Frequently Asked Questions about Concept Testing

By Kristyn Corrigan

Question:  If you have multiple concepts, is it better to reveal and discuss them one at a time or revealing all of them at once before discussing any of them?

Answer:  When you have multiple concepts to test, there are pros and cons to presenting them all at once or one at a time.  Ask yourself – what research objectives are you trying to achieve?  Presenting concepts all at once allows respondents to more readily trade-off alternatives the details of each offering.  If you’re looking to understand the utility or value of certain features quantitatively, a choice-based exercise may work for you.  Presenting concepts one at a time, however, allows a respondent to make an independent and more in-depth evaluation, concentrating on the features of each concept, one at a time.  I almost always recommend this approach for qualitative concept testing.  Do be mindful of the order in which you present your concepts.  This could potentially introduce bias into your research.

Question:  What is best to use for concept test stimulus - sketches, prototypes, interviews, something else?

Answer:  The stimulus is one of the most critical elements of a concept test.  A stimulus can be as simple as flat-text or as elegant as a near-working prototype. It depends on the resources you have at your disposal, and how much effort you are willing to put into the stimulus. I always caution clients that their stimulus doesn’t have to be perfect; it just needs to get the point across. The type of stimulus you show – sketch, prototype, audio, video depends on the product or service you’re testing.  Ask yourself what will resonate most with customers and best showcase the concept’s features and points of difference.

Often a “rough” stimulus is better than a polished work of art, because it creates the right mindset in your participants – if you show them something that is clearly a work in progress, they may be more forgiving in their evaluation.

Question:  How do I use concept testing to discover value propositions?

Answer:  Often the goal of concept testing is to arrive at a value proposition for your product or service.  A value proposition explains how your product or service meets customers’ needs or satisfies their “jobs to be done” better than anything else on the market.  To arrive at a good value proposition, it is essential to understand the why behind respondents’ reactions to your concept - good or bad.  During qualitative concept tests, probe deeply to understand likes, dislikes, believability, perceived value and willingness to adopt.  Questions like “why would this make your life easier?” “What would this do for you” help to add clarity.  Dig deep to understand the circumstances when the concept would be helpful or not to uncover what underlying needs it will satisfy.  The key is to understand the concept’s perceived fit with unmet needs and to tailor your messaging or value proposition to speak to these points.

Watch Kristyn's webinar on demand: "Make the Right Choice: How Concept Testing Leads to Better Products".

If you have more questions about concept testing, feel free to contact Kristyn and she will be happy to answer.

Tags: Concept Testing

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