A Summary of Sampling
14 Apr 2023

After hours developing your research plan, writing your questions, and programming your survey, it is time to launch your survey. Before launching the study, it is essential to have a precise sample plan. This is a key step when fielding quantitative research. Proper sampling is important for making sure your research captures an accurate audience that your research is meant to represent. Here is a quick lesson on sampling, its importance, and how to properly plan your sample.

What is Sample? 

You have an audience you want to reach that is unique to your objectives. It may be the US population, students, buyers of gum, or even physicians. Regardless of who your audience is, it is not efficient to survey the whole population due to several factors, including price and logistics.  

That is where sampling comes in; it allows you to project the outcomes of a whole population based on a small subset. The larger the sample size, the smaller variance in error to match the population accurately. At a certain point, the variance becomes so small that increasing your sample size is no longer beneficial. 

You will need to take the following attributes into account to help determine the sample size: 

  • Size of your overall population
  • The margin of error (ideally, you want it to be less than 4%)
    • The degree of uncertainty 
  • Confidence level (typically, you base it on a 95% confidence level), 
    • The percentage of certainty that the confidence interval would contain the true population parameter when you draw a random sample.

When considering a sample size, you must understand whether you are sub-segmenting the audience or conducting advanced analytics. Both tactics may require more sample.

Representative Sample 

If your sample is supposed to match a particular audience in characteristics, then it is essential to make sure it is representative. This means proportionally matching characteristics such as demographic, purchase habits or behavioral attributes. For example, if your target population skews slightly more female, so should your sample.

Making your sample representative is important because it helps ensure that your data truly reflects your wider target audience. People from various backgrounds and demographics will have vastly different opinions. Therefore, making sure your sample includes the proper proportion of each of these individual differences helps keep your data accurate.

How Do You Ensure Your Sample is Representative? 

Proper representation is important, but how do you achieve it? There are a few ways to collect a representative sample, each with advantages and barriers. Choosing one of these methodologies can help prevent sampling error.

Stratified sampling

Stratified sampling involves specifying the needed cohorts within your sample and setting quotas for each. While specifically fielding for specific quotas, randomly selecting participants within these groups ensures unbiased data while still matching the sample to the population. The methodology provides high accuracy, but fielding the remaining open slots can become difficult and time-consuming as quotas fill.


Weighting achieves sample representation after survey fielding has already closed. The methodology involves adjusting the power of each respondent to make the influence of each sub-group representative of that population, even if the physical number of people in the sample is slightly off. 

Here is an example. Let’s say you have too few responses in your sample from people under 30 years old and too many people above 50. Weighting can make the answers from the younger group “worth more” than the answers from the older cohort. This evens the playing field when looking at the data.

Weighting can be an incredibly useful tool, allowing you to match the population even after responses have been collected. However, it is important to use the methodology sparingly, as over-weighting could provide too much power to an individual respondent, degrading the quality of your results. 

Combining stratified sampling with weighting

Using both methodologies to achieve proper representation can minimize the difficulties or challenges of using only one. Beginning with a stratified sample allows you to fill your survey with as much physical representation as possible. But when quotas start to fill up, and targeting becomes too narrow, minimal weighting allows you to stay on schedule by opening up to more general responses and making adjustments to correct the representation later on.

A One More Tip Before You Go…Use Databases

Often it can be difficult to pinpoint the demographic breaks for your sample. In these cases, there are several resources that you can turn to. The largest of these databases is the US Census. The Census collects countless data about the US population, from demographics to employment to homeownership. It is also free! 

Using the census and other databases to proportionally plan your sample will help ensure your research adequately reflects the larger population. Other databases, such as MRI, can provide attributes in regards to behavioral characteristics. However, many of the courses have a price tag. 


A well-planned sample will elevate your research and provide assurance that your analysis will be on-point, accurate, and statistically sound. If you don’t take the time to plan out your sample, you run the risk of degrading the quality of your data. It is crucial to take the time to gather the sample that fits your needs in order to set your analysis up for success.

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The Pros and Cons of Survey Intercepts
11 Apr 2023

Survey Intercepts! The methodology was popular before the growth of online research since all research was conducted offline or via telephone. However, survey intercepts are still useful and relevant today. This methodology involves stopping people on the street or in other public environments to interview them in person.

