Starting work on new products is always an exciting time for any company. It can also be extremely daunting, as you are going through a process that you hope will make the company/brand stronger in the long run, but if a poor decision is made, then the consequences can be dire. In this article, we will look at how concept testing can help stop these mistakes from occurring, and show why it is such a vital part of new product development.
Concept testing, simply put, is asking members of the public for feedback on a new product/service before it enters the market. This type of testing is strictly based on the product/service that is entering the market. In other words, it shouldn’t focus on aspects such as the brand of the product, or the advertising campaign of the product. This is because something such as brand loyalty can have a biased response, albeit subconscious, from concept testing participants. Likewise, an advertising campaign can distort consumer’s feelings, and therefore responses.
Concept testing usually happens in the form of surveys, either constructed by the company launching the product, or an external market research company. The type of survey or questionnaire used has to be of high quality itself. If not, then the information provided might not be objective or detailed enough to proceed. As a result, the adequate changes are not made before a product goes to market. This means that the questionnaires themselves have to go through a process as well, such as carrying out small pretests of the questionnaire, estimating and predicting the quality of the answers, and extensive interviewing of potential questionnaire participants. To avoid this, ensure your questionnaires are concise and designed to not be misconstrued or cause confusion.
As the name suggests, this form of testing is about establishing a concept for a product, so it is important to have your concept refined before this. At the stage immediately preceding concept testing there may be several concepts already established for a product. If this is the case, then the first step of this stage is to have concept screening surveys to narrow the field.
Finally, concept testing shouldn’t solely be relied on to make decisions going forward. Although concept testing is vital in getting a general consensus of consumers, this shouldn’t negate the visionary thinking and business acumen that conceived the idea in the first place.
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