My journey to define big data, big content and why are they important when it comes to B2B lead generation.

Big data big content B2B lead generation

I don’t know about you but I’m confused when it comes to defining ‘big content’. Come to think of it, the concept of ‘Big Data’ is lost on me as well. Having been in the inbound marketing sphere for 4 months now, these two terms are coming across my daily readings more and more and it made me think, surely I’m not the only one out there who doesn’t really understand them. I get the basic concept of what they are, but I wanted to use this blog to take a journey with our readers, delving deeper into what big data and big content really are and why we (meaning you and I) should care about them when it comes to B2B lead generation.

Big Data

Firstly I’d like to illustrate how big content fits into big data. Big data is made up of three components:

  • Structured data: this lives in databases and easily sorted.
  • Semi-structured data: usually information generated by a machine, captured by logging systems and accessed by platforms.
  • Unstructured content: human generated information from social media, blogs, emails, business documents and the list goes on.

Gartner defines big data as high-volume, high-velocity and high-variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing for enhanced insight and decision making. This makes sense, as having a lot of data is useless unless you can have it cleaned, reconciled and modeled just like documents must be processed and prepared. Now that we know what big data is, the question remains: which component does big content fall into?

In my search to define big content I have found two different definitions.

Big Content

Some say it is the unstructured component of Big Data and represents the explosion of tweets, vines, blogs and all other content that we are now creating at increasing rates. Others say big content is content that requires significant time and resources. So which is it? Gartner explains, “big content is simply shining a spotlight on the shadowy corners of the enterprise information ecosphere”. They go on to say that unstructured data does not fit neatly into database tables, it is human-generated content and can take many forms such as business documents (reports, presentations, spreadsheets), emails and web content such as social media and blogs. Throughout my experience, I’ve learned that Gartner is an extremely reputable source, being the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company, so I’m going to go with their definition!

How can big content work for you?

Unstructured content embodies as much as 80% of an organisation’s total information assets. That’s huge! There are platforms available that can explore and sort big content to a certain degree however this unstructured data still remains largely unexplored and very under utilized.

Further to that, the information your business owns and operates is only one part of the big content equation. Being able to tap into public information made up of content from the social stream creates a direct connection to the minds of your customers. Tweets, status updates, comments, blogs, videos, pictures, ratings and reviews represents an up to date view of what the public (a.k.a. your potential customers) are feeling at any given point in time. Here is where you can gain some insight into what your potential customers think about your business.

There might be some of you out there that don’t have access to advanced platforms that can explore and sort big content as well as augment and enhance it against public information so what can you do? Here are some tips to help you

  • Keep on top of your own social media platforms: be sure to publicly respond to interactions from the public in a timely manner. This humanizes your business and shows you care, thus assisting you to build trust in your relationship with potential customers and re-affirm trust with existing customers.
  • Track any hashtags that are relevant to your business and industry: keep informed on what the public is saying about you as well what’s happening in your industry. Use this information to assist you in evolving your marketing strategy.
  • Follow, re-tweet and interact with influencers in your industry: this could mean for example following individual people on Twitter, becoming a member of relevant large groups on LinkedIn or subscribing to influencer blogs. Remember they have followers/members, LOTS of them. Interacting with them could lead to them sharing your content to their network, assisting you to build up your brand awareness with pools of potential customers you might not have access to on your own.

So, what I’ve learned is that big content is a highly untapped resource that is unstructured with certain parts quite difficult to compile in an easy to analyse format and certain parts slightly easier to make sense out of. When it comes to the web content component of big content, there are tools available that can assist you in analysing it. HubSpot is a marketing automation tool that, amongst many things, can allow you to combine all of your social networks into one platform, so you can review and respond to what people are saying in one place, as well as get insight from their analytics. Another tool is Hootsuite, which offers the same analytics capabilities as HubSpot, but is purely for social media management. Regardless of the tool you use, action the points I’ve detailed above to help you tap into insight from big content. It’s important to stay current and interact with influencers and your audience as this can assist you with your B2B lead generation.