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Stop Ignoring Online Review and Rating Sites

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, March 20, 2013

Whenever I read new statistics shedding light on the state of advertising today, I can't help but think of Don Draper, Mad Men's fictional ad man and womanizer. If you asked Don what the public would trust more—an advertisement or a stranger's opinion—he would tell you the ad is more trustworthy, hands down.

Well, Don, brace yourself for 2013.

According to Forrester Research, 32% of online consumers trust a stranger's opinion on public forums or blogs more than they trust branded advertisements and marketing collateral, Forbes reports. While that's not a majority, it is rather telling that about one-third of consumers would trust a random, faceless person posting on the Internet over a well-established brand. And that percentage will likely continue to increase.

This research should set a fire under hospital marketers to monitor and participate in online review and rating sites. Until now, hospitals and health centers have largely ignored this space, either due to ignorance, fear, or helplessness.

But by monitoring and responding to patient reviews—and, most importantly, listening to what they have to say—you can boost your brand or shore it up if it's taken some dings.

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