Choosing a Digital Marketing Agency for Clinical Trial Recruitment

Choosing a Digital Marketing Agency

If you have concerns about patient recruitment and retention, the right digital marketing agency can make all the difference in getting your clinical trial off the ground.

For clinical trials, patient recruitment is time-consuming, expensive, and above all, vitally important. 86% of trials don’t reach their recruitment goals within their desired timelines, almost always resulting in budget overages and delayed publishing. For 19% of those trials, low or slow recruitment ends the trial before it can even begin.

Fortunately, a smart digital marketing strategy can help CROs and sponsors meet recruitment goals in time and under budget, which is why partnering with the right digital marketing agency is one of the most important steps in getting a clinical trial off the ground. As you’re making a choice about your digital marketing partner, keep an eye out for these six qualifications:

1. A Core Competency in Clinical Trials

Healthcare marketing is a particularly sticky arena, and clinical trial recruitment is even more so. That’s why it’s important to ensure that your digital marketing partner has experience with healthcare’s strict regulatory frameworks, particularly those surrounding clinical trial marketing. An inexperienced partner can create a lot of legal headaches down the line, so make sure you’re working with an agency that has plenty of experience specifically in trial recruitment, not just healthcare.

Additionally, ask whether the digital marketing agency has worked with the demographic you’re targeting or the condition that you’re studying. A partner with a proven track record of success for your patient demographic is usually a safe bet.

2. An Eye for Realistic Results

Your goal is to recruit patients to your clinical trial, so it’s important to open the conversation around results early on in your discussions with a potential digital marketing partner. A good vendor will focus on measurable, meaningful, and realistic goals, as well as understand important KPIs for the clinical trial space.

Ask how the digital marketing agency plans to reach the goals that they’ve outlined. If they’re promising the moon but can’t effectively how they’re going to achieve those lofty goals, it’s likely unwise to move forward with your conversations. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

3. Full-Service or Specialization (Depending on What You Need)

While many digital marketing agencies are full-service – meaning they offer a full suite of marketing and advertising services – others simply do digital ads. It’s not necessarily a problem to use a specialized agency for a specific channel, especially if they’re excellent at what they do. However, if you’re also looking for support in TV, print, radio, or other advertising formats, you may need to find other vendors to round out your recruitment campaign.

If the agency is full-service, consider whether they actually have a resume of well-rounded experience and diverse staff. Plenty of agencies say they can do something in the name of being “full-service,” but they need to be able to walk the walk.

4. Transparent Pricing

Different vendors price their services in different ways, so be very aware of your own budget when going into conversations with a potential digital marketing partner. Make sure you ask about any rates, fees, and other charges before you sign on the dotted line.

You should also determine the process of authorizing and approving new charges so that you won’t have to deal with any unpleasant financial overages. Remember, you’re partnering with a digital marketing agency to avoid wasting money on ineffective recruitment efforts, so formulate your marketing budget with that in mind.

5. Talented People

You’re going to be working closely with any agency you decide to partner with, so it’s important to make sure that your people and theirs get along and are on the same page. Pay attention to their communication skills while you’re still in the negotiating phase. Are they responsive? Are they good listeners? Any issues you notice during the sales stage will only intensify once you’re working closely alongside them.

But besides their personalities, you should also look into the experience and skills of the people on their team. Does each individual member have experience with the condition or demographic that you’re studying?

6. Prior Success in Your Niche

It’s easy to say that a project was successful, but good agencies have the data to back it up. When you’re looking over case studies for a digital marketing agency’s previous clients, focus on the results. Consider how the agency is measuring success and to what extent the agency is responsible for those results. Look for quantifiable measures of success that clearly indicate that the agency made an impact in patient recruitment or retention.

At the end of the day, mutual trust is the most important factor in your relationship with a digital marketing agency. Do you trust the agency to get results, communicate, and keep your clinical trial’s best interests at heart? If so, they have the makings of a clinical trial recruitment partner.

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