So the whole premise of my blog is to show marketers and businesses owners the importance of using data and information to drive revenues, advertising initiatives and create opportunity.

Why? Because most small businesses don’t do it. And it can make a huge difference in determining success.

Want an example of what I mean?

I came across this story of Will Smith the other day. Yes, Will Smith the actor and singer. In 2009 he was Hollywood’s most bankable actor. He is the most successful actor of his generation. His movies have banked over $4 billion dollars at the box office.

When Will Smith made the decision to make movies, he explained to TV Show “60 Minutes” that he did so, by first studying what success looked like in the movie industry. And every marketer or business owner can take a page from his playbook.

“First, he gathered the right data — information that was current, accurate, relevant and sufficient to make his decision.

Second, he analyzed it for patterns or insights, and discovered that the top 10 movies included special effects; nine of 10 included special effects with creatures; and eight of 10 included special effects, creatures, and a love story. His first two movies, “Independence Day” and “Men in Black,” followed that model, and grossed $1.3 billion combined.

Third, he didn’t look to his competition for guidance. In the mid-1990s, when the biggest movie actors were Tom Cruise and Tom Hanks, Smith opted against making the same films they did. Instead, his strategy was to look at the top-grossing movies, and analyze what made them so — and most importantly, give the movie fans (the buyers of his product) what they wanted.”

Will Smith chose not to rely on his “gut feeling” for what might make a successful film. Rather, he looked at what the customer wanted and responded with a product to suit them.

The strategy is simple. It is powerful. And it got the results Smith wanted. This is a lesson that every business can learn. In a constantly changing business world, gut or past successes are less and less reliable for knowing what the market wants and will buy. Good decisions require homework and objective investigation.

If Will one day decides Will Smith is through with acting, he definitely could have an equally successful career in marketing and business.