Background: Publicly funded clinical trials require a substantial commitment of time and money. To ensure that sufficient numbers of patients are recruited it is essential that they address important questions in a rigorous manner and are managed well, adopting effective marketing strategies. Methods: Using methods of analysis drawn from management studies, this paper presents a structured assessment framework or reference model, derived from a case analysis of the MRC's CRASH trial, of 12 factors that may affect the success of the marketing and sales activities associated with clinical trials. Results: The case study demonstrates that trials need various categories of people to buy in – hence, to be successful, trialists must embrace marketing strategies to some extent. Conclusion: The performance of future clinical trials could be enhanced if trialists routinely considered these factors.We would like to thank the National Co-ordinating Centre for Research Methodology for commissioning this research; the MRC and the DH for providing funding; and the CRASH trial team. The Health Services Research Unit is funded by the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Executive Health Department. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the funders and the funders had no involvement in the study.Peer reviewedPublisher PD
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