Before a product or service is launched into the marketplace, it is extremely important to understand how it will be perceived once it is released to the public. Be it a product, service, marketing campaign, etc. it is vital that brands understand how concepts will be received and what can be done to garner the correct perception from their target market. Concept testing is the best way to choose which ideas to move forward with and/or how to improve upon current ideas to make sure a final product is the best it can be before it launches.
Concept testing is generally viewed as the evaluation or exploration of the viability of product and service ideas based on feedback from the target audience (usually consumers). However, this is best done with fleshed out concepts. Here, brands take all of their most promising ideas and present them before a segment of their target market to gather their perception of the concept as well as other characteristics, like price point, usability, desirability, etc, that brands deem important to keep in mind before launch. Therefore, concept tests can be as simple or complex as needed.
One of the main benefits of concept testing is that it gives your team direct VoC feedback data that allows you to evaluate ideas from the customer’s point of view and create customer first products and services, increasing the likelihood that your product will succeed in the market.
Concept testing also can indicate if the concept(s) are even feasible to consumers, allowing product teams to ditch market flops earlier in the process. Testing concepts early on makes it easy to repeatedly test and refine right up until launch, allowing for quick changes if one day customers decide they do not like a particular point of a concept. Overall, concept testing allows teams to fish out concepts that would not work in the market as well as flesh out feasible ideas to ensure success once launched.
A list of the primary benefits includes:
● Evaluation: Increase the odds of a better decision through customer feedback
● Refinement: An opportunity to refine and optimize the concept (especially true with communities)
● Risk Management: Greatly reduces, or eliminates, the possibility of a marketplace disaster
● Organizational Resolve: An underrated benefit is that it unifies the team internally which speeds up the whole process.
As previously mentioned, there are many ways to run a concept test that can lead to results that are as simple and straightforward as “Which concept do customers prefer?” or as complex as determining price sensitivity, perception of the idea, likes, and dislikes about each and so forth.
There are four ways to run a concept test. However, monadic (single concept) testing and sequential (multiple concepts) testing are the main ones used. Both of these tests yield in-depth results that cover a multitude of topics from usability to perceived value to price. Sometimes, comparison testing is used as an additional option to see which of your concepts is most popular among consumers, but your community manager will tell you which is the best way to go about concept testing. To find out more about the basics of concept testing from one of our insight managers, click here.
One of the first things that should be taken into consideration when concept testing is what elements should be the main focus of the test.
The best elements to test are the ones that are new or unique to your product since that is where the biggest questions lay. Designing surveys that allow for both quantitative and qualitative data is also important as it allows for you to learn the messaging, imagery, and customer base needed to make sure your product succeeds. Also, any concept that is being considered should be simple enough or well-written so consumers can understand it. In addition, you must make sure that you are asking the same questions in every study so a database can be created of past concepts that your team is able to compare each of these in order to see which thresholds need to be met so your product is successful.
Market research online communities (MROCs) can be a very useful way to go about concept testing for a few reasons. First, the easiest way to complete a concept test is an online survey, and communities allow for an easy way to run surveys. These surveys can then be used to create an index of past concepts, which is a key part of concept testing. Therefore, they are run the same way every time to compare metrics. Communities allow for an easy way to run each survey and the same test group is used, making insights easier to find and compare among concepts.
One of the advantages of running a concept test in an MROC is that you can test the concept in all phases of an iterative development cycle with nearly immediate VoC feedback due to the accessibility and ease of an MROC.
If you are looking to brainstorm concepts or gain directional knowledge on products consumers want, we have a co-creation module activity type available: Idea Sessions. Click here to schedule a consultation and learn more today.
Liza is an associate member of our Marketing team. She is skilled in content creation, data analysis, and research.