Web Design / Branding / Online Marketing

Case Study



What started out as one website for one clinical trial transitioned into the creation and implementation of a comprehensive online participant recruitment system; including social media marketing, online marketing, PR strategies, and patient call centers, for 19 clinical trials.

Due to an NDA, I will discuss the process and strategy I used to assist the clinical trial teams.  I am unable to post any specific images or data. Thank you for understanding.


Williams Lea Tag, Contracted
Pfizer, Subcontracted


UI/UX Designer
Web Design
Front End Development
Brand Identity
Vendor Management
Project Management

The Background

A clinical trial study team wanted to wade into the vast pool of online marketing and thought building a website was enough. It became apparent to me early in the onboarding process that the clinical trial study team had not anticipated a marketing strategy to drive traffic to the website.

Initially, the request was to only build a website. (But those of us experienced in the digital world know it’s never just about a website.)

In addition to building the website they asked for, I led them into the online marketing world and helped them tackle their first online/offline marketing integration.

The scope of this project expanded from a single website build to the creation of an online recruitment program which included a comprehensive online marketing plan and the creation of a patient call center.

I formed and oversaw a team with a variety of expertise including pharmaceutical, online marketing, public relations, and patient interaction. We worked diligently to keep abreast of the latest technology, laws, regulations, and limitations within the clinical study marketing landscape. Together, we provided the knowledge and guidance to help Pfizer amp up its study recruitment campaign in minimum time.

It was so successful in bringing potential candidates to the clinical trial locations, that an additional 18 clinical study teams requested our ongoing support.

Participant Recruitment Program

A website is never just about a website! Those proficient in the online industry know this. But to clients, it’s often all they think they need.  Through meetings and educating the clinical trial teams, a program was established and implemented.

The services below outline how my team and I worked together to create a Participant Recruitment Program. My job as the Online Marketing Manager & Lead Graphic/Web Designer or UI/UX Designer was to understand the requirements of each clinical trial, develop the functional requirements, and assign tasks to the team as needed.

Web Presence

My team and I helped clinical trial study teams create an intuitive, easy-to-use website for their clinical trials. As needed, we also developed secure patient and physician member areas allowing the teams to quickly deliver materials to their intended audiences and included considered the laws and regulations when websites were outside of the US.


User Personas; Wireframing; Journey Mapping; Usability Testing; Competitive Research; Flow Charts; Working Prototypes; Functional Requirement Docs; Content Approval Docs (for legal, IRB, CIRB, WIRB); Information Architecture

Online Recruitment

A successful clinical trial is rooted on reaching a specific audience who uniquely qualifies for the clinical study. We needed to understand how a potential participant would locate the clinical trial from searching on web browsers to speaking with their doctor to what websites they might visit. We needed to truly understand the participant to create a successful strategic marketing plan.

We worked with teams to fully grasp all aspects of their ideal participants. This research included a full understanding of the study protocol, study recruitment plans, and competitive analysis.

We utilized all the avenues available to us, from pay per clicks campaigns through the most popular browsers to social media marketing and remarketing techniques. We also consulted with a PR firm to help us create radio ads, blog posts, and as needed TV commercials.

Essentially: Define who the market is, identify where they already gather in the digital space; and then connect with them there.


User Personas; Journey Mapping; User Research; Competitive Research; Functional Requirement Docs; Content Approval Docs (for legal, IRB, CIRB, WIRB); PPC Campaign; SEO Campaign; Social Media Campaigns; PR Techniques & Strategies

Patient Call Center

The online recruitment strategy was so successful that it overwhelmed study locations so I encouraged Pfizer to establish patient call centers to help qualify potential candidates for the specific clinical trials before they interacted with the study locations. I then oversaw the recruitment of qualified staff for these call centers and ensured these call centers were operationalized to be compliant with all HIPAA laws.


Highly trained, Medically-focused HIPAA Certified Call Center; Legally Approved Call Center Scripts; Location Database; Quality Control Protocols; Complaint Management System; HIPAA Approved Recording System; HIPAA Secured Servers

Team Member Collaboration

Each of the 19 clinical trials came with nuances and differences; not the least of which was the composition of the clinical trial teams themselves, each team comprising a unique composite of members who had little or no prior experience working together nor would they need to continue to function as a team when the clinical trial was complete. Despite this, we were still able to build in automation that enabled us to onboard clinical studies faster and with more efficiency.

Quarterly, we held educational meetings with legal teams, internal review boards (IRBs), and clinical trial managers to ensure we remained current with laws, regulations, and limitations in promoting clinical trials within the US and around the world.


Meeting facilitation, translating technical web speak into non-technical/practical terms, translating complex medical and legal information into practical user experience

7 Phases to a Successful Recruitment Campaign

To help the clinical trial teams see the big picture of an integrated participant recruitment campaign, I created a 7-phase system that helped them to understand how, with my guidance and project management, they could integrate their website with an online participant recruitment strategy.

Study Information Gathering

During this phase, all the important details about the study were gathered: intended audience, study length, enrollment requirements, and domain name creation and acquisition. 

Foundation Development

During this phase, the study’s landscape began to take shape. This included research (user persona, journey maps, wireframing, prototyping), digital back-end implementation plan, and front-end development attributes of content, PR research, call center scripts, and as needed, branding development.

Design & Buildout

During this phase, the website was built out from the prototype approvals, the physician and patient interfaces were developed, branding was finalized, online marketing collateral was designed, and messaging for PPC, SEO, and PR was established.

Quality Assurance & System Testing

Upon completion of the build-outs, QA was performed on both the website and its corresponding interfaces as well as rehearsals on the call center component.

All bug reports were investigated and fixed before moving to the next phase.


In this phase, a detailed document that showcased the website, the call center scripts, the online marketing campaigns, the PR campaign, and the online marketing collateral material was submitted to the numerous stakeholders, such as legal, central IRB, local IRB and/or ethic committees, for approval.


All campaigns went live and a carefully designed monitoring system was put in place for the first 3-month period to ensure immediate attention was given to any technical issues that arose.

We closely observed the marketing campaigns to ensure our initial assumptions were validated and adjust accordingly when real-time data suggested a new direction.

Ongoing Support

Throughout the lifespan of the clinical trial, we met bi-monthly and kept the clinical trial teams up to date on the progress of the recruitment efforts.

We made adjustments as needed to ensure enrollment goals were reached. Through successful reporting measures and clear communication, we supported the clinical trial teams from start to finish.

Full Site Sitemap
Content Approval Process
Candidate Eligibility Quiz Flowchart
Full Site Marketing Sitemap


It’s never just a website (even if that’s what the client asks for!). This series of projects helped me gain confidence in articulating to clients that more often than not, they don’t know what they don’t know when it comes to web development and online marketing. I’m a full-service kind of designer, so I have learned to speak with authority in this regard and garner the trust and appreciation of my clients . My job is to think ahead and anticipate what they will need once their website has been built.

I also developed an understanding that the more intense and time sensitive the project, the more rewarding it is for me. It made me realize just how much I thrive when working on varied projects with short timelines. These kinds of projects keep me challenged, intrigued, and motivated.

My favorite aspect was the continual creation mode that was present within this industry. That is a high value for a creative person like me.

Design Thinking is a mindset, not a toolkit or a series of steps.

~ Arne van Oosterom ~