Most marketers and businesses know the stat that says more than 80% of new concepts fail to produce any meaningful financial return.
The actual number that fails differs, but the story remains the same. So why is concept development and implementation so difficult? It usually comes from a lack of resources, testing, or feedback.
By anyone’s standards, more than 80% of concepts failing are tough odds to overcome for businesses that want to innovate and provide great experiences for customers. How can businesses overcome the odds and increase their success rate? How can your new concept be a part of the 20% that succeed?
Obviously, a new concept must be the best it possibly can be before it is launched. The issue is, what does the best possible product or service look like? The answer to that question isn’t actually up to the business or brand.
It is up to the consumer to decide what they want, need, or will actually use. The audience is what drives the business, without them a business will ultimately fail. This means it is important to understand if the concept will attract the audience to convert or not before it goes live. The audience will determine if the concept works and how you can make the most of it.
So it would be great if you could get all this information effectively, efficiently, and at a low cost, right? That is where concept testing with Poll the People comes in.
What is Concept Testing
Concept testing is the process of getting an idea evaluated by your target audience before it becomes available to the public. Allowing you to understand customers approval and willingness to buy to make critical decisions before launch. There are a vast number of concept testing methods but we’re going to shed light on the most effective one; Usability testing.
The concept you test can be a number of different things. It could be something as big as a new product or service you want to launch or something smaller like your logo or brand name. Some of the questions a concept test can answer include:
Does the Concept Meet Customers Needs?
Does the concept you are looking to launch meet the expectations of your customers? Do they understand the concept? Do they find it appealing? Does it fill a need? These questions are all very important to answer as your concept won’t be as effective as it can be without meeting customer needs.
Is the Price right?
What is your audience willing to pay? What is the best price range for your new product or service? How will price affect your users? Understanding your price in relation to customers can go a long way in creating a concept that succeeds.
How should it be positioned?
The success of a new concept depends on a lot of factors, how that concept fits in the market is an important one. Answering some questions about positioning will help create a successful concept. Questions like: How does your concept fit with your competitors? Does it match your brand? Where are the concepts placed in the market?
Do you need to make changes?
How can your concept get better? Are there any changes that would improve the concept? Is there anything missing? Testing with an audience of your customers can give you valuable feedback that will answer all of these questions. A concept test will allow you to tweak your concept to optimize before it goes live.
Concept testing isn’t a one size fits all process, a number of methods and test designs can be used to understand and fit the demand of the consumers.
Why Concept Testing is Important
Concept testing is a process that requires the investment of time and money. But the resources spent on concept testing is nothing compared to the potential cost of not testing and having the concept fail. In addition to ensuring you produce the best concept, the return on investment that you can get from optimizing new concepts is massive.
Failing to test new concepts can result in failed products, services, or features that loosed the business far more money than what they invested in creation and implementation. The same risk goes for logos, messaging, content, ads, and more.
In some of the worst cases, brands can suffer reputational damage and loss of credibility or perceived value by introducing concepts that aren’t a fit for their audience or the market. One of the best things about concept testing is that it is a risk management tool, the process helps you identify what will work and reduces the risk of failed concepts.
As we mentioned before most new concepts fail, so isn’t it important to do everything you can to make sure that doesn’t happen? Essentially, your consumers own the business because without them there is no revenue, new concepts, or decisions to make. Concept testing puts the decision in their hands, the business gathers feedback that will give them what they want or need. Ultimately, concept testing is about making the best decision with the confidence that your users will agree with that decision.
Benefits of Concept Testing
The world of business is always growing and today thousands of new businesses enter the market every year, making the market increasingly competitive. A business that hasn’t gone through expensive testing to understand customer opinions is less likely to succeed. Concept testing is a great tool for any business that wants to optimize a new concept, here are a few of the benefits.
1. Will the Concept Actually Work
Just because a new concept feels, looks, or sounds great to you, your boss, friends, etc. doesn’t mean the world agrees. Concept testing shows you if everyone else agrees with you. You will be able to take all of your ideas and understand what works great, has potential, or isn’t worth your time and money.
