Market Research and New York City
29 Nov 2016
Written by: Rachael Ryan

For generations, New York City has been held in the heart of the world’s population as a land of opportunity, the city that never sleeps and a city where just about anything is possible. Because of that, the industries in New York City not only drive the state’s economy but it is a driving force for the national and global economy. According to Fortune, New York City is the ‘center of the business universe’. There are more industries, more companies and dozens of new start ups every single day. With that in mind, market research is more important than ever in NYC.

New York, the center of the business universe

Historically, New York has been the hub of numerous industries such as construction, media, publishing, tourism, the clothing and financial sectors. Lately, it is the hub of incalculable industries. There are also many new and upcoming industries and brands in the city, NYC is now home to new industries such as biotechnology companies and science industries; other industries such as the health sector, the arts and film industries are thriving here now more than ever. New York has so many new industries and innumerable established industries that it makes it difficult to stand out in such a competitive market. That’s why it’s more important now than ever to get your brand name out there and have it resonate with the right people. New brands need to make an impression with their target audience and more established brands need to reinvigorate their brand amongst existing and prospect customers. This seems like an overwhelming task in such a competitive market until you realize there is only one step that you need to take in order to make this a lot easier for you and your brand: research.

Where to start

Every inch of New York is wrapped in logos and slogans, sponsored and product placed which means that that valuable space is becoming more and more expensive. The New York City subway is laced with advertising and there are more advertisements in Times Square than in a lot of small towns. And that’s only one corner of the city; every single corner of this city has been marketed. There are so many that it all becomes white noise to New Yorkers. Don’t forget New Yorkers consume traditional media as well. At some stage, New Yorkers have to start drowning it out. Hence, if you don’t have a deep knowledge of your target audience – all of your costly marketing efforts will be drowned out and it will all have been in vain. The only way to avoid this is by researching your target audience before you do anything.

People are more different than they are similar

The population of New York City is projected to grow to 9 million people by 2040. People move to New York from all over the United States and from foreign countries daily. There are more people moving to New York City than are moving out. This means that the market is growing everyday and it is one of the most culturally diverse markets in the world, the people in it are more and more complex and less difficult to make assumptions about. New York is more diverse than any other city in the USA; there are more ethnicities, there is a bigger range of income, there are more members of the LGBTQ population here, and marriage trends are unconventional in New York– everything about everyone here is unpredictable. The only thing you can predict about a New Yorker is that they all more different than they are similar!

Therefore, your brand needs to conduct research accordingly if you plan to thrive in NYC.

For more information on how to research your target audience, have a look at Provoke Insights blog here. Market research can at times be time-consuming; therefore brands often reach out to market research companies, like Provoke Insights for a helping hand with this important research. As a New York City based research and consultancy firm, they have a great understanding of New Yorkers and the perfect base for conducting research in this complicated and sometimes dumb-founding city. Sign up for the Provoke Insights newsletter here.

Secondary Research and Launching a Brand
21 Nov 2016
Written by: Rachael Ryan

Whether you’re launching a new product or service for the first time, launching an existing brand in a new country, or rebranding an already successful brand… There is one common denominator – you have to do your research!

Market research is often overlooked in launching a brand. Unfortunately, many a brand has failed due to lack of market research or conducting market research too late. Timing is everything in every aspect of a product launch and research is not exempt from that statement. If market research is too far down on your ‘To-Do list’ then you might be setting yourself up for failure – this isn’t just my opinion, this has been a mistake made by brands as big and bad as Coca Cola, P&G and Microsoft in the past. And it’s easier to just do the research than it is to rectify any damage caused by an ill-thought out or ill-researched brand launch. We have decided to put together a series of blog posts to discuss the importance of research in launching a brand, in today’s post we are going to discuss where to start.

So, when should you start your market research?

In this case, there’s no such thing as too soon. Once you have a clear idea of what you want your product to be and where you want it to go – even in theoretical terms – you need to be researching. Market research at this early stage will mean that your product answers all of your customer’s needs and the outcome will have been determined by the customer/market rather than simply creating your brand from your own opinions or from a handful of opinions within your brand.

Where can you start with market research?

Well, we have to go back to basics. You have to gather market intelligence. Both the market and the consumers need to be understood.

