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Concept Testing: A Catalyst for Product Innovation

  • January 16, 2024

Raise your hand if you’ve been here: you come up with a fantastic idea for a new product. You can’t wait to present it to your product team, imagining how excited they’ll be. But when the moment comes, you’re embarrassed to realize that everyone else thinks your idea is a complete dud, destined to fail spectacularly. 

For companies that make consumer products, launching a product that flops isn’t just embarrassing: it wastes money, tarnishes the company’s reputation, and demoralizes the teams that worked on the project.  

Concept testing offers a way to weed out bad ideas—for products and marketing messages—before they ever hit the market. Let’s look at what concept testing is and how it works. 

 What Is Product Concept Testing? 

Product concept testing is a type of market research specifically used to test ideas for product innovations, design changes, features, packaging, and more. To conduct a concept test, a market research team presents ideas to a panel of consumers to learn what they love, what they like, and what they can’t stand. Product concept testing is the expanded, formalized version of running an idea by your team to see what they think.   

Companies use concept tests to evaluate the marketability of their ideas and figure out which ones are worth investing time, money, and effort in. Companies may use concept testing to: 

  • explore ideas for a new product or product category;  
  • introduce a new flavor, scent, or color to an existing product line;  
  • modify the dispenser, packaging, or instructions for a product;  
  • determine a product’s viable price range by testing consumers’ willingness to purchase the product at different price points 
  • expand a product or line of products to reach a different demographic market or a new geographic region 

Once you’ve used concept testing to dial in your product design, you need to spread the word about it. Fortunately, concept testing can also help you design your marketing campaign.   

Concept Testing Isn’t Just for Products: Using Concept Testing in Marketing 

Marketing concept testing is the process of testing different marketing messages, slogans, ad campaigns, creative designs, labels, and even product color schemes to discover what resonates with your audience. Through marketing concept testing, you’ll learn which messages make consumers desperate to try a product and which they immediately forget.  

Naturally, there’s some overlap between the concepts you’ll test as you design a product and the concepts you’ll use to market it—and you can use the same panel of consumers to evaluate both. In fact, study participants who have already tested a new product or feature are well-suited to provide feedback on the accompanying sales pitch.  

So, what’s the best way to run a concept test?  

Gather More Authentic Feedback With a Video-Based Concept Testing Platform  


One of the most effective ways to test both product features and marketing messages is with a video-based concept testing platform that consumers can access in their own homes. You can have a moderator talk with participants in a real-time video chat, presenting photos or videos that participants can respond to while the research team observes their reactions via video. Alternatively, if coordinating a call is difficult due to distance or participants’ schedules, you can set up a self-guided script that participants can complete at their own pace while they record their responses. 

Either way, video-based concept testing lets you see and hear participants’ authentic reactions, including their facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice. Video also allows participants to quickly and easily explain what they like and dislike in their own words and their own voice. And because you’re gathering feedback at the same time that participants are experiencing a product or message, you avoid the risk that people will misremember their initial reactions or forget to report a fleeting thought.  

A video-based concept testing platform gives you the in-depth, genuine responses you need to design must-have products, craft compelling marketing strategies, and boost your overall sales.  

Want to know how consumers truly experience your products and marketing messages? QualSights can help. Use our mobile qualitative video platform to gather deeper, more meaningful feedback during both product concept testing and marketing concept testing. Then back those insights up with precise, accurate quantitative data from our connected product sensors, which passively measure product usage 24/7 in real consumers’ homes. 

To learn more about our technology and set up a demonstration, contact us. 

Concept Testing

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