Concept testing is a means of assessing consumer reactions to a new or modified product or service before launching it in the market. We already know how important it is, as the majority of new products entering the market fail within their first year. Staying at the forefront of the market with a new innovation for product success is just as challenging. As a result, there are a variety of different processes and methodologies that can influence how companies conduct concept testing. But regardless of how it’s done, be sure to avoid making these four mistakes when doing so.
1. Not Testing When the Concept Changes
As fast-paced as the world and marketplace is becoming, consumer preferences can be quite facetious. Some consumers prioritize certain aspects or features of a concept more than others—whether they know it or not— which factors into their likelihood to purchase the product. So when changes are made to a concept, consumer preferences can change as a result. Subsequently, consumer perceptions of a product or service should always, in some way, be factored in with the slightest concept variation.
Avoiding this mistake, of course, means conducting concept testing each time a change or new iteration of a concept is developed. Luckily, agile market research solutions have been specifically designed with that in mind. However, assessing what’s most important to a consumer through feature prioritizations or similar, can also help understand and measure the impact a change to a concept may have—before actually making it. Couple that with agile iterative testing and you’ll have a foolproof concept testing process.
2. Not Testing Fasting Enough
Just like when a modification is made to a concept, letting it sit for too long can also influence how consumers react to it. Factors like seasonality, fashion trends, or economics can all impact consumer perceptions of a product or service at any given moment. But that’s just one reason why speed matters when concept testing. Sometimes the lag in concept testing is due to the research itself: while waiting for research results, the product landscape could have already changed. Being thoughtful in when to concept test and having an agile means for doing so whenever you’re ready, ensures not only relevant insights from consumers but that deadlines will be met.
3. Not Asking the Right Questions
As we mentioned, a variety of methodologies can be used when concept testing, which results in a variety of questions that can be asked about the concept to be tested. Asking questions that encompass metrics that provide a well-rounded set of insights means action can be taken based on what’s working and what’s not working. Three metrics we’ve thoroughly tested and found to provide the most holistic view of a concept’s performance includes purchase intent, uniqueness, and believability:
- Purchase intent shows how well a concept’s value is interpreted
- Uniqueness explains how differentiated the concept is
- Believability depicts whether the concept’s proposition delivers on expectations
Assessing a concept based on at least these three metrics provides clear takeaways to act on. Apart from these metrics, avoid asking questions that aren’t relevant to the product. For example, you wouldn’t ask clarity of the concept if it didn’t encompass any written language or packaging.
4. Not Creating Concepts Correctly
Last, but not least, before even testing a concept, you have to create it in a way that makes sense to put in front of consumers. Removing any marketing language, making sure the image and content are easy to read and interpret, and only providing information that is relevant and true to the concept, is a good starting point for creating a concept for testing. For example, don’t provide information on brand sustainability if it’s not directly applicable to the concept— whereas including details like if it were made out of recycled material is important to include.
To learn more about how to properly develop concepts for testing, download our eGuide below. You’ll learn about the benefits of using a framework for concept development and information to include on concepts based on the stage the product is in the development timeline.