
Patient recruitment has been a bottleneck of clinical development for decades. Close to 90% of trials fail to meet their enrollment goals, draining valuable time and resources, and ultimately delaying life-changing new therapies to market.
When enrollment lags, pharma companies scramble to “rescue” their trials with hastily developed patient recruitment campaigns. Since many are unfamiliar with the science of marketing, they often want to skip over the time and expense of validated market research. It is no wonder that these campaigns deliver underwhelming results and leave scientists unconvinced of the value of marketing.
When given the chance to validate communications for patient recruitment campaigns, our experience has shown stunning results. In any given market research study, we find as much as a 400% difference in the efficacy of alternative strategic communications approaches.
This includes comprehensive quantitative strategic and creative testing among representative panels of potential study participants to ascertain insights that guide the development of strategy and messaging.
Here are five questions you might want to ask about the communications you are running or contemplating running. While these questions point specifically to patient recruitment for clinical trials, they can be easily adapted to any healthcare endeavor.
1. Do you have a clearly articulated patient recruitment communications strategy? Does that strategy contain true insight into the patient population? It should address their needs, wants and concerns, as well as the barriers limiting their motivation to learn more about your trial.
2. Does your strategy factor in and carefully assess the needs of each of the target audiences critical to success? The needs of physicians, investigators and sponsors – among others – must be considered.
3. Is your strategy relevant, original and impactful? Will it trigger communications that will break through the clutter and noise of all communications and motivate?
4. Are the communications simple and surprising? Do they evoke a visceral, emotional response that will drive action?
5. Do you have fact-based, scientific evidence that the strategy and communications are effective? Or, are you guessing, potentially throwing good money away on media with ineffective messaging?
Thoughtful strategic planning can and will result in healthier patient recruitment and marketing campaigns. Those who invest the time to do this upfront, without hasty shortcuts, will be rewarded with more robust results, and ultimately contribute to a healthier world.