Exploring Concept Testing: Your Secret Weapon for Product Development Success

concept testing
Learning Strategies / Business

Exploring Concept Testing: Your Secret Weapon for Product Development Success

The process of evaluating consumer responses and perceptions towards a proposed idea or concept before fully investing resources into its development is what we refer to as concept testing.

While it might sound like a technical term confined to just market research, concept testing is mostly about gauging if your idea resonates with your target audience or not.

But, why exactly should you care? We’ll find out in the following parts of this article, its objectives, methodologies, and why it is an important part of your business.

What is Concept Testing?

Concept testing is a market research technique used to evaluate the viability and appeal of a new product, service, or even marketing campaign before it’s fully developed or launched. Imagine it as a test drive for your idea, allowing you to gather real-world feedback from potential customers and refine your concept to better resonate with their needs and desires.

It involves a series of structured steps aimed at gathering feedback and insights from potential consumers regarding a new product or service idea. This process helps businesses validate assumptions, identify potential issues, and refine their concepts before going any further.

Interestingly, the ability of concept testing to bridge the gap between innovation and market demand is what ensures that the final product meets consumer expectations and addresses their needs effectively.

What are the 6 Steps of Concept Testing?

Here are the steps involved in concept testing

Define Your Project Idea

Start by identifying the concept you want to test. It could either be a groundbreaking app, a sustainable fashion line, or an innovative gadget. Whatever it is, clarity is key. The important questions you’d need to ask yourself at this point are: What problems will this project solve, and for whom?

Hence, understanding your target audience is very vital.

Develop Concept

This is where you bring your idea to life. It could be a rough sketch, a detailed prototype, a storyboard, or even a simple written description. The key is to create a representation of your concept that is clear and easy for potential customers to understand.

Select Sample

Finding the right people to test your concept is crucial. They should represent your ideal customer base, sharing similar demographics and characteristics to those you envision buying your product. Consider using online survey platforms or recruiting services to find qualified participants.

Present the Concept and Conduct Testing

This is where you introduce your concept to your target audience. It is also at this stage that you’ll need to implement various testing methods such as surveys, focus groups, or online experiments to gather feedback on the proposed concepts. Encourage participants to provide detailed insights and suggestions.

Analyze Results

Once you’ve presented your concept, it’s time to gather feedback from your target audience. There are various methods you can use, such as surveys, interviews, focus groups, or even card sorting exercises.

Tailor your chosen method to the type of feedback you’re seeking.

Analyze and Apply Findings

The final step is to analyze the feedback you’ve collected and use it to refine your concept. Look for trends and patterns in the responses to identify areas for improvement. Don’t be afraid to make significant changes based on the feedback as the main objective of concept testing is to make a product that your audience can relate to.

Read: Expert Insights: The Best Change Management Models for Achieving Business Success

Objectives of Concept Testing

Concept testing isn’t just about ticking boxes; it’s about strategic decision-making. Here’s why it matters:

  • Finite Resources: Where we have little to no time and money to waste, concept testing ensures you pursue viable projects. It prevents resource wastage on ideas that won’t fly.
  • Enhanced Trust: Stakeholders and investors appreciate evidence over blind faith. A well-executed concept test builds trust by demonstrating viability.
  • Mitigate Risk: Identify potential risks and challenges early in the development process, minimizing costly errors and failures post-launch.
  • Optimize Marketing: Inform marketing and communication strategies based on consumer feedback, ensuring effective messaging and positioning.
  • Gain Competitive Advantage: Understand how the concept compares to existing alternatives in the market, identifying opportunities for differentiation.

Related Article: Building a Rock-Solid Financial Plan for Your Small Business

Examples of Concept Testing

Let’s go over some examples where concept testing saved the day

  • Tesla Model 3: Before Elon Musk’s electric dream hit the roads, concept testing gauged purchase intent. People didn’t just want it; they were willing to pay for it.
  • Lego Friends: Lego’s colorful line for girls underwent concept testing. The result? A hit that resonated with its target audience.
  • Google Glass: Remember those futuristic glasses? Concept testing revealed mixed reactions, leading to adjustments and eventual discontinuation.
  • Tinder: The dating app’s name and interface were concept-tested. Turns out, swiping right was a winner!
  • Mallow & Marsh: These gourmet marshmallows nailed their concept. Testing confirmed their appeal and paved the way for sweet success.
  • Airbnb Logo: Airbnb’s logo redesign faced scrutiny. Concept testing helped them choose a design that resonated globally.

Proof of Concept Testing

Proof of concept testing involves validating the feasibility and viability of a new idea or technology before committing to full-scale implementation. To conduct proof of concept testing effectively, follow these steps:

  • Define Objectives: Clearly outline the objectives and success criteria for the proof of concept test. Determine what you aim to prove or validate through the testing process.
  • Prototype Development: Develop a prototype or minimal viable product (MVP) showcasing the core functionality or key aspects of the concept. This prototype serves as a tangible representation for testing purposes.
  • Select Test Environment: Identify the appropriate environment or setting for conducting the proof of concept test. This could involve simulated environments, controlled experiments, or real-life depending on the nature of the concept.
  • Execute Test Plan: Implement the test plan according to the predefined objectives and methodologies. Gather relevant data and observations to evaluate the performance and feasibility of the concept.
  • Analyze Results: Analyze the data collected during testing, assessing the outcomes against the defined success criteria. Identify any limitations, challenges, or areas for improvement based on the results.
  • Draw Conclusions: Based on the analysis, draw conclusions regarding the feasibility and viability of the concept. Determine if the proof of concept test supports further investment or refinement of the idea.

You too, should read this: Understanding the Difference Between Aim and Objective for Clearer Goal Alignment

Scorecard on Concept Testing

As you read this piece, it’s necessary you use this scorecard to analyze and reflect on the key points discussed. This scorecard is designed to help you personally engage with the content, ensuring you understand and can apply the insights to your own product development efforts.


How does concept testing fit into market research?

Concept testing is an important aspect of market research. It allows consumers to provide feedback on if a concept’s features and benefits align with their needs or not. 

Why is concept testing important?

 Concept testing prevents businesses from wasting time, money, and resources on ideas that should never be brought to market

What is the purpose of concept testing?

The purpose of concept testing is to validate product, design, and marketing ideas early in the development process.

How does concept testing benefit product launches?

Concept testing reduces the risks associated with ill-informed research and guesswork. It ensures that product concepts are adjusted based on customer feedback, leading to more successful launches and better alignment with market needs


Concept testing offers a structured, evidence-based approach to validating ideas, ensuring that new products and services meet the needs and expectations of their target audience. By following the six steps of concept testing, businesses can gather critical insights that inform and refine their offerings.


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