The method ensures high-quality responses and catches participants when memories are fresh. However, intercepts require intense planning and could incur high costs. Here are some pros and cons to help your company decide if this methodology suits your research needs.

The Pros of Survey Intercepts

Ensure that you are speaking to the right consumers

Ensuring the right people take your survey is essential to receiving quality results. What better way to meet your audience than on their turf?

Online surveys are a quick and convenient way to gather many responses. Still, several hours and quality checks must go into tailoring the survey to ensure only the proper respondents qualify for the study.

In-person survey intercepts can reduce errors by interviewing consumers at a time and place where you can be sure that they qualify. Whether your goal is to evaluate a restaurant experience or review a purchasing occasion, questioning the source in real-time will ensure you speak to the proper people for your study.

This methodology is excellent when you have niche locations where you want to find specific consumers. For example, a regional supermarket chain or a department store that wants to understand who is shopping at their establishment may use survey intercepts since being on-location will confirm that you are speaking to the correct shoppers.

Catch consumers at essential moments

The perks of survey intercepts extend beyond just ensuring you speak to the right audience. The methodology allows you to speak to them when their memories on the topic are fresh.

Distributing a questionnaire weeks or months after an experience or purchase, may change a visitor’s perception of the actual event. Intercepting visitors immediately after exiting an experience or an establishment will garner fresh thoughts that are not clouded by life events and responsibilities that have occurred in between.

Gather top-quality results without intense cleaning

Accurate surveys require reducing errors as much as possible. Unfortunately, the internet is not perfect, and errors occur. While some respondents will click through a survey without reading questions, others may not even be human! Online surveys must undergo an intense cleaning process to eliminate these participants. Results must be combed through for gibberish open-ends and straight-lined grids to eliminate lazy survey takers and bots.

When you survey a respondent in real-time, you can assess their engagement and ensure they answer the questions seriously and thoughtfully.

The Cons of Survey Intercepts

It is more difficult to gather a larger sample

Online studies through a panel or sample provider allow you to gather a large respondent pool, which gives more options for dissecting the data. More participants will allow you to break down respondents into more intricate sub-groups to see the differences between these segments. When your sample pool is more limited in numbers, some breaks may have too few responses to garner more than directional insights.

When you field a survey on-location, gathering enough participants to create substantial breaks can be a challenge, especially if you are in a low-traffic area. You become bound by the number of people visiting the location during the fielding period. Furthermore, only some people who show up will agree to participate. Online fielding may be a better option if your goal involves viewing the data through a lens of several subgroups.

A detailed plan of action is necessary

Fielding an online survey is simple. Pick your fielding panel, choose your target, and go! Survey intercepts?…not so much.

Many more steps of planning must go into the process.

  • First and foremost, you need people to conduct the intercepts.
  • You will also need a means of conducting the survey, such as tablets or computers.
  • If the survey is being built using an online tool, you’d better ensure the fielding location has stable internet.
  • Does the business have more than one location? If so, you need to properly field across multiple locations to ensure that there are no biases by focusing too much on one location.

You will also need to ensure you research any rules about the fielding location that can affect your project.

  • Are certain areas of the location off-limits?
  • Do you need a permit to conduct the research?
  • What are the times that the location is open?

If you decide to field your survey using this method, ensure all of these logistics are considered to avoid delays or, worse, have to cancel your study.

The cost can be high for a low number of responses

Fielding a survey online can be very cost-efficient. Depending on your target audience, you can complete a large study for as little as a few dollars per response. This is because people generally take online surveys when they have some downtime and have less on their minds.

When intercepting someone on the street to take a survey, they are likely on their way to another destination. They could be traveling to a meeting or event, or trying to catch a train. This unplanned participation makes the time you have with the participant more valuable, so incentives need to be more significant. Other costs include:

  • paying surveyors/interviewer
  • buying equipment
  • securing permits
  • paying for the researchers’ travel expenses

When added together, questioning a hundred people in person could cost the same, or more, as a thousand qualified respondents online!

How do you know if survey intercepts are right for you?

Choosing a methodology for research can take some careful thought and planning. Survey intercepts are integral in answering the questions you need in real-time from people you are certain just interacted with your brand. Their experience is fresh and their perceptions are top of mind, which can give a solid and accurate snapshot of their path to purchase. However, before green-lighting an intercept survey, here are some things all market researchers will need to consider :

  • Does this fit our budget?
  • Do we have the bandwidth and man hours to pull this off?
  • Is a smaller respondent pool enough to answer our objectives?