Secondary research is vital here. What is secondary research?  It is information that is already out there. You would be surprised as to how much information is available before running to do a survey or focus group.  Why is this type of research vital for a brand launch? It indicates;

  • What is happening or changing in the industry
  • What are trends to take note of
  • Who your competitors are
  • What your competitors are doing
  • What type of marketing is the competition doing (advertising, media spend, PR, etc)?
  • Who uses this type of product/service


It is also important that you use the already existing research that is out there before your start conducting your own primary research because you don’t want to double up on research and if the information is out there, then be resourceful and use that information instead of having to find it out yourself.

So how do you gain access to this information?  This type of marketing intelligence is more than a simple Google search.  Some free sources include CensusPew Research and Statista.  However, several sources are more costly and analyzing all the data may be tedious and difficult.  Often brands reach out to firms, like Provoke Insights, to help with this important research.

Keep an eye out on Provoke Insights blog for the next part in this series or sign up for our newsletter here.


Know Your Target Audience Through Research
15 Nov 2016

Written by: Rachael Ryan

Have you ever been to a children’s birthday party when an adult gives one child some attention, then before they know it, every child at the party is vying for that adult’s attention? But the adult no longer has any time to give to any child because there are so many kids looking for it – in the end, no one gets attention and the adult goes back to conversing with the other adults.

That’s the world today! You’re the adult and brands are the children. We gave our attention to marketing – once or twice, maybe a couple of hundred times – and now every single brand is vying for our time and attention. The more brands compete for our attention, the less time and attention we have to give.  As a result, we need brands need to more efficiently reach their customers.

There are more barriers than ever between you and your target audience. There are more channels from which to get information out there, there are an increasing number of social media channels, more apps, more news outlets, and more television series on more television streaming websites and TV channels, more adverts and more messages trying to be transmitted. All of this makes it even more important for you to understand your prospects and customers.

So how can you go about understanding your target audience?

Research, research, research! If you know nothing about your target audience in this day and age, you need to start researching. Research is the only means of finding out who your target audience is.

Find out your audience’s demographic – this is limited in its potential to present the motivations for buying but it will allow you to begin to form a picture. It’s limiting because it doesn’t tell you why – it tells you who the customer is (i.e. gender, age) and where they are but you’re missing the why and the how.

Straight off the bat, you need to understand your consumer’s goals. Why is your consumer buying your product? How did your consumer get to your product or service? Understand the problem or desire that your audience may have that will lead them to your product. In order to do that, you need to research the audience – research those who will be in the market for your product or service.

You might be thinking, that’s all well and good – but how can I get all of that information? Well, a survey will provide you with the answer. Research can help you determine not only the whowhere and what but more importantly it can resolve the mystery of why and how! Not only that, it will also ascertain which segment of your audience will invest the most in your brand.

Segment your audience through research. Divide your audience into segments and provide content specific to them. Make sure your content is consistent, shareable and of a high quality. Your marketing won’t get any attention unless it’s worth the audience’s while – don’t offend your target audience by contending for their attention via poor quality content. I can assure you no one will give you attention the next time you contend for it!

Choose how to engage your audience wisely. Where do they get their information? If your audience doesn’t listen to podcasts then don’t choose that as your means of communication with them. If they ordinarily read blog posts that they see on Twitter then don’t focus all of your attention on Snapchat.

Be true to your brand. Finally, we live in a world filled with skeptics; always remain honest and true to your brand. Consumers today are quick to flag when they are being fed nonsense and drivel – it will do more damage to your brand than good if you try to get their attention with content that has a spurious link to your brand. Be sure to remain authentic. That way, you’ll become someone that your audience trusts and wants to invest in.

Want to learn more about your customers? Check out Provoke Insights article  Four Ways to Better Understand Your Consumer. Also, you can sign up for our newsletter here.

Why Market Research is a Must for Businesses
11 Jul 2016
One of the most valuable assets of any business is its brand. Just as a house needs a strong foundation to stay sturdy, an effective brand strategy needs thorough market research. Far too often, businesses skip the market research process because the company claims that it already knows its consumers. However, it takes a lot to understand your target audience’s wants and needs. To prevent this disconnect, companies must first have a stronger understanding of market research and how and when to use it. 

For marketers, research is not just about filling in the knowledge gaps, but it also serves as the basis for good decision making. Research provides valuable insights about products, services, consumers, competitors and trends.

