“There is no such thing as ‘soft sell’ and ‘hard sell.’ There is only ‘smart sell’ and ‘stupid sell.” - Charles Browder

The most important task in achieving marketing success is matching your message to the mindset and interests of your target market.

The story locked in your data holds the insight you need to focus your appeal, create compelling experiences, and generate the highest return on investment. In other words, “Smart Sell” your way to success.

The right questions help you understand your customer’s story and why they buy what you sell. Good questions then point you in the direction of creating marketing strategy and creative works that will inspire your customers to action.

Here are five questions that can help you extract real insights from your data.

1. Who are my highest value customers?

Surprisingly, asking “who is our best customer” is one of the hardest questions most marketers never ask. Why? Because it naturally limits your target audience…and it can be incredibly hard to get everyone on your team to agree.

But when you have a clear picture of the person you WANT to do business with, your job gets much easier. With this insight you can focus attention on your best customers and eliminate wasted effort marketing to the wrong people. As University of Georgia marketing professor John Burnett says, “By emphasizing a segmentation approach, the exchange process should be enhanced, since a company can more precisely match [their product to] the needs and wants of the customer.”

2. What MUST my best customers think, feel, and believe?

What does your data show you about the mindstate of your best customers when they buy from you? What questions have they asked? What objections or frustrations have they shared? What did you have to say or offer to persuade them to buy? Understanding these “softer” data points will help you understand the “why” that will lead you to the “what” you need.

3. What are my best customers curious about?


“The first and simplest emotion which we discover in the human mind, is curiosity.” – Edmund Burke

The emotion of curiosity is one of the most powerful human emotions. Do you know what inspires, motivates, and incites fear for your customers? Look at what your customers are searching for for clues.

As Ardath Albee states in the book Digital Relevance, “Curiosity is a driving force in customer engagement, it’s an emotion related to the thirst for knowledge. It’s the inquisitiveness that marketers can capitalize on to attract attention.”

4. What do my best customers buy?

How do your customers spend their time and money? Do they buy from your competitors? Do they buy or use another product or service totally unrelated to what you sell? Do they travel, participate in expensive hobbies, or join social or professional groups?

What your customers actually spend their money and time on are important clues that will help you position your product or service in the best light.

5. How do my best customers buy?

What steps do your customers go through when making a purchase like yours? Do they search the internet, consult with friends and family, visit multiple showrooms?

Understanding how your customers prefer to buy gives you insight into how you can engineer a buying process to increase your sales conversion.

Don’t worry if you can’t answer these questions today. Simply asking the questions will help you craft marketing tests that will help you learn as you go.

So what’s the story your data is telling you? How can you extract the story of your customers from your data? And how can you build testing strategies to learn even more?

Ask these smart questions and you give yourself the shot at “smart” marketing that sets you apart and delivers the ROI you seek.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *