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. 

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 


Sunpower: An NPS and Competitive Assessment Study
18 May 2020

Background & Challenges

Sunpower is a top solar panel company with retail in over 20 countries worldwide. Founded in 1985, the American energy company has manufactured solar panels for 35 years. The manufacturer was one of the first solar power companies, coming as a result of research conducted at Stanford University. In need of understanding their place in the solar power marketplace, Sunpower was looking for an NPS study.

Sunpower approached Provoke Insights to conduct an annual survey on the solar consumer purchase journey. Already a leader in the field, the company wanted to better understand its standing compared to the competition. The provider wanted to identify any competitive advantages and contemplate improvement efforts. In addition, an economic model was developed as a result of the research. Finally, the company wanted to gain a better understanding of its top competitors, as well as determine essential awareness, purchase, satisfaction, and referral drivers.


One of the best ways to understand how customers view your company’s product is through Net Promoter Score (NPS). NPS is a score that ranges from -100 to 100, which measures how likely a consumer is to recommend a product to a friend. The method helps measure both success and brand loyalty. NPS changes conducted over a period of years also helps highlight how a brand is either progressing/regressing in terms of its product’s reception.

Provoke Insights developed and conducted a 30 minute, 80 question survey among solar power customers with solar panels installed on their roofs. Accordingly, the survey was sent to both customers of Sunpower and its competitors. Further, a structural equation model was used to determine which attributes were drivers of NPS score and by how much.


A comprehensive report was developed that provided a clear understanding of the market, and how the solar panel company compared to the competition. The annual analysis gave Sunpower a yearly benchmark to compare their position versus competitors in the market. In addition, the analysis helped Sunpower understand what drives awareness, and sales, and how to challenge the competition.

The information was used to drive key decisions in marketing, customer services, and the sales process. You can read more about the research here:

Segmentation and Finding Your Target Audience
06 Mar 2020

As mentioned in previous blogs and webinars, market research is best when its results are applicable. Research needs to have real-world significance for it to be worth conducting. Particularly when it comes to allocating marketing dollars, research can be a great tool to determine your target audience. Thankfully, there are research methods like segmentation that do just that!

Segmentation research is a way to better understand your prospects, current customers, as well as competitors’ target audiences. It provides a method to map out brand position and develop a deeper understanding of segments. Segmentation can also help drive customer growth by determining the right level of marketing investment required based upon the segment’s growth potential.

How does Segmentation work?

There are a few ways to conduct a segmentation study. First, you need to have a dataset. Usually, quantitative surveys are the best way to gather an adequate audience to segment potential markets. Additionally, you could segment a company database, although that will be a segmentation of your current/past customers vs. including your prospects. 

Once you have your dataset, the first step is to uncover themes using an advanced analytics technique called factor analysis. To generate the segments, you then conduct a cluster analysis in order to create cohorts that are not only manageable but also sizeable (making them sufficient to warrant the investment). This statistical technique is used to separate groups by clusters of answers to find groups that have similar behavior. As a result, you can segment your dataset into customers who have different consumer behaviors, and understand who might be your ideal customer.

On top of the dataset you are using, you can supplement your primary research with secondary research. This can include additional research on personas with the behaviors you found, including where they live geographically, as well as detailed media habits. Thereby accompanying your primary research with real-world results to better understand the bigger picture, and have strong results.

The Value of Segmentation

The value of segmentation research is that it directly ties into the usability of the findings. We provide direction to bring the segmentation alive and off the page. The end game is to ensure that all segments are “actionable”, meaning your company can easily target these prospects and customers. For instance, once your personas are created, using their behaviors, you can create personas and assign them names and bring their behaviors to life.

As a result, you will have a group of personas into which you can separate your overall audience. Their purchasing and consumer behaviors will pair with their demographics to help you understand exactly who your company needs to be prioritizing and omitting in terms of audience.

You can create a predictive algorithm (typing tool) to help group prospects and customers into a distinct group. This way your marketing is better targeted to their needs. 

In this case, you will be able to create a marketing strategy based on who you find to be your target audience, and who you find to be a disaffected audience. Likewise, you will find out who you should spend less time targeting. This is because your return on investment in terms of marketing dollars will be poor.


In conclusion, segmentation research is a great way to split your audience into different personas, leading to an actionable marketing strategy. In terms of market research methods, it’s a great way to combine both primary and secondary research methods. As a result, you will understand the consumer audience that your brand will draw.

