The Pros and Cons of Secondary Research
09 Sep 2020

What is secondary research?

Secondary research is a type of market research where you compile and analyze information that is already available. You can obtain this information through googling, online databases, and libraries. The data can be from articles, studies, and even past surveys. Secondary research is an essential tool in market research as it can assist in better understanding your industry, competitors, and trends in the marketplace. 

Suppose you are thinking about conducting primary research (research that is not already out there). It can help guide your initiative by not duplicating any efforts (e.g. research information currently out there).

Here are the pros and cons of secondary research. 

The Pros of Secondary Research 


Secondary research is often less expensive than primary research. Since the data is out there already, the most considerable expense is usually the workforce to find and interpret the data.  

Wide Range of Information

In this online world, it is pretty easy to gather an extensive amount of information. Secondary research can help find, among other things: 

  • The current and projected market. Economic projections, industry reports, and additional information on sales and market performance.
  • Competition in your brand’s field. This can include competitors’ brand positioning, sales numbers, website performance, pricing, etc. Primary research is essential for understanding the perceptions of competitors. Still, secondary research can preface that knowledge by giving a detailed perspective of what the competitor’s strategy is in the first place.
  • Consumer perspective and perceptions of your product. Although nothing beats primary research when it comes to consumer perceptions, by looking for already available opinions out there, secondary does a great job in informing you prior to conducting primary, and making sure you don’t double up.
  • Trends and opportunities in the market. All three of the above combine together to inform your perspective when it comes to the possibilities for your product to succeed. The amalgamation of consumer and economic perspective is a powerful way to understand where your brand/product fits

Prevents Duplicate Information If Planning Additional Research

Using secondary research helps access the best market research strategies to use. Secondary research can be conducted on its own. It is also an ideal methodology to utilize before other phases, as it informs what the best primary research is necessary. This prevents duplicating efforts with research that is already public. 

The Cons of Secondary Research

Because secondary research deals with already available information, that means the research is readily available, including your brand’s potential competitors. It is not data that is uniquely accessible by one person or company. Along those lines, secondary research can not be specialized to a specific individual’s or business’s needs the same way primary research can. You will not be able to get the same distinct knowledge catered to your brand.   


Secondary research is a powerful but sometimes limited market research tool. It’s vital to conduct secondary research before the primary stage to understand what you may be missing, what you already know, and what to look for. Secondary is an always-available tool that should be utilized, but also understood for its limitations.

Read some of our blogs from this series here:

  1. August 10th, 2020: The Pros and Cons of Segmentation Research
  2. June 17th, 2020: The Pros and Cons of Online Focus Groups
  3. February 6th, 2020: The Pros and Cons of In-Depth Interviews
  4. July 13th, 2020: The Pros and Cons of Online Survey Research
  5. June 28th, 2020: The Pros and Cons of Message Testing

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


and finally, follow our social media accounts:




Online Focus Group Research Software vs. Web Conferencing Tool
31 Aug 2020

The COVID-19 global pandemic has brought drastic disruption to every industry. Market research is no exception. While the market research industry has already been using multiple online methodologies, the last few months have pushed even more initiatives online that were previously done in-person. And offices have been pushed towards web conferencing.

The internet has already brought most market research methodologies online / virtual. This has been the case for almost all quantitative research (e.g., online surveys), and some qualitative methodologies (e.g., in-depth interviews via video call). As a result, in 2020, none of these methodologies underwent significant makeovers.  

What has changed is the number of people wanting online qualitative research. Companies hoping to conduct market research in-person have switched plans to conduct in-person qualitative research online (in-depth interviews and focus groups). 

While online focus groups existed before COVID-19, they were not as widely used as they are today. In-person you get to see the nuances of how people react – which you lose somewhat when moved online. However, the pandemic has shifted in-person online. Though there are focus group facilities that are open, many participants do not feel comfortable going into a facility. As a result, the data may be biased.  

