Market Probe Announces Major Global Expansion into Developing Countries; Adds Partners, Services and Senior Consultants

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Market Probe is poised to provide strategic insights for business growth in countries where economic recovery is expected to be strongest.

A Brand’s equity has always been influenced by multiple factors, but today, Brands can no longer completely control their environment – they are being controlled by it. People participate in brand discussions like never before.

Market Probe, a leading global customer research organization, is making a major push into key developing countries with strategic partnerships around the globe, a new office in Hong Kong, and the addition of top executives in brand equity and customer research for major business sectors. Developer of a new customer advocacy model, Market Probe will bring its proprietary customer advocacy framework to more countries.

Partnerships with local research firms give Market Probe immediate market presence and cultural connection
According to Rao, Market Probe recently formalized strategic partnerships with four well-established, midsize research companies in Mexico, Poland, Russia and Argentina. Partners are full-service, privately held research firms with strong staff and the ability to serve regional clients well. The partnerships will enable Market Probe to offer important new customer research services to regional clients.

TR Rao says, “Working with local firms helps bridge cultural differences for more effective research. Staff in each country will provide project support and client servicing. Market Probe will provide analysis and consulting services. We will bring our brand of research to these firms, with local pricing and local sensitivities.”

Currently, Market Probe senior personnel are conducting seminars on the SHARE+ Customer Advocacy framework and its linkage to business growth. These seminars are being held in Argentina, Poland, Russia, India and Saudi Arabia.

The company also has full service and consulting offices in Canada, United Kingdom, Paris, Netherlands, Belgium, Dubai, India, Hong Kong, Singapore and China.

Emphasis on branding research is critical to growth in technology and other sectors
“Many corporations are looking for an integration of customer research and brand research to enhance their value for decision-making. Market Probe is developing a framework for brand research linking it to customer experience and customer advocacy. Our goal is to bring customer and brand research together for greater cost efficiency and value as a business tool,” Rao says.

Rao notes that technology companies are among those with the greatest potential for global growth. Recent Market Probe studies for various B2B and B2C services in the U.S., Europe, South America and Asia identified clear opportunities to monetize customer advocacy for bottom line gains. Market Probe is extending the same model to the technology sector in the form of syndicated studies.

Market Probe will be releasing new studies in brand equity and technology by the end of the first quarter. The brand equity study being conducted by new Market Probe executive Vice President Judith Ricker, explores the relationships between Brand Passion (positive, neutral, and negative), the Advocacy continuum and business outcomes.

Ricker says, “A Brand’s equity has always been influenced by multiple factors, but today, Brands can no longer completely control their environment – they are being controlled by it. People participate in brand discussions like never before. It follows that the stronger the Brand Passion (both positive and negative), and the more active the engagement, the higher the likelihood that the Consumer will become an Advocate (or alienated). Fully understanding these relationships and their drivers through a thoughtful research program is a brand’s best management tool”

New Executives Deepen Branding, Technology and Business Sector Expertise
According to Rao, the recession has changed the way consumers think and corporations need to understand consumers in different ways. Rao has added key executives to Market Probe’s leadership team in anticipation of the economic turnaround globally and in North America. They include:

Judith Ricker, Executive Vice President, Brand Research and Consulting. Ricker has spent 20 years understanding how the bonds with brands are formed and strengthened in an increasingly complex, hyper-networked world. Prior to joining Market Probe, Ricker founded Harris Interactive’s Brand and Communications Consulting group, and as Division President, was responsible for developing state-of-the-art methods for understanding the brand life cycle.

Don Ryan, Vice President, Technology Practice. Ryan is a seasoned technology and market consultant on customer advocacy and brand equity research for IT and communications companies. He has more than 20 years experience in using market data to formulate marketing recommendations and has worked with major IT, media and mobile brands including Microsoft, HP and Fox. Prior to joining Market Probe, Don was vice president of technology and media research at TNS.

Anu Bhalla, Vice President, Customer Advocacy Marketing. Bhalla has 18 years of experience in multi-sector and multi-industry custom and stakeholder research to uncover consumer insights that help drive clients’ business decisions. Prior to joining Market Probe, Bhalla planned, implemented and directed marketing strategy, business development, and new products and service introductions in the telecommunication, financial services, corporate brand and sponsorship business sectors in B2B and B2C arenas at Angus Reid Group, Ronin Corp., Advanis and Angus Reid Strategies/Vision Critical.

Yvette Wikstrom, Vice President and Advocacy Marketing Consultant. Wikstrom has a global track record for developing and applying customized multidisciplinary research solutions that identify market opportunities and provide insights that make a difference in guiding clients’ key-business decisions. She has worked with clients in the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pac. Prior to joining Market Probe, Wikstrom was Director of Strategy at KS&R Inc.

Customer advocacy is a global phenomenon
In China and India, marketers talk about brand satisfaction more than customer satisfaction. Monetization of brand equity is the pervasive marketing philosophy in many of the developing countries.

Leveraging customer advocacy and brand equity can reduce advertising costs and increase cost efficiency. Rao points to the power of Apple users in driving that company’s growth. Word-of-mouth among Harley Davidson motorcycle riders worldwide is so strong that the company recently reoriented their marketing approach by engaging their customer advocates.

Rao says, “Everyone thinks they understand advocacy. The word is too generic.” Market Probe developed a multi-item structure to operationalize the customer advocacy construct, a way to measure it, track it, link it to business outcomes and offer action plans to improve it. “Engaging your Advocates and reducing the Alienated is the way to go for every business,” Rao says.

Market Probe, Inc.
Market Probe, Inc. is a global market research firm specializing in full-service strategic guidance and stakeholder solutions. The corporate office is located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the US, with full-service research offices in Canada, United Kingdom, Belgium, Dubai, India, Bahrain, Hong Kong, Singapore and China, with additional strategic partnerships globally. For information, please visit


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