Big Data; it’s More Than Just Content

While doing research on our upcoming articles related to content, I ran into Steve Kerho’s series of works on “Big Content” in Fast Company:

I’ll admit I groaned just a bit when I saw “Big Content” for the first time. “Oh no” I thought, “The hype machine has gone out of control, we can expect Big Tweets and Big Cloud Computing.  Maybe Big Hair will make a comeback”.

Mr. Kerho’s articles are good content themselves, and I recommend them, but I did have a problem with some basic assertions that I’d like to explore here.

Before Big Data There is Big Content.  This is the title of the first article. The assertion is made that People’s interaction with content, and the tracking of their interaction with it is the sole source for Big Data. That’s terribly limiting. We do need to remember that life existed before online advertising. There is a mountain of psychographic and demographic data generated over the years, for one example. It makes no sense to not take advantage of it. For me, Big Data means federating these disparate data sources in the Cloud and unleashing tools to mine that data, interpret it and grow it.

Without Big Content, What Would Big Data Do?  The assertion is that Big Data exists only for big content. This leads us to ask if perhaps other activities might make use of big data? How about Product Development? Strategic Business Planning? Distribution? Supply Chain Management?

As I said before, there are many worthwhile ideas in these two articles, such as content relevance being the main driver for success, and content acceleration as an important measure for effectiveness. However, I believe that it does a disservice to your client to develop and utilize Big Data/Big Content strategies where one depends solely on the other and neither have relevance other than this association.  Marketers need to think in terms of helping the whole company, not just an online presence.