I came across this item when I was researching for News Bytes.
JupiterResearch Reports 20% of Online Consumers Turn to Other Online Consumers For Advice on Health and Medical Treatment
According to the JupiterResearch report, online consumers use support groups, live chat, instant messenger and e-mail, among other online media, to discuss health issues, including information about medications and treatments, with other consumers. "Online consumers reach out to their peers for concrete information, not just emotional support," stated Monique Levy, Analyst at JupiterResearch. "Eighty percent of consumers that use consumer created health content (CCHC) said these interactions influenced their behavior, emotional well-being or attitudes," added Levy.
And of course this has direct implications for e-marketers. But why should it come as any surprise? We know of the power of word of mouth. In an organisation like ITC, it is the most powerful membership-building tool we have. In this world of advertising overload, we all rely on word of mouth. And it applies just as much to the medical product mentioned in the article as it does to service providers. So as an organisation, we need our sneezers, as Seth Godin called them who will spread the word (or the idea virus) about our product or service. And if we have no system of referral, as suggested by John Jantsch at Duct Tape Marketing, then we are missing out on the greatest marketing tool.