If you can check these boxes, a survey intercept could be the right methodology to gather the actionable insight you’ve been needing for your brand.

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How is Technology Changing Market Research?
29 Mar 2023

Technology has revolutionized the way many industries conduct their business. This includes market research. From the early boom of Big Data to the emergence of Artificial Intelligence, several technologies are helping streamline the process of market research. As technology continues to advance and consumer behavior evolves, it is important for market researchers to stay up to date on the latest trends and emerging technologies. Below are the top five trends to pay attention to:

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a computer operated intelligence system that collects, and synthesizes information. The use of AI is becoming more and more popular in many major industries, with market research not being an exception. The use of AI in marketing research can be useful in automating time-consuming tasks such as data cleaning and basic data analysis. Incorporating AI tools can help save research time on these tasks, allowing researchers to spend more time focusing on big picture tasks such as storytelling, and making marketing recommendations. However, some researchers are concerned about the use of AI in market research, feeling that the technology might take away from their current jobs and negatively affect their career.

2. Big Data

Big Data has become hugely successful since its boom in the early 2010s. Accessing critical data from many participants is now more accessible than ever, which market researchers are using to their advantage. The use of big data analytics tools has enabled researchers to analyze vast amounts of data more quickly and efficiently than ever before. This helps researchers to identify patterns and insights that may not have been apparent before when this amount of data was not accessible.

However, market researchers should be somewhat weary of big data, since it doesn’t always mean that the information is 100% reliable. Collecting a larger amount of data could mean that there is a larger chance that there could be inaccuracies, errors, and bad responses. These errors could lead to researchers unknowingly coming to misdirected conclusions. Market researchers should use their expertise and skills in analyzing big data to ensure they are getting the most out of their data.

3. Social Listening technology

Social media monitoring is a wealth of information about consumer opinions and behavior that breaks down the “why” behind consumer behaviors. Researchers can use software that helps monitor social media and analyze multiple conversations from a variety of social media platforms to gain important insights. These insights can include, tracking brand sentiments, identifying trends, monitoring competitor activities, and targeting specific audiences. These attributes overlap with some of the objectives that are typically the goal of market research, more specifically qualitative initiatives. Social listening is an effective technology that market researchers should consider to garner a “raw” look at consumer opinions than what a survey might bring in.

4. Blockchain

Blockchain technology allows for a secure and transparent way to store and share data. The tech has the potential to significantly improve the market research industry by also improving data privacy and security and helping facilitate faster and more efficient payments to participants. Blockchains can also be beneficial to market research since it allows market researchers to be transparent about how they use and store respondent information. Blockchains are useful because it keeps Personal Identifiable Information (PII) in order, making the respondents feel more secure. Although experts predict that blockchains will become a more innovative feature in market research, they still have a long way to go. Blockchains are still not a commonplace staple in market research due to their newness. Market researchers and consumers alike want to see it put into action in other industries before engaging in it themselves.

5. Virtual Reality (VR)

Virtual reality (VR) has become an increasingly buzzworthy technology that is gaining interest in the marketing world. VR can be used to simulate real-world environments and help invoke strong emotional reactions and thoughts from the person experiencing them. Market researchers are interested in incorporating VR into their designs and strategies. This is because VR gives market research an edge in getting up close and personal with the consumers, something other market research methods lack. Some of the ways that VR can be used in market research include product testing, consumer behavior testing, usability testing, and focus groups. For example, if a supermarket is testing out a new store layout then consumers can use VR to virtually walk through the store and have their natural reactions observed. This could be more poignant than if the consumers were shown pictures or just asked about their attitudes on store layout changes.

The Future of Technology & Market Research

While some people are hesitant about using this new technology, these five advancements indicate that it is a positive change for the industry rather than a negative one. Some researchers are hesitant to incorporate newer technologies such as AI and VR, fearing that they will take over the field and render actual people conducting market research obsolete. However, if we use examples of now commonplace technologies in the industry, such as social listening or the use of Big Data, we can see that this new technology will only enhance our marketing research capabilities by laying a solid foundation to build upon instead of taking away.

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2023 Travel Marketing Trends
12 Dec 2022

What should the hospitality industry expect for the travel sector in 2023? Thanksgiving numbers may show the demand for flights increasing, but does this bump signify a long-term uptick in travel spending? Provoke Insights, a full-service market research firm, investigated what is happening in the market and how this will impact brands in the hospitality industry.

