Will Your Product Stand Out? Avoid Common Pitfalls of Concept Testing

man looks at supermarket shelves

Does your product idea stand out in the crowd? A good concept test will tell you.
Image source Flickr user Paul Joseph

A strong concept test acts as the compass to your company’s future product development plans. But testing out new ideas before you bring them to market is also risky business, in the sense that you depend on this information to make decisions that can have a financial impact on your bottom line in the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars range. With this in mind, it’s absolutely critical that your concept testing have a reliable research design, solid implementation, and thoughtful analysis to guide your activities. There are four common pitfalls that companies fall into with concept testing. Here’s a closer look at these issues and what your research team can do to avoid them.

Continue reading

Personalization and Segmentation: How Market Research Is Transforming the Way Businesses Create Content

audience segmentation

Are you effectively segmenting your audience? Audience segmentation helps improve your marketing and content strategies.
Image credit by Flickr user marfis75

Developing effective content is the cornerstone of many of today’s most successful marketing efforts. Whether it’s helping your site rank well by frequently publishing quality content to your blog or helping cultivate stronger relationships with customers by providing eBooks and white papers on their most urgent issues, customers today have come to expect companies to actively provide fresh content. It’s also crucial to stage early interventions with buyers in the research process. One estimate suggests that customers go through 57% of the buying process without ever speaking to a salesperson. However, amidst the flood of content targeting every market, it’s critical to stand out. Content must be highly targeted to your audience’s interests and needs. Here’s a closer look at how market research can help you more effectively segment your audience and personalize your content creation and delivery. Continue reading

Writing Effective Concept Descriptions for Concept Testing

concept description

This vintage window product description provides a level of detail and depth that’s a good model for concept descriptions.
Image source Flickr user C.K. Hartman

If you’re setting out to test new ideas for your business, one of the most critical aspects of how your product does – and how accurate the test results are – starts with how you structure your tests. What platform or medium will you use for testing? What sample audience will you test the concepts with? And most importantly, how will you frame or present the ideas? While the concept testing market offers some best practices, there’s no universal approach. The overarching goal is to help the respondent understand the product as deeply as possible to give you a true barometer of their intent to purchase. Here’s a closer look at what information you need to consider when developing concept descriptions to effectively test your product ideas.

Continue reading

7 of the Worst Product Launches of All Time

product launch fails

Crystal Pepsi didn’t win the race to the “successful product” finish line.
Image source: Flickr user gavin rice

Some products are remembered for their resounding success, and others are widely known for being epic failures. Whether a product becomes a hit or falls flat with consumers, one thing is for certain: every product launch represents a unique opportunity for learning and growth. Here are seven of the most memorable product launch failures of all time and what you can learn from their example when designing your own concept testing and product development strategies. Continue reading

Because Bacon: How Chocolate Covered Bacon Almost Took the Market By Storm

chocolate covered bacon

Chocolate covered bacon, sometimes called “Pig Lickers,” has been a hot niche trend around the country.
Image source: Flickr user Javcon117

Whether you’re enjoying a plate of sunny side up eggs or a fresh Cobb salad, certain meals simply aren’t complete without a dash of bacon. However, some people’s love of the crispy and delicious pork product extends well beyond traditional dishes. In the first post of this new recurring monthly series that we’re calling “Because Bacon,” we’re taking a look at some of the best and worst bacon-related products to hit the market.

For many creative cooks, bacon truly does make everything taste better. The newest bacon-infused recipes range from both the innovative to the bizarre. Here’s the story of how one particularly unique concoction– chocolate covered bacon– began to gain popularity among consumers, and some helpful lessons that every business can take away from the case study.

Continue reading

Helpful Market Research Insights from Harvard Business School

market research insights

Business schools have the latest insights on innovation and market research. Here’s what HBS had to say.
Image source: Flickr user University of Salford 

The market research landscape is constantly evolving. New strategies, methodologies, and systems of delivery are being regularly introduced. For companies that are conducting campaigns to better understand their target audience’s needs and expectations as well as to keep a finger on the market pulse, it’s important to stay up on the newest innovations in the field. Some of the best thinking is regularly coming out of major academic institutions, where professors and researchers are working hard to learn what drives consumer behavior and how businesses can harness that information to improve performance. If you’re mapping out an upcoming market research campaign for your business, here are some of the latest insights from the experts at Harvard Business School (HBS). Continue reading

Instant.ly