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Recruiting older adults for a clinical trial during a global pandemic  

The Challenge

Clinical trials are critical to treatment innovation, often leading to groundbreaking discoveries. Yet, driving clinical trial enrollment is routinely challenging. We faced the added burden of supporting clinical trial recruitment for a potential new treatment for a progressive eye condition during the COVID-19 pandemic as health concerns were heightened for the 65+ population.

The Response

To reach this typically elusive audience, it was clear we needed to pioneer a new path forward. We leveraged a combination of qualitative and quantitative research that informed the creation of user personas for these populations. These personas, coupled with attitudinal segmentation work, identified audience barriers to enrollment such as lack of understanding of trial requirements and increasing rates of COVID-19 that gave rise to health concerns.

The Action

We authored a hyper-geotargeted strategy informed by trial site locations, weighing the balance between efficient reach and physical, patient proximity to the trial site, to recruit optimal prospective candidates. We identified the prime social channels to reach patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals, and created bespoke messaging to drive awareness and address safety concerns. Language, images and typography were tailored to make content accessible and engaging.

The Impact

Our customized, flexible campaign and robust search engine marketing drove striking results, increased trial enrollment and opened the door to future effective treatment options. We successfully enrolled the number of patients required to meet the continuation threshold. The effort received accolades across the industry and several award nominations and wins.