More than 500 fliers and brochures were mailed to physicians, patients, and department support staff at sponsoring hospitals
in the five markets. Information was distributed at events that targeted lung cancer patients and providers, such as the Lung
Run in Chicago, Lung Cancer Awareness Month lectures, and local patient-information sessions. Locally and nationally distributed
news releases garnered coverage in key trade publications and local newspapers, and on patient Web sites such as Gilda's Club
and Wellness Centers,
http://cancer.org/. Total enrollment in the Phase II trial increased from zero to 34 in just 10 months.
In this case, the company opted not to use advertising, but chose to rely exclusively on public relations and online communications
as its outbound marketing tools. This strategy worked because of the educational component implicit in public relations and
the Internet. Rather than appealing to potential patients via paid advertising, messages were conveyed via third-party channels
where the messages resonated, and those channels targeted the right messages to the right patients.
Public relations and online communications can be important tools for successful trial recruitment and enrollment. Trials
are complex experiments. Patients often have a lot of anxiety about considering being part of a trial. Advertising alone,
besides being expensive, cannot convey enough information to overcome those hurdles. PR can.
John Smith is senior vice president and director of healthcare at Manning, Selvage & Lee. He can be reached at email@example.com