To meet these new client needs, you can facilitate focus groups using two different ways: 1. Online Focus Group Software 2. Web Conferencing Software (e.g., Zoom). Both tools have both benefits and drawbacks, which are detailed below:            

Why Use an Online Focus Group Software?                    


Backroom: Allows for an unlimited number of members in the backroom. This includes its separate audio line for “behind the glass” discussions. It allows the client to feel like they are in the focus group facility where they would be behind a mirror, viewing the groups. 

Polling Capabilities: The software has both single and multiple-choice polling capabilities.    

Searchable Video: Transcripts from the online focus groups have the capability to click directly to clips of video.                      


Familiarity: Though there is a technician at hand, most participants are not familiar with using the software. This can cause people not to have technical issues throughout the session. 

Cost: There is an additional cost for using the platform.         

Why Use Web Conferencing (e.g. Zoom) 



Since the beginning of the pandemic, web conferencing tools like Zoom have skyrocketed. While people have been stuck inside and unable to see loved ones, they have taken to the platform to stay in touch. Therefore, participants often have experience using web conferencing tools over an online focus group software. Using a commonly used platform allows them to set up and join the group with ease. The technician will call the participants to help them enter the group 10-minutes beforehand to ensure that they do not have any issues. Often, the participants explain that they have already used Zoom and do not need help.


Dedicated online focus group software is costly, while Zoom is a software that most market research firms and companies have. It will not cost an additional fee to use. 


Fewer Capabilities

Clients that would like to view the groups can not be hidden from the group participants. They log in as an observer and keep the video off.

Read some of our blogs from this series here:

  1. June 17th, 2020: The Pros and Cons of Online Focus Groups
  2. February 6th, 2020: The Pros and Cons of In-Depth Interviews
  3. July 13th, 2020: The Pros and Cons of Online Survey Research
  4. June 28th, 2020: The Pros and Cons of Message Testing

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


and finally, follow our social media accounts:




Pros and Cons of Segmentation Research
10 Aug 2020

Segmentation is a market research method that is a tried and true way to understand your target audience. A segment is a group that shares one or more characteristics (e.g., demographics and psychographics). It acts as a useful way to split up consumers into separate groups for marketing purposes. 

Whether you are a company that is launching a new brand or re-evaluating a different path forward, segmentation can give your brand insight to inform your marketing strategy. However, like any research method, segmentation has specific use-cases, and it isn’t always the proper thing to do. Continuing our blog series on the pros and cons of research methods, read on for the advantages and disadvantages of segmentation!

Segmentation Research Pros

Creating Personas

One of the most illuminating parts of segmentation is bringing them to life in personas. Segments are split based on their similar answers to questions, which includes demographic questions. A persona consists of similar traits, beliefs, behaviors, values, and attitudes. Visualizing this persona and giving them a descriptive name can make your marketing strategy simpler to understand and implement. This is one example of the power of segmentation. 

Ability to Prioritize Segment Groups

Once you are able to segment the population into separate groups and focus on a particular target audience, you can prioritize the list of segmented audiences. Prioritizing segments can be done in many ways; one way is to order the cohorts based on propensity to purchase your product. 

You can also project the size of each segment to determine if this audience warrants the investment. This can also help to prioritize segments and create a marketing map based on each group. Most importantly, this can indicate which segments to leave out and focus energy elsewhere. 

Augment Segmentation Research with Secondary

Segmentation is the type of research that pairs very well with outside sources and databases. Supplementary information can bring new information to your personas, such as media habits, geographic information, and more. The addition of external information to your survey data is robust and leads to great results. 

Segmentation Research Cons


Segmentation research is typically more costly than other survey methodologies. Segmentation isn’t as easy as it looks. To segment the data, you will need a significant amount of sample- often having over a thousand participants completing the research. The advanced analytical process is not simple. Typically a segmentation study uses a factor analysis to uncover themes followed by a cluster analysis to create sizable cohorts. 

