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Patient-centricity in improving patient recruitment advertising

This blog looks into the importance of concepts and patient centricity in patient recruitment.

The concept behind an advertisement can make or break its success. Not only does it form the visual theme of the advertisement, it creates the story behind the message you’re trying to convey. Your concept brings together all the key elements, capturing your audience’s interest, influencing their emotional response and inspiring them to take action.  And if you don’t send the right message to your target audience, they’re likely to ignore it.

So, what about when it comes to advertising your clinical study? Can patients relate to the concept on your recruitment poster? Is the poster directed to your patient, or is it company-focussed?

We conducted some research in collaboration with Lancaster University, to look into the importance of patient centricity and what makes an effective concept for recruitment posters, for cancer and type 2 diabetes clinical studies.

Emotional marketing

Emotional marketing is a powerful approach and it’s been well known for many years in advertising.  It’s a technique that taps into people’s emotions. Whether it’s making them feel happy, sad or angry, it’s about communicating with your audience in a personal way and influencing  their response. A study showed that when individuals have a positive emotional association with a specific brand, they are:

  • 15.1 times more likely to recommend the company
  • 8.4 times more likely to trust the company
  • 7.8 times more likely to try new products and services.

Does this technique have the same effect in clinical study advertising?

Resonate with your reader

However, whether you’re using emotional marketing or not, the concept must be relatable for it to be effective. If a patient doesn’t clearly understand your key message, it’s unlikely that your ad will be immediately successful.

I think if a concept has to be explained then it’s missed the point – especially in a clinical trial setting”

Overall, this highlights the importance of making sure that your ad is relatable, and positive connotations are effective. But how do you truly find out what will resonate with your reader? Patientwise (2010) stated that for clinical studies to succeed, research must be conducted into the patient population to gain an understanding into what will resonate with them most effectively.

Choosing the right imagery

It’s important that the imagery you choose as part of your concept portrays the right message, too. Generally in healthcare, a lot of ‘traditional’ recruitment materials portray stereotypical images that people have seen before. Our research found that the majority disliked these stereotypical images – some were offended, as it reinforced the pre-existing negative stereotype of the disease, and some even said it would put them off enrolling onto the study based on this principle.

Those who didn’t feel offended by the stereotypical images still believed it wouldn’t be effective for clinical study recruitment. The general agreement was that patients try to stay as positive as they can and want this to be reinforced in relevant advertisements such as clinical study materials. Who knew that one image could have such an impact on a patient’s decision to take part? This just shows the strong influence that your poster’s concept can have, so it needs to be right to help your study be successful.

Put the patient first

Closely linked with the concept of your poster is your patient-centric approach. Is your poster expressing patient centricity in terms of its imagery, copy and overall style? One factor that may cause low recruitment rates in clinical studies is the negative preconception of the pharmaceutical industry. And one way this can be changed is by being more patient centric.

Our study was the first of its kind to explore whether participants are more likely to enrol in a clinical study based on patient centric writing and design styles. We found that patients expressed the importance of feeling valued and appreciated within a clinical study, as traditionally, people feel as though they’re just a number in the pharmaceutical industry.

‘This is definitely more patient-focussed than company focussed – there’s nothing that sounds like the company has profits in mind. This would be more successful in recruiting patients’

This just shows that patients believe that clinical studies will recruit participants if the poster portrays a patient-focussed approach. Does your poster have the patient in mind?

Key message:

When it comes to creating clinical study recruitment materials, your concept and patient-centric approach are influential to patients’ decision-making. From our research, the key takeaways were:

  • Concept – positive and relatable concepts would be most effective in clinical study recruitment
  • Patient centricity – patients believe that clinical studies will recruit participants if the poster portrays a patient-focussed approach.

It’s also important to note that individual differences such as age, gender, job role and other factors may influence a patient’s response to your materials. So, it’s always a good idea to do some research into your target population – or even better, involve them in the decision-making to find out what will resonate with them the most.

This blog was first published here: https://www.couchhealth.co/post/patient-centricity-in-improving-clinical-study-recruitment-materials

10th August 2020

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