Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Marketers Talk About Word of Mouth

Marketers Talk About Word of Mouth

FEBRUARY 08, 2006

A new study from Osterman Research and reports the responses of over 100 online marketers on the state of word of mouth marketing in the US.

It appears that there is significant interest in this type of viral marketing. Fully one-half of US marketers surveyed are using word-of-mouth marketing at the present time, while 21% are planning to use it and 14% might use it.

They also see it as important. Almost two-thirds of respondents rate word-of mouth marketing as "extremely" or "very" important.


It seems that their confidence is merited, at least on the consumer side. According to a BIGresearch study from December 2005, word of mouth marketing is the most influential media when it comes to making purchases.


Those marketers who have resisted a word-of-mouth campaign are mostly likely to cite lack of metrics as a reason, though quite a few also have difficulty figuring out how to integrate it into their marketing plan, or don't have the staff to do word-of-mouth effectively.


Clearly, those who use word of mouth marketing expect results quick. Over 44% say they anticipate the benefits to come in anywhere from a few weeks to a few days, while a bit under 20% feel it will take 6 months or longer.


You can learn more about word-of-mouth marketing by reading eMarketer's report, Word of Mouth Marketing: The Stats, Surveys and Substance Behind the Buzz.

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Online guide walks users through Part D benefit

Online guide walks users through Part D benefit

Medicare Access for Patients-Rx, a nonprofit group of patient and health organizations, is offering a comprehensive guide to Medicare Part D on its Web site,, it reports. The guide, RxCompare, is available for download in PDF form and gives consumers a step-by-step guide to understanding Part D, choosing a plan, and enrolling in the benefit. The guide has easy-to-follow instructions for filling out worksheets and comparison charts, and includes guidance for decision-making and a glossary of terms. According to Medicare Access for Patients-Rx, the tool will be especially helpful for dual-eligibles because it will help them decide whether they should stay with the plan in which they were auto-enrolled or switch to one that has better coverage. You can see the tool on the group's Web site.

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Monday, February 06, 2006

Search Engines, Blogs Lead Top E-Health Trends for 200

Search Engines, Blogs Lead Top E-Health Trends for 2006

By Neil Versel, contributing editor

January 17, 2006 |

People and organizations marketing e-health products and services would do well by paying close attention to search engines and formerly "alternative" media such as blogs and online video in 2006, a top healthcare information firm says.

Consumers and physicians alike increasingly are turning to search engines to find health information on the Internet, rather than pointing their browsers toward specific, known Web sites. This, according to Manhattan Research, is the No. 1 trend in e-health marketing for 2006. The New York-based company today released its annual list of top trends for e-health marketing professionals to consider.

"Search engines are essential to physicians," as well as to consumers, says Manhattan Research president Mark Bard. "It's your gateway to the world." Adds Bard, "Indexes of search engines essentially control what you read on the Internet."

This observation builds on an editorial in the British Medical Journal last month that called for Google and other major search engines to develop medical portals. (See

"It's a decision-support tool now," Bard says of search engines. Search portals like Google, Yahoo! and MSN ought to -- and likely are working to -- refine their services to filter the most relevant health information. "That's incredibly difficult," Bard says. "If this was easy, it would have been done two years ago."

Meanwhile, consumers and physicians are flocking to Web sites for a small number of high-profile prescription drugs, according to Manhattan Research. "The amount of dollars spent on these [sites] is increasing four- or fivefold in some cases," Bard says. Lipitor, Allegra, Zoloft, Nexium, Viagra, and Ambien are among the handful of drugs pulling in more than 2 million annual visitors to their Web sites, making their pages ripe for marketing opportunities.

"It's not just consumers that go to these," Bard says. He reports that physicians increasingly are searching the sites for prescribing information, clinical trial data, and presentations made at scientific conferences.

Another trend that Manhattan Research observes is the growth of broadband technology, which is changing Internet use patterns and opening the door for innovation in interactive, multimedia applications.

At the same time, "alternative" media such as blogs, podcasts, and online video are quickly becoming mainstream. The addition of video capabilities to Apple's iPod embodies this trend, says Bard.

The research firm also says that Europe remains a lucrative but largely untapped market. "Despite the fact that the vast majority of European physicians are online for more than five hours per week, they have yet to adopt more advanced professional activities that have become commonplace among U.S. physicians," the company reports. This is more a consequence of a lack of applications than lack of interest among doctors.

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Asian Americans "Invisible" To Marketers

Asian Americans "Invisible" To Marketers

Marketers are missing the boat when it comes to targeting Asian Americans because they don't know how to speak to them, according to multicultural marketing firm InterTrend Communications. And by doing so, they risk ignoring a demo that boasts higher education and considerable spending power. "There is still a dearth of secondary research on the product and brand usage behavior of Asian Americans in many categories," said Saul Gitlin, executive vice president of strategic marketing services at Kang & Lee, New York, a consultancy that specializes in the Asian market whose clients include the NBA, Western Union and The New York Times.


"Many marketers therefore may be waiting for the advent of more research to validate their emerging interest in [the demo]."  InterTrend's goal is to fill that void with reliable research conducted by its KnowledgeCenter research arm, which is embarking on an intensive study to obtain qualitative and quantitative data on the Asian market, which it hopes to tailor to the packaged goods industry.  At 4 percent of the U.S. population, or 11.6 million, Asian Americans are one-third the size of the Hispanic population, which is growing at a faster rate. Still, their combined buying clout of $397 billion is well over half that of Hispanics ($686.3 billion) and is projected to rise to $579 billion by 2010.

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