Background:Publicly funded clinical trials require a substantial commitment of time and money. To ensure that sufficient numbers of patients are recruited it is essential that they address important questions in a rigorous manner and are managed well, adopting effective marketing strategies. Methods:Using methods of analysis drawn from management studies, this paper presents a structured assessment framework or reference model, derived from a case analysis of the MRC's CRASH trial, of 12 factors that may affect the success of the marketing and sales activities associated with clinical trials. Results:The case study demonstrates that trials need various categories of people to buy in – hence, to be successful, trialists must embrace marketing strategies to some extent. Conclusion: The performance of future clinical trials could be enhanced if trialists routinely considered these factors.