The Top 4 Most Popular Blogs of 2020
28 Dec 2020

We are looking back on 2020’s most popular blog posts on Provoke Insights’ website. During this unprecedented year, what were the articles that stood out the most? What did people want to read about regarding brand strategy, advertising research, and content marketing research? Read the article to see all the winners! 

Fourth Place: Significant Differences Calculator 

Provoke Insights developed a proprietary tool in 2019 – the tool was popular last year but gained even more traction in 2020. Our tool runs two proportion Z-tests, by taking sample size, and percentages into account and it allows users to test tables of proportions against each other, as well as download the results. 

Significant differences are important when it comes to quantitative data, and it has been a pleasure to create and promote a tool of our own instead of relying on third-party software. 

To learn more about the tool, click here. 

Third Place: Sampling: the Importance of Good Sample

The third most popular blog was about survey sample. You can never underestimate the importance of high-quality sample. There are many ways research can go wrong, and bad sample means your research may sway you in the wrong direction. 

The sample is a critical component of accurate research. If the sample size is too small, not cleaned, biased, or of low quality, your research could become erroneous. Read the blog to understand exactly how to ensure that the research will provide actionable insights by guaranteeing precise responses. 

Runner Up: The Marketing Strategies for the Alpha Generation

The Alpha generations may have only a faint memory of the pandemic as many are only a few years old. However, living a year of your childhood through a pandemic is unlike any other generation’s experience. This young generation’s needs, wants, and attitudes are unique, and therefore marketers need to react accordingly.

This article discusses the marketing strategies to [plan for Generation Alpha. Provoke Insights has studied this generation further. You can read the other articles about Alpha too: 

Winner: The Pros and Cons of In-depth Interviews

Interestingly, the top read blog was about a popular remote research methodology – in-depth interviews. When it comes to research methodologies, many brands turned to what can be done remotely this year. In-person interviews and focus groups have been off the table since March. We had a 30-focus group research project transferred from in-person to online at the last minute in March.

With the global pandemic, everyone is more accustomed to web conferencing tools than ever before. It is advantageous for brands, as it is less expensive to conduct focus groups on Zoom (rather than in-person or on a focus group software), and participants have a much easier time joining and taking part.

To learn more about online qualitative methodologies, read this blog:

Online Focus Group research Software vs. Web Conferencing Tools

That is it for the top four blogs of 2020. A year unlike any other. We are looking forward to seeing what 2021 brings us. Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season and a healthy New Year! 

If your company is interested in learning more about the methodologies and specialties discussed here or wants to understand our market research capabilities, please reach out to [email protected], and we will be happy to schedule a call to discuss the research objectives with you.

In addition, check out Provoke Insights research services here.

Want to read more from Provoke Insights?  Find some more blog posts linked below:

  1. 2021 Marketing Trends
  2. Thinking About Conducting Market Research? Here’s a Checklist to Find a Research Provider
  3. DIY Market Research vs. Hiring a Specialist

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2021 Marketing Trends
22 Dec 2020

The turbulent year 2020 has vastly shifted consumer behaviors and the speed of digital adoption. The outlook of a world where COVID-19 is controlled in 2021 is positive. However, the changes that have started in 2020 will continue to the subsequent year and will lend to the 2021 marketing trends.

Why is it important to track marketing trends?

  • You can integrate trends into your marketing strategy and it can present opportunities or barriers for your company
  • It is crucial to spot these early, so you can be prepared to act 

Marketing trends are most important to watch as you are deciding the strategy going forward into the new year. In this article, we will outline some of what we expect to see more of in 2021 and going forward. 

User-Generated content

As COVID-19 took the world by storm in 2020, there were restrictions placed on video production. This caused many brands to run out of marketing content. They could not shoot new adverts or create new content and so, they turned to promoting products and services with user-generated content. This is effective as it allows consumers to relate to the content instantaneously. With the global pandemic, people were also more inclined to 

Brand Activism

With 2020 being such a transformative year, in every shape and form, brands have become more engaged in playing a role. Consumers are also expecting the brands that they support to use the voice they have to be advocates for the causes they believe in. The Black Lives Matter movement has been revolutionary in that if a brand did not speak up in June, younger generations questioned their core values. Brand activism is becoming table-stakes. 

eCommerce Small Business More Sophisticated Marketing

eCommerce marketing tools are becoming more readily accessible to small businesses and eCommerce is growing exponentially. Small eCommerce business will become more sophisticated in 2021. They have been upskilling and adopting new integrations for their companies in 2020 and we can expect them to be in full swing next year. The marketing that consumers will receive from small business will reflect this change. Shopify, Etsy, and other third party marketplaces are aiding small businesses in running more like larger companies online and it is benefitting the sector. Support small businesses next year and reap the rewards! 

Nostalgia Marketing

This marketing that triggers comfort in people and improves connectedness with a brand has seen a come-back!  As the world has been an unpredictable place over the last 9 months, consumers have been drawn to what they know. 