Other Issues

When you develop a segmentation, you need to make sure:

  • You do not exclude prospects simply because they are not your key targets.
  • You understand that consumers’ attitudes and beliefs may not be fixed. That being said, it’s vital to know how psychographics can change over time. As a result, you may need to refresh the segmentation after a certain number of years or have significant changes to your business. 
  • Finally, you have a way to target or reach the segment that you created. In other words, a bad segmentation is when you have a robust study but have no way to identify who is each group in your prospect and customer database. 

Read some of our blogs from this series here:

  1. June 17th, 2020: The Pros and Cons of Online Focus Groups
  2. February 6th, 2020: The Pros and Cons of In-Depth Interviews
  3. July 13th, 2020: The Pros and Cons of Online Survey Research
  4. June 28th, 2020: The Pros and Cons of Message Testing

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


and finally, follow our social media accounts:





The Pros and Cons of Brand Tracking Research
03 Aug 2020

Knowing a company’s current brand equity compared to the competition is essential for success. You need to know how it is growing, stagnating, or diminishing and what is causing these changes (or lack of variance). To gain a full picture of your brand is not always as simple as it may seem. A myriad of factors influences equity and perceptions over time. As a result, any brand that invests in extensive marketing efforts should have brand tracking research in place. Read below to learn more about the pros and cons of brand tracking research. 

A brand tracker is a survey that is conducted at a regular cadence (e.g., every quarter, annually, or even continually) that evaluates a company and its competitors’ performance. The research allows you to consistently understand all activities that impact awareness, consideration, purchase, and retention. 


A Deeper Understanding About Your Brand & the Competition 

Consistently evaluating your brand allows a detailed understanding of your brand overall performance in the market.  When you are tracking, you know your awareness, market share, profits, and retention and why they are at the current levels that they are at. 

Understanding KPIs, Performance, and Goals

How do you know if your advertising and public relation efforts are working?  Every company has specific metrics that they look at to help determine success. Brand trackers are a way to monitor if your marketing is meeting its expectations consistently. 

Brand tracking include performance-based questions, typically including measurements such as unaided/aided recall, perception, purchase intent, and likelihood to recommend.

Comparisons Over Time

A tracker is like a snapshot of a brand’s continuous health. What makes brand tracking research powerful is this ability to differentiate what may influence your company’s performance. For instance, if there was negative (e.g. bad PR, a recession) or something positive ( product development, new good commercial) you get feedback in the current moment, and compare it to past performance.


Developing brand tracking research takes time, but maintaining the survey for the next round is simpler after the first study. While some questions will change from iteration to iteration of the tracker to address particular concerns in a moment, the vast majority remains the same. This continuity streamlines the process of understanding and evaluating your brand equity.

Competitive Analysis

The key to any robust brand tracker is competitive analysis. The brand is evaluated alongside its primary competition to see who stands out and how. Learning how your competitors’ image evolves is informative and instrumental to brand strategy. It also gives a view of how your competitors may be strategizing in a particular moment, or how plans change over time.



Need to be Consistent 

Trackers need to be conducted consistently.  Some brands may find that there has not been much change from quarter to quarter and then only track when they feel an issue comes up.  Regardless of what the cadence is, consistency is crucial.  If too much time has lapsed, there can be many factors that cause variation in results. 

Get Too Complicated

It is vital to keep trackers streamlined and simple. Evaluating too many competitors or asking too many detailed questions may cause boredom during survey taking.  Also, the results may get too much into the weeds. Therefore, the end-user is not looking at what the bigger picture is saying. 

Too Generic

Often research companies have standard tracker templates.  Provoke Insights disagrees in a one size fit solution.  It is essential to make sure that the tracker is looking at your company’s individual goals when developing the tracker.  Also, the research should take into consideration the specific industry needs and trends. For example, some sectors are entirely transactional online, while other industries in-person sales may be more critical. A tracker needs to take this type of consumer behavior into account. 

If your company is interested in a brand tracker study, please reach out to [email protected], and we will be happy to schedule a call to discuss the research objectives with you and decide on the best methodology to achieve the goals. 