2. Eliminate Bias
Similar to understanding if it will work a concept test takes the decision out of your hands. We have established that the consumers are the real decision-makers for the brand, using their opinions eliminates the bias of your opinions or emotions. Concept testing cuts through the politics of business putting all opinions on the same level, uniting everyone behind a concept that has a chance because you have data to back it up.
3. Gain Confidence in Your Ideas
Concept testing provides you with data and real feedback that will give you the best version of that concept. The data you get from the test will give you confidence in running with that choice or presenting the winning concept to a boss, colleague, or business partner with feedback that supports the decision.
4. Identify the Best Features
Particular parts or features will make or break the concept and in turn the product or service you want to launch. The explanations users give to their decision will show you what the best parts of your concept are and what features might not be necessary.
5. Understand How to Make it Profitable
Understanding how to manage the cost and profitability of a concept is a beneficial aspect of concept testing. The investments consumers care about are crucial to success. Additionally, finding the best version of a concept will help your business be profitable because consumers will be more likely to buy the product or service they like most.
6. Constantly Improve Your Concepts
Testing new concepts allow you to consistently optimize that concept. Tweak your concepts according to consumer insights, then test it again to always be giving your users the best experience possible. The feedback might also give your business new ideas and improvements you might not have thought of.
7. Find Your Target Audience
One of the best things about concept testing is that it gives you a clear picture of how people will respond to the concept. It can point you toward the demographic groups, geographies, or market segments that will be the best fit for your concept and be as excited about the new concept as you are.
8. Define Your Communication Approach
Setting the value proposition and key points of the business shouldn’t be a guessing game. Try testing a brand name, image, messaging, or any other business element on your audience. It will help you create the best overall brand, increase the probability of success, and produce revenue.
9. Optimize Before Launch
Launching a new concept comes with the risk of failure, we know that by now. But being able to test these concepts before rolling them out is one of the biggest benefits of concept testing. This is the overarching benefit of concept testing; it lets you make the best decisions before it can affect the value or credibility of a business.
10. Reduce Overall Risk
We have talked about how concept testing reduces risk. But it is important to highlight again, usability testing gives you the opportunity to get the best possible balance between taking business risks and reaping business rewards.
Does Concept Testing Work?
Some businesses rely on intuition, inspiration, and believe that should be enough to produce great new concepts. They claim that real innovation comes from people like Henry Ford who said if he asked consumers what they wanted, they would have said “faster horses.” In essence, he was right.
However, concept testing isn’t about asking consumers “What new product do you want?” it is about presenting new concepts to the customers and asking what one they like best. It doesn’t mean you are missing out on amazing innovation or settling for ideas that aren’t that much different from what is offered.
Concept testing lets you present versions of an innovative idea to the users, help them understand what the benefits are and how it will improve their life. You start with that ground-breaking idea, instead of getting responses like “faster horses” you receive feedback about why a concept is great because it solves a problem. Getting this feedback allows consumer opinions and feeling to inspire changes with the most potential.
Asking people what they want or the concept they prefer is only part of the story. You need to tap into the emotions and mind of the user that drive real consumer behavior and understand decisions consumers make regarding price, benefits, and competition.
The answer to the question does concept testing work is yes. It has a number of benefits and use cases that allow you to produce the most disruptive concept with the insights of your audience.
How To Do Concept Testing
Now that you understand what concept testing is and how it can benefit your business you might be asking how can I put it into action? There are so many different things you can test, and Poll the People provides a platform that lets you test all of them before launch to get the most out of a new concept.
Poll the People usability testing has a number of templates for testing resources like logos, messaging, landing pages, products, design, and many more. It only takes about 5 minutes to set up the test with the different variations you have. You can ask questions that provide you with actionable feedback to make decisions. Once you create the test you have access to a dedicated user panel to ask hundreds or thousands of users to give their feedback on a concept. Unlike a lot of traditional A/B testing platforms Poll the People requires the panel to give detailed reasoning behind their choice.
