The 2 Most Important Takeaways from Product Concept Test

In a world marked by a nearly endless stream of options concerning products and services, it is unwise to consider making a substantial investment in a new product or service without first performing some sort of concept test. Indeed, it is difficult to move forward without these trials, especially when considering the relative ease of executing them compared to past requirements.

Yet, many concept tests create as many questions as they give answers. How many times have you completed a concept test and proven that although the adoption rate varies significantly by price, many of the other expected variables didn’t vary as expected?

First and foremost, understand that your experience is not unique; in fact, this is a healthy, productive, and invaluable process. The more new questions you find yourself asking, the further your tests will lead you to a deeper understanding of what these answers mean for the effective marketing of your concept.  At that point, you might ask yourself: “How deep do I need to go?” At what point do you have the answers you need?

Naturally, the answer is different for every team. Factors such as your culture for decision making, your tolerance for risk, details of the product and its function, and its intended audience set parameters for concept testing. However, in all cases, there are two crucial factors regarding your concept test results that are worth pouring over, understanding, and integrating into your future plans for your new product or service:

  1. Who is really interested in buying my concept (and why)?

  2. Who is really not interested in buying my concept (and why not)?

This might sound like an over-simplification, but this important information is frequently minimized or overlooked. In fact, fully answering these straightforward questions before you take any further action will offer your marketing and product management team detailed, in depth information concerning the appeal of your product and will lead to an accurate view of what you can expect from its commercialization. I know I am going to get mail telling me this is really four questions, but “who” and “why” actually provide the same criteria. That’s because the “who” inevitably leads us directly to the “why.”


Defining the Word “Who”

I cannot overemphasize the importance of this point. It is simply not possible to know too much about the people who are and are not really interested in your product—your fundamental market. Actually, a brain-cocktail, a continuous thought flow of: “What kind of people want to buy my product, and what kind don’t? Who are these people? How can I reach them?” would be an extremely useful tool.  You should reflect on this constantly, meditate on it, toss it around in your mind, discuss it with colleagues, friends, families, and significant others, obsess on it. Get the point? The deeper you understand, the more profoundly you will connect.

Knowing these people and how they differ requires a multi-faceted approach to questioning, one that only comes from garnering information beyond a demographic profile or understanding basic preferences. The following considerations should be included in your quest for in-depth discovery of your target customer


Product Usage Behavior
Are they heavier or lighter users of products or services that are similar to yours?
What is their attitude or urgency toward the problem your product or service solves?
Adopter Profile
As individuals, have they been early, middle, or late to using new products or technologies?


Life Priorities
What do they value? 
Include personal perspectives of any individuals you market to, even when they are connected by a B2B or professional role.


Networking Profile
Are they evangelical about new products or services that are similar to your concept or for products that solve similar problems?

Product and Service Concepts are Like Rorschach Tests

Product concept tests are like Rorschach tests, just an image open to interpretation. Each person understands a product concept depending upon who they are, where their values lie, their point of view, and innumerable personal factors, all of which stems from their attitudes about life.

Where does your product or service concept intersect with their position? That’s the golden key.


The Converse: Those Who Are Decidedly Not Interested in Your Product

The other side of the coin, perhaps the more difficult to understand, are those who are not interested in your product.  While this group may not deserve the same passionate analysis as the group who is very interested in buying your product, many of the same questions asked earlier of the previous group must be answered.

As you review the list above, a few elements should give pause, depending on your expectations for your new product or service:


Usage levels
What if those who do not want your product are the heaviest users of products similar to yours?
What if they are lukewarm concerning the severity of the problem your product solves; they perceive no critical need?
Adopter profile
What if adopter profiles indicate they are usually early adopters of similar products, but have neglected your market entry?

These are only a few criteria, but all are significant and should be carefully considered. Some answers to these questions could indicate issues with your concept or strategy. Sometimes, these answers warrant a deeper investigation of their respondents and the circumstances of their testing, which is easily accomplished through follow-up in-depth interviews.


Concept Testing is a Science and an Art

Actionable Research specializes in actionable-oriented concept tests, and we apply our considerable experience to the analysis and execution of each project on an individual basis. Successful concept testing requires both effective measurement methodologies and the nuanced understanding of the criteria that best discerns optimal configurations, feature sets, and benefits necessary for optimal price points and adoption rates. Schedule a brief call to learn more about how we can help you deliver successful products to your marketplace.

Back to the Actionable By Design Brief