What Is The Net Promoter Score And Why It Matters

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a measure of the ability of a product or service to attract word-of-mouth advertising. NPS is a crucial part of any marketing strategy since attracting and then retaining customers means they are more likely to recommend a business to others.

Why does the Net Promoter Score matter?

While the old adage of “the customer is always right” may be somewhat outdated now, there is no denying that customer satisfaction is the ultimate benchmark of successful businesses.

Especially in the era of customer obsession.


Word of mouth (viral engine) is very powerful, and among the engines of growth, and the Net Promoter Score is one of those simple, yet powerful metrics to measure that.


How is the Net Promoter Score calculated?

A survey is usually offered to customers to gauge their willingness to recommend products or services to others on a scale of 1-10. Depending on the results of that survey, the customers will fall into these three categories:


Loyal customers who score either a 9 or a 10 are your biggest fans and will happily tell others about their buying experience.


Satisfied customers who score a 7 or 8 but who are not enthusiastic enough to tell others. Passives may be indifferent to repeat buying and could switch to a competitor.


Unsatisfied customers who score between 0 and 6. Detractors are likely to share bad experiences with their friends and family and so are damaging to your brand.

How do you compute the Net Promoter Score?

The NPS score, then, is simply the percentage of promoters minus the percentage of detractors. Any score above 0 is considered a pass mark because there are more promoters than detractors. However, the companies who experience the most growth will have scores in the range of 50-80.

Businesses can tap into this growth by incorporating NPS data into their marketing strategies.

Here are some of the benefits of doing so.

Case study: Imagine you asked 100 people to score your software. Of those, 30 were detractors, 30 passives, and 40 promoters. Your net promoter score will be 10 (40 promoters – 30 passives).

Clarifies customer satisfaction and marketing liabilities

Let’s face it, every business likes to think that it offers the best products in the world.

But is this reflected in reality? The Net Promoter Score is a good way to find out, because it compares the perceived level of customer satisfaction with the actual level.

If a difference of opinion exists between the marketing department and the customer, then the NPS will quickly identify where it exists.

These gaps often exist because of marketing liabilities such as:

  • Advertising claims that don’t live up to consumer expectations of reality.
  • Product defects, weaknesses, or flaws.
  • Improper or incomplete usage instructions.

The NPS allows your business to clarify where its marketing strategy is falling short. Furthermore, it allows certain shortcomings to be rectified that have the potential to cause customer dissatisfaction and hurt the brand image.

Encourages employee investment and provides a relevant benchmark

Firstly, the NPS is easy to understand. From the survey results, every member of the marketing department will be clear on what they are doing right and what still needs improvement. 

A high NPS not only increases customer satisfaction, but it also increases employee engagement. Multiple studies have shown that engagement, or the emotional commitment an employee has to their employer, produces marketing campaigns that result in higher and repeated sales.

Secondly, the NPS is a universal benchmark. It allows you to compare your efforts with publicly available data in your niche and also from your competitors. NPS data also provides marketing teams with tangible information that they can use to demonstrate progress to clients and stakeholders associated with the company.

Fuels organic growth by identifying loyal customers

When businesses receive the results of their NPS surveys, the temptation may be to focus on customers who fall into the passive and detractor categories. 

However, it is important not to overlook the promoter category. Research by Nielsen found that over 70% of study participants were more likely to buy a product if a friend mentioned it through email or social media. A Harvard Business Review study also found that customers referred through word of mouth were worth 16% more in dollar terms than those who found a business through other channels.

Why else are promoters so important? There are several reasons:

  • Promoters fuel organic growth of your business through brand advocacy. To some extent, they become your marketing department. They are more than happy to spread the word about your business for free.
  • Promoters allow your marketing strategy to focus on what matters and build a sustainable business model. By understanding what promoters love about your brand specifically, you gain clarity on what sort of marketing is most effective at recruiting new customers.
  • Research by RJMetrics also suggests that promoters spend 30 times more money on your products than the once-off buyer. Thus, it is important to develop marketing strategies that keep promoters happily engaged. Loyalty programs, discounts off future purchases and incentives for spreading the word are examples of effective strategies.

Allows your marketing strategy to be trackable

It might seem obvious, but you cannot improve what you cannot track. 

The most effective marketing strategies are backed up by hard data. Tracking your Net Promoter Score allows the marketing team to refine their strategies based on how well certain changes are received. With this feedback, they can devote more resources to strategies that work and less to those that do not. So that you can build a viable business model, quickly.

Regular tracking also allows trends and seasonal changes to be identified quickly. Technology, for example, is always evolving and some consumers will inevitably become passive or unsatisfied customers if they are left with outdated products.