The business also provides you will an easy-to-use results dashboard to quickly analyze the qualitative and quantitative data. You get the ‘winner’ of the test and can dive into every response to find new ideas, valuable insights, and why a concept works. Poll the People lets you take these insights and create changes fast and effectively. The best thing about Poll the People is that unlike traditional platforms the concept test can be created, run, and analyzed in about an hour (depending on segmentation and size of the audience).
We have expertise in concept testing for a number of categories and help to drive the creation of successful products and services.
10 Concept Testing Use Cases
Concept testing has many different use cases and applications to optimize a business. These are 10 of the most frequent use cases for concept testing with Poll the People. For more concept testing use cases and other ways you can use Poll the People to optimize different parts of your business, check out our examples page.
1. Purchase Intent Testing
You need your users to want to purchase your products or services so understanding their purchase intent is critical. If you have a concept and people say they want it that’s great, but, they have to actually be willing to buy it.
Purchase intent testing gives you the number of people that are willing to put down their hard-earned money. You can test the purchase intent without an attached price first. This helps you find out how interested the market is in the product itself. Once you know that people are willing to spend money on the product, you can test priced purchase intent to learn how many people would pay the price you set for the product. You could also ask the users how often they would buy, testing the purchase volume can be beneficial if you want consumers to buy more than once.
2. Brand Messaging Testing
Creating brand messaging will convey your brand’s value proposition and establish the language you use in your content. When you launch a new product, change brand positioning, or want to convey a new point, your messaging is just as important as the product or service itself.
Concept testing allows you to try different messages on your audience, see your concept from different perspectives, and see what one gets the target audience to convert. The best brand messaging creates a connection between the brand values and the customer. Concept testing could help you generate messaging that actively contributes to more conversions, sales, increasing credibility, and building strong relationships.
3. Logo Testing
Creating a logo for your new initiative or business is one of the most exciting parts of a new venture. The logo is one of the most important parts of a brand and might be overlooked at times. Even though there are millions of logos out there a logo is a crucial part of a brand’s identity. The logo is the face of the business and consumers will see it everywhere the business is. You have to make sure it is memorable and impactful in a good way.
With logo testing, you can let your target audience decide what logo portrays the brand in the best way. What logo is the most memorable? What design fits the brand name and messaging the best? What logo draws the most attention? Is the logo unique? And how does it transfer to all of the formats and media it will be used on?
Logo testing with Poll the People is one of the easiest concept tests you can do. It is simple to compare two logos, whether they’re different because of color, text, or the overall design. Your audience will choose the version that is the best and allow you to confidently implement it as the image your brand will be known by.
4. Product Testing
There are so many reasons to launch a new product, but that reason shouldn’t be because you think it’s a great product. Every successful product has been thoroughly tested and has received some kind of positive feedback before it was launched to the market.
Product testing is an important part of concept testing because it prevents failure. The products that might seem the best on paper could be a complete failure in real life. If the audience shows you they enjoy the product it will be more likely to thrive once it is launched. With product testing, you make sure your product concept has all the features and elements your audience wants and expects.
5. Ad Testing
Message testing should go hand in hand with advertising and campaign testing. The messaging you use decides how the copy of your ads will be constructed. While they are connected, message testing focuses on your overall brand value and perception, ad testing focuses on a single concept that utilizes the messaging you previously decided on. With ad testing, you discover what the best copy is, how and where, to present it best.
Ad testing is the process of presenting different ads to a portion of users to understand effectiveness based on user feedback and behavior. You can run tests on the entire ad or just parts like the image or copy and gain feedback. No matter what you are testing you should show them to real consumers before you surprise them and the rest of the market. When you only rely on your opinions or the feedback of your team you have a narrow and biased view. By presenting the ads and campaigns to those outside your business you get the full picture of how good they are.
6. Price Testing
Similar to purchase intent testing price testing helps you understand how many users will purchase and at what price. Concept testing the price of your product gives you insights into your audience and what they would pay. With usability testing, you will get a winner and feedback from each person that voted on your test. You will receive an explanation as to why they would purchase at a price point or why they wouldn’t buy at that price point.
