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What is Concept Testing?

Product development is a risky endeavor, threatening not only a company’s financial security, but its perception within the marketplace; launch a bad product, and businesses stand to lose money, as well as respect. That’s why it’s crucial for companies to strategically plan new product launches, following a design, testing, and review process that takes into account consumer needs and behaviors before a new product or service enters production and actually hits the market. In this blog, our team at Research America will answer the question “What is concept testing?” and explore various examples so that you can better understand how talking to consumers ahead of a new product launch can inform and sometimes even ensure greater business success. 

Concept testing is a type of research method that evaluates customer perceptions about a new product or service concept before the concept moves to the actual manufacturing and sales stages. Measuring the level of consumer interest in a potential product helps a company identify whether or not a launch of it would be appealing to consumers and, thus, profitable for them.

There are four basic ways to test a concept and each depends on how the concept is presented to research participants:

Comparative Testing - where research participants are assembled into one group, presented with two or more concepts and asked to rate them against each other. This is perhaps the simplest concept testing method as it allows for quick, visually ranked results, but it doesn’t provide context or insight into respondent reasoning for their choices.

Monadic Testing - where various groups of research participants are given one concept each to assess and on which to provide feedback. This enables in-depth exploration of each concept, but necessitates a large pool of research participants who can be divided into groups for each concept. 

Sequential Monadic Testing - where various groups of research participants are presented with all possible product concepts to review at once. Since every group will be shown all possible concepts during sequential monadic testing, companies don’t need as many research participants (which can save them a bit of money). However, adding more than one concept to review during a session means each session/survey is longer and more likely to be left unfinished.

Protomonadic Testing - where researchers combine sequential monadic testing with comparative testing so that respondents must first review multiple concepts and then choose the one they like the best. Most often, protomonadic testing is used to validate the findings of a sequential monadic test, making up for the limitations of any one, single concept test by further exploring the reasons a respondent chooses one concept over another and providing a way for each to clearly choose his or her favorite in one combined concept testing process.

A professional market research firm like Research America can help you understand the strategy behind concept testing ( and answer the question: “just what is concept testing really about?”) so that your own product development endeavors have the most potential for success. To learn more about using concept testing to improve your ROI, please contact us today.

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