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Table 4 Promotional strategy atttributes, outcomes and appraisal of effectiveness

From: Recruitment of men to a multi-centre diabetes prevention trial: an evaluation of traditional and online promotional strategies

  Attributes Assessment of outcomes  
Promotion Format1, length2 Direct3 Targeted3 High reach3 Frequent3 Online component Contributed to enrolment3 Direct cost per participant4 Staff effort per participant4 Appraisal of effectiveness5
TV news and current affair coverage Audio-visual, medium    +++ + Yes +++   – – Highly effective
Advantages: no cost, very high reach, audio-visual format, credible source
Disadvantages: single exposure, challenging to arrange
Mass mail-out by DHS Text + image, long +++ ++ +++ + No +++ – – Highly effective
Advantages: direct, targeted, high reach, credible source
Disadvantages: administrative process for approval, cost
Radio advertising Audio, short   + +++ +++ No +++ – – – Highly effective
Advantages: high reach and frequency
Disadvantages: costly, short audio-only format
Newsletter mentions: businesses and community organisations Text (+ image), usually short + + ++ + Yes ++   – – Effective
Advantages: no cost, moderate reach, credible source, potential to identify influencer/champion within organisation
Disadvantages: challenge of identifying willing organisations
Word of mouth UNK + UNK + UNK UNK ++    Effective
Advantages: no cost, trusted source
Disadvantages: usually incidental
Newspaper articles: print and online Text (+ image), medium    +++ + Yes ++   – – Effective
Advantages: high reach (although shrinking), offline and online options, credible source
Disadvantages: single exposure, challenging to arrange
Publicly displayed posters Text + image, medium   + + ++ No ++   – – – Effective
Advantages: low/no cost, simple, local to centres
Disadvantages: small potential reach, time-consuming
Online promotion: businesses and community organisations Text (+ image), short   + ++ + Yes +   – – Moderately effective
Advantages: no cost, can be a credible source
Disadvantages: single exposure, challenging to arrange
Radio news coverage/interviews Audio, medium    +++ + No +   – – Moderately effective
Advantages: high reach, credible source
Disadvantages: audio-only, single exposure, challenging to arrange
Referral by GP Face-to-face +++ +++ + + No +   – – Limited effectiveness
Advantages: direct and very targeted, a trusted medical source
Disadvantages: limited reach, challenging to seek referrals from health professionals not affiliated with trial
Direct approach/invitation from study centre Text, long ++ +++ + + No +   – – – Limited effectiveness
Advantages: direct and very targeted, a trusted medical source
Disadvantages: very limited reach, challenging to identify potential participants through hospitals due to nature of trial
Referral by pathology service (printed on bottom of path results) Text, short ++ +++ + + No +   – – Limited effectiveness
Advantages: direct and very targeted, a trusted medical source
Disadvantages: limited reach, challenging to arrange
Organic Google search Text, short   ++ ++ UNK Yes +   Limited effectiveness
Advantages: no cost
Disadvantages: limited reach due to nature of trial
Paid Google search Text, short   +++ + UNK Yes + – – Limited effectiveness
Advantages: potentially high reach, affordable compared to other paid strategies, flexible
Disadvantages: technically challenging, potential limited by the nature of trial
Facebook-paid ad Text + image (+ audio-visual), short   ++ ++ +++ Yes + – – Limited effectiveness
Advantages: affordable compared to other paid strategies, potential to use images and video, high frequency, flexible
Disadvantages: technically challenging, limited engagement with trial demographic
Community events: presentation/stand Mixed ++ ++ + + No   – – – Ineffective
Advantages: direct and potentially targeted
Disadvantages: very limited reach. Time-consuming
Newspaper advertisement: print Text + image, short    ++ ++ No6 – – – Ineffective
Advantages: Potential to use images
Disadvantages: Costly, falling reach
Mass mail-out by GP Text, long +++ +++ + + No – – – Ineffective
Advantages: direct and very targeted, a trusted medical source
Disadvantages: limited reach, costly
Unpaid post on study Facebook page Text + image, short + + + ++ Yes   – – – Ineffective
Advantages: no cost
Disadvantages: limited engagement with trial demographic, time-consuming if done with high frequency
  1. 1Format categorised as text, image, audio, audio-visual, face-to-face or mixed
  2. 2Length categorised as short, medium or long
  3. 3+++ = to a great extent, ++ = somewhat, + = a little, [blank] = not at all, UNK = unknown
  4. 4 – – – = high, – – = moderate, – = low, [blank] = none
  5. 5Qualitative judgement of the effectiveness (in terms of the estimated number of participants enrolled), advantages and disadvantages of each strategy
  6. 6Online newspaper advertising is a possible recruitment strategy but was not used in this study
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