Showing potential new products, or the idea of a new product to the public normally happens a lot earlier in the new product design process than you may think. This process is called concept testing. In this article, we’ll be looking at what concept testing actually consists of, and then looking at what is needed to be put in place for concept testing to be successful.
Firstly, it’s important to understand where this process fits in with the larger picture. When developing a new product, the first step is a creative process, usually through brainstorming and other group-related creative tasks. When this process is finished you should hopefully be left with a concept. After concept testing, marketing and business strategies can begin. This then leads to business analysis, which, if successful, leads to the product development itself.
There will usually be nothing physical at this point, as prototypes will often be made after concept testing. The reason being that public opinion on a concept has to be taken into consideration before an accurate prototype can actually be created. Also, not necessarily as much as the final product, there is still a level of analysis and strategy needed to create a prototype.
You want those being surveyed in this process to represent your target market as much as possible. If you are having problems helping define your target market, then concept testing can help toward working this out. As you can survey a broad range of demographics and use the responses to help narrow down a target market to a higher level of accuracy, which in turn helps the subsequent marketing strategy. This shouldn’t be the main aim of concept testing but can be a nice byproduct of it.
In terms of the survey itself, it is important to remove any element of bias from it. A lot of the time this can be unconscious bias due to brand awareness or brand loyalty. As a result of this, any mention of the brand/company and any accompanying marketing shouldn’t be kept completely separate from this process. If this seems like an impossible task it could be worth outsourcing this process to market research companies. They will be able to conduct the survey on neutral ground, therefore greatly reducing the risk of bias. It also has the added bonus of the specialisation of market research companies, meaning they should hopefully know the right questions to ask.