Uniting the Tribes: Using Text for Marketing Insight

Jonah Berger*, Ashlee Humphreys, Stephan Ludwig, Wendy W. Moe, Oded Netzer, David A. Schweidel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

398 Scopus citations


Words are part of almost every marketplace interaction. Online reviews, customer service calls, press releases, marketing communications, and other interactions create a wealth of textual data. But how can marketers best use such data? This article provides an overview of automated textual analysis and details how it can be used to generate marketing insights. The authors discuss how text reflects qualities of the text producer (and the context in which the text was produced) and impacts the audience or text recipient. Next, they discuss how text can be a powerful tool both for prediction and for understanding (i.e., insights). Then, the authors overview methodologies and metrics used in text analysis, providing a set of guidelines and procedures. Finally, they further highlight some common metrics and challenges and discuss how researchers can address issues of internal and external validity. They conclude with a discussion of potential areas for future work. Along the way, the authors note how textual analysis can unite the tribes of marketing. While most marketing problems are interdisciplinary, the field is often fragmented. By involving skills and ideas from each of the subareas of marketing, text analysis has the potential to help unite the field with a common set of tools and approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of marketing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • computational linguistics
  • interdisciplinary
  • machine learning
  • marketing insight
  • natural language processing
  • text analysis
  • text mining

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing


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