Social marketing as a framework for recruitment: Illustrations from the REACH study

Linda Nichols, Jennifer Martindale-Adams, Robert Burns, David Coon, Marcia Ory, Diane Mahoney, Barbara Tarlow, Louis Burgio, Dolores Gallagher-Thompson, Delois Guy, Trinidad Arguelles, Laraine Winter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Objectives: Recruitment is often the most challenging aspect of research with older persons. Social marketing - applying marketing techniques to influence the behavior of target audiences to improve their welfare - can help researchers identify factors that influence recruitment. Methods: Illustrations of social marketing principles are provided from the Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer's Caregiver Health project, a national Alzheimer's caregivers study that targeted ethnic and racial minorities. Results: Social marketing principles - the six Ps of participants, product, price, place, promotion, and partners - provide a theoretical framework for organizing and planning recruitment activities, including developing varying strategies to define the target audience (participants), develop the intervention (product), manage time and trouble (price), target the audience, improve accessibility (place), promote the study, and develop and work with partners. Discussion: Strategies to enhance recruitment are often undertaken without a comprehensive plan. A social marketing plan provides a framework to map out the steps in recruitment that will be needed and to plan for allocations of time, staff, and resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)157S-176S
JournalJournal of Aging and Health
Issue number5 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Nov 2004


  • Aged
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cultural diversity
  • Patient selection
  • Social marketing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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