The goal is to gauge price sensitivity or how much demand changes with different prices. For example, you might find that if your price is $150 the demand for your product will drop, while a price of $75 will increase demand. But, at $75 you are losing more money than what you lose from lower demand at the higher price point. You really want to find a price point that is the highest price you can set while maintaining the demand and profitability of your product.
7. Website Testing
Your company’s website is one of its biggest assets, especially if you are a strictly online business. When you’ve already validated things like messaging and logo you have a baseline for the website. You need the design of the website to complement the design of the logo. Using the same colors and feel of the logo on your website can help with overall branding. A website also needs to give your audience all of the information they could possibly need to understand the value of your business. Using the messaging you created and tested you can create content for your website that matches.
You can test the design, content, images, and overall usability of your website to help your business. If the website is attractive, easy to use, and provides the information consumers need you will be more likely to convert more customers. Concept testing websites let you create the best version of your concept, just like every other use case.
8. Brand Name Testing
What really goes into a name? More than you might think, we often think brand names are random. The naming of a product or entire brand has a big impact on your marketing and sales strategy. Your copy and design take a lot from the brand name, one that shows users what you do is important. Certain names and words can create certain opinions or emotions.
For example, Netflix is a brand name that we all know and have an opinion of one way or another. But not everyone knows their name was originally “Kibble” while they never went to market with that name, I think we can all agree that Netflix shows what they do much better than Kibble. This is a great example of how a brand name can portray the brand and its value. Netflix essentially translates to online movies and that’s exactly what they provide.
9. Content Testing
Similar to ad testing your content is how you want to present the business to the audience. But unlike ads content doesn’t have to have an obvious call to action. You want your content to show your thought leadership and provide value to the customer in the form of information. The content you create could be anything from a fun video about employees to an all-encompassing page for concept testing. Either way, the content tells your audience something and you want them to get value out of it.
Testing different versions of content will go a long way in improving the value of your brand. You will find out what kind of content your audience wants the most, the platforms they want to see content on, and what kind of content they will interact with the most. Like every part of concept testing, your audience determines what the most successful aspects of your content are and give the information you need to continue to create great content.
10. New Feature Testing
New feature tests allow you to validate a new feature for a webpage, app, or business. You can gain genuine feedback from users on the best version of a new feature. At the same time, you are determining if the new feature is a good fit, you can determine what version your audience likes the best. If you gain valuable positive feedback on the new feature, you can then launch it with the changes and options of the winning version.
A new feature test in concept testing helps you to understand how your audience would use this new feature and receive feedback on how to optimize the feature. As you test the new feature the platform will record metrics that tell you the user’s opinions on the feature and how you can optimize it for the audience. You can analyze the data then determine if the new feature will result in positive or negative feedback if you launch it.
8 Tips For Successful Concept Testing
1. Set Clear Objectives
The beauty of concept testing is that you know if the objective was met and gain confidence in decisions. One of the most important parts of project planning is setting a clear objective, without it, the business has no idea if the concept test worked or not. What is the goal of your test? What type of response are you looking for? How will you use the data once you’ve gathered it? These are all the questions for which you will need to find the answers. The first step is always a defined objective.
2. Use The Feedback From The Test
The whole point of a concept test is to see what idea is going to work and what isn’t. If you’re too attached to an idea and choose it regardless of the feedback, there was no point in spending time and money on a concept test. Let the audience guide your decisions, a tester needs to have the ability to let their favorite idea go if the audience doesn’t like it. It won’t be the last great idea you have but it might not be the best fit at this moment. The feedback you receive is only valuable if it is used so you have to dive into it and find the insights that drive success.
3. Test the Right Audience
It is important to test concepts on the right audience to get the right answers, the people that represent your customers. Poll the People utilizes a user panel that is dedicated to giving you valuable insights. You have the ability to choose the number of respondents you need and segment them based on a variety of factors. The right audience will give you the best answers, it’s as simple as that.
