In the 1950’s, Ford invested $350 million ($3.1 billion in today’s rates) in the Edsel. The company ran consumer polls, but managers ignored the research. Instead, they ran a hype-filled marketing campaign. When the product launched, even its revolutionary features like Teletouch transmission and electronic controls were not enough to save it. The Edsel was discontinued four years after release and Ford ended up losing $350 million.

According to McKinsey, fifty percent of product launches fail to hit business targets. Fortunately, many of these fails can be alleviated by testing and perfecting product concepts. Concept testing is validating your product concept with your target market prior to launch. This can include anything from messaging around your product to key features or ideas. It helps you identify the effectiveness of your concepts, messaging and advertising, the concept strengths and weaknesses, and the alignment with your brand.

3 Steps To Build An Effective Concept Test

Concept testing helps you get your product perfect prior to launch. Below are three steps to designing your perfect concept test.

Step 1: Choose your test methodology

There are several different ways to test your concepts. Some of the most common include the following:

  • Single Concept Evaluation (Monadic) — Respondents complete a full evaluation of a single concept.
  • Multiple Concept Evaluation (Sequential Monadic) — Respondents complete full evaluations for multiple concepts.
  • Concept Selection (Comparative) — Respondents choose which concept they like best.
  • Concept Selection and Evaluation (Comparative Monadic) — Respondents choose which concept they like best and complete a full evaluation of that concept.

Step 2: Design and field your study

Once you’ve chosen your test methodology, you’re ready to survey your respondents. First, show the respondents an image and description of your concept and ask them about their initial reaction. This is a crucial question as this will give you a good indicator of whether your product will stand out in the market. Next, ask questions about the following topics to dig deeper into the product attributes:

  • Uniqueness
  • Appeal
  • Likability
  • Believability
  • Relevancy
  • Product demand
  • Most and least-liked attributes
  • Likelihood to buy
  • Expected price

Step 3: Identify the most promising product concept

Once you have your survey results, you can start to identify which concepts are the most likely to be successful. To start gaining insights, break down your results both overall and into individual-concept results. This will give you both a high-level and in-depth view of your study. Overall results show you key findings and show you at a glance which concepts performed the best. Individual results allow you to dive deep into key attributes like uniqueness, appeal, relevance, etc. for each of your concepts.

Automated tools like Qualtrics XM Solutions make it simple to program and run your concept tests.

With a 50 percent chance of product failure, testing your concept is vital. Concept tests can help you avoid launch failures like the Ford Edsel by helping you identify what is working and what is not with each of your concepts. By testing product concepts thoroughly and early, you’ll know which concepts are likely to drive revenue and impact in the market.

To learn more about identifying the most promising product concept, check out our new eBook, Introduction to Product Concept Testing.

eBook: Introduction to Product Concept Testing

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