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Why concept testing is important and 3 tips for performing it successfully

Why concept testing is important and 3 tips for performing it successfully

Think of some of the most valuable items you own.

It’s likely these items were carefully tested before they became available—their design, cost, branding, packaging, and more. In fact, they’re likely still being tested.

Why? Because any aspect of a product can contribute to its success or failure. 

It’s not just products either. From company names to advertising campaigns, smart companies conduct concept testing to ensure that whatever they’re bringing to market is well received by  consumers. 

Concept testing is the process of testing your ideas with your target consumers to ensure that the aspects listed above make—and don’t break—your launch. 

These days, concept testing isn’t just done by professional market researchers and insights professionals. More and more companies are adopting agile market research frameworks, where people in practically any job function can do their own market research to make better decisions for their company. 

Why is concept testing important? Let’s review the top 5 reasons and then go over some concept testing best practices!  

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5 reasons why concept testing is important

1. Concept testing helps you eliminate bad ideas.

Even the most successful companies make mistakes. Unfortunately, poor decisions often come at a high cost: Gartner found that bad choices by management—including pricing adjustments, marketing campaigns, and product/service improvements—can cost an organization more than 3% of their profits

Concept testing can help you steer clear of bad decision-making, especially if you’re updating your product or pricing, launching new marketing efforts, or changing the way you show up to consumers. As a result, you’ll save your organization time, prevent financial losses, and protect your relationship with customers.  

2. Concept testing lets you pinpoint the best direction forward.

Concept testing isn’t just about avoiding bad decisions, but about making better ones. It can help you find the best option among a pack of solid choices, or find ways to improve some of your underperforming concepts. Either way, testing is a great way to ensure that whatever you’re planning—ads, product concepts, messaging, and more—has an even higher chance of success. 

3. Concept testing can help you take a concept from good to great. 

Concept testing can help you get answers about some of the more nuanced aspects of whatever you’re testing  so that you can fine tune it and make it even better. For example, say you’re testing an ad. Your team already has a design in mind, but before it’s final you want to find the color scheme that works best. You can run a test that shows consumers in your target audience multiple versions of the same ad, with the only difference being their colors. 

Two versions of an ad, with the only difference being their color schemes.

4. Concept testing can strengthen your argument for using a certain concept.

When your gut tells you a certain concept is the best, but your colleague—or worse, your boss disagrees—what do you do? An opinion may not be enough to persuade them. But if you collect data that backs your argument, it’ll be all the more easy to get them on board. 

5. Learning concept testing lets you test any kind of concept.

Remember when we were talking about agile market research? The best part about learning concept testing is that you can use it test pretty much anything, no matter what type of company you work in or what type of job role you fill.

Concept testing best practices

Now that you know why concept testing is important, let’s review a few tips and tricks for conducting it: 

  • Collect feedback from a broad audience at the start. 

In the case of launching a new product or service, you may have an initial hypothesis of who to target, but you can’t be certain until you get feedback from a wide-range of prospects. Once you know the specific audience you want to reach, you can begin to refine your concept with them in mind. 

  • Use a survey to gather input. 

Unlike a focus group or an individual interview, a survey panel like SurveyMonkey Audience is cost-effective at providing a statistically significant number of responses. In addition, once your responses come in, they’ll be easy to analyze, share, and use for making decisions. 

  • Never stop testing. 

Concept testing is an invaluable practice, regardless of the stage your product is in. The image below highlights the tests you should run during each point of your product’s lifecycle. Spoiler alert: every phase involves testing.

An outline of each phase in the product life cycle.

Now think about products your organization offers or is planning. How can concept testing help them? Once you pick out the right tests and begin running them, you’ll be on your way to making better decisions that delight your target audience. 

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