Read more about segmentation on the Provoke Insights’ blog here:

  1. Segmentation Research: Why is it so Important?
  2. Segmentation Research and Creating Personas

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Jewelers of America: Mixed Methodology Market Research Study
14 Feb 2020

Background & Challenges

Who are Jewelers of America and why do they need market research? The jewelry industry needed to better position itself in today’s rapidly evolving marketplace. The fine jewelry industry was starting to see a plateau in sales and wanted to improve growth overall. Jewelers of America (JA) is a non-profit trade association that was founded in 1906. The aim was to advance the professionalism and ethics of the jewelry industry. Today, the luxury brand association aims to improve consumer confidence through advocacy in public, government, and industry affairs. It also aims to enhance consumer marketing and public relations efforts. 


Jewelers of America approached Provoke Insights to conduct market research. The objectives of the research were to:

  • Get buy-in from association members
  • Understand the members’ target audience
  • Guide the strategic development of a national advertising campaign


Provoke Insights designed a three-phase research plan:

In the first phase of the research, Provoke Insights developed a 10-minute online survey. The survey was open-ended in nature to garner valuable insights from association members. This round of research provided JA with an extensive understanding of trends, purchasing patterns, and customer insights among 257 association members. Provoke Insights used to aid the development of the consumer survey and to understand trends in the industry.

The second phase of research assessed buying habits, attitudes, and interests in the fine jewelry and luxury sector. It also set out to evaluate who had the highest propensity to purchase jewelry and the size of each segment. A twenty-minute online survey was conducted among 2,019 high-net-worth respondents.

Provoke Insights used advanced analytics to create a segmentation to find who has the highest propensity to purchase fine jewelry. Secondary research supplemented the segments developed from quantitative research in order to develop personas.

    • Provoke Insights found that there are two main groups of target jewelry consumers: the “jewelry enthusiast,” a woman in her 30s who is married with children with a combined household income upwards of $100,000, and the “young and indifferent,” a woman in her 20s who is single, without children and making less than $100,000. 
    • Both live in cities and suburbs, watch TV and engage in social media. The former makes up 8 percent of the U.S. population, or about 25 million people, and the latter 11 percent of the U.S. population, or about 35 million.

In the third phase, Provoke Insights created a video of the findings for Jewelers of America to use as a promotional video internally in order to generate buy-in/excitement for the ad campaign and fundraise. 


Using Provoke Insights’ research and strategic direction, Jewelers of America was able to fundraise and develop an upcoming ad campaign for 2020. The advertising company hired by Jewelers of America used the research in order to inform the advertising campaign and target the segments that were recommended to them. You can read more about the campaign here. 

You can read more about jewelry and market research here.

The Pros and Cons of In-Depth Interviews
06 Feb 2020

While quantitative research helps companies quantify their business needs, qualitative research is necessary to dig into more specific information. Qualitative research can be accomplished in many different ways, one of the most known methods is focus groups. However, sometimes it’s worth it to conduct in-depth interviews with consumers.

An in-depth interview is exactly what it sounds like; a long conversation with participants about the specifics of what you are researching. Typically ranging from 15-60 minutes, a one on one interview of a participant can give you profound insights. The interviews are conducting using a discussion guide, that is prepared before the meeting. This acts as an outline for how the conversation will go and the interviewer will use it as a guide but can include additional prompts if they deem it necessary. The information gathered, like all qualitative, is directional in nature. Here are some pros and cons of conducting in-depth interviews.


In-Depth Insights

It’s no surprise that an in-depth interview would lead to in-depth insights. Oftentimes, surveys get answers on a wide range of questions but they are not flexible enough to get as detailed and specific with each respondent. As mentioned, if a respondent says something and the interviewer would like to gather more information, in-depth interviews are flexible, and they can prompt the interviewee to expand on the topic. Sometimes the most information lies in the details, and a long interview with a participant is the best way to get those details.

Additionally, in-depth interviews will force the interviewer to think creatively about what research they’re looking for. For example, if a consumer in an interview brings up reasoning for a decision that the researcher/brand hadn’t thought of before, now the researcher can explore that reasoning clearly with the consumer. 

Immediacy of Results

You know what the outcome/perspective is from each interview, and it can lead you in other directions and themes within your research.

Pairs Well with Quantitative Results

In-depth interviews can also humanize survey results in a way that is otherwise difficult to understand. For instance, if your survey includes answers to questions about your product or brand, the in-depth interview is the best time to investigate those discrepancies/points with a real-life consumer who may give you additional insight. In-depth interviews can be used for stand-alone research, but they are probably best used in tandem with other research.