Read some of our blogs from this series here:

  1. Online Survey Research – The Pros and Cons
  2. Online Focus Groups – Advantages/Disadvantage
  3. The Pros and Cons of In-Depth Interviews

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


and finally, follow our social media accounts:




Best ROI is Research for Content Marketing
21 Jul 2020

Research for Content Marketing

It is difficult for a brand to stand out from the competition in today’s saturated media environment. Many brands, especially B2B, also want to be seen as a thought-leader in their industry. Original content marketing research is a way for brands to generate awareness and position your brand as a differentiator – this ultimately leads to higher brand engagement. 

Why Content Marketing Research? 

The real value of content marketing research is that your target audience engages deeper with your brand. It can improve awareness, engagement, search rankings, and ultimately conversion. 

As there is so much clutter online, the challenge is producing content that isn’t redundant and unoriginal. Brands are competing in a crowded marketplace. There are 54.2 million blog posts written monthly just on WordPress alone, 350 million photos are shared on Facebook daily, and over a million podcasts (30+ million episodes). As a result, brands must generate new, compelling information, which draws the audience’s attention to want more.  

It’s not just other companies competing for the consumer’s attention, but consumers themselves: social media is filled with posts about their latest vacations, baby pictures, restaurant reviews, and more. This is where market research plays an essential role in the content marketing revolution.

Market research studies bring novel, thought-provoking ideas to a comprehensive content marketing initiative. They provide new and original information, keeping the reader’s attention. One research study can be broken up into several content marketing stories and spread across various media channels (e.g., web, emails, news, podcasts, infographics, videos).

By leveraging market research to provide content that your target audience wants to engage with, your company can make it’s content marketing initiatives work significantly better. 

Research for Content Marketing Method

If you decide to conduct research for content marketing, you should follow the following steps:

  1. Assess the Landscape

Research potential topics beforehand; this is a crucial component to the success of a content marketing research initiative. Discover trending topics that have high engagement. Also, determine and steer clear of overused topics. Pouring over available research can spark unique ideas or new perspectives on a subject.

  1. Develop Headlines to Craft the Questionnaire

Headlines need to excite and interest readers. Focus on the topics discovered during the secondary research process. These headlines can be geared to cover issues that have yet to be addressed. This guarantees a fuller, more exciting picture of your industry. When developing headlines, keep SEO in mind for the best results. 

  1. Write Multiple Stories

Once the survey is closed, and the data is collected, you can create more than one story from the research. That means developing a series of mini-decks for each topic. Storytelling is an art form. It is crucial to keep your audience engaged. Many times, researchers are hyper-focused on the details of the numbers as opposed to the big story. It is essential to write the research report in a way that makes the readers want more.

  1. Leverage Research for the Highest Awareness & Engagement

Even before the research is completed, it’s important to determine multiple channels to help get the stories out. It is vital to discuss a plan where the study can also be leveraged for all media.

Multiple Media Channels

Content marketing research provides a plethora of opportunities to repurpose the information for multiple channels, including:

  • Podcasts
  • Blog entries
  • Infographics
  • Newsletters
  • Direct mail/email
  • Social media posts
  • Online ads
  • Sales collateral

The Metrics & ROI Are Proven

  • 7X higher article engagement (Readership)
  • 6X more engagement on social media (Shares/Likes/Reposts)
  • 13X more viewership on social media
  • 43% increase in website visits
  • 15% increase in new leads from a website providing contact information to get more information.

If your company is interested in content marketing research, 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.

Read some of our latest blogs here:

  1. Content Marketing Research for Tech Companies
  2. The Pros and Cons of Survey Research
  3. The Pros and Cons of Online Focus Groups

and finally, follow our social media accounts:





The Pros and Cons of Online Survey Research
13 Jul 2020

When referring to market research, online survey research is often the first methodology that comes to mind. Survey research is compelling and dynamic if executed correctly. Like all research methods, it has its advantages and disadvantages. 



Companies often realize that they need research too late. They usually require the findings at the moment that they conclude that market research is the only way to get the insights they need. This immediacy leaves researchers in a conundrum. Research projects can take time to kickoff, set up, put in the field, analyze findings, and write a detailed report. So, anywhere that you can make up time is valued. 

