Big Data = Big PR

I’m going to cut to the chase. Covering the super-colossal world of Big Data and all it encompasses can be overwhelming — from frameworks like Hadoop, to tools like Splunk, to Big Data in the online world like Google Analytics or Amazon, to “Applied Big Data” across verticals in the physical world like traffic/mapping app Waze (see Wall Street Journal story) or brick & mortar retail analytics from RetailNext (see Forbes story). I don’t intend to do that nor will I even pretend to understand all that it means and all that it promises.

I actually had to really slow down on following the Twitter hashtag #BigData as my eyes couldn’t keep up with the real-time updates in my Tweetdeck column, so I’m narrowing the world down to the Big Data facet most dear to me: Big Data and PR.

Using data to fuel PR campaigns is nothing new. It’s one of the critical boxes to check off at any given quarterly PR planning session (Whom can we survey? Can we leverage results/numbers from customers/products/services?); however, what is truly revolutionary today is the “volume, variety and velocity” (thanks @TheGrok) of data that many lucky marketers have at their fingertips with “Applied Big Data” models. Here are some great examples:

In both examples, these companies are extracting big data sets they already have (that no one else has), due to the nature of their business, that can add value to their respective industries. It’s not their core business to provide this kind of analysis across the board and yet it’s unique, helpful information that will help propel their industries forward by simply…sharing it.

Steve Lohr of the New York Times put it best: “What is Big Data? A meme and a marketing term, for sure, but also shorthand for advancing trends in technology that open the door to a new approach to understanding the world and making decisions.”

Bottom Line: Big Data = Big PR.

“The culture has changed,” says Andrew Gelman, a statistician and political scientist at Columbia University. “There is this idea that numbers and statistics are interesting and fun. It’s cool now.” (The Age of Big Data, New York Times)

I couldn’t agree more.

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