Time Commitment

One of the difficulties with conducting an in-depth interview is the time it takes to do.  It is not just time-consuming for the researcher, but also for the interviewee. Typically, larger incentives are provided for in-depth interviews than other forms of research.

Randomness of Sample

One of the main issues with in-depth interviews is the randomness of the interviewee. Randomness is a key to surveying in an unbiased fashion. However, outliers do appear in a random sample, and an in-depth interview risks highlighting an outlier very closely. 

For example, your brand could select an interview of someone who holds an extremely negative view of your product or had a specific experience that informed their views. As a result, it’s important to correctly interpret an interview for what it is; a closer look at one person’s experience and perspective. It’s vital to understanding new perspectives on your product, but it is still just one perspective.


In conclusion, there are both pros and cons to in-depth interviews. In the end, it’s important to weigh all of them before making a research decision. They are a great tool that, if utilized correctly, can lead to great insight.

Want to read more from Provoke Insights, find some more blog posts linked below:

  1. Sustainability Marketing: Adapting to the New Consumer Mindset
  2. Don’t Let Your Marketing Dollars Go to Waste
  3. 2020 Trends: Advertising & Marketing Industry
  4. The Power of Census Data
  5. A New Way to Test Significant Differences
  6. Fin-Tech: How to reinvigorate your brand in a sea of sameness

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USPS: A Thought-Leadership Research Case Study
24 Jan 2020

Thought-leadership research for content marketing strengthens a brand’s credibility, generates awareness, increases engagement, and build new leads.


e-Commerce companies often have difficulty with return management and reverse logistics. Issues include fragmentation, siloed functions, and some companies even have no return operation policies in place. These problems often cause issues such as redundancies in costs and efforts.

The United States Postal Service was looking to help businesses deal with the accelerating realities of the online purchase returns landscape. Therefore, to provide the most pertinent information, the government agency wanted to understand: 

  • How do retailers structure and communicate their e-Commerce return policy? 
  • What types of logistics solutions are in place to set them up for success with returns?
  • Create a competitive benchmark to help companies understand that their returns policy is up to par. 

So, the government agency on-boarded Provoke Insights in order to create thought-leadership research by conducting quantitative research to help companies understand if their returns policy is up to par. Thus, the aim of the research was to provide original content on this topic for USPS to generate engagement on the USPSDelivers blog for logistics and operation professionals. 


Provoke Insights conducted an online survey among 300 professionals involved in the reverse logistics process. With that in mind, the survey was designed to gather content marketing insights on the following topics: 

  • How companies self-assess their returns policy;
  • Barriers, challenges, and concerns that companies have when it comes to returns;
  • Solutions and tactics in improving efficiencies during the reverse logistics process.


USPS was able to use the research for content marketing and thought leadership purposes. They published a report on the USPSDelivers blog – read the report here. The B2B target audience can use the results to understand how to improve the reverse logistics process.

The market research firm found that implementing new technologies is an essential way to help the reverse logistics process and that a tenth of companies don’t have reverse logistics policies in place. 

Most importantly, USPS was able to position itself as a thought-leader in the field and differentiate itself from the competition. The results were recently published the full report on and it can be found here.

Sustainability Marketing: Adapting to the New Consumer Mindset
17 Jan 2020

As climate change makes news every day, consumers are deciding to take action into their own hands. As a result, consumers are more interested in the sustainability of the products they purchase, and it’s affecting their decision process. 

It’s important in this new world that companies adjust, and many are. Consequently, new subscription services are banking on sustainability as a marketing point to sway environmentally conscious customers. How can your brand keep up-to-date with sustainable marketing?

Sustainability: The New Consumer Mindest

Consumers are more concerned with how companies are affecting the environment. For example, 90% of consumers believe that companies and brands have a responsibility to take care of the planet and its people. Similarly, 83% of consumers, when deciding between brands, will always pick the one with a better sustainability record. In addition, 70% are willing to pay more for products and services that help protect the environment or don’t infringe on human rights. 

Certainly, these results are the sign of a new consumer mindset. Generally, customers are very concerned about how their providers are affecting the world around them. Brands have fallen victim to their own unethical behaviors being brought to light. For instance, Starbucks decided to get rid of plastic straws after a viral video of a turtle choking on plastic in the ocean. Fast fashion clothing brands like Forever21 and Urban Outfitters have also been criticized for their hostility to workers and harmful clothing material. Moreover, companies have to be careful about their practices, because consumers are watching.

