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The Inaccurate Use of Testimonials

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    The Inaccurate Use of Testimonials

                The world is filled with infomercials and websites and spam email discussing the wonders of this or that product.  Everything from shampoos, weight loss, aerobic programs, and the newest is Trigosamine which alleviates joint pain in an extremely short amount of time.  The website, www.trigosamine.com, touts that this product not only rebuilds joints and their cartilage but relieves joint pain in the process.  It is a once a day treatment, and in the small print at the bottom states that the outcomes have not been reproduced or approved by the Federal Food and Drug Administration.

                However, the majority of people would not even notice the statement.  What they will notice is the section of how Trigosamine works, the frequently asked questions and of course the testimonials of others who have taken this medication with incredible results.  The website explains how the joints breakdown over time, but that this medication of all natural ingredients will rebuild the joints.  The site also markets other medications produced by the laboratory.  The frequently asked questions, include who can take it, and also give a paragraph about a small study that was conducted in regard to how the medication works.  However, the study results and data are not given.  Instead, the site relies on the testimonials of a few people.

                There are only 4 testimonials on the website, but the testimonials are from a professional football player and his wife, an emergency room physician and a professional horse trainer.  The use of the football player and the physician shows that even celebrities and well-educated professionals are getting incredible results from this medication. It is this type of testimonial that most companies use to get the general public to buy into their product.

                The use of testimonials does not mean the product does not work, it just means that there has not been enough information gathered from studies and therefore the marketing firm uses the testimonials to get John Q. Public to buy their product.  Some companies use a plethora of average people in their testimonies, while other focus on celebrities and others in the medical field.  Either way it is a type of marketing that can be misleading since there is no notice that results may vary or that the results of these testimonials may not be the norm.  It is just a way to hook people and get them to pay for something they may or may not need.

                The best way to use testimonials is to include them with a valid and well documented study.  The use of one paragraph saying they conducted a study is not enough.  The study should explain the sample population, methods, results and discussion of the results.  Without the study, it is no different than buy something because the individual’s best friend told him to buy it.  Consumers must question more and dig deeper especially when the manufacturer relies mainly on the concept of testimonial marketing.

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