It is important to stay abreast of the most up to date and innovative marketing techniques in 2021. This can be an advantage for your company. It is vital for us to stay up to date as we conduct market research with brand strategy as our focus. All of our research have also worked in strategy, therefore we often recommend marketing techniques to clients, if the findings point to one thing or another. Most recently, we recommended to a client that user-generated content would work for their core audience because they search for authentic brands and place a lot of value in other customer reviews. 

Check out some of our other blogs on marketing technique and market research:

Thinking about conducting market research?  Check out Provoke Insights research services here.


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Online Focus Group Research For Nationwide Wellbeing Campaign 
15 Dec 2020

This article will outline the online focus group research conducted for a national wellbeing campaign conducted for a federal agency.

Marketing Problem

A federal agency launched a point-of-sale campaign in 2018 in over 2,000 stores where cigarettes are sold. The agency was looking to improve the impact of the initiative. In addition, they were considering using other media channels as well as launching it nationally. Therefore, they wanted to understand insights regarding the target audience by conducting online focus group research.

The goal of the online focus group research was to gain a national perspective on the mindset of smokers and what motivates them to quit. Also, it aimed to understand the difference among the low socioeconomic groups and the young adult subsets.

The objectives of the research included:

  1. Understanding the audience’s mindset/attitudes around smoking, quitting, products, etc.;
  2. Gaining feedback on strategic messaging concepts to help refine and optimize the campaign; and
  3. Assessing existing creative from the campaign. 

Market Research Solution

Provoke Insights worked within the approved institution review board protocol to conduct thirty 90-minute online focus groups. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, participation rates were significantly lower than normal. As part of this audience was low income, it made it very difficult to recruit. As a result, the research company highly over-recruited per group for the goal of having 4-5 participants show.

These groups included participants with the following inclusion criteria:

  • Interested in quitting smoking AND have tried to quit smoking within the past year but were unsuccessful, and
  • Currently, smoke cigarettes; or, are dual users of cigarettes and other tobacco products

Provoke Insights conducted focus groups among participants in 5 local markets; Philadelphia, Houston, St. Louis, Las Vegas, and Charleston. 

Research Results

Provoke Insights determined that a one-size-fits-all solution would not work for smokers. Reasons to quit are distinct depending on the life stage of the smoker. The qualitative results also explained how the creative was perceived, and what to tweak for the new campaign. The qualitative research gave further nuanced insights into the habits, behaviors, and attitudes of this audience. One important topic that arose from the research was the need for education around vaping. 

Are you interested in our market research capabilities? Find more information here or email us at [email protected]

Finally, read some of our past case studies here:

  1. Food Category Brand Launch: Secondary Research
  2. Marketing Strategy for a Major National Fitness Club
  3. Annual Ad Testing Campaign for OTC Drug Company
  4. Jewelers of America: Mixed Methodology Market Research Study
  5. Brand Strategy Research for a Rental Truck Company


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Thinking about Conducting Market Research? Here’s a Checklist for Finding a Research Vendor
10 Dec 2020

This article will outline the checklist for market research. That is to say it explains all that you need to run through to ensure that you are in an excellent place to conduct a quantitative market research study in-house. In addition, there is a list provided to go through if you are hiring a market research firm. Subsequently, there will be another article published in the coming weeks that will discuss qualitative research.

What to Consider if Conducting DIY Market Research? 

  1. Questionnaire Design: Is the team confident that they can write a research questionnaire in a way that will gather the insights objectively and without survey errors such as leading or double-barreled questions. Check out our article on survey mishaps here
  2. Timelines: Realistically, do you have the time to project manage the study in-house? Will you have to cut corners if you were doing it internally?
  3. Resources: Does the company have access to the resources, tools, and skills needed in-house to collect and analyze the data? Does your team have advanced analytics knowledge?
  4. Tools: Do you have tools to program surveys? Is your survey programming tool limited in capabilities? Do you have programs to develop crosstabs? Test significance? Is advanced analytics needed? Do you have the means to conduct it?  
  5. Sample: Do you have access to quality respondents? Will you be able to ensure that only qualified participants partake in the study? Can you reach the appropriate target audiences? Can you make sure that your sample represents the population you are targeting? Do you need to weight the data or use a sample stratified methodology? 
  6. Blind: If conducting research in-house, you will be revealing your company name to access participants. Are you sure that the study does not have to be blind? Can you tell the company name? This will skew the results, and you will not get a read on things like market penetration or awareness levels. 
  7. Reporting: Who is the data for? Do you have employees who can interpret the data and create graphs and charts that correlate? Do you need to draw conclusions for a specialized area (e..g branding)? 

The Checklist to Consider if Hiring a Market Research Company? 