Survey research takes less time to execute. The survey goes into the field and will collect responses quite quickly. Unlike focus groups that need about three weeks of recruitment time and then hours of moderation with groups plus travel time, survey field time is significantly shorter.

Results Representative of the Population

While qualitative research is directional, survey research provides a representative look at the population you are interested in analyzing. On the back end of the survey, it is possible to implement quotas to ensure that the sample represents the demographic makeup that you are interested in (e.g., age, gender, household income, region, etc.). The quotas help you project conclusions about the greater population you are looking at. 


Incentivizing research participants is a large portion of the cost involved. The value of the incentive is dependent on the type of research you are asking people to participate in. If you ask participants to travel to a facility to take part in a two-hour-long focus group on a specific topic, the incentives typically start at $75 and go up as high as $500 for B2B specialists. 

That is big money – they are time-consuming and taxing. However, if you ask people to take part in a 10-minute online survey (from the comfort of their own home), the incentive will be much lower.  

No Borders

Survey research makes it easy to reach “hard-to-reach” audiences. As long as the participants have an internet connection, they can participate in the study. It allows participants to get involved despite being unable to travel or to avoid travel by the client.


Having a larger sample size allows for more varied analyses. With a dataset from online survey research, it is possible to conduct advanced analytics to understand the drivers and correlations that may answer the research objectives. 


While some question the quality of survey research, it is the easiest to control. At Provoke Insights, we include red herring questions to flag those who do not pay attention to the survey. We also include an open-ended question at the beginning of the questionnaire to remove participants who might give nonsense answers. We will monitor the study to ensure that the participants do not provide all ‘straight-line’ responses or patterning their choices. Finally, we will track how quickly the participant responds, and if they answer too fast (not enough time to read the question) – they will be excluded from the findings. 


Lack of Probing

In qualitative research, you can ask the “why’s” or modify the guide in real-time. While you can include open-ended questions as a follow up to a survey question, it still has its limitations. The amount of open-ends you can include in a survey is limited. No one is going to fill out 20 open-ended questions in a study. They would stop participating or write very short responses.

In qualitative research, you can follow up and dive deeper into the answers given to get to the bottom line of the question you are seeking to answer. 

Engage Participants For Short Time

It is not easy to keep research participants engaged in an online survey that is longer than 15 minutes. Therefore, most survey methodologies will limit the length of the study to 10 to 15 minutes. This time limit ensures that participants are engaged and answering the survey thoughtfully throughout. However, this limits the number of questions is it possible to ask and the depth of the findings. 

Local or Very Specific Audiences

Online recruitment can be difficult if you are looking for a tiny geographical area or if your audience is extraordinarily specialized or senior business leaders (e.g., business leaders of large retail companies in Austin). In that case, the methodology may need to move to the phone or in-person. 

If your company is interested in content marketing research, 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.

Read some of our blogs from this series here:

  1. The Pros and Cons of Online Focus Groups
  2. The Pros and Cons of In-Depth Interviews


and finally, follow our social media accounts:




The Pros and Cons of Message Testing
28 Jun 2020

Brand messaging is the brand’s voice. Accurate messaging allows consumers to understand the brand’s value (why it is useful/worthwhile) and what it stands for. Successful messaging will portray the brand promise and encourage purchase intent. Message testing research among the target audience is important. There are many advantages to this methodology and one disadvantage that you should be aware of. 


Quick Feedback

Using an online survey to test methodology is a quick process. The questionnaire is often standard and the research company updates it to incorporate the brand messaging that your brand is looking to test. Other methodologies in market research can take up to two months to complete. If brand messaging goes through the express route, a brand can have a preliminary report about the findings within 2 weeks of kickoff.

Nuanced Understanding

There are a few key survey techniques that allow for an in-depth understanding of your messaging.

Highlighter Tool

The highlighter tool will allow for participants to highlight the exact parts of the messaging that they like and dislike. Additionally, they can also include open-ended feedback to give further understanding for why they like or dislike a certain aspect of the messaging. 


