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Concept Testing: Examples | Types | Costs | Benefits

Updated: 4 days ago

Part of the great concept testing examples to draw inspiration from - red felt pen highlighting the process from analysis to concept to solution to success

Discover how concept testing works with examples along with the definition, the types, costs and benefits to highlight the importance of conducting concept testing research from product or service designs to advertising and messaging. Concept testing will not only help to establish whether a new idea will attract potential customers but also refine elements of the offering to be more appealing to a target audience.

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What is concept testing?

Concept testing helps to evaluate one or more new ideas amongst a small selection of people that are representative of a target audience for a business or organisation. This technique will support refinement of product and service ideas in the early stages of product development (NPD) but is also used for advertising, website design, packaging design, name tests, logo testing and promotions.

3 key reasons for using concept testing

The concept testing examples mentioned above highlight many of the benefits of concept tests. The following are 3 key reasons for using concept tests:

1. Helps to prevent making the wrong selection

All types of businesses are susceptible to mistakes such as the logo designs for BP (British Petroleum) in 2000 and Dirty Bird (Welsh catering company), so choosing a bad idea is likely to be very costly and cause reputable damage to your brand. Therefore, the need to test these ideas with your target audience and see what they think, what they like and dislike is invaluable.

2. Flexibility in concept design

In surveying your desired audience you are able to test all elements of the concept idea whether that be the colours, features, style, pricing or branding. Adjustments can be made to the concept following the initial findings and be retested again until you find a concept idea that your customers will truly want and need.

3. Helps to gain backing from your work colleagues

The consumer insights gained from the research maybe positive to win over any sceptical colleagues at work to warm to your ideas like the popularity of the idea or the high level of purchase intent amongst potential customers.

4 main types of concept testing

There are 4 main types of concept tests available to use:

  1. Monadic testing (single concept)

  2. Sequential monadic testing (multiple concepts)

  3. Protomonadic testing (multiple concepts with a preference at the end)

  4. Comparative testing (comparing multiple concepts)

1. Monadic Testing

Monadic testing is a technique where participants are presented with a product to test on its own, rather than being asked to compare it with a competing product. Therefore, each person only tries one product and then the evaluative questions are asked, for example, overall liking, value for money questions and so on. These types of monadic tests are used for new products or line extensions. A current offering should be included as a control/benchmark.

2. Sequential monadic testing

Sequential monadic testing design is where participants are asked to evaluate multiple or all concepts in a rotated fashion, one after the other. Participants should be evenly distributed across all concepts as a starting point, so that they have an equal opportunity of seeing each of the concepts first.

3. Protomonadic testing

Protomonadic testing use the sequential monadic approach with multiple concepts, which are then compared at the end in find out their preferred choice.

4. Comparative testing

Comparative testing is used to compare two or more concept ideas to see how they measure up to against each other by evaluating the performance of these concepts along with their appeal, strengths and weaknesses.

4 good concept testing examples

There are some great examples of concept testing to show the importance of

conducting this type of research:

1. Tesla

This has got to be one of the best examples of concept testing, where respondents virtually bought into concept idea they were evaluating.

Back in 2017, Tesla were running concept tests of their new Model 3 car and after participants finished studying and evaluating the concept car, they were invited to put down a deposit for the Tesla Model 3. The result of this move generated $400 million and the findings from the research were put into action to make any necessary modifications.

2. Coke Zero

Coke Zero may have been called Zero Fat Coke if concept testing research was not done. Plus, the launch of the drink was slow even though concept results highlighted big market potential. However, the marketers stuck with the concept idea and it eventually turned out to be a success.

3. Yamaha

Yamaha in their production of musical instruments, were weighing up the idea of whether to use sliders or knobs on their Yamaha Montage Keyboard. They conducted a survey to test the preference of these ideas and received 400 responses from musicians across the globe. In a relatively short time, they were able to make a decision where sliders were included with a key knob.

4. Lego

For many years Lego was mainly bought for boys, which concerned the brand so they conducted market research over period of time and found boys and girls interacted with the Lego in different ways. Boys tended to like stand-alone structures, while girls were more concerned with the backgrounds and environments.

Therefore, with the help of concept testing, Lego launched Lego Friends in 2012 with the product range including stylised boxes of Lego to build a pop star house, cupcake café, a hair salon, supermarket and so on. This proved to be a resounding success with the brand’s average annual growth of 15% since launch.

Bad Example: Hard Rock Theme Park at Myrtle Beach

There are also examples when businesses go ahead on instinct alone with no research and turns out to be a failure as in the case of the Hard Rock Theme Park at Myrtle Beach in South Carolina. $400 million was invested in this venture and management did not conduct market research of either the market, the site or the concept as well as ignoring advice from leading experts and six months later it was shut down.

How much does concept testing cost?

There are two avenues that are available to do concept testing with different ranges in cost.

Research agencies typically cost between $11,000 to $30,000 (£8,000 to £20,000)

If using research agencies, concept testing can typically cost between $11,000 to $30,000 (£8,000 to £20,000), which is dependent on the sample size, the number of concepts being tested and the level of difficulty interviewing your target audience (incidence).

This will not only include the fieldwork costs but also the analysis and reporting of the results. For business 2 business research (B2B), the cost will be alot more due to a smaller more complex audience for recruitment along with a likely alternative method of recruitment being used (telephone research).

DIY market research via survey platforms typically charge from $19 (£21) per month (personal plan) to $200 (£150) per month (business plan)

Alternatively there is a much cheaper option through DIY market research, there are survey platforms available such as JotForm with a wide range of customisable template surveys and a variety of other online forms that you can use including concept testing or SurveySparrow that also include their own online panels to take part in the research if you don't have customer or subscriber database that you can reach out to.

These survey platforms typically charge from $19 (£21) per month for a personal plan to $200 (£150) per month for a business plan. This will not only be for concepts test but other types of surveys and forms of customer feedback as well to give you continuous insights of your client base.

Key take out

Concept testing is great for assessing and developing innovative new products, promotional material, pricing and messaging. So, it’s invaluable for the growth of a business to use this type of research and stay ahead of the competition.


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