I chose my primary care physician because a friend recommended her. Sure, other factors came into play. I like the hospital the doctor is affiliated with and her office is conveniently located near my office, but what set her apart from all of the other physicians in the area is that a good friend said she was friendly and thorough.
It's not very scientific, but that's how millions of people make decisions each day. And in the age of sleek TV ads and multifunctional apps, it's easy to forget how valuable word-of-mouth marketing truly is.
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The main benefit of word-of-mouth marketing is that it speeds up decision-making, says Bill Gombeski, director of strategic marketing for UK HealthCare in Lexington, KY.
"It helps patients and families decide where they want to go and to make a choice between options," he says. "We've found that word-of-mouth really sends a lot of patients to our organization."
In fact, an internal UK HealthCare survey found that two-thirds of its patients have talked to someone else who has had an experience with the organization and has said something positive about it.
Another one-third of UK HealthCare patients said word-of-mouth is the most influential factor in their decision making process when choosing a healthcare provider.