Concept Testing

Concept Testing is the investigation of potential consumers' reactions to a proposed product or service before introducing the product or service to market. As businesses and organizations look to launch a product or invest in the development of an idea, concept testing is a valuable step to identify perceptions, wants and needs associated with a product or service.

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Well-performed concept testing should help you navigate the following four areas of product development and launch:

  • Identification Pinpoint concentrated segments of the population to which the product or service appeals
  • Assessment Assess the relative appeal of alternative product or service ideas/configurations/positions and features desirable to the targeted market segments
  • Development Collect necessary information for developing the product or service and its promotion, distribution and pricing
  • Positioning Implant your product or service’s appealing characteristics in the minds of target consumers
Concept Test Survey

Concept testing & positioning

Concept testing helps you reshape and refine ideas so they have greater potential for market acceptance. By providing insight for designing a more optimal product or service, concept tests also help you prioritize and increase product shifts and improvements.

Concept tests have the ability to improve your product, shift your priorities and increase your product-market match, but sometimes marketers and product developers overlook the power of concept tests in product positioning and messaging. A product or service is said to be positioned effectively when its appealing characteristics have been implanted in the minds of consumers, so much so that the product or service is differentiated from other offerings in the market. Those appealing and differentiating characteristics are often identified and/or developed through concept testing. Testing your messaging and marketing materials, especially among other offerings on the market, can help you develop and optimize effective positioning and market messaging.

Concept testing methods

There are a variety of ways to perform concept tests so that you can minimize risk and maximize revenue when delivering a service or consumer product into a market. Often, respondents will be asked to evaluate different combinations of features, benefits and prices in order to gain a better understanding of key trade-offs. Do consumers prefer a lower-cost product with fewer benefits to a higher-cost, fully loaded option? A few methods to consider include:

  • New Product Concept Tests Use new product concept tests to identify the benefits most important to customers and the features, benefits, and pricing that are most likely to create those benefits. Features can be categorized into “need to haves” and “nice to haves.” You need to identify and prioritize customer needs for product development and promotion. This type of concept test can also test customers' initial reactions to the concept.
  • Product Modification or Upgrade Tests Reformulations, modifications, and upgrades can add new life to existing products and services. With product modification or upgrade tests, identifying the optimal bundle of features is a priority. It's critical to differentiate and prioritize the release of new features that are "need to haves" vs. "nice to haves" so you can create products and services that are truly "new and improved," or worthy of a new release or upgrade.
  • Migration Path Tests Many products and services offer upgrade or migration paths. For many customers, an upgrade is
 an alternative to the next new thing. Migration path tests help you understand the key features and benefits and then map consumer needs to the likelihood of upgrading an existing product or adopting a new technology. You will learn if the benefits outweigh the costs and challenges of changing. Features, benefits, brands, image, costs and training are just a few factors to consider.
  • Product Usability and Serviceability Tests Concept use tests assess the user experience. How can the experience with a specific product or service be improved? You can focus this research on a variety of areas—ease of use; similarity to current usage patterns; the ability to adapt and use critical feature implementations; and the congruence with current image, usage patterns and service provisions.
  • Pricing and Incentives Tests No one underestimates the importance of price expectations in new product adoptions. Price, incentives, bundling, cross-product tie-ins and cost-mitigating factors, such as warranties and use agreements, all change price perceptions and perceptions of value. Pricing and incentive tests determine the optimal pricing point for new product concept bundles and can estimate customer price acceptability curves.
  • Name Research Much like it sounds, name research helps identify the best name for a company, product, or service. A name can be a determining factor in how a product or service is received or perceived. Through various methods of name screening and testing, name research helps organizations ensure that their chosen name is easy to remember, fits the product or service, works well across regions, categories, and cultures—and garners positive reactions from consumers.
Usability Testing