Meeting customer expectations doesn’t happen by coincidence. It takes careful planning and execution to create a satisfactory product in the eyes of the customer. How can you ensure your product meets the customer’s needs? The answer is concept testing.In this article, we will define and talk about some of the reasons it’s so important. Additionally, we will talk about how it’s similar to prototyping and can impact your product roadmap.
What is concept testing?
Concept testing is a way to collect feedback from your target market regarding a new product or service you’re developing. Through user surveys or usability tests, you can ask questions about a product/service’s viability in their eyes, what’s most important, and if they would buy it. This allows you to integrate critical feedback early, which helps save time and money during the development process.
It’s important to note that this part of the process comes before a product’s launch date. Testing the features of a product with your target audience before launching is critical to implement these changes before it hits the market. This means that you can integrate their feedback early on and improve both the development process and the product itself.
However, it is not a starting point, and it can’t fully replace the ideation process. It’s essential that you come to customers with a solid proof of concept and something they can analyze, and from there, you can use their feedback as guidance for future updates and development.
Why is concept testing important?
Concept testing is more than just sending out surveys to see what people think. It generates critical, actionable feedback from your primary user persona to help guide the development process. Here are some reasons that concept testing is important.
Provides actionable feedback
One of the problems with early-stage research is there are often opinions associated but rarely actions. It’s good to know how people feel, but it’s even better to know what they actively want. Concept testing allows you to gauge what people want and expect from your product, which helps create clear, actionable goals.
Creates customer-driven guidance
Another considerable advantage of concept testing is that the advice and guidance you receive comes from your target persona. Getting market feedback is helpful, but receiving specific product guidance from your primary target market is some of the most helpful information your business can receive. This information will help guide product direction on a path that ensures it will be necessary for users in the future.
Helps drive early adoption
A lesser-known advantage is that it spreads the word about your product, ideally leading to early adoption. It aims to get feedback from your target market, but a secondary advantage is you’re putting your product and brand in their hands at no cost to them. This is helpful to establish that your brand listens to its users and develops solutions catered to their needs. As you move forward, concept testing can significantly impact the early adoption of your tool.
Helps optimize product direction
The feedback received from concept testing will not only help optimize the current stage of product development but can help provide insights into the entire growth process. For example, this information could inform:
- Comparative market fit for your product
- Brand imagery
- Cost comparisons/value for money
- Product weaknesses and pitfalls
What is the difference between concept testing and prototyping?
Concept testing is often confused with prototyping because it deals with similar scenarios. What’s the difference between the two?
Mainly, they are the same processes. Both focus on gathering feedback early in the product cycle to optimize the development process. There are one or two slight differences that should be mentioned, however.
Concept testing is solely an external-facing activity, whereas prototyping can be internal. Prototyping is crucial for companies developing retail goods because you can prioritize the internal vision over market fit. For products that hope to disrupt the market, it’s important to test options internally rather than externally.
Concept testing focuses on actionable feedback, while prototyping focuses on user preference. Prototyping usually provides multiple options that a user picks from, and concept testing provides the initial design that the user provides more in-depth feedback on. That being said, it can accommodate multiple designs as well.
How are product roadmaps useful when concept testing?
Product roadmaps are documents that outline the future changes, updates, and plans for a product cycle. They are determined by the end goals of the release cycle and the current product priorities. Because of this, it can have a big impact on a product roadmap.
During concept testing, you’re essentially comparing the internal product roadmap to the customer’s priorities. It’s essential to evaluate the proposed changes by the customer and implement them into the roadmap to meet their needs.
Product roadmaps are useful to reflect the changes needed after considering customer feedback. Updating your roadmap based on user research is the best way to ensure their needs are met and diagram your future changes as part of a sustainable growth plan.
Concept testing is a market research method that allows businesses to integrate consumer feedback before launching their product. If you liked this article, check out some of our other content written on how online whiteboards help facilitate market research and how to create your MVP.