Inflation’s Impacts on Travel 

Thanksgiving travel numbers reached the highest levels since the pandemic’s start. With airport attendance measuring in the millions, airlines may jump to conclusions and prepare for a busy winter moving forward. However, with the skies more open than they have been in years and fewer regulations for travel being enforced, Families may have rushed to spend Thanksgiving with loved ones with whom they have not been able to spend time.

However, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms that inflation has drastically impacted airline prices, with prices rising 42.9% in just one year. As inflation impacts discretionary spending, will this prevent people from vacationing? 

Consumers’ Reaction to the Economy 

Provoke Insights’ research has found that almost three-quarters of Americans (70%) report being more budget conscious. Since Spring 2022, the following changes have occurred: 

  • Only a fifth of consumers expects to travel in the next three months, down 12%.
  • 16% of consumers booked a hotel in the last month, a five percent decline.
  • 15% purchased airline tickets, a decline of five percent.

What Most Influences Purchases of Airline Tickets and Booking Hotels

Price (76%) and availability (41%) are the largest motivators to purchasing airline tickets—only a quarter care about quality. As a result, deals and specials would move the needle when it comes to purchases of these tickets. Promoting specials such as free baggage check and free wifi or emphasizing lower-tier seating prices, such as “basic economy,” could draw Americans on the fence about vacationing. In addition, showing that your airline has convenient times to travel may also be helpful to consumers. 

While price is also a concern when selecting a hotel, over half (53%) consider quality a primary deciding factor. An emphasis on the facility amenities and room features can pique the interest of consumers, while package deals or multi-night discounts could alleviate cost concerns.

Age Impacts Travel 

Age plays a factor in the types of vacations consumers have in mind. Marketing and advertising initiatives must tailor communication (e.g., messaging and imagery) to best fit each audience’s needs. 

Regarding domestic travel, Baby Boomers and Gen X are more likely to create itineraries within the States. It is important to note that these travelers have a higher household income and are optimistic about the future. 

Travel brands can appeal to these audiences by promoting weekend getaways and luxury experiences. As these travelers are likely to have more expendable income, companies can market higher-end packages with less concern about affordability. From media buys and imagery to messaging should focus on what appeals to this age group. 

On the other hand, international travel is more popular among younger Americans, especially Gen Z, has the highest propensity to get their passports out. These travelers are likely college or post-college-age who are ready to escape and explore the world after two years of isolation and virtual classes. 

Travel brands should promote exotic “backpacking” friendly experiences for this audience. All-inclusive deals or organized group trips will simplify planning for these young adventurers and add an aspect of much-anticipated social interaction. As they are younger, affordability may play a larger role in their travel destination.


Provoke Insights conducted a 15-minute survey in the fall of 2022 among 1,500 Americans between the ages of 21 and 65. A random stratified sample methodology was used to ensure a high degree of representation of the U.S. population (household income, age, gender, geography, ethnicity, and children in the household). Statistical differences between subgroups were tested at a 95% confidence level. The margin of error is +/-2.5%.

2023 Trends in Market Research
07 Dec 2022

Check out predictions for this coming year from Provoke Insights, a full-service market research firm! Our conclusions for 2023 come from industry articles, blogs, government data, and our own observations. As inflation remains present and interest rates continue to rise, companies will need to re-focus their priorities in the next few quarters. 

One Research Project Needs to Answer Many Needs

Current economic strains have company earnings below expected projections. Research budgets may not be as robust as they have been in previous years. Research companies will need to think outside the box for creative solutions to make research go further. It will be imperative to tackle two objectives simultaneously and find cost-effective solutions to finding the appropriate sample. 

Tech Budgets are Slowing

The technology sector in the last few years has been on fire, especially during the pandemic’s peak. The rapid industry growth resulted in a need for several market research projects. However, that is not the case anymore. The intense need for technology has decreased as more people return in-store, in-office, going out, and traveling. As a result, this sector’s demand for research is not as strong as it has been previously.

New Sectors Take Center Stage

The United States’ commitment to rebuilding infrastructure and reducing the climate crisis has resulted in money funneling into construction and sustainability categories. Both areas will need research help to support the growth areas as expansion occurs. In addition, consumer-facing brands have the opportunity to focus on sustainability goals that may have taken a back seat during the pandemic. Brands will need research to understand the best approach to successfully implement these new initiatives.

