The holidays are upon us and once again our world is alight with bright advertisements promising eternal familial peace (but only if we can just get our shopping completed on time). With consumer attention turned to the tantalizing splurges, where does that leave campaigns marketing clinical trials? Many clients question whether to forgo or delay their media campaign during the holiday season; citing fears such as a site’s ability to manage referrals on limited schedules and financial value when the campaign is competing for attention against consumer goods. While referral numbers and office visits may be lower than the norm, it’s important to remember that many holiday-goers do have health plans on the horizon for themselves and their families…tomorrow.
If we look at campaign decisions from the patient perspective, December may be the perfect time to beat the New Year’s resolution rush of January. Once January hits, consumers are bombarded with competing health advertisements, thus taking attention away from clinical trials. These individuals may be thinking about alternatives, but aren’t ready or lack the time and family encouragement to test a new therapy.
The holiday season is also the prime time to capture the attention of caregivers and loved ones. For many families, this season is one of the few times everyone is in the same zip code for an extended period of time. This allows for not only the imposition of health values, but also thorough communication. During this time, families may note perhaps, subtle changes in their loved one’s health status, mobility, and / or cognition. Running a media campaign during this time is an opportunity to address the health concern when it is top of mind and conversations are personal and frequent.
From a campaign management perspective, the decision of whether or not to push media during the holidays is greatly dependent upon where the campaign is in its current lifecycle. If the campaign has been running for a few months (years), the holidays may be the perfect time to take a step back and complete end-of-year analyses and / or return on investment calculations. However, if the campaign is new, the holidays may be the perfect time to launch and provide consumers with the perfect holiday gift – a solution to the problem that ails them.
In short, patient recruitment campaigns should not be discounted during the holiday season solely due to office closures and staffing. Instead, the patient profile should be thoroughly evaluated. If family plays a large role in the decision making process, the holidays may be the ideal time to focus your efforts on maintaining a presence in your prospective patient’s and / or caregiver’s priority list. If you can capture and persuade your audience now, by the time the January rolls around, your patients will be ready to call the physician’s office and start their clinical trial journey.