Value and engagement: what can clinical trials learn from techniques used in not-for-profit marketing?

Eleanor Jane Mitchell* (Corresponding Author), K. Sprange, S. Treweek, E. Nixon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Marketing is a core business function in commercial companies but is also frequently used by not-for-profit organisations. Marketing focuses on understanding what people value to make choices about engaging with a product or service: a concept also key to understanding why people may choose to engage with a clinical trial. Understanding the needs and values of stakeholders, whether they are participants, staff at recruiting sites or policy-makers, is critical for a clinical trial to be a success. As many trials fail to recruit and retain participants, perhaps it is time for us to consider approaches from other disciplines. Though clinical trial teams may consider evidence- and non-evidence-based recruitment and retention strategies, this is rarely done in a systematic, streamlined way and is often in response to challenges once the trial has started. In this short commentary, we argue the need for a formal marketing approach to be applied to clinical trials, from the outset, as a potential prevention to recruitment and retention problems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number457
Number of pages4
Issue number1
Early online date2 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

No funding has been received for this work.

The Nottingham Clinical Trials Unit (NCTU) at the University of Nottingham
receives core CTU support funding from the National Institute of Health
Research. The Health Services Research Unit, University of Aberdeen, receives
core funding from the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government
Health Directorates


  • randomised trials
  • marketing
  • value
  • recruitment
  • retention
  • Value
  • Randomised trials
  • Retention
  • Marketing
  • Recruitment
  • Administrative Personnel
  • Humans
  • Patient Selection


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