The Need for Strategic Insights, Despite Automation

Automation has been a hot topic in the research field for the last few years. It’s been most commonly integrated into more and more market research tools to deliver the data and in helping to interpret the results. As this technology matures, we will see automation becoming more specialized.

However, as more research processes become automated, the need for data to tell a story and provide strategic direction is ever so important. You will need more than just robots to help with the research.

Researchers with strategic experience will be in high demand as they can uncover insight into the data through which AI sifts. Often researchers only create graphs and regurgitate the data. The need for storytellers to provide actionable results that answer business objectives is crucial.

Sampling Experts Needed

The days of “setting and forgetting” a survey in-field are over. Online survey tools allow for wider reach and quick turnarounds. Unfortunately, this opens up opportunities for bots to infiltrate, even if the survey software offers safeguards. Although many marketers may want to bring their research in-house as budgets are cut, many won’t have the bandwidth to implement the necessary quality checks while the survey is live. Research companies carefully comb through every respondent that comes in to ensure they qualify, answer questions thoughtfully, and do not rush through. These extra eyes on your survey will ensure you get accurate insights and actionable results. 

The Economy, Marketing, and the Restaurant Industry
05 Dec 2022

How does today’s economy impact the hospitality’s food and drink category? Has it impacted the dining experience? Have patrons changed their frequency of eating? Provoke Insights investigated concerns facing dining establishments in its fifth wave of the consumer trends research. 

Economic Impacts on the Restaurant Industry

Prices of services and products are rising across the board, and American consumers are noticing. When it comes to restaurants in particular, over 80% say they have noticed an uptick in the cost of menu items.

Consumers’ wallets (and appetites) are hit hard as inflation is impacting everything from supermarket runs to going out to restaurants. As a result, Americans are cutting down on the amount that they eat out. This is especially true at full-service establishments, where half of Americans are dining less frequently.

When patrons do eat out, almost three-quarters are making budgeting changes to their ordering. Over half are selecting cheaper items (53%), while others are cutting out dessert (42%), appetizers (39%), or drinks (31%).

To combat these concerns, restaurants must take an active approach to attract diners:

  • Fast food and fast casual restaurants can offer discounts and promotions to ease the concerns of budget-conscious consumers.
  • Fine dining establishments can consider unique offerings and experiences to attract diners, such as live music events, wine tastings, or new technologies.

Menu Availability Impacts on the Restaurant Industry

Inflation is not the only concern for those dining and food and drink establishments. Menu item availability and limited staff are other issues that are impacting dining experience.

Less than thirty percent of consumers are satisfied with menu item availability at restaurants. Many others have experienced being told their selection is sold out for the evening. To avoid these situations, restaurants can create more limited menus or prix-fixe offerings that utilize ingredients that are more assured to be kept in stock. This may mean fewer exotic offerings, but it will prevent customers from feeling frustrated that they can not order their first-choice selection. 


Provoke Insights conducted a 15-minute survey in the fall of 2022 among 1,500 Americans between the ages of 21 and 65. A random stratified sample methodology was used to ensure a high degree of representation of the U.S. population (household income, age, gender, geography, ethnicity, and children in the household). Statistical differences between subgroups were tested at a 95% confidence level. The margin of error is +/-2.5%.

The Alcohol Industry and the Role of Online
28 Nov 2022

What is happening in the alcohol sector this fall? Provoke Insights investigated consumers’ alcohol buying behavior in its fifth wave of the consumer trends study.

Who’s Drinking Alcohol?

Americans like to drink! Almost half (40%) of consumers will be making alcohol purchases. These individuals are more likely men with a higher household income. They consider themselves more environmentally friendly. As a result, eco-friendly alcohol brands may stand out from the crowd. As these Americans favor shopping at small businesses, it is still important to have a presence at mom-and-pop liquor stores.

These consumers prefer to stick to familiar alcohol brands. However, in-store availability is a top influencer for 40% of these consumers when considering alcohol. To stay top-of-mind, brands in this category must ensure their products are available at multiple online and in-person retailers.

A Closer Look at the Liquor Sector

Vodka (21%), followed by whiskey (17%), is the most popular. While in-store still dominates for hard alcohol purchases (81%), over one-quarter of liquor purchasers buy online (28%).

