Concept Testing: You're Thinking of Doing What?!? - Persuadable Research Corporation

Concept Testing Validates Your Ideas

Two hundred and forty years ago, when the colonies broke away from England, it was a radical concept: one that created a nation that has since become the most famous brand — “America” — in the history of the world.

What’s amazing is that the Founding Fathers didn’t have access to modern consumer research to know who supported their idea and if it would succeed.

Thankfully, you do.

As a brand or business owner, you make critical decisions every day. They may not be as momentous as creating a nation, but they are equally important in your pursuit of life, liberty and category domination.

The challenge you face is: how do you know if your idea is the next big thing?  How do you know if the changes you contemplate for an already-successful product won’t undermine success? How do you know if the masses will like your brand’s new logo?

That’s where concept testing can help. Concept testing determines the viability of your business idea — before you mortgage your house, drain your retirement account, weaken your brand, or jeopardize your own American dream.

Here are a few things a concept test can help you understand:

  • Is your concept better than what already exists in the category?
  • What is the purchase intent? And what’s driving the purchase intent?
  • Will consumers BUY your product at the price you’ll be selling it at?
  • How do consumers react to the different ways you describe your product? What’s resonating most?
  • Is your new TV commercial better than the one you used last year?

The Founding Fathers proved their ideas on the battlefield.

Luckily, you can test yours more easily.

What is Concept Testing?

These days, it can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring a new product to market.  Concept testing is a fundamental part of the product development process.

Concept tests look for early points of product weakness and market failure that can be fixed pre-launch.

Concepts that can be tested include:

At its core, concept testing is a quantitative exercise. Quantitative research is about asking people for their opinions in a structured way so that you can produce hard facts and statistics to guide decision making. To get reliable statistical results, a fairly large number of people are sampled.

Concept tests focus on questions such as:

  • What percentage of the marketplace wants your product?
  • What percentage would intend to purchase your product?
  • Which variation of the product idea/business model holds the most appeal?
  • Which positioning/brand description works best for this product idea?
  • Which form should the product take? Should it be a gel? A cream? A stick?  A tube?  A spray? Etc.
  • How should the product be priced?
  • Which color scheme should you use for the packaging?

Concept testing can also use qualitative research at the front end, as part of the exploratory process, while developing the final concepts to be tested.

At PRC, we typically use monadic methodologies to test the various ideas.  A monadic test means that unique groups of respondents evaluate and provide diagnostics for each concept, in isolation.  This prevents the introduction of “bias” in the respondent’s mind.  At the end of each monadic cell, we may choose to show all tested concepts and give the respondents the opportunity to select which one they like best.

Concept Testing Real-World Examples

At Persuadable Research, we’ve concept tested everything from packaging for pillows to forms of topical analgesics.

In one case, a well-known cooking personality wanted to create a line of frozen meals prepared with locally sourced ingredients.

The client knew how much it would cost to prepare the meals and knew how much he had to sell them for to be profitable.  What the client didn’t know was:

  • whether or not people would buy the meals
  • was there a difference in what they were willing to spend, if the brand was positioned as “made with locally sourced ingredients” or “all-natural, organic” ingredients.

Ultimately, the research determined that both concepts were about equal, but neither concept supported the pricing threshold the client needed to be profitable.  In the end, the client moved on, looking for another idea, without having spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop the product.

In another example, a financial services firm wanted to test the waters for a new type of consumer financing product and sought to understand consumers’ perceptions of financial services companies and the professionals who refer consumers to this type of product. Click here to read the case study.

Concept Testing at Persuadable Research

Concept testing can often be the difference between success and uncomfortable conversations with investors. We can help your brand focus its resources on areas that matter most.

If you are interested in concept testing for your brand, give us a call at 913-385-1700, or use the form on this page to reach out.  One of our Solutions Experts would love to talk with you.