Concept Testing

What is Concept Testing?

Concept Testing evaluates the appeal of a proposition or product and the degree to which this fits with the needs and tastes of the target market. Critics of concept testing accuse it of risking bias towards familiar ideas, which tend to be the most warmly received – while more unusual ideas are often rejected as consumers can’t envisage how these might fit in with their lives. This phenomenon is summed up by Henry Ford’s famous quote: ‘If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.’

What are the aims of Concept Testing?

Concept Testing tends to be used in one of two ways – firstly, to select the concept most worthy of investment from a number of different potential ideas. Secondly, if there’s only one candidate, concept testing can evaluate whether it is fit for launch and can reveal any tweaks that would make it even more likely to succeed.

How is Concept Testing undertaken?

This research typically involves both quantitative and qualitative techniques. Qualitative approaches are mostly used at an early development stage and tend to focus on identifying the refinements that will make a concept the best it can be. Quantitative work allows concepts to be tested amongst a wider audience and generally focuses on finding ‘the winner’ amongst a sub-set of contenders. For companies that introduce a lot of new concepts, benchmark scores can be effective in understanding how strong appeal needs to be if an idea is to succeed once launched. We favour A/B Testing for the quantitative appraisal of a concept as this most closely resembles the way new propositions are encountered in real life.

More innovative means of concept testing include the creation of dummy versions of social media posts or website homepages to see how much traction these get in a real-world environment.

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