Consumer Insights & Brand Strategy for Insurance Brokerage
27 Mar 2024


A 150-year insurance brokerage wanted to rapidly grow its footprint, but its branding was outdated. The brokerage was a sale-lead organization, and marketing was often considered an afterthought. As the competition is fierce in the insurance industry, the company needed to create a fresh and unique positioning.

Provoke Insights was commissioned to develop a multiphase market research plan that included quantitative and qualitative research with B2B and B2C audiences.


1. Quantitative research among B2B and consumer insurance decision-makers

Each of the two cohorts received a survey that evaluated:

  • Awareness
  • Brand perception
  • Path to purchase
  • Key strategies that resonate

The data determined the target audience, what messages resonate with them, and how to reach new prospects through various marketing channels. An NPS was used to determine the brand’s positioning compared to its competitors.

2. Qualitative B2B and consumer insurance decision-makers 

In-depth interviews were conducted among B2B prospects and current customers. Focus groups were executed among consumer prospects. In this qualitative phase, the research tested positioning statements and dug deeper into the decision journey.


Now, the insurance brokerage clearly understands its prospects, how to message its audience, and what positioning statements resonate most with prospects and customers. The data showed them the opportunities to acquire new customers and cross-sell and upsell to current customers.

From the data, the brand developed a new:

  • Logo
  • Style guide
  • Refreshed advertising campaign and sales collateral material
What Influences Consumers to Purchase Generic Produce Instead of Brands?
18 Mar 2024

Provoke Insights’ Carly Fink and Jordin DeSenzo explore the factors that drive consumers to choose generic produce over branded options in a recent article for Produce Business.

Over the last two years, inflation has significantly impacted the cost of produce, adding to the difficulties faced by brand-named produce. Understanding the consumer sentiment amidst inflation and tailoring marketing strategies accordingly becomes crucial for brands aiming to maintain their market share.

The article addresses the following key findings:

  • Inflation has heightened consumer awareness of rising prices, particularly in supermarkets.
  • Despite high inflation, consumers continue to prioritize regular consumption of fruits and vegetables.
  • Brand awareness is high among consumers, but actual purchases of brand-named produce remain lower than expected.
  • Price is a significant factor influencing consumer choices, with many opting for generic produce due to cost considerations.
  • Affluent consumers often perceive no quality difference between brand-named and generic produce.
  • Television, in-store demonstrations, and more are favored channels for learning about brand-named produce.
  • Less popular media channels like billboards, radio, and magazines/newspapers are less effective for promoting brand-named produce.
DTC Trends That Will Help You Get Noticed
13 Mar 2024

Recent USPS article on DTC Trends showcases Provoke Insight’s research with top marketing professionals across all industries.

In the competitive world of marketing, direct-to-consumer (DTC) tactics are gaining traction. Established brands are increasingly adopting these innovative strategies to forge deeper connections with consumers. Join us in this article as we delve into the essential trends and powerful DTC marketing techniques that are not only capturing customers’ attention but also driving tangible results.

Key points covered in the article:

  • Effective DTC innovations
  • Strategies for brands to take their DTC marketing even further
  • Current methods used by marketers to track DTC performance
Six Reasons Why Market Research is Essential for Funded Startups
11 Mar 2024

Everyone loves the idea, but often decision-makers are hesitant to invest in market research early on. Why is market research needed? Picture your new business as a seesaw, delicately balanced on innovation, determination, and strategic decision-making. While securing funding marks a significant milestone in a startup’s journey, it’s merely the initial stride toward sustainable growth and long-term viability. Here, market research emerges as the linchpin, furnishing companies with a savvy roadmap to follow. Indeed, it can serve as the differentiator between success and failure.

1. Understanding the Landscape

Market research guides startups through the ever-evolving landscape of consumer preferences, market trends, and competitor strategies. It offers invaluable insights into the target audience’s needs, pain points, and purchasing behavior. For funded startups, comprehending these intricacies is crucial to marketing products or services to their target audience.

2. Validating Assumptions

Startups may fall prey to assumptions about their target market or the problem they want to solve. Market research acts as a reality check, enabling startups to validate their assumptions or be prompted to take their marketing plan in a different direction. By gathering data-driven evidence, funded startups can minimize the risks of launching products or services that fail to meet market demands, costing them serious money and time.

3. Identifying Opportunities and Threats

Funded startups operate in highly competitive environments, and there is always a rush to be first to market. Larger companies may want to find ways to duplicate your innovations. Market research empowers startups to identify emerging opportunities before they become mainstream trends, giving them a competitive edge. Similarly, it enables startups to anticipate potential threats posed by competitors or market shifts, allowing them to adapt their strategies proactively.