Passive customers, as we have learned, are indifferent to your products and can be lost to competitors easily. Since it is much easier to retain existing customers than it is to recruit new ones, it is crucial that marketing efforts be directed toward converting passives into promoters.

Here, NPS survey data is invaluable. It enables businesses to refine their products and associated marketing strategies. Such strategies become more flexible to current trends and stand a better chance of retaining customers who might be potentially lost forever.

The net promoter score in the growth hacking context

The next promoter score is an important metric also in the context of growth hacking.

Growth marketing is a process of rapid experimentation, which in a way has to be “scientific” by keeping in mind that it is used by startups to grow, quickly. Thus, the “scientific” here is not meant in the academic sense. Growth marketing is expected to unlock growth, quickly and with an often limited budget.

In short, in the growth hacking process, there are two elements which are crucial in order to develop a growth strategy:

  • The “aha experience.”
  • And the must-have product.

The “aha experience” represents the moment in which users or potential customers realize the full potential of your product. This is critical, as there is no growth strategy that can be built on a mediocre product.

From there it’s critical to understand whether your product is a must-have. In short, how much would people be disappointed if your product would be withdrawn from the market tomorrow.

From there the net promoter score helps really grasp how much built-in viral growth the product has, and therefore you have the basis to push as much as possible!

Key takeaways

Considering the ease with which NPS data can be collated, the benefits of using it to deliver marketing strategies are tremendous.

NPS data clarifies customer satisfaction and addresses gaps in a marketing message or product development. NPS data is also easy to digest, increasing buy-in across different departments and increasing employee engagement. It also provides a relevant benchmark that businesses can use to judge their efforts against others in their industry.

Perhaps most importantly, it allows businesses to devote their resources to where it matters most – their promoters. Businesses with effective marketing departments understand that promoters are enthusiastic brand evangelists. They offer a low-cost, high-profit opportunity for growth and by tracking the relative proportion of promoters over time, businesses can stay one step ahead of trends and prevent brand desertion before it occurs.

Connected Business Frameworks

The customer journey – sometimes called the buyer or user journey – tells the customer experience with a business, brand, product, or service. A customer journey is an alternative approach to other linear models like the sales funnel which hypothesizes that most customers follow the same path.
It’s possible to identify the key players that overlap with a company’s business model with a competitor analysis. This overlapping can be analyzed in terms of key customers, technologies, distribution, and financial models. When all those elements are analyzed, it is possible to map all the facets of competition for a tech business model to understand better where a business stands in the marketplace and its possible future developments.
Customer experience maps are visual representations of every encounter a customer has with a brand. On a customer experience map, interactions called touchpoints visually denote each interaction that a business has with its consumers. Typically, these include every interaction from the first contact to marketing, branding, sales, and customer support.
The term “user experience” was coined by researcher Dr. Donald Norman who said that “no product is an island. A product is more than the product. It is a cohesive, integrated set of experiences. Think through all of the stages of a product or service – from initial intentions through final reflections, from first usage to help, service, and maintenance. Make them all work together seamlessly.” User experience design is a process that design teams use to create products that are useful and relevant to consumers.
Gamification borrows key concepts from the gaming industry to encourages user engagement and experience. Some of those concepts include competitiveness, mastery, sociability, achievement, and status. The application of game principles to the business context, companies can design products that are more enjoyable to users and customers.
The bundling bias is a cognitive bias in e-commerce where a consumer tends not to use all of the products bought as a group, or bundle. Bundling occurs when individual products or services are sold together as a bundle. Common examples are tickets and experiences. The bundling bias dictates that consumers are less likely to use each item in the bundle. This means that the value of the bundle and indeed the value of each item in the bundle is decreased.
Business analysis is a research discipline that helps driving change within an organization by identifying the key elements and processes that drive value. Business analysis can also be used in Identifying new business opportunities or how to take advantage of existing business opportunities to grow your business in the marketplace.
A gap analysis helps an organization assess its alignment with strategic objectives to determine whether the current execution is in line with the company’s mission and long-term vision. Gap analyses then help reach a target performance by assisting organizations to use their resources better. A good gap analysis is a powerful tool to improve execution.
digital channel is a marketing channel, part of a distribution strategy, helping an organization to reach its potential customers via electronic means. There are several digital marketing channels, usually divided into organic and paid channels. Some organic channels are SEO, SMO, email marketing. And some paid channels comprise SEM, SMM, and display advertising.
A blue ocean is a strategy where the boundaries of existing markets are redefined, and new uncontested markets are created. At its core, there is value innovation, for which uncontested markets are created, where competition is made irrelevant. And the cost-value trade-off is broken. Thus, companies following a blue ocean strategy offer much more value at a lower cost for the end customers.

Other business resources:

Scroll to Top