4. Ask the Right Questions
Once your objective is defined, prepare the question you are going to ask the audience. Make sure the question lines up with the objective of the test, and make it detailed enough to help you understand the exact opinions of users. A simple A or B question works the best, it eliminates the stress that comes with too many options and helps you achieve the ultimate goal of your concept test.
5. Create Variations
To do concept testing you need to have variations of the concept in order to see the differences. If you decide to test a logo you might have two completely different designs or the same design with different color schemes. Testing concepts that have clear differences will allow you to choose the best option and optimize based on the feedback. Keep the variation measurable and only test two versions at a time to get the best results.
6. Test and Test Again
It can take a few tries to find the best option to run with, especially if you have more than two variations. Once you test two versions of a concept making the suggested changes and then testing that new version against the winning version will help you produce the best product. With Poll the People’s tests taking under an hour it no longer takes days or weeks to test multiple versions of a concept.
7. Understand All of the Feedback
It is not enough to take the data and run with the most popular answer or the winning version. Businesses must ask questions about why a respondent said what they said and how a new idea or change they proposed would benefit everyone. Poll the People’s results dashboard helps you fully understand what consumers are saying with filtering options and the ability to look at every response. It allows you to see what consumers really think and what that means for why they would buy.
8. Choose the Best Option
The users will tell you what version of your resource they liked the best, but your job is to understand if it will work the best for your business. Choosing the best option isn’t only about the ‘winner’ and ‘loser’ of the test but also the written feedback.
Make sure to read and filter through all of the feedback from real users to find new ideas, potential issues with even the winning version, and other insights that could be helpful. At the end of the day, it is your business and you have to make decisions that help the company.
Common Concept Testing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Concept testing can be one of the best tools for optimizing a business. Feedback from real people can increase engagement, improve usability, user experience, and ultimately sales. But even experts makes mistakes, to help avoid them, here are a few of the most common mistakes we have seen.
Mistake 1. Testing to Many Variables
While it might be tempting to test every variation you come up with, having too many variations can be problematic. Each variation can break up your audience or could create multiple winners because they aren’t different enough.
The best practice in usability testing concepts is to use two variations, allowing your audience to make one decision at a time. If you need to test multiple variations test them against each other and continue to test winners to find the best choice.
Mistake 2. Not Using the Feedback to Make Your Decision
The feedback is the most important part of a concept test. It gives you the final answer, whether you agree with it or not. Taking the responses and insights the audience provides and using them regardless of your previous opinions about the options you presented is essential to getting the most out of a concept test.
The purpose of the research is to understand what your audience thinks, feels, and reacts to the idea. If it is negative, it could mean the user is not interested at this time, or they are not the target audience for this new concept. You might find that testing a different or wider audience will give you the users that you should target or help you identify the people that are most interested in the concept. A negative result doesn’t mean the idea is bad but, is not right at this time or for your audience.
Mistake 3. Assuming the Audience Understand the Concept as You Do
You have spent a lot of your time creating every aspect of this new concept and understanding every part of it. You want to present the concept to the audience, but they might not understand the concept in the same way you do. Try to explain the concept in the most digestible language you can, avoid using technical jargon that the common consumer might not understand. It can cause confusion and hesitancy for the user in your test.
Also, avoid strong marketing pitches for the version of the concept you like the most. Presenting a strong pitch can imply the concept is already in place and skew the data. Marketing and branding of this new concept come after you find the concept that your customers like the best. Keep the questions you ask unbiased and let the audience decide what is best.
Mistake 4. Your Audience is Too Narrow
As we talked about before the audience you ask is essential to getting the best results. You might be so attached to one idea that you think you know the perfect audience to test, this might also create inaccurate results. Testing based on an audience of long-time users, new users, and those that might not be so familiar with your brand will give you a wide range of feedback that can create the best concept.
Poll the People provides a dedicated panel of respondents that come from all different backgrounds. Use a broad audience to understand how everyone understands the concept. This method of testing allows you to get the most out of a concept test.
