Our very own Michael Hershfield, VP of Business Development at Marigold Engage by Sailthru, is speaking about taking action on Big Data and the evolution of behavioral intelligence at this year’s Online Marketing Summit in San Diego on February 13th. This week, he wrote a guest blog post for OMS to highlight what he’ll be speaking about at the conference and what companies can do to stay competitive among all the Big Data talk. Namely, Hershfield recommends collecting data, building trust through relevancy, and being careful not to silo information or channels.

We’ve reposted the content from our guest blog below. Get the full scoop as Michael Hershfield discusses “Taking Action On Big Data” at OMS SD February 11-13.

A guest post by Michael Hershfield, VP of Business Development at Sailthru

Every quality marketer will tell you that reaching a customer today is all about personalization. That the key to holding a consumer’s attention is defined by your ability to tailor every communication and interaction to each and every individual. In a word: relevancy. But what they might not tell you is that big data isn’t the solution to personalization…it’s merely the first step.

In order to compete in this noisy landscape, every experience needs to be personalized. It’s no longer a luxury or a “nice-to-have”; it’s critical to remaining competitive in an ADD-riddled marketplace. Consumers are now faced with so much choice that if you can’t make it easy for them to find what they need and remove the guesswork, they’ll move on.

Companies and marketers shouldn’t despair; thanks to new and innovative technologies, companies can access “big data” to learn more about their customers with the intent of targeting in a more specific and unique way. Yet, what a lot of marketers are forgetting is that access to more data and information does NOT equal personalization. Instead, it’s what you do with that information and how you ACTION it that counts.

A company might have mountains of data on their customers, but if they don’t have the tools to take action and make sense of it, then it’s not very useful. In fact, this is a common quandary for more brands than you would think. At Marigold Engage by Sailthru, we frequently find that many companies are relying on their data to give them a snapshot of their users after an email campaign is completed. What brands should be doing is acting on that data the moment they receive it. As a marketer, you have to act in real-time or opportunities are lost. This is especially true of the mobile or social platforms, you have seconds  – some studies cite that it’s no more than five – to make an impression, and if your communications are not relevant to the user, then you’ve missed out on an opportunity for them to engage with your brand.

So what should companies be doing now to stay competitive?

Collect it: At a minimum, start collecting data on your customers now (interests, purchases, clicks, pageviews), which will allow you to understand your customers to personalize communications and brand experiences.

Build Trust through Relevancy: When you develop that trust, people come back. A consumer will read an email from your brand when it arrives because they know it will be useful to them and there is a clear identifier and connection.

Don’t Silo Information or Channels: Consumers are tired of being typecast. There is no one-size-fits-all because every user is unique so don’t let your information live in a vacuum.  This applies to B2B and B2C companies. The key is to approach every communication or interaction thinking, “How this will help the end user?” People want authenticity and want to be communicated to in a real and honest way.

So get ready for the next wave in marketing, the big data evolution. Those brands that are able to tap into actionable analytics are going to be the ones that stand out and are able to create more meaningful relationships with their customers. Because at the end of the day people don’t want a savvy sales pitch, they are looking for a company to meet a need and make their lives easier and if you could determine what an individual is interested in and how they prefer it, the possibilities are endless.