4. Understanding Customer Insights

Market research gives startups a deeper understanding of their target audience, enabling them to tailor their offerings to meet customers’ evolving needs and preferences. Funded startups can cultivate relationships with their prospects by soliciting feedback, analyzing consumer behavior, and tracking market trends.

    5. Informing Strategic Decision-Making

    In the fast-paced world of startups, decisions must be made swiftly and decisively. However, without reliable data and insights, these decisions may be misguided or based on gut feelings rather than facts. Market research equips startups with the information they need to make informed strategic decisions, whether entering new markets, expanding product lines, or pivoting their business model.

    6. ROI on Investments

    Funding is not infinite, and the investment dollars can dry up. That’s why every dollar invested needs to maximize returns. Market research helps funded startups allocate their resources more effectively by directing investments toward initiatives with the highest potential for success. The resources that are directed towards research will receive a higher return on investment then if they carried out marketing initiatives blindly.

    Final Thoughts…

    So, to those who are still hesitant to invest in market research early on, remember this: in the realm of startups, where risks loom large and resources are scarce, market research isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity. It’s the lifeline that transforms lofty aspirations into tangible realities and ensures that every dollar invested yields maximum returns.

    Radio On Main Street Featuring Provoke Insights’ Carly Fink
    11 Mar 2024

    In the third episode of the ongoing series from the ANA Masters of Marketing conference, Erica Farber sits down with Carly Fink, president of Provoke Insights.

    In this episode, you’ll hear how market research acts as the guiding light for brands, allowing them to remove the blindfolds, eliminate guesswork, and make informed decisions regarding their marketing, advertising, and media strategies. At Provoke Insights, we passionately believe in the transformative power of radio, and this belief is substantiated by the firsthand insights we glean from our research.

    Tune in to the conversation as we delve into the intricacies of market research and its pivotal role in shaping successful brand strategies. Discover how our team at Provoke Insights utilizes data-driven methodologies to unlock valuable insights that drive tangible results for our clients.

    Strategies to Combat Bots in Survey
    06 Mar 2024

    In the age of digital advancement, survey research has become an integral tool for gathering valuable insights across various fields, from market analysis to academic studies. It is a critical way to gain first-person feedback and attitudes on products, services, issues, and current events.

    However, with the proliferation of bots and automated scripts, the integrity of survey data is increasingly at risk. Bots can distort results, skew demographics, and undermine the reliability of research findings. As a result, market research vendors and suppliers have implemented several strategies to combat bots in survey research, ensuring the authenticity and accuracy of collected data.

    Implement CAPTCHA or reCAPTCHA:

    One of the most effective ways to deter bots is by integrating CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) or its advanced version, reCAPTCHA, into survey platforms. These mechanisms require users to complete tasks that are easy for humans but difficult for bots, such as identifying distorted text, selecting images, or solving puzzles. By adding this extra layer of verification, researchers can significantly reduce bot interference in survey responses.

    Utilize IP Address Tracking:

    Tracking IP addresses can help identify and block suspicious activities associated with bots. Since each device connected to the internet has a unique IP address, monitoring and analyzing this data can reveal patterns indicative of bot activity, such as multiple submissions from the same IP within a short time frame. Implementing IP address tracking tools in surveys allows researchers to flag and exclude responses likely generated by bots.

    Employ Time-Based Response Limits:

    Setting time-based response limits can help prevent bots from inundating surveys with rapid submissions. A survey submitted too quickly or much longer than expected can be flagged as a suspicious respondent. Additionally, scheduling surveys available only during certain hours or days can further discourage bot participation. For example, humans are less likely to be taking a survey at 2 AM unless they have a case of severe insomnia.

    Utilize Honeypot Questions:

    Honeypot questions, also called “Red Herrings,” serve as decoys designed to trap bots while remaining inconspicuous to human participants. These questions are placed within surveys and are typically hidden from view or embedded within irrelevant sections. Bots, lacking contextual understanding, are more likely to fall into these traps by providing nonsensical or inconsistent responses. Researchers can then flag and filter out submissions associated with honeypot questions, preserving the integrity of the dataset.

    Monitor Survey Traffic in Real-Time:

    Continuous real-time survey traffic monitoring enables researchers to promptly detect and respond to both intrusions as they occur. Proactive monitoring ensures that bots are swiftly identified and neutralized before they can compromise the validity of survey data.1

    Bots will continue to pose a challenge to survey research, and they will get smarter over time. Market research companies will continue to study ways to combat the bot issue in this research. By implementing a combination of CAPTCHA, IP address tracking, time-based response limits, honeypot questions, and real-time monitoring, researchers can fortify their surveys against bot interference and uphold the credibility of their findings. By adopting these proactive measures, survey researchers can confidently navigate the battlefield of bot intrusion, ensuring the integrity and reliability of their research outcomes.