Using a MaxDiff methodology will also allow the brand to understand exactly how much a message will lead to sales.  The MaxDiff is a trade-off analysis technique that can help determine which messaging or attributes directly influence the decision process. The MaxDiff is an alternative to a standard rating scale that often leads you to believe every attribute is essential. This questioning forces respondents to make choices between attributes, which results in a more robust data set.

Use this technique to prioritize which benefits/value propositions to incorporate and determine what messaging to include. A brand can test up to twenty succinct messages using this technique. 

  • Randomly present ~5 attributes (at a time) to respondents. This is where the Max Diff is utilized – this analysis predicts the response for each possible combination (there are 3.2 million possible combinations).
  • For example, the study could tell that a message is 2.9 times more likely to lead to a sale than another message.

Normative Data

In a message testing survey, respondents can assess the concept against a series of attributes such as learn more, innovative, etc. Compare these attributes against overall norms.

In market research, norms (also called normative data or benchmarks) are baselines established to compare your data against. It allows you to determine if the results are above or below par. They are particularly popular in advertising and brand testing and allow a better understanding of how brands and advertisements compare against the rest of the market.

Establish norms by creating an average aggregate of all the surveys commissioned by clients that ask the same questions.


Removes Polarizing Options

When you’re trying to please everyone, you can end up pleasing no one. Therefore, it is important to remember that polarizing messaging can be a good thing. It allows a brand to stand out from the crowd. In order to avoid this happening after testing, make sure that the messaging is unique and differentiating. For example, the winner of a message test is often low-cost or discounts – pick the next most popular message. Low cost is not differentiating. 

If your company is interested in content marketing research, 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.

Read some of the latest blogs in the Pros and Cons Series:

  1. The Pros and Cons of Survey Research
  2. The Pros and Cons of Online Focus Groups

and finally, follow our social media accounts:




The Pros and Cons of Online Focus Groups
17 Jun 2020

An Online Focus Group is a type of qualitative research. The methodology is especially beneficial during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it provides a contactless way to conduct exploratory research. However, this methodology has its advantages and disadvantages. 


Closest Online Equivalent 

Online focus groups are the closest online equivalent to in-person focus groups. While the fundamentals of in-person focus groups are getting a group of people in a room with a moderator leading a discussion. The fundamentals of online focus groups are the same – a group of people and a moderator leading a discussion. 

Lower Cost

Online focus groups are a lower-cost alternative to in-person focus groups. One of the significant expenses of focus groups is facility rental and travel. Without needing to be in-person, there is no need for a facility and no need for travel. Travel for the moderator and the observers can add up as you need to pay for a hotel, airfare, car service, and meal cost. 

Increase Efficiency

In-person focus groups take longer because of the travel involved. For in-person focus groups, the researchers, moderators, and stakeholders all travel to the focus groups’ location. The participants will be locally recruited and have to go to the facility (by car or public transport). Online focus groups are much more efficient – researchers, moderators, stakeholders, and participants can all partake from their home or an office. 

Geographical Independency

When choosing to conduct in-person focus groups, the researchers and stakeholders have to select a few cities that they can feasibly travel to and will have a population of their target audience to recruit. This (somewhat arbitrary) selection means that the insights are gathered from these specific cities’ residents, leaving out any randomness of the sample. Online focus groups allow for research to be conducted nationwide or globally – depending on the brand’s target. 

Deeper Insights

This pro is not guaranteed, but there is an argument that participants are more comfortable when they are at home and will give more honest and open responses. Any factors like being in a focus group facility or being in-person with other participants may be intimidating and lead to some participants remaining silent out of the picture. 


Technical Difficulties

Participants are often using new technology when joining online focus groups. This learning curve can lead to trouble downloading the software, signing in, or getting set up. As a result, it is vital to have technical support for all participants when entering the session. It is also often advised to incentivize early log on times – this means that participants will be more willing to join the group early, and iron out any kinks with the technology. 