Now why is this important? Market research is essential for the planning of any brand strategy. The data helps ensure that you are identifying the correct opportunity by targeting the right consumer in the right market and satisfying the right need. Without market research, there is no substance or facts behind your strategy and can result in a negative return on investment (ROI).

There are three broad types of research: Qualitative, Quantitative and Secondary Research. Qualitative research is more open-ended and is great for testing initial concepts or ideas. Quantitative research is statistically represents the audience you are targeting. Secondary research is information that is already out there. Some research companies have access to several data sources in order to provide a comprehensive view of the marketplace.

For research to be effective, it is important for companies to have a clear understanding of the purpose of research and what information is being sought. Market Research professionals provide the expertise many companies do not have in-house.  Often these experts have the skills and the tools to execute the research accurately, efficiently and cost-effectively. In addition, these professionals also help bring objectivity to the result, thus, providing a clear and unbiased direction for business decision-making.

To learn more about market research, get in contact with Provoke Insights or sign up to our newsletter here.

The Importance of Ad Tracking
01 Oct 2015
David Ogilvy, often referred to as the father of modern advertising, once said “advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals”. If your company is spending significant money on advertising, it is pertinent to conduct research to determine whether or not it’s working.  Ad-tracking is one of the favored methods used by brands today. If a company truly wants to optimize its advertising budget efficiently, it’s important to track and measure the response to its ads.  This analysis also lets a brand know if its advertising is becoming stale or over-exposed among its prospects.  

The first, and perhaps most important step in ad-tracking is to start your research before you actually launch your campaign.  In order to measure the success of a campaign, it’s advantageous to have an idea about your prospects’ awareness of your brand. If a company doesn’t start evaluating the reactions prior to the campaign, how will it be able to measure whether or not the campaign is increasing awareness?

Surveys are a standard method for tracking campaigns (i.e. commercials, print, digital, etc).  If a survey respondent can recall an advertisement or brand name unaided or without a prompt, it is a sign that the ad campaign may be increasing brand awareness. Once the respondent has answered questions aimed at gauging their unaided awareness of a brand, the survey can begin to focus on extracting information through prompts.  An example of such a question might be, “Which of the following brands are you familiar with?”

The goal of any advertising campaign is to raise awareness and change attitudes about a particular product or service. Therefore, additional questions that elicit opinions, attitudes, and purchase intent are useful in the ad-tracking process, telling us what’s working and what isn’t.

A successful ad is like a joke; the good ones may make us laugh or bring a smile to our face, but will eventually become stale and forgotten. And if an advertisement is the joke, ad-tracking can be seen as an honest friend, letting us know when to retire it and start working on some new material.

If you want to learn more about advertisement optimization, please check out this blog post here.

Survey States Web Developers Are Happy
10 Sep 2015
Looking at a Career in Web Development?

SkilledUp, the online educator, commissioned Provoke Insights to conduct a survey among 300 web developers, and some of our findings were quite interesting.  The survey results were a media sensation and were featured in USA Today, Inc, AM NewYork and Mashable. It really helped bring attention to the services SkilledUp has to offer.

Web development is a rewarding career, with 88% of respondents stating they were “satisfied” with their job. Some of the reasons for this happiness include the flexibility and work-life balance a career in web development offers. Another positive aspect of a web developer’s job is relative job security. As part of the technology segment of the job market, web developers are almost always in demand. Currently around 10% of unfilled jobs in America are in technology. As a result of this excess demand, jobs in technology pay, on average, 50% more when compared to the rest of the private sector. These figures only represent some of our research results.

Top in demand jobs developer jobs include: front-end, back-end, and full stack.  Are you ready to become a web developer?  Do you have the skills to become a web developer?

Similiar to SkilledUp, do you want to boost your brand through market research? It is a great way to gain media exposure and position your brand as an industry thought leader. If you are interested in how you can use content marketing for market research purposes, check out this blog post.   This blog entree will provide detailed steps on how to conduct market research for content marketing purposes.

Tech Companies…What’s Your Brand Strategy?
10 Sep 2015
Technology is the fastest growing industry in New York City.  In 2014, jobs in this sector had grown by 33%. As the tech boom continues, how can your brand stand out from the crowd?