  1. Research Objectives: This should be the top of the checklist for market research. It is often the case that a brand will know what questions they have for their target audience. This is great! However, the best place to start is with the overall business goals and the research objectives. For example, what are the ultimate goals for the research? What are the results going to inform? This will be some of the most critical information you can give a market research company to design a methodology to reach your goals. 
  2. Target Audience: Who do you want to speak with? While this may sound basic, research can often be erroneous as the data does not reflect the customer or the target audience that a brand is looking to reach. 
  3. Company-Type: Are you looking for a specialty firm? Is it a customer satisfaction survey or a brand study? Consequently, you should consider a market research firm with a strong specialty if you are conducting specialized research. You can find a directory of suppliers on GreenBook, Quirks, or BlueBook.
  4. Budget: Do you have money allocated for the project? For the most part, market research firms tend to spend significant time on proposals. A firm can better meet your needs by understanding the budget.
  5. Specialty: Are you looking for research in a specialized field? If so, find out if that firm has experience in that area.
  6. Ask The Right Questions: If you are looking for what to ask a market research firm in the interview process, have a look at this article.

What’s next?

If you are trying to decide between conducting research in-house or with a market research firm, you can read more about the pros and cons here. This checklist for market research is a good starting point. In addition, there is also more information surrounding errors and avoiding errors in survey research in this article about the margin of error. The turbulent year 2020 has vastly shifted consumer behaviors and the speed of digital adoption. The outlook of a world where COVID-19 is controlled in 2021 is positive. However, the changes that have started in 2020 will continue into the subsequent year.

Thinking about conducting market research?  Check out Provoke Insights’ research services here.

and finally, follow our social media accounts:




Food Category Brand Launch: Secondary Research
07 Dec 2020

Marketing Problem

One of the largest indoor fish producers in the world was planning a brand launch of their fish in the United States’ wholesale market in fillet/frozen form. The initiative needed substantial investment from capital and investors wanted proven financial opportunity in the form of market research. In addition, the firm was looking for a value proposition and a three-year go-to-market strategy for research, marketing and communication tactics.

Market Research Solution

As a result, the food provider commissioned Provoke Insights to conduct a one-phase secondary research on the state and future of the wholesale fresh and frozen fish markets in the United States. Included in the process was the drafting of a three-year plan to map out public relations strategy, packaging design, media buying, and brand creative.

Research Results

Provoke Insights provided specific recommendations to the  producer on whitespace in the fish market, the target consumer for their product, and strategies to counter any barriers the company faced.  In the form of a 100-page PowerPoint report, Provoke Insights outlined the following:

  • Unique Value Proposition
  • Overall Fish Market
  • Understanding the Consumer
  • Aquaculture Market
  • Analysis of Competitor Positioning
  • Competitive Pricing Analysis
  • Demographics & Media Usage
  • Market Research Plan to Execute
  • Go-to- Marketing Plan Which Included:
    • Creative Execution
    • Media Plan
    • Packaging Design
    • PR Outreach

As a result, the secondary study determined market potential, ideal consumers that appeal to the protein, as well as buying habits and interests of those consumers, all in preparation of a brand launch.

In addition, the research was able to give a face to their primary audience and gain an understanding of some of the potential reach in the United States. Furthermore, the research was supplemented by strategies to design creative, handle packaging, create a media plan to get the brand advertised properly, and place in the press with a public relations team. Especially, coupled with a plan, Provoke Insights set up the producer with top teams in their respective fields to help them forward.

In conclusion, the research assisted in the product’s launch and path forward. The research both gave direction to the fish producer, but also provided validation for stakeholders to perceive the large market potential of the product.

Additionally, are you interested in our market research capabilities? Find more information here or email us at [email protected]

Finally, read some of our past case studies here:

  1. Kitchen Home Improvement Advertising Testing Research
  2. Marketing Strategy for a Major National Fitness Club
  3. Annual Ad Testing Campaign for OTC Drug Company
  4. Jewelers of America: Mixed Methodology Market Research Study
  5. Brand Strategy Research for a Rental Truck Company


and finally, follow our social media accounts:




14 Top Brand Research Companies in 2020 – Quirk’s Media
03 Dec 2020

Provoke Insights is very excited to announce that we have been awarded one of the Top Brand Research Companies of 2020 by Quirk’s Media. Quirk’s is an industry expert and has outlined that Provoke Insights have the tools and expertise to improve all aspects of your brand strategy. We were given the honor along with 13 other agencies, and we are excited to be in such good company.

Provoke Insights has three pillars – we focus solely on market research for branding, advertising, and content marketing initiatives. Therefore, we feel privileged to be recognized as a top brand research company in 2020 and in 2019, we were awarded as one of the top advertising research companies.

We are thought leaders in branding research – we have published articles on the topics in Quirk’s, and Greenbook. You can read the branding research articles here:

If you are looking to conduct research for your brand, please do not hesitate to reach out. We work in collaboration with your team to decide on the best research methodologies for your specific brand. All research is 100% customized to the brand in question.

Thanks again to Quirks for this recognition. We will look forward to continuing our brand research into 2021 and beyond.

Thinking about conducting market research?  Check out Provoke Insights’ research services here.