Mistake 5. Not Asking the Right Questions
Sometimes the questions asked in a concept test aren’t specific enough. What do you think of this logo isn’t an effective question that gives you the best option. The audience might give good feedback on both your logos, and both could be deemed “good”. Having a clear and detailed question, such as which logo shows the brand value best? Gives you the information you need to sift through the data and choose the best option for the business.
Take time before running a usability test to make your questions specific and actionable to get the most out of the test.
Three Examples of Concept Testing
Concept testing is used in all industries and has proved to be a great way to get the most out of a new idea. Tesla, Airbnb, and Lego are some valuable examples of why concept testing is important and beneficial when rolling out a new product, service, or feature.
1. Tesla - Purchase Intent Testing
In 2016 Tesla tested purchase intent in a unique way. They announced their new product, the Model 3 before it was designed and allowed users to put down a $1,000 deposit for it. They had over 300,000 people pre-pay for the car despite knowing little to nothing about it. This test gave Tesla the confidence that the Model 3 would sell before they had any designs and it was only a rough concept.
This is a great example of how purchase intent testing can be valuable for a brand. We know most companies aren’t like Tesla so using some of the tips we laid out are great ways to do what Tesla did on a smaller scale for smaller businesses.
2. Airbnb - Logo Testing
In 2014 Airbnb launched a new logo but ran into some issues because they didn’t test the concept on their audience before rolling it out. The creative take on the A in Airbnb was supposed to represent coming together and belonging. To users, it looked a lot like the logo of Automation Anywhere and this realization became a problem for the business.
Both companies became aware of the issue, fortunately for Airbnb, they had ownership of the design. However, on the internet, the new logo became somewhat of a joke. The brand did stick with the new logo, it was a good logo and did represent the brand well. This time using their own opinions for launching a new logo worked out after some issues. But this example could have created a lot more problems for Airbnb. We suggest every brand conduct concept tests on their new logo ideas and any rebranding efforts before a big launch.
3. Lego - User Research Testing
Lego realized that 90% of their consumers were boys and they had little to no market share with girls. The brand had extensive lines of Star Wars, trucks, and superhero sets, while they are not specifically targeted at boys they became their target market.
Lego wanted to gain market share with girls and wanted every child to play with their toys and join their customer base. They launched many new product and concept tests to understand how to create the most inclusive Lego sets. They found that boys and girls play with Legos differently and created new products through extensive concept testing. Lego has continued to test new concepts to create the most inclusive products possible.
This is a great example of how concept testing can help a brand widen its target market and create new customers. We suggest every brand does what Lego did to produce products that attract the most customer it can.
After reading through the information, tips, mistakes, and examples you should have a good understanding of how concept testing works and how to do it effectively. Follow all of the steps and tips we have laid out for you and avoid the costly mistakes that could skew your test. Concept testing can be one of the best ways a business can understand its audience, find the best concept possible, and launch a successful product or service to the users.
If you are dedicated to optimization and use the knowledge you now have, concept testing can reduce a lot of risks involved with changes or additions to a business. It can also save a lot of time and money that might go into an element that might not work because you already have an answer to what will work best.
If you found this page useful check out the links we attached for more in-depth articles on the specifics of concept testing. Feel free to share this page and other resources with other businesses that want to optimize their concepts and understand their audience. Read through our blog or sign up to start testing.
Concept Testing FAQs
What is concept testing?
Concept testing is a research method where businesses ask customers questions about concepts and ideas for new products or services and use the feedback to optimize their concept.
Why do concept testing?
Concept testing helps a business to fully understand their audience and provide them with the best concept possible while reducing the risk of launching a product that produces little to no revenue.
How long does it take to run a concept test?
Poll the People is one of the fastest concept testing platforms on the market. You can expect to see responses almost immediately with most tests finishing in under an hour, not days.
What can I do to make my test run faster?
We are one of the fastest market research platform on the internet. Our tests are run in minutes, not days. If your test is running slow, the most likely cause is probably too specific targeted qualifications that reduce the size of the panel.