I attend a regular TEDx event here in New York City. We meet weekly, watch a TED talk and then discuss it among the group. It's an hour well spent and I invite you to join us at 5:30 on Friday evenings in a great space in Midtown  (contact me if you are interested in joining us).

A couple of years ago we watched a great talk, "The Mathematics of History", given by Google Fellow, Jean Baptiste-Michel. It was a fascinating glimpse into the future of data analysis and sparked a conversation about what Google and others know about us and what the future holds for online privacy.

This prompted a response from me. I told the group, "you haven't seen anything yet, wait until you see what Facebook is going to know about you and what they are going to do with the information they collect".

Well, two-years later we're starting to see what Facebook thinks that Facebook is all about and what the (near)  future of Internet advertising and Inbound Marketing holds for all of us. Today, Facebook owns one of the most powerful consumer databases on the planet.

This brings me to "Big Data". Big Data is a buzzword we've all heard for some time now and it's finally becoming clear what the buzz is all about. Big data, and the tools that are being developed to capture, store and process it are already available and the promise of "Big Data" is well big, really big.

Big Data refers to the ability to query large sets of unstructured data, Structured data is the data that we input into specific fields, name, address and phone numbers are examples. Unstructured data, which makes up probably 80% of all the data on the Internet is all the other stuff - article, videos, user generated comments and a Facebook post are some examples. The ability to query all that content and discern sentiment and hard cold facts (what you are thinking about buying your wife for her birthday for instance) provides marketers with powerful knowledge about you and the ability to target you with great specificy.

Facebook has stored every user comment that has ever been written there. Now, by combining off-line and online information about you they are able to provide advertisers with a powerful set of targeting tools.

According to Mark Zuckerberg, who spoke during a quarterly earnings conference call last week, Facebook has acquired companies or formed partnerships that provide them with data on 300 million company loyalty card members and a databank on 250 million American consumers, and "a comprehensive national database covering more than 126 million households and 190 million individuals". They have also acquired a database containing "more than $1 trillion (that's TRILLION with a "t") of offline purchase-based data.

Facebook has quietly been acquiring companies that you've probably never heard of that provide technology that enables Facebook to offer more effective marketing opportunities by being able to crunch all of that data and build profiles that enable Facebook to offer advertisers a powerful targeting engine.

Soon similar powerful targeting capabilities will become available to any Inbound marketer and marketing and advertising companies of any size or kind. Tools have been and are being developed that will enable anyone to research customer wants, needs and desires and turn that information into an actionable Inbound Marketing plan.

Hold onto your hats, this is going to be bigger than big. This is (as Donald Trump says) HUUUUUGE.