Sustainability Marketing

As a result, brands are deciding to double down on sustainable and environmentally sound practices in order to appeal to this new generation of conscious consumers. This has resulted in a few different things; new companies starting with a message of sustainability, and legacy brands making an effort to revamp as sustainable and eco-friendly.

As an example of new brands, startups recently raised record numbers to deal with packaging waste, with hundreds of millions raised across ten different companies. But there is also the clothing brand Rent the Runway, which sells customers on renting dresses so that they can still wear what they want to an event without participating in fast-fashion. There’s Feather, the furniture rental company which rents out furniture on the premise that furniture will not go to waste.

As for legacy brands, Burger King has recently launched Impossible Burgers, using fake meat in order to appeal to vegetarians and carnivores who are worried about the environmental impact of meat production. And there is Patagonia, who has made news for donating millions to combat climate change.

A New Hope

It’s important that your brand keeps up to date with sustainability marketing. In order to stay on top of the climate crisis, as well as sell to customers, this new trend in branding and practices is good for everyone involved. Let’s all hope for more sustainable and ethical practices, for the planet and people’s sake!

Want to read more from Provoke Insights, find some more blog posts linked below:

  1. Don’t Let Your Marketing Dollars Go to Waste
  2. 2020 Trends: Advertising & Marketing Industry
  3. The Power of Census Data
  4. A New Way to Test Significant Differences
  5. Fin-Tech: How to reinvigorate your brand in a sea of sameness
  6. Research Norms: What are they and what they can tell you
Read an excerpt from our blog on the power of census data:

“The census is conducted out every 10 years. It counts all people – citizens and non-citizens. It is mandatory for citizens to respond to the census so that the government will have an accurate count of the population. This serves as the backbone of fair political representation and it plays a role in many other areas of public life.

Census data is some of the most reliable out there. As a result, companies including market research firms find this information essential. The statistics provide information such as gender, age, and household income. Also, it is possible to drill down the data by state, country, city, or even zip code.”

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Don’t Let Your Marketing Dollars Go to Waste
10 Jan 2020

So, you brought a new idea to the market. You have even gotten it funded. However, long term success is determined by finding the correct audience, identifying the right unique selling point, and understanding your purchase funnel. Research is a crucial way to make sure that your marketing dollars are spent correctly (and not wasted). Market research (at its best) is directly related to your marketing strategy. 

There are multiple steps in the research process that are important to take to make sure research is strategy-based. It’s not just your research methods, as any research could be used to inform marketing but it’s the overall approach to your research that will make sure that your marketing dollars don’t go to waste.

The Market & The Consumer

When launching a new project, there are two areas to consider: Where should you launch your product? And who are your customers?

So how do we answer these questions? Before commissioning any expensive primary research, it may be best to analyze secondary research (information that is already out there). For example, in a recent blog, we detailed the power of census data. You can learn a lot from existing studies!

Second, survey research gives an in-depth look into consumer insights. Surveys should be designed around a topic and with a clear strategic goal as a result. In other words, a company looking to design an ad strategy can use survey data to find out which media their target customers use, and advertise through those channels.

Third, qualitative research (e.g. focus groups, in-depth interviews) bring your consumers and data to life. In this type of research, you see people’s expressions and hear the consumer’s tone of voice. It also allows you to probe deeper into questions your company might have about consumer behavior.

Having a Clear Process so it Doesn’t go to Waste

Before even getting into the research, it’s very important to map out a timeline and the process of your research and stick to it. Marketing strategy depends on clarity, and having a step by step plan to accomplish the research is the first step to a direct conclusion (without any waste). 

Setting out time for each step, and understanding what each step in your research process is are key to obtaining results that help inform your strategy.

Having Clear Objectives: Spending your Marketing Dollars

One of the most important steps in this process is to map out what you are looking for. What are the objectives of the research? What will you do with the research? Make sure you are not researching for the sake of researching, research for a purpose. For example, if your research is too broad, you will end up just reporting facts without any actionable strategy points.


Clear objectives, clear processes, clear distinctions, lead to actionable strategy! It’s important to have clarity when conducting your research in order to have actionable results. You don’t want to muddy the research, or else you will not have actionable results that will ensure an efficient marketing strategy. 

Want to read more from Provoke Insights, find some more blog posts linked below:

  1. 2020 Trends: Advertising & Marketing Industry
  2. The Power of Census Data
  3. A New Way to Test Significant Differences
  4. Fin-Tech: How to reinvigorate your brand in a sea of sameness
  5. Research Norms: What are they and what they can tell you
  6. How Black Friday Can Hurt Your Brand

Read this excerpt for a blog from our series on Generation Alpha!

