What Is Concept Testing?

Product developers, marketers, filmmakers, and more use concept testing to find out if their ideas are ready for the real world. Whether it’s the initial concept for a movie, a new product feature, or a brand new logo, we all want our ideas to take off. While not all ideas will launch from the concept stage, gauging how well your ideas will succeed through consumer research is key to getting them off the ground. 

What Is Concept Testing? 

Concept testing is very early-stage market research that allows teams to test their new ideas on target audiences to see how well they’ll be received before moving forward with the rest of the development process. 

We test in this early stage while the stakes are still low for several reasons including:  

  • Figure out if the idea is worth the investment. Whether you’re talking about a movie, a product, or an advertisement, turning an idea into reality takes time and money. Testing your concept before any significant amount of either has been invested into your idea is wise. 
  • Find out whether the idea resonates with audiences. Concept testing gives you the chance to peer into the minds of your potential consumers. By testing your idea on target audiences, you’ll soon discover whether you hit the mark with your consumers or not.
  • Get ideas for pricing. Especially when it comes to consumer goods, finding out how much someone would be willing to pay for your product is a key benefit of concept testing. 
  • Discover which elements of your idea to tailor. All good ideas could be made better. By testing your concept, you’re given a valuable opportunity to see exactly what about your idea could be tailored to better suit your target market. 
  • Test multiple ideas at once. This kind of testing is perfect for testing both one idea at a time or multiple ideas at once. See which of your ideas stands out the most to your audience. 
  • Get new ideas. Research sessions, especially those with open-ended lines of questioning, often breed new ideas. Who knows, a participant may give you a better idea than the one you’d originally thought of. 

Concept Testing Methodologies 

There are four basic methodologies that one can follow when conducting a concept test. 

  1. Monadic approach. Respondents evaluate one concept at a time. 
  2. Sequential monadic approach. Respondents evaluate multiple concepts in a single session. 
  3. Comparative approach. Respondents choose which out of multiple concepts they like the best. 
  4. Comparative monadic approach. Respondents choose which concept they like the best and then evaluate the chosen concept. 

Deciding which approach to take with your concept test will help form the backbone of your research. Each approach can help you reach valuable conclusions about your concept before moving on to the next stage of development. 

Types of Concept Tests 

While concept testing broadly refers to the testing of any idea in the concept stage, here are a few popular examples. 

Name testing

There’s a lot in a name. Whether it’s your brand’s name, a product name, or the title of a new movie you’re creating, names convey your value and help you stand out. There’s a lot of pressure to naming, but name testing can help alleviate some of it. By conducting name tests on target consumers, you can discover what your name means to them and the strengths and weaknesses it conveys. This will ultimately help you to identify and optimize names. 

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Design testing

Whether it’s a new logo, website design, brand design, product packaging, or UX updates, conducting concept tests can help you optimize your design. The options for design testing are unlimited. Taking a monadic approach to your concept research can help you determine which of two or multiple designs your consumer base prefers over another. 

Product idea testing

It can be expensive to bring a new product or feature to market. Bringing a flawed or unwanted product or feature to market can be detrimental to your business. Instead of leaving your product’s success up to chance, test it in the concept phase to see if it has viability in the market. Similarly, testing can help you fine-tune your product so you develop the optimal product for consumers. Test participants may help point out areas for improvement for your product. 

Advertising or marketing tests

One of the most well-known applications of concept testing is in advertising and marketing campaigns. We discuss advertising testing and whether it’s necessary (spoiler alert: it is) extensively on our blog. However, testing in the concept phase can be equally helpful. Before you pour your resources into a beautiful advertisement or thoughtful marketing campaign, see what your target audience feels about your initial ideas. You can show them storyboards, test out key messages and imagery, fine-tune your channel strategy, and more with concept testing. 

Testing Your Concepts on Invoke’s Platform 

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve likely gathered that you shouldn’t leave the success of your ideas up to chance. Concept testing is a powerful way to gather what elements of your idea resonate with your audience, the market viability of your idea, how to improve your idea before you develop it, and more. 

If you’re going to test your concepts, you may as well do so on the most innovative qual/quant research platform on the market from Invoke. Our platform enables clients to get a better understanding of whether their concepts resonate with selected audiences at scale, and, more importantly, why — all in real-time. 

Interested to learn more about our market-leading platform? Request a demo from our team to see it for yourself. 

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