TM: What kind of social media data can marketers collect and how can they use it effectively in marketing?
WR: "The interesting thing about marketing is that we have known since the earliest days of marketing research that what one consumer says to another has a much more profound effect on that consumer's decision to purchase than anything, we, as marketers, can do to persuade them.
"The best part of social media is that a vast majority of it is publicly available, and thus easily monitored. This gives marketers the ability to listen in on the conversations between consumers and identify what they are talking about with respect to their own brands, as well as the brands of their competitors. One of the most effective steps any marketer can take is simply to listen to conversations on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, forums, and any other place their consumers are talking about them or their competitors, and then adapt the strategy to either accelerate positive word-of-mouth, or change it to respond to negative word-of-mouth."
TM: Are there any dangers in using Big Data analytics in marketing? What do marketers have to watch out for and make sure they don't do?
WR: "One of the dangers of Big Data analytics is to rely too heavily on numbers without having any theory of consumer behavior. This has been referred to as the 'hubris of Big Data.' Simply because two actions occur at the same time does not mean they are causally connected.
"This does not mean that we should ignore correlations that occur in Big Data, since it may simply be the case that we do not have the correct causal theory yet, but correlation alone does not provide actionable insights. For instance, if unbranded Google searches result in a better conversion rate than branded Google searches, the marketer still needs to decide what to do with that information.