Pursuit partnered with Lilly’s Clinical Innovation team in 2016, and since then we’ve made it our mission to raise clinical trial awareness and innovate enrollment with patient engagement initiatives

“I don’t think any other pharma company out there has tapped into this kind of knowledge and expertise to execute on these kind of ideas. Pursuit is light years ahead. Numbers don’t lie. – Joseph Kim, Senior Advisor, Clinical Innovation

The opportunity—our Pursuit

Pursuit started working with the Lilly Clinical Innovation team in 2016 to raise awareness of clinical trials and evolve traditional clinical trial enrollment. Traditionally, study investigators enroll patients from their known databases. Millions of people are needed for clinical trials to help find ways to prevent the initial development or recurrence of a disease or condition and the development of a new medicine can take more than 10 years. Fact is, most people don’t consider a clinical trial. For example, only 3% of patients with cancer⁠ participate in clinical trials.

We used clinical trial awareness data to form a hypothesis and potential solution. Today, we know that many people look for information on healthcare options online. For example, CISCRP’s 2017 Perceptions and Insights study on Decision Making reported people are beginning their search for a clinical research study online:

  • Online clinical trial registries (40%) and general search engines (30%) are popular starting options.
  • Younger members of the public are more likely to resort to online options such as search engines, pharmaceutical company websites and social media (20% in 18-24 age range).

Our approach—a new way to learn about and connect with clinical trials

Observing the issues with relying on investigators to refer patients to clinical trials, and the trends in how people are finding information on clinical research, we worked with the Clinical Innovation team to create and promote Lilly TrialGuide—a Lilly branded, patient-facing website offering visitors a permanent resource for learning about, sharing, and connecting with Lilly clinical research. Pursuit also designed a guide to help the team work together to vet ideas, build new products, get regulatory and legal approval, and launch and promote new assets in the most efficient way possible. The team was able to launch four new Lilly TrialGuide properties in one year.

We tested programs to increase the reach of Lilly TrialGuide. Clinical trial awareness studies, like the CISCRP study, and digital trends helped us make informed decisions on the tactics we used to make people aware of Lilly TrialGuide. With a deep understanding of the digital landscape, we utilized paid search, paid social media campaigns with video, and custom content placements to increase awareness, interest, and action on Lilly TrialGuide.

  • Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text.
  • Social video generates 1,200% more shares than text and images combined. (WordStream)

We also worked closely with the team to launch initiatives that honor clinical trial participants and their families, while further increasing the public’s understanding of why clinical trials are vital to society. In 2017, Hero’s Journey Art, a national project in partnership with artist John Magnan to honor clinical trial participants launched to the public.

We closely measured the overall impact of Lilly TrialGuide and the success of our projects and digital marketing tactics. Today, we have data that helps validate our hypothesis: providing a platform for educational content around clinical trials with a clear path to enrollment is a viable recruitment strategy. We’ve utilized what we’ve learned from the successes and failures of digital campaigns to help more people become aware of Lilly TrialGuide and to take action in enrolling in a clinical trial.


Today, Lilly TrialGuide drives interested and engaged people to clinical trials at a rate well below the industry standard for patient enrollment. The site has grown to offer digital clinical trial education and patient recruitment properties for Diabetes, Oncology, caregivers, and Alzheimer’s disease. Lilly TrialGuide outperforms industry benchmarks for a number of key website metrics—cost per click, click through rate, bounce rate, and session duration.

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