Even if your product is unique, it is imperative to find your target and communicate what makes your brand special.  However, gaining a potential client’s attention poses a challenge since there are more communication channels than ever before.  Consumers’ attention is no longer focused on just one medium. Viewers are consuming content across mobile, desktops, and televisions.

To overcome these challenges, you need a better understanding of who your customer is.   For example, which clients will most quickly adapt to your technology? Does your audience desire to be part of a new emerging trend? Additionally, what are specific attributes of this audience (age, gender, household income, and/or psychographic attitudes) and how can you leverage that?

It is key to uncover essential information and gather important insights in order to reach your desired audience.   Companies, like Provoke Insights, provide services and tools to help you learn about consumers’ media usage, habits and even specific information about their favorite blog.

Even if your technology is the most advanced in the marketplace, it is a challenge to answer your customers’ needs in a simple and digestible method.   This ‘difference’ needs to be significant,  and can be developed into a compelling story that separates your product from the competitors.

As you can tell, there are many moving parts to a holistic marketing strategy.  Provoke Insights’s goal is to assist with all aspects of your marketing and branding needs.

About Provoke Insights

Provoke Insights is a full service brand consultancy and market research firm. Our innovative approach helps brands navigate through today’s cluttered marketing space.  We are the nerds behind the advertising, branding, media, and content marketing initiatives. Our obsession with data and research makes your marketing strategy compelling and impactful.

Capitalize on Your Consumer’s Multichannel Behavior
10 Sep 2015

Are you aware that consumers’ interactions with your brand are not what they used to be? Consumers are now consuming media from multiple devices simultaneously. They talk about your brand while they watch your latest commercial, then comment on it with hashtag messages via their smartphone before the commercial is over.   It is no longer a controlled one-on-one conversation between consumers and a brand.  As a result, brands need to adapt to this new method of media consumption.


Your brand needs to understand and capitalize on the fact that your consumer and his/her peers spend about 15 hours in front of truly beloved companions such as smartphones, laptops, tablets, or even smart TVs using 63GB of data daily!


With all of the exposure to these various mediums, there is more opportunity to catch the attention of the consumers and possibly engage them with what you have to offer. However, the downside is that their journey from one device to another is much more fragmented, so you have to invest in many more advertising placements than ever before.


In order to understand them better, you must know how they leverage the power of their second screen:

  • They multitask, viewing unrelated content on multiple devices simultaneously.
  • They start their journey on one device and continue it on another.
  • They search and investigate related content to what they see on another device.
  • They interact with their social networks while they watch other media.


Don’t be scared there are plenty of opportunities due to the following:

  • Consumers do not leave the room or change the channel for a commercial break.
  • Consumers watch TV in social settings.
  • Despite multi-screening the ad recognition is not affected.

As the consumers change the way they gather information and switch between their devices, advertisers should use the available research to not only understand their consumer journeys but more importantly to timely reach them at the best moment while they are within their comfort zones.

Four Ways to Better Understand Your Consumer
10 Sep 2015

Knowing your customer should be your top priority. You waste time and money when you cannot pinpoint who you customers actually are.  If you don’t know who your target audience is, how can you reach them effectively?  How do you know how much they are willing to pay for your product?  What do they think about your product and your industry overall? What would enhance their loyalty and referral rates?

Use research that is already out there.  There is a lot of free research that is already out there.   Simply start with to understand your industry’s basic demographics.   Many times your local library may have access to business databases that you can utilize.  Also, you can learn more about what your customers and prospects are saying by simply using keyword searches on Facebook and Twitter.

Seek consultancies that conduct secondary research if you need more information about your target audience.   Agencies, like Provoke Insights, have extensive access to secondary databases.  They are able to digest and analyze several sources quickly to help answer your questions about your customers.

If your questions are not available from existing sources, primary research can be conducted. While more costly, a company can utilize this method to identify specific questions they may want to ask about their customers. Primary research allows you to learn very specific information about the customer such as demographics, psychographics, behaviors, and opinions of certain products or services.   It is also a great tool for testing marketing initiatives before prospects.

Use your website analytics.   Finally, besides the traditional research methods of learning about your audiences, there is so much that can be done with analytics to get a good grasp on your customers.  With website analytics, you can monitor where, when, and who visits the site.  Once you analyze and understand your website visitors more, you can learn to engage with them in ways that resonate.