Hitch, The Pursuit of Happiness, Seven Pounds, I Am Legend... 

These are just a few of my favourite Will Smith films.

There are many reasons Will Smith is such a worldwide success. He’s highly likeable, has an infectious charisma, and isn’t afraid to make a fool of himself. But The Fresh Prince of Bel Air deserves more credit for his accomplishments than you might think.

It all comes down to a brilliant, but very simple strategy. A strategy that should be at the core of any organisation in the business of selling products or services - knowing your audience.

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As revealed in this article from Kissmetrics, at the beginning of his film career he analysed the highest-grossing movies of all time and identified three common features: special effects, aliens, and a love story.

Cue Independence Day and Men In Black. It was these movies that catapulted Smith into superstardom.

It’s simple really. He did his homework, identified what the audience wanted, and delivered it straight into their excitable hands.

Today, data is everywhere. Businesses can learn so much about their customers by analysing data they have right in front of them. 

And with analysis, comes opportunity.

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Amazon and Ocado are examples of companies, that in my experience, have mastered the art of using analytics to their advantage.

Amazon is the king of upselling. I’m regularly buying items I didn’t know I wanted just because they pop up as related to a product I recently purchased.

Then there’s Ocado - the master of delight. Noting that I buy coconut water every week, in my last shop they took the opportunity to cement my future custom by charming me with a free bottle.

These small acts of wisdom help separate these companies from their less savvy competitors. And it really is, unbelievably simple. Amazon has an enormous amount of data about customer shopping habits. So prompting an additional purchase by recommending a product they can be fairly sure I’d like is an easy win. Similarly, Ocado is collecting data about my purchasing habits every week anyway, so why not use that to their advantage?

In the article Kissmetrics reflect on how businesses can benefit from analytics.

By analysing the types of companies your buyers work for, their demographics, and where they live, you can find solid clues on where to find the most (and best) leads. By analysing your past interactions with prospects you can determine the factors that led to success and those that caused prospects to slip away. You can use these learnings to inform your future interactions, so you have a better chance of converting next time.

For many businesses, this data will be staring you right in the face. It’s just a matter of digging into it, identifying the opportunity, and acting on it.