Concept Testing

When you have a big idea that you want to get right, it can save you a lot of time and money to concept test it before you bring it to the world. Whether you’re working on a product concept, an ad campaign, a new logo, or a landing page, getting feedback from your target market can pay big dividends down the road.

Concept testing can be simple and quick or iterative and sophisticated. Here are some ideas to help beginners and pros get it right.

How concept testing with surveys works

You can run a test by putting your designs or concepts in front people who are likely to become your customers. Pit a new concept against your existing product, site, or campaign to see potential lift. Gauge interest in a brand new concept. Or you can even test competing ideas against each other in an A/B test. You’ll learn what most appeals to your target market, and you’ll be able to get more explicit feedback about why people prefer one concept over another.

If you need people from your target market to take your concept testing surveys SurveyMonkey Audience can help make your test a snap.

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How and why to perform concept development tests

As a quick concept test definition, think of testing as placing the abstract ideas you’re toying with in front of concept testing focus groups, to learn whether your ideas resonate with them.

As an example, say a marketing team holds a day-long brainstorming session to come up with ideas for an advertising campaign. When the session is over, there are dozens of options on the table, and a few seem like real winners. Here are some questions that a marketing professional might want to know the answers to before launching a campaign:

  • Does this ad stand out against my competitors’ ad?
  • Does this ad capture viewers/listeners attention?
  • Do you recognize this brand?
  • Would you trust this brand?
  • Which button would make you buy?

The answers to these questions make it easy to choose a concept to go with, and they help hone the final product. These methods are increasingly popular. To get a closer look at how people use concept testing, we surveyed advertising pros, marketers, and product managers.

In our poll, 72% of advertising professionals said it’s important to test an ad before it’s launched. Doing so can make the ad more successful, they said, because effective ads stem from an in-depth understanding of what consumers really want (and what they really don’t).

  • Product-focused managers agreed: 85% said that felt that testing is vital to their success at work.
  • Despite the importance they all place on testing, less than half of those we polled actually conduct concept tests, so creating your own test may be a big opportunity to get a leg up on the competition.

    Ways to use concept testing questions

    How can you apply these concept testing methods? We’re glad you asked! All sorts of business challenges can be solved with the right test testing. Here a few examples:

    Logo testing. Need to understand how customers might respond to your new logo? Or, trying to figure out if your new logo communicates a benefit (like trust, innovation, or fun)? Online surveys are a great way to test different creative concepts and designs—to ultimately come up a logo that best visually communicates your brand.

    Website design and feedback. Redesigning your site or launching a new one? Sharing your design concepts with people who will one day interact with them is a great way to see what a sample of your target population thinks—and of course make sure you get everything right.

    Ads, landing pages, and conversions. Many online marketers test headlines, images, and content on their websites to identify winning combinations of messages and creative. Which ad tends to grab the most eyeballs, and is the ad compelling enough to get visitors to click, convert, and become customers? This method of testing is can give your conversion rate optimization efforts a real boost.

    Pricing and upgrades. Planning to offer consumers an incentive for upgrading to a new product or service? Thinking about a new pricing system? Use migration path tests to assess initial reactions, and spot the key features and benefits consumers are looking for. Then, develop upgrade tests to see if your new product line will result in a boost in sales.

    Social media campaigns. With the increasing importance of social media in the marketing mix and the brand experience, online surveys can help you figure out which social media channels you need to pay attention to. For example, do your customers expect to see you on Twitter? Or do they prefer to find out about you via a blog, on LinkedIn, or on a Facebook newsfeed? Use an online survey to find the answers you need.

    Ad concepts. Does your marketing messaging resonate with your target audience? Use online surveys to test ad copy in print and web collateral, or, to identify what subject lines or creative concepts compel your users to click through from a banner ad to the product detail page.

    Product and concept development. Find out which features a product should include, and which ones will add nothing to your bottom line. Determine what the packaging for a product should look like, right down to the size of the logo and the color of the wrapper. Use product concept and usability tests to ensure the thing meets customers’ expectations.

    Looking for other marketing testing tools?

    Chances are good that your work won’t stop when your product or campaign launches. SurveyMonkey can help you stay close to your customers. Adding surveys at different customer touchpoints will give you the data you need to come up with even more good ideas for your clients and your company.

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