“Knowing your audience and prospects is a key way to improve your profitability! As a result, different generations have different behaviors, attitudes, and preferences. Thus, understanding the generation gaps will help you understand the needs of your customers. Generations give marketing strategists an easy way to target and focus their methods. 

Baby Boomers do not want to see texting acronyms; they are swayed by clear video, they care about their in-store experiences, and they like to compare prices. On the other hand, Millennials want to care about the product they’re buying, and want to have a positive impact on their community. In addition, Generation Z (those born after Millennials and before 2010) is most influenced by social media, as that’s where they receive most of their news.

There is a new generation on the block! Brands need to know how this audience differs from their current audiences. Provoke Insights will be releasing a three-part blog series to help marketers understand the newest generation, to reinvigorate interest. Generation Alpha, the children of Millennials, are making waves recently in the news. Coupled with their Millennial parents, a marketing buzz has started to precipitate around the arrival of these youngsters. But how do they differ from their parents? In other words, what differences will there be in marketing to Generation Alpha versus marketing to Millennials?”

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2020 Trends: Advertising & Marketing Industry
03 Jan 2020

Happy New Year, everybody! As 2019 and the past decade comes to a close, a new one begins. And as is a tradition here at Provoke Insights, time for our annual advertising and marketing trends article. In other words, a comprehensive look at what can you expect over the next 12 months. That is to say, what are in-house marketers and ad agencies up to?

A Decade of Change

The 2010s were a decade of change in the marketing and advertising world. Ad spend has shifted almost entirely to digital, in large part due to social media. Advertisers spend around $30 billion on advertising on social media. And advertisers spend a total of $57 billion on programmatic advertising (includes banner ads and advertising on Google and Amazon).

Surprisingly, video advertising is the end of decade trend for online ad spend, as connected video advertising is expected to reach $6 billion by 2021. It comes as cable cutters have driven down television’s stranglehold on the media marketplace.

5G’s Impact on Trends

The first big invention of the 2020s will be 5G. 5G is the upgraded cell service technology that will make phone speed incredibly fast, and is going to be further integrated in 2020. A study even projects that sales of 5G devices will increase to 73.7 million units by the end of the decade’s first year! 

How will this affect advertisers? Well, phone streaming is going to hit incredible high speeds, with better sound, and higher definition. Now advertisers will have to react to the market by developing more interactive creative, with high-resolution graphics and better sound. This leaves possibilities for a whole new wave of creative advertising to try and hold consumer’s attention. 

Amazon: How will Retailers Respond?

Amazon may have killed retail this last decade, as their online shopping service is now ubiquitous, and in-person retailers have notably struggled to keep up. What Amazon may have done best is integrating with brands to sell their products and taking a piece of the profit in the process. 

However, 2020 is the time that companies fight back against the omnipresent online technology giant. For example, Microsoft will be launching cashier-less checkout and dynamic pricing displays. The company Neighborhood Goods specializes in partnering with companies to create pop-up shops, which have made an impact as apart of the new experience-based shopping economy. And the Canadian direct competitor Shopify’s launch of fulfillment services makes it a strong challenger. Will they have a shot of dethroning e-commerce king? Unlikely, but they sure will try!

Research Trends

As the marketing world shifts, so will the world of research. And the research world is getting much more creative. As so much spend has shifted online, and as surveys generally have shifted online, new technologies are allowing market researchers to be more creative in how they collect information. 

One of these new trends is online artificial intelligence focus groups. New companies that have created focus groups that utilize AI are taking the research world by storm and allowing researchers to conduct larger focus groups and get results in real-time. Focus groups can consist of dozens of people now, take less time, and be conducted online from anywhere. Other utilizations of online surveys are launching, as quick surveys on websites as pop-ups are becoming more and more popular. Look for that to continue in 2020.

We hope you had a refreshing holiday season and are recharged and ready to go in the new year!


Fisher, Lauren. “US Programmatic Digital Display Ad Spending.” Nov. 21, 2019. Available at:

Ryan, Jillian. “Ten Key Digital Trends for 2020 What Marketers Need to Know in the Year Ahead.” Dec. 9, 2019. Available at: 

Read some of our most recent blogs here!

  1. Research Norms: What are they and what they can tell you
  2. How Black Friday Can Hurt Your Brand
  3. Why Trends are so Important in Marketing
  4. Experiential Marketing & Retail

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