[by: Brandy Haslam, MBA]

Coming from the site level and working in recruitment, I can still remember my disappointment when a sponsor would say they are using a central campaign.

Most of the time, the materials we would receive didn’t include crucial pieces of marketing.  Excuse me, where are the Facebook and other digital ads? The materials we did receive were sub-par at best and didn’t always meet the needs or catch the eye of those in our community that we desperately needed to fill our studies.

At the end of the day, I get it. Sponsors are wanting to streamline recruitment efforts across their sites and creating a centralized campaign and ad plan is the easiest, most efficient way to do that.

But! Here is why a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for sites.

All audiences are not the same and here’s an example. I have a client who is working on a study in Salt Lake City and another one working on the same exact study in New York City. My clients both know their audiences very well and even though we are talking about the same study, they have very stark differences in the language and imagery they want to use. My Utah client knows that the community is primarily Mormon and they understand how to relate to that audience; what interests them; what is going to catch their attention.  In NYC in a suburb that is on a lower-income scale, the site knows they need to approach things in a way that shows more of the benefits of participating and how a study could potentially help with medical conditions that you may not be able to take care of otherwise.

Branding is crucial. I’m not just talking about throwing your logo on a flyer and adding your website and phone number. I’m talking about actual branding of your site in the local community. Ensuring that ads are placed on your businesses social media platforms allow you to build and grow a relationship with people that are interested and likely to participate in your studies.

You’re not in control. Central campaigns are working for the sponsor, not sites. Unfortunately, most sites don’t get to choose what they want to do for marketing even when they know what works best. Not being in control of your marketing can mean that the results are drab, and when they’re good, you have no idea what exactly was done to get you those results.

Although a lot of sites lack the capability to employ a marketing team in-house, there are recruitment agencies that have the experience and know-how that many central agencies lack (Ahem!). If you aren’t comfortable using a central campaign, push back with the sponsor and suggest an agency you know can get the job done right, with your needs in mind!

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