A Proven Approach for Finding the Right Product Direction, Right Away

There are a lot of ways your brand can perform concept testing, from grassroots efforts to fully-digital solutions. Similar to product testing, the optimized approach combines art and science, or in this case, real customers and purpose-built technology which results in the actionable feedback you need to confirm the right product direction and delight your customers.

The following 3 key elements are foundational for successful concept testing, and they help you optimize your opportunity to collect relevant feedback through technologies designed to be intuitive and fast enough for your team’s product development and merchandising processes.

3 Key Elements for Successful Concept Testing

  1. Talk to (exactly) the right people
  2. Let the technology do the heavy lifting
  3. Leverage flexibility and versatility

1. Talk to (exactly) the right people

Sending out a concept testing survey is a great way to get your product concept in front of people to gather feedback. It will generate feedback data that can be applied throughout your organization, from initial design to marketing strategies. But remember, that feedback is only valuable if it truly represents the thoughts, preferences and/or behaviors of your actual target customer.

Seeing feedback data sets from product research and testing is always really exciting (or at least we really think so), but the relevance of those findings and the success of your product when they are applied to your product’s features, attributes, naming, and pricing are directly connected.

This relationship is the critical difference between surveying customers that may be your target customers and engaging your exact target customers at a critical point in your product development process which will set the direction of your product.

We often use the analogy “measure twice, cut once”. It speaks to the importance of accuracy during the concept testing phase to ensure your product is successful. Concept testing efforts should be rooted in talking to exactly the right people – and to do that, you’re going to need access to detailed customer information beyond the basics.

Further, you should be able to identify specific activities and interests for each individual, as well as their levels of participation and other activity-specific information, all to further ensure they fit your criteria.

Tip: A platform that features its own integrated product testers may feature more relevant information for concept testing and product testing as these platforms can require specific activity, work, lifestyle and product use information provided directly by the tester, as opposed to relying on basic information compiled by a third party which can be incomplete for your needs.

For example, if you’re working on a new sports bra, you’ll want to be sure your concept testers regularly participate in the specific activities and environments the sports bra is intended for, and down to even more specific details like the way the testers dress for certain activities like running or yoga. Combined with matching demographic criteria, these details help create a well-rounded “target tester” to offer valuable, actionable feedback.

If your team can’t recruit participants at this level of target customer information, your survey results may be at risk of sending your product development down the wrong path from the very beginning.

In addition to this important criteria itself is the ability to efficiently navigate it so that relevant tester groups can be assembled quickly, as needed. This organized approach is where the importance of a purpose-built platform designed with a powerful but intuitive tester selection interface starts to really shine.

2. Let the technology do the heavy lifting

The right concept testing technology will feel like a go-to customer feedback tool in your product development and merchandising toolkit, not a task. It should be so easy to use that you can’t wait to access the voice of the customer, instead of dreading the critical step (or worse: skipping it).

When you leverage a single platform solution that is designed specifically for concept testing and product testing, you can get access to the tools you need to operate efficiently and effectively, which can be a significant process upgrade if your team is currently trying to bend other solutions to fit testing needs.

Ultimately, your product and concept testing platform solution should be:

Easy to use by different team members with varying levels of software expertise, from product developers to seasoned marketing analysts, or even fresh new hires.

Fast enough to launch a targeted survey in minutes with no technology patchwork or tedious steps – everything from the initial survey programming to tester selection and fielding should all be done in one place.

Informative with analysis tools that can create clear reports to tell the story of the results in different ways for different internal audiences.

Collaborative enough to minimize the risk of delays or confusion due to siloed processes or challenges with cross-department communication. With a single-platform solution, the right people can be involved the right way at the right time.

Your concept testing platform should feel like it’s streamlined and seamless because busy brands like yours shouldn’t be losing valuable time connecting different technologies, navigating complicated programming or wading through difficult analysis. Concept testing feedback is meant to drive your product development process in the right direction quickly, with data that you can feel confident about from a highly-targeted audience.

3. Leverage flexibility and versatility

One of the most important components of a successful concept testing phase – and the front-end of your product development cycle in general – is collecting your related market and product concept research. From larger studies qualifying market opportunities and better understanding the preferences of your target customer personas, to quick check-ins seeing which iterative version of your product concept they like best, the specifics of your concept testing may vary drastically from test to test.

The varying nature of this front-end work demands platform flexibility and versatility that can accommodate any research and testing idea or request, from the quick-hit surveys sent out to known super-users or a complex persona definition survey distributed to thousands.

By talking to exactly the right people, letting the technology do the heavy lifting and leveraging platform flexibility and versatility your company can use concept testing to set your products up for optimized success. Take advantage of a purpose-built concept testing platform with an integrated product tester community ready to provide relevant feedback on your product concepts.

Contact us today to learn how upgrading your concept testing or implementing a new testing process can help your brand find the right product direction and go to market with confidence.