A randomized trial of three marketing strategies to disseminate a screening and brief alcohol intervention programme to general practitioners

Catherine A. Lock, Eileen F.S. Kaner, Nick Heather, Brian R. McAvoy, Eilish Gilvarry*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Research findings are of little benefit to patients or society if they do not reach the audience they are intended to influence. A dissemination strategy is needed to target new findings at its user group and encourage a process of consideration and adoption or rejection. Aim. To evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of different marketing strategies for the dissemination of a screening and brief alcohol intervention (SBI) programme to general practitioners (GPs). Method. Seven hundred and twenty-nine GPs, one per practice, from the former Northern and Yorkshire Regional Health Authority were randomly assigned to one of three marketing strategies: postal marketing (mailing a promotional brochure to GPs), telemarketing (following a script to market the programme over the telephone), and personal marketing (following the same script during face-to-face marketing at GPs' practices). GPs who took up the programme were asked if they would agree to use it. Outcome measures included the proportions of GPs who took up the programme and agreement to use it. Results. Of the 614 GPs eligible for the study, 321 (52%) took the programme. There was a significant difference in the proportions of GPs from the three marketing strategies who took the programme (82% telemarketing, 68% personal marketing, and 22% postal marketing). Of the 315 GPs who took the programme and were eligible to use it, 128 (41%) agreed to use the programme for three months. GPs in the postal marketing group were more likely to agree to use the programme (55% postal marketing, 44% personal marketing, and 34% telemarketing). Personal marketing was the most effective overall dissemination strategy; however, economic analysis revealed that telemarketing was the most cost-effective strategy. Costs for dissemination per GP were: £13 telemarketing, £15 postal marketing, and £88 personal marketing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-698
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice
Issue number446
Publication statusPublished - 1999

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