The method they purchase online is mixed; online delivery services, big box retailer websites, national alcohol websites, and liquor store websites are all channels being used. Liquor brands need to consider the multiple ways consumers purchase online, as there is no single way.

Liquor buyers aren’t just drinking. They are interacting with their favorite alcohol brands as well:
Two-thirds (66%) engage with brands online, primarily through the brand’s website (28%), followed by social media (22%).
As brand familiarity is important to alcohol buyers, actively connecting to buyers online is essential for liquor brands to have an edge over competitors.


Provoke Insights conducted a 15-minute survey in the fall of 2022 among 1,500 Americans between the ages of 21 and 65. A random stratified sample methodology was used to ensure a high degree of representation of the U.S. population (household income, age, gender, geography, ethnicity, and children in the household). Statistical differences between subgroups were tested at a 95% confidence level. The margin of error is +/-2.5%.

Winter 2023 Trends: The State of the Economy
22 Nov 2022

The traditional holiday season is filled with family, joy, and tons of shopping. This year, inflation, the economy, and job stability are on people’s minds. How will this season be different from others? How should brands react to this changing environment?

At Provoke insights, a full-service market research firm, our bi-annual consumer trends study keeps a pulse on the market across multiple industries. The extensive study allows Provoke Insights to stay ahead of the trends and understand consumer mindset in the current moment. We understand how the outside world impacts brands!

Here is a peek at the groundbreaking data included in the reports.

Is Santa in Savings Mode?

In fifteen industry-specific reports, our newest complimentary research highlights how consumer trends are shifting. Three years since Covid began, fears of the pandemic have decreased, but consumers have other growing concerns, from inflation to the economy. Jobs stability is not as much of a worry.

This wave, in particular, highlights how these concerns are affecting buying habits as we head into the most spending-heavy time of year.

Consumers fear their financial future. They are experiencing price increases, particularly at supermarkets and restaurants. These concerns are lowering optimism levels below those of Fall 2020 and leading Americans to tighten their spending. Almost three-quarters (70%) of consumers report being more budget conscious in the past six months. Consumers eat more at home, make fewer impulse purchases, and buy store-label brands. One in ten say they are cutting down travel.

What Can Brands do?

As budgeting constraints affect multiple industries, brands must actively reach consumers this holiday season. Couponing or exclusive experiences may help consumers open their wallets and prevent buyer hesitation. Maintaining relationships with buyers through social media can keep products top of mind, giving buyers time to think and make their purchases decision less impulsively.

Though some strategies can apply across the board, each brand must decide what is best for their industry and company. Check out our industry-specific reports from our Winter2023 Trends, and keep following our blog for industry summaries.


Provoke Insights conducted a 15-minute survey in the fall of 2022 among 1,500 Americans between the ages of 21 and 65. A random stratified sample methodology was used to ensure a high degree of representation of the U.S. population (household income, age, gender, geography, ethnicity, and children in the household). Statistical differences between subgroups were tested at a 95% confidence level. The margin of error is +/-2.5%.

The Pros and Cons of Custom Competitive Analysis Research
03 Nov 2022

All brands, regardless of industry, are competing for consumer support and loyalty. How can brands best understand their market share? Competitive analysis research can be a brand’s blueprint to gauge how they stack up versus the competition. This research can measure a product’s awareness, satisfaction, and loyalty while also comparing the metrics to those of similar products. Though the research has immense value, conducting it can be tricky. Here are some pros and cons to help determine if competitive analysis research is the best fit for your brand.

The Pros of Competitive Analysis

See where your brand stands against competition

It is imperative for any company to pinpoint who its competition is in the market. Otherwise, how can you measure the success of your product? Competitive analysis can help answer a number of questions about how your brand is perceived compared to the competition in the market. How aware are consumers of your brand vs. others? Which brands in your competitive set lead in ad awareness? And ultimately, which brands do consumers prefer? Answering these questions sets benchmarks based on other products to assess their own success.

Understand consumer choices

Just as important as “what” brands consumers buy is “why” they choose to buy them. If a brand is a leading choice among buyers, it is important to know what works so that the company can continue to provide these attributes in its products. Conversely, if a brand seems to be playing catch-up to the competition, companies will need clear direction on improving their offering. It is crucial to include probes within your competitive analysis to gain a strong POV of why or why not they are purchasing your brand. This will allow you to better assess the top attributes that lead to purchase and loyalty and the pain points that deter a consumer from picking the product.

