By Ellen Baron
What is Concept Testing?
Concept testing is a research tool used to help optimise and assess the viability of a new product idea. It is critical to ensuring any new idea meets the needs of a given audience. Concept testing can ensure new product launch success.
It is a simple process. Businesses often have lots of new ideas. These ideas need to be screened, and prioritised for market appeal and relevance and then the most viable ideas are turned into concepts or prototypes for testing.
Concepts are then tested with consumers. Do they understand how it works, do they have the need for it and does it solve a problem or tension? Market research and concept testing in particular can save you a lot of time and money.
When do I get started with Concept Testing and Market Research?
Think of your development cycle and where market research and concept testing can fit in:
- At the drawing board: working with key stakeholders to drum up a long list of new ideas via workshops or utilising consumer trends– which can be sourced from market research agencies or a simple desk research piece. An in-house illustrator can draw up ideas as you go along; or maybe you need to get the team back on the shop-floor through NPD Safaris; or talking to influencers in your category to understand what the Next Big Thing could be.
- Idea Screening : Quantitative research can help you sift through a range of idea’s – from the very raw to the more complete to prioritise this for your innovation pipeline. For example you may have run an innovation day and come out of that with 100 ideas. You will not take them all to market, in fact you may only take one, but which one? Idea screening helps you with this figuring this out.
- Writing concepts: how to write a concept is a bit of an art. It is important to ensure you are getting the idea across well, the need it fulfils and the benefit. Market research agencies are well placed to help you write your concepts in consumer language.
- Developing concepts: you may well have ideas which you feel are winners, but you need to figure out what refinements to make to them. Consumer co-creation is the best way to optimise your concepts with your core audience to turn them from a ‘good’ idea into a ‘great’ idea and really help you find the needs gaps which require plugging.
- Testing concepts: once you have a short list of refined concepts, we can quantitatively test which one(s) are best. Depending on your objective we may apply a shelf test, a monadic test, sequential monadic test or a comparative test. Whatever your scenario, Ruby Cha Cha can help you create a bespoke solution based on our best practices for concept testing.
- Stakeholder Buy In: Finally you need to get stakeholder buy in. Internal stakeholders such as finance, and ops as well as external stakeholders such as buyers, will need to your support ideas. Concept tesing can help with getting buy in by demonstrating market need and or niche, providing a set of the most important attributes and ensuring the market is ready and receptive to the new product or service idea.
“You shouldn’t do product design without market research and preferably well before”
While there are multiple things to keep in mind when planning and conducting a concept testing, we have a simple list that can help you focus:
- Start talking to the market research agency early – we can help you create better concepts for testing and design the right project to fit your needs
- Ensure you are talking to the right audience – current users, switchers, will this be interesting for older consumers, male consumers.
- Get help to create concepts that will land with consumers – it is more art than science
- Get stakeholder buy in
Please check out our e-book on How to write a great concept for testing in market research. or get in touch and we can help you with this.
What some help with concept testing or new product development?