Internet Instability

While we do live in 2020 and internet speed is rapid, there can always be instability. This fluctuation can lead to participants or the moderator cutting out mid-sentence. It is another reason that tech support needs to be present for the entirety of the session. If this happens, tech support can try to help get the person re-connected. 

The other issue that slow or unstable internet can cause is long lag times. Sometimes the video will be moving, but there is no sound or vice versa. This is not as severe of an issue; however, it can make transitions difficult and often leads to people speaking over one another. The moderator can think that someone has stopped talking when in reality, the video or audio just lagged. 


In contrast to participants being more comfortable at home, there are often many more distractions for participants when they are online. They are signing in from their house. While we ask them to remove any distraction, there can still be a family member or a pet that can interrupt their train of thought or make them have to step away from their computer for a moment. 


While these are the pros and cons of online focus groups, at Provoke Insights, we believe in looking at each business need/objective individually and deciding on a case-by-case basis the best methodology for the specific research requirement. 

Another excellent alternative to in-person focus groups is AI focus groups. It is a live chat session between a moderator and participants, but it allows for up to 100 participants and includes a voting system that will enable participants to agree or disagree with each other quantitatively. Make sure to assess all of the options before deciding to invest in research.

If your company is interested in content marketing research, 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.

Read some of our recent case studies and blogs here:

  1. NPS: An Explanation & Its Importance
  2. COVID-19 and Conducting Market Research
  3. Sunpower: An NPS and Competitive Assessment Study


and finally, Follow our social media accounts:




NPS: An Explanation and its Importance
28 May 2020

Retaining a customer is five times cheaper than acquiring a new customer – that is why brand loyalty is crucial. While we know its value, how do you measure brand loyalty? Often by using the measuring technique, Net Promoter Score (NPS), is an important indicator of success.

NPS is a rating on a scale from -100 to 100. It informs how likely a consumer is to recommend a product or service to a colleague or a friend. This powerful number has a surprising history and can go a long way to inform brand strategy.

History of NPS

In a 2003 article for Harvard Business Review, Net Promoter Score was devised by Frank Reichheld, a fellow of the consultancy firm Bain & Company. He also continued his exploration of and correlation to success in the book The Ultimate Question 2.0 (co-authored with fellow Bain & Company employee Rob Markey).

What makes this score so important? To paraphrase what Reichheld wrote in his original article;

Loyalty by a customer is about more than just reoccurring purchasing. Even if someone buys over and over, they may not be loyal. They might be doing so out of indifference or barriers to exit. 

For this reason, loyalty must be measured by recommendation. A loyal customer will not only re-purchase but they will promote the brand among friends, family, and colleagues. By doing so, they are not only saying they will re-purchase, but they are putting their reputations on the line. 

NPS asks about likelihood to recommend. In other words, NPS measures not just whether a customer is buying a product consistently, but if they feel strongly enough about the product to risk how others view them to recommend the product or service. It’s both an indicator of brand usage and resonance.

What Makes NPS Beneficial

Reichheld links the score to company growth and success. NPS is a great company indicator, and it’s also a yardstick to compare to competitors and other industries. Understanding your own brand’s Net Promoter Score compared to direct competitors can show how you stack up in terms of loyalty. 

In addition to just your competitors, it’s essential to see how your industry’s NPS stacks up to other sectors to get a full contextual understanding of not only loyalty to your brand but relative to other brands/industries. For example, cable companies often rate much lower on average than other businesses, so a cable company may have a particularly low NPS but it may be higher than competitors. Knowing where it places among competitors and then among other industries allows for a fuller picture.

Calculation of Net Promoter Score

To calculate a brand’s net promoter score, respondents are asked to rate how likely they are to recommend the product/service to a friend or colleague on a scale of 0 to 10. After the data is collected, answers are grouped into three; detractors (answered 0 to 6), passives (answered 7 or 8), and promoters (answered 9 or 10). Further, the percentage of respondents who are detractors is subtracted from the percentage of promoters. Finally, that percentage is taken as a whole number, giving us an NPS.