Measure growth with tracking research

Knowing how your brand compares to the competition at a given moment can be helpful, but tracking the changes over time takes competitive analysis to the next level. Integrating a competitive analysis into an annual or bi-annual brand tracker can reveal consumer behavior changes as companies adjust their products and advertising. Though this can benefit any brand, this methodology is especially useful for companies that are not currently the top consumer choice. Tracking a competitive analysis over time can help these brands make adjustments based on consistent consumer feedback to allow them to grow and ultimately overtake the competition.

The Cons of Competitive Analysis

Picking the wrong competitors can tank your research

To run a successful competitive analysis, the brand in question needs to be compared to the proper competitors. A company may want to compare against as many brands as possible, but overcrowding a survey with too many options can flatten the research results. Additionally, brands may have different competitors in different markets, making a national study tricky to create and analyze. Companies should consider conducting preliminary research to uncover the true competitors to include in the analysis. It’s also smart to always include a question on unaided awareness to pinpoint additional brands that can be included in future waves.

You may be unprepared to take in what you find

Sometimes research needs to be the humbling voice in the room. The nature of a competitive analysis could bring in negative sentiment toward your product and an outpouring of praise for a competitive brand. Sorting through such results can be disappointing and difficult to accept. For this reason, it is important to design your survey to give you strategic results and clear calls to action. As a result, your brand will likely see improvements in future waves.

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Brand Benchmarks and Norms: Where does your brand stand?
01 Sep 2022

How does your brand measure up in your industry? What is driving brand equity? And how can your brand stand out in a saturated marketplace? Does your advertising work better than your competition? Brands should look to benchmarks and norms to answer these questions. 

Provoke Insights has released multiple benchmarks that can be used to understand where an industry stacks up against others. Marketers can also use the data to determine where their brand is compared to others in its category.

Brand Equity Benchmarks

How strong is the power of the brand? How does your brand fit compared to the industry? Provoke Insights evaluated hundreds of brands toå come up with the industry average. 

The chart below assesses different characteristics that influence brand equity. The data below represents the general population according to the US Census. Each question was asked about the brands in the category below via a 7-point agree scale. The data shows an aggregate of the top three of the agreed scale.

Fits Needs Leader Innovative Purchase in the Next Year Pay More for Brand
Average 80% 78% 77% 77% 71%
Alcoholic Beverages 74% 76% 69% 76% 66%
Automotives 80% 79% 78% 65% 73%
Banking & Investing 82% 77% 78% 82% 64%
Beauty 76% 73% 73% 75% 72%
Cleaning Supplies 85% 84% 82% 87% 77%
Clothing 83% 78% 77% 81% 73%
Ecommerce 81% 79% 78% 82% 69%
Footwear 87% 82% 79% 81% 77%
Furniture 78% 75% 73% 70% 71%


77% 75% 75% 70% 68%
Insurance 83% 78% 74% 81% 65%
Luxury 70% 81% 80% 62% 71%
Non-Alcoholic Beverages 79% 78% 73% 79% 67%
Outdoors 77% 79% 77% 72% 70%
Technology 85% 82% 83% 76% 73%
Toys 73% 76% 77% 72% 74%

Brand Loyalty Benchmarks

Consumers are more loyal to some industries than others. So, what does that mean? Some shoppers tend to stick with their favorite brand over and over again. This is particularly true in the automotive industry. However, in the hotel industry, travelers are less loyal as they want to try new brands.

The Brand Loyalty Benchmarks are based on a five-point scale from “only purchasing the brand” to “only purchasing other brands.” The loyalty score is calculated by the mean overall industry score minus the individual category score. For more information, visit out Spring 2022 Trends Page.

Industry  Loyalty Score 
Automobiles  14.31
Major appliances 12.61
Airline 11.11
Cruise line 9.01
Power tools  7.71
Skincare 6.11
Electronics 6.01
Fine Jewelry/watches 2.41
Beauty supplies 2.51
Hotel -7.19

Proprietary Advertising Norms 

Provoke Insights also has several proprietary industry norms to help with advertising testing. These benchmarks are based on an aggregate of several ad tests. This information helps determine if the assessment of the marketing material is below or above the competitive advertisements.

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