When in doubt, test - VantagePoint

When in doubt, test

You — or your agency — has come up with a great idea. For an ad, or a mailer, or even a product. You put a lot of work into getting the idea ready for market, and then . . . it flops. Nothing. Crickets. No one buys the product. Or responds to the ad.

What if you could have known that ahead of time? BEFORE spending all the time and money?

That’s where concept testing comes in. Concept testing is a way to find out how your audiences will react to your new product or your ad campaign by presenting your idea to a focus group or conducting in-depth interviews with your target audience. Rather than just relying on the assumptions of your marketing team, your sales team or even the good advice of your agency, you get to hear exactly what your target audience will think and how they will react.

Some companies like to bring their best customers into the discussion and ask how they feel about a campaign or a product. This “testing” can provide valuable insight but also risks merely “preaching to the choir”: you may get the insight of what your current customers feel about your idea, but this won’t expose you to thinking outside your current market. This approach can be limiting, especially if you’re hoping to reach new customers with your idea.

On that same token, your sales teams might not be a good sounding board either, despite their having more of an ear to the ground. Try as they might to be impartial, they’ll still have an inclination to view the product or campaign through the filter of how much work it will be to sell it and whether it would disrupt their current routine.

Because you’re looking to find out how to best reach the general public and not just your current customers, hearing from an outside voice is vital. Having a third party, such as an ad agency with research capabilities, to provide guidance during the research process is a great way to remove prejudices from the process and provide an unbiased evaluation of the reactions of those you’re testing your idea with.

Do you think concept testing might be a good idea for your next website, marketing campaign or new product? Take a look at some additional resources we’ve collected below. And please reach out to VantagePoint for market research assistance and guidance — we have extensive experience managing first-person and secondary research projects for clients of all sizes.

How To Create a Product Concept Test

Concept Testing with Survey Monkey

How We Test Concepts