Ways to Utilize NPS

One way to utilize NPS changes is by conducting a benchmark study to highlight how a brand is either progressing/regressing. An annual tracker that highlights Net Promoter Score for both the brand and its competitors gives a great view of changes in the market. Just the score itself is a view into how brands stack up.

What drives the score is essential to understand. Often, areas of the company, such as purchase process, customer service, and different product/service attributes, impact the score. By analyzing multiple attributes for your brand and the competition, you can tell what your brand is doing better and worse among the competition. You can also conduct correlations to determine what is driving each score.

Another way to use NPS is to isolate high propensity users based on demographics/answers to other questions in your survey. For example, maybe your company performs better among users from urban areas instead of suburban. Or possibly, if your product is online software, those that primarily use your software for one feature rate you higher or lower. Or even if users had issues signing up for your product, how that affects NPS, and if a big enough group of people are affecting your score due to one issue. This is the power of NPS.

NPS is a robust market research tool that can be used in conjunction with others. It is not the be-all and end-all, but it can help your company spot issues upfront and increase loyalty. 

If your company is interested in an NPS study or other market research, 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.

Read some of our recent case studies and blogs here:

  1. COVID-19 and Conducting Market Research
  2. Sunpower: An NPS and Competitive Assessment Study
  3. Segmentation and Finding Your Target Audience

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COVID-19 and Conducting Market Research
18 May 2020

COVID-19 Impact on Market Research

In these unprecedented times, ‘business as usual’ is not always the case. At Provoke Insights, we are continually committed to providing you with the highest quality strategy and research. 

As our company has always supported our team working-at-home for a couple of days of the week, the transition to working virtually entirely has not been an issue. Our colleagues meet multiple times throughout the day to provide statuses on projects and give feedback and assist in initiatives.

We would be lying if we said COVID-19 has not impacted market research. However, at Provoke Insights, our agile approach has allowed us to adapt quickly. We are also continually assessing how we can develop the most effective research during these changing times.  

In-Person Research

Focus groups and in-person in-depth individual interviews have come to a halt due to the need for social distancing. At Provoke Insights, while we conduct online qualitative often, we have recently had to transfer an offline 30-focus-group project online in just a few days to online due to COVID-19. 

The virus impacts the recruitment process for online focus groups. The show-rate is much lower than the average show-rate (before the pandemic). Some of the causes are the following:

  • Essential workers such as warehouse and supermarket staff are often called in for extra hours at the last minute.
  • Parents had difficulty finding childcare as kids no longer had school or any daycare.
  • Overall, people are stressed due to income strain.
  • Some had to pull out as they fell ill due to the virus.
  • Participants under the age of 25 years old are less responsive, as many are undergoing an unusually large transition, moving home from college back into their parents’ homes.

At Provoke Insights, we have put the following procedures in place:

  • Over-recruit the number of participants per group by a significant amount
  • Additional reminders for those whom we recruit
  • Higher incentives to improve show-rate

Using Technology During Online Qualitative

Participants’ WIFI service may be slow due to high usage, or specific audiences are not very technologically savvy. As a result, at Provoke Insights, we take the target audience into account. For particular audiences, we recommend using qualitative technology that does not require high-speed wifi or is not too complicated.

The Research Topic & Questions   

COVID-19 is on many people’s minds, and it impacts the way people respond to questions. When developing guides and questionnaires, you need to understand the objective of the research and look at feedback regarding how the world is currently or diving into insights that are more long-term. Consequently, it is more important than ever to write questions smartly to understand the bigger picture rather than focus solely on the immediate environment. We review all initiatives to ensure that the current climate will not impact the project’s results. 

Refreshing Findings

While in a ‘normal’ year, it is crucial to update your research and findings to see if behaviors and the market have changed. This year, it is especially essential to understand that the research you may have conducted last year may no longer be relevant. Consumers’ mindsets are changing, and the way they behave will shift over the next few months.

If you are considering researching during this time, please reach out to Provoke Insights to address any concerns you may have. You can reach us using the contact page or by emailing [email protected]

In addition, check out Provoke Insights research services here.