7 reasons why every company should conduct concept tests


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Concept testing is an invaluable asset for companies looking to succeed with a new idea or an improvement in an existing concept. It touches on all the important aspects of a concept and by doing so reduces a company’s potential risk.

Some of the biggest market failures such as Crystal Pepsi are a result of poor market research. Avoiding to know what your customer thinks of a concept that you might rate highly isn’t really categorized as a pragmatic market approach. 

Any good company putting most of their chips into an idea, is interested in knowing what it’s drawbacks are, how can they improve it and what is the general market approach towards a concept developed by them.

Let’s look at reasons why a company should rather invest a comparatively small amount in conducting concept tests as against the potential losses they’ll occur if their ultimate launch goes down the drain.

Addressing the big question:

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Why is concept testing important?

Chuck out bad ideas

Bad ideas often get included within the set of total ideas that you and your fellow company professionals came up with. You might think that they may be a hit with your target customers but the customers may or may not share your viewpoint.

It is only a matter of selecting the right individuals and laying your cards in front of them that you can get to know what exactly do your target customers think of your concept. In short, concept testing tells you which ideas out of  your total set are worthy of being a part of your consideration set and which ideas are better left alone. This way you only invest in ideas that are likely to resonate highly with your customers and narrows down your research. 

You can also find out what exactly was the put off which made the respondent rate a concept badly. Not only does this help in understanding the weightage that your customers give certain areas of your concept, but also assists in putting extra focus on pressure points in the future.

Improve Customer Retention

Dictates follow up actions

Once you’ve understood what ideas will work, concept testing helps you in taking the right step. This step may be to improve upon a current concept which may be in the works, develop an entirely new concept based on the input gathered from research or combine multiple concepts to create a unified offering

Concept testing does not only tell you where you stand currently, but also guides you in the steps that you need to take to improve the current market sentiment towards your concept.

Adds detail

When testing a concept, you get to know what the customer feels about every detail of your concept as against taking a generalistic approach. For example: For an advertisement, you can ask respondents to rate and reason on visual appeal, relevance, messaging, colour coding among other things. 

This gives you precise analysis and looks at the pain points that first catch the eye of your target customers. So, instead of working on improving your concept as a whole, you know exactly where you need to step up.

Informed decision making

It’s hard to obtain a consensus on one particular idea or concept to be implemented. The opinions that every person holds in a company is subjective. To streamline decision making based on solid hard facts, concept testing is ideal. By presenting supporting numbers and positive market sentiment towards a particular concept, concept testing helps the company make informed decisions.

Concept testing sways away from arbitrary decisions that puts the company at a risky position. It removes any hesitation that a company personnel might have by putting it to test in front of sample of respondents that possess the ability to present actual market opinions as accurately as possible.

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Provides options

Concept testing is not rigid. It allows the company to test any concept or idea.

Concept tests can be used to assess products, services, ideas, prices , packaging, advertisements, website designs, incentives and offers and much more. The company can decide the concept to test, break it down into attributes or criteria of judgement and then select a panel of audience that suits the nature of the study. 

This lack of restriction in testing offers the company with the freedom of evaluating anything to see if the target audience resonates with it or not.

Prevents financial losses

Without concept testing, companies are engaging in an optimistic approach of thinking whatever they develop will be received well by customers. This is a one sided approach that is likely to result in huge market failures and lead to financial losses for the company. 

Concept testing helps to step out of this bubble, put an idea in the market context and directs investment in the right asset. Moreover, positive response to a concept during the research phase gives the idea of a readily available market for the concept at hand. This enhances the acceptance of a concept since everything is modified to suit the requirements of the customer.

Improve Customer Retention

Discover unexplored ideas

Planning and coming up with a new idea can become stringent if not enough inputs are takes. This can limit the extent to which a concept is developed. Think about concept testing as gathering additional point of views. More the number of inputs, more refined your concept will become. 

Research participants help in highlighting any important area that the company might have missed out on during the ideating process. So the company not only gets to improve the concept but also provides the opportunity of charging premium prices based on the improved quality of the concept.

Amazon’s simple concept testing


In February 2021, Amazon identified three concepts which were compatible with Alexa.

They used a simple demand assessment concept testing to see if the concepts excite their target customers. These three concepts namely: smart sticky note printer , smart nutrition scale and a smart cuckoo clock were made available for pre-order on the company’s website. The pre-order period was set for 30 days over which the demand of the concept would be assessed. There was an objective in terms of pre-order levels for each of these concepts which had to be met during this period of 30 days following which the company will start building it based on whether or not the levels were met

This was a simple yet effective technique to identify how customers responded to an intangible concept, evaluate demand and accordingly invest in the right offering.

Now that we have seen how imperative a concept test is, let’s go over some quick tips for making concept testing systematic :

  •  Use surveys: Surveys will help you gather all the data you need. Developing a structured survey makes it easy to gather data and use analysis tools to summarize market research. In addition , it is a great way to maintain consistency in formats like monadic or sequential monadic testing.
  •  List KPIs: During the concept testing, the company is exposed to multiple areas that are deemed important from the customer’s perspective. List out these areas and use it to work upon making your concepts more appealing to your audience.
  • Select your participants carefully: In order that your concept tests, provide you with accurate results, you need to use a software that allows you to hand pick your research participants so as to avoid any sampling bias. Voxco’s panel manager serves as an ideal tool of optimising your research input by including respondents with the relevant knowledge base.
  •  Collect feedback: Remember that good customer service is about a seamless experience. Use feedbacks and follow ups as a tool to gather insights and suggestions on how you can improve your concept and make it more suitable for your target customers. This guides you in the right direction and makes your respondent feel valued.
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This post is also available in German.