In a time of ever-expanding online, digital, and mobile advertising opportunities, recruiters for clinical trials face a growing number of options to find prospective patients for their studies. And as these new methods emerge, it’s worth evaluating the ‘traditional’ approaches and how they stand against current options.
Let’s be honest…today’s strategies can be highly targeted and very affordable (if not free!). Posting study information to your own social media channels can be done quickly and easily. Facebook ads can be localized to your geographic area, targeted by age, gender, and health preferences, all fairly inexpensively. Not to mention local Craigslist postings or pay-per-lead options.
But all the convenience or ease of use means nothing until you can affirmatively answer the question:
DOES IT WORK?
In our recent talks with pharmaceutical sponsors, recruitment firms and agencies, the general feeling we’ve gathered is that while new digital strategies have their time and place, you end up paying for a lot of clicks but are left underwhelmed by conversions to fill your study. So when the heat is on and timelines are short, you need a strategy that will consistently deliver a volume of qualified leads. More often than not, patient recruiters turn to television to produce the bulk of enrollments for patient recruitment.
So without further ado, here are our top 5 reasons why TV advertising works for patient recruitment in 2015:
TV is the #1 influencer of all media types. Consumers trust TV more than any other advertising medium, and are more likely to consider an idea, make a purchase, or visit a website when the message is delivered via TV. (More on this in a minute.) Most likely, your trial is not something your prospective patients have sought out. There is a huge chasm of relevance (“Does this apply to me?”). Also, people tend to view clinical trials as risky. This is precisely why TV shines in patient recruitment. TV builds trust for a ‘risky proposition.’ When you run online banner ads, they compete with get-rich-quick seminars and unbelievably low interest mortgage brokers. No wonder people may not trust your banner ad or Facebook ad! With TV, there is a higher barrier to entry. While this ‘higher barrier’ may include higher cost, more planning and strategy, and a longer timeline to implement, the process weeds out the slick and sketchy, resulting in a medium that consistently invokes a sense of reliability and trust, which directly translates to more response and consequently engagement.
When targeting specific patient populations, you have to consider how available your marketing platform is to your target audience.
- 30% of homes have satellite TV
- 64% of Americans have a smartphone
- 73% of Americans text
- 81% have a PC with internet
- 96% of homes have a TV
Will a text message connect with your Alzheimer population? Will your Facebook ad deliver qualified leads for your Parkinson’s study? Or will your tweet be re-tweeted enough for your healthy normal trial? The fact that you can reach 96% of homes in America through television is an open door directly to your patient population, regardless of what demographic they fit.
The fact that you can reach 96% of homes in America through television is an open door directly to your patient population, regardless of what demographic they fit.
With more channels and platforms for viewers to consume, the increased number of options has led to a fragmentation of viewership. Social media, texts, calls, email, radio, TV, Pandora, YouTube, video on demand, and oh yeah, personal interaction, all compete for our attention. We can watch TV and stream Pandora, but also access content on our tablet, engage in social media on our phone, while working from our laptop. Does this mean less people are watching TV or listening to the radio? Not necessarily. More often than not, we are doing many of these things at the same time.
Reach is the measurement of how much of our target audience we are hitting. On any given day:
- Newspapers reach 34% of the public
- Radio reaches 60% of the public
- Internet reaches 73% of the public
- TV reaches 90% of the public
The fact remains: Most Americans are watching a lot of TV everyday, and it is the best place to connect with your intended audience.
The added bonus to reach is that it helps build brand recognition. TV builds trust and recognition for your brand, multiplying the effects of your radio ad, your social media posts and ads, and your online banner ads.
While the average American adult is awake 15 hours each day, 7 of those hours are spent with media. 47% of that ‘media’ time they are WATCHING, 20% of the time they are browsing, 12% of the time they are listening, and 6% of the time they are social networking.
Americans are watching TV daily, and on average over 4 hours per day. In order to find patients for your studies, you have to put your message where your prospective patient population already is.
In order to find patients for your studies, you have to put your message where your prospective patient population already is.
One of the primary reasons TV works better than newspaper, radio, or online advertising is because the public perceives television to be extremely trustworthy. In a recent study, people were asked to state which medium they perceived to rank the most influential, authoritative, powerful, effective, persuasive, engaging, and relevant. TV consistently outpaced the competition, oftentimes at a rate of 2 to 1. Simply put, the public trusts what appears on TV far more than what they view online. This is why we consistently see our clients generate so many patient recruitment leads through TV advertising. TV has the ability to put the viewer at ease, inform and educate the viewer, and then move them to action.
So yes, there is lots of buzz about social media and online advertising for recruitment of participants for clinical trials. And rightly so. The ability to target such precise populations and the ability to ‘listen’ to your audience and build true engagement are unmatched by traditional forms of advertising. However, building your active online community of engagement takes time, and often times, that is the one thing that sponsors do not have. When time is of the essence and enrollments are lagging, television advertising shines in delivering fast and frequent response for your patient recruitment.