As business to consumer and B2B content marketing continues to overtake conventional advertising, more and more companies are seeing themselves as publishers. Yet in the rush to create content, many are missing out on the biggest trend of all: big data.
Big data has become a buzzword, much overused by people who don’t really understand what it means. Big data is a term for data sets that are so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate in dealing with them. Sometimes the term ‘big data’ simply refers to the use of analytics that extract value from data, and not to the size of data set.
Capturing, analyzing, curating, searching for, sharing, storing, transferring, visualizing, querying, updating such information presents us with many challenges. Not to mention privacy issues.
As the amount and accessibility of data increases, data visualisation has grown in importance. Visualised data can represent large quantities of data coherently, without distorting what it has to say. It also helps the user discern patterns.
The three defining properties or dimension of big data are often referred to as the 3Vs – volume, variety and velocity. Volume refers to the amount; variety refers to the number of types of data; and velocity refers to the speed of data processing. According to the 3Vs model, the challenges of big data management result from the expansion of all three properties, rather than just the volume alone — the sheer amount of data to be managed.
US-based data scientist, Kirk Borne, has gone even further and identified 10 Big Data Vs to help us navigate the complex waters of big data and understand what is going on in the fast-growing area. The 10 Vs include:
Volume – Data galore, this one is self-explanatory
Variety – Complexity, data combinations, types and formats
Velocity – Actual speed of data
Veracity – Uncertain or imprecise data
Validity – Clean data
Value – The all-important V, characterising the business value, ROI, and potential of big data to transform your bottom line
Variability – This refers to dymanic, evolving data, time series, seasonal, and any other type of non-static behaviour in your data sources
Venue – Where the data comes from, multiple platforms
Vocabulary – Semantics and other content- and context-based metadata that describe the data‘s structure, syntax, content, and provenance
Vagueness – Confusion over the meaning of big data. Is it something we‘ve always known? What‘s new about it?
These 10 Vs demonstrate the breadth and depth of the topic.
The beauty of big data is it can provide us with vast amounts of potentially great content. And rigorous information is always valuable to digital marketers. Contently CEO, Joe Coleman, says content is no longer just a marketing domain, but that it feeds all departments. According to Coleman, executives have begun to demand the technology to support the creation of high-quality content throughout the company.
Customers should be the primary focus of content marketing. According to CEO of TopRank Marketing, Lee Odden, all marketing starts with the customer. “Understanding what buyers need is essential for creating a content marketing program that is relevant, meaningful, and effective at driving new business,” he says.
It is at this juncture that big data and customer and marketing analytics overlap. We need to understand our customers, and have an optimal customer profile or persona in mind when creating content. We need to know their preferences – some big data vendors specialise in detecting customer emotions – and their patterns. Big data techniques facilitate advanced customer segmentation.
Personalisation has also become important. In this age of information overload where content supply grossly exceeds demand, customers are spoilt for choice on multiple devides, 24 hours a day. Hubspot refers to personalised content as ’smart content’ or content that has been customised according to where in the buying cycle a prospect is. This is also clever customer relationship management.
Omni-channel marketing aspires to provide customers with a seamless experience, regardless of channel or device. Big data helps achieve this by putting all data sources under a single umbrella. When departmental siloes are eliminated, it becomes possible to consolidate and integrate company data to get a comprehensive view of the business. This also helps the business internally, leading to better communication between employees and departments, with the customer reaping the benefit.
Marketers are becoming increasingly savvy about the best ways to use big data without being invasive. The ability to measure customer reponse in real time as well as measuring individual campaigns means they have enough data to tailor offers by channel.
Customer data, specifically customer insights can inform content and enable better targeted campaigns. It also allows you to measure content marketing campaigns more accurately, and helps with the personalisation and creation of tailored, smart content. Correlations between the fast-evolving worlds of big data and content maketing continue to unfold, delighting your customers and improving your bottom line.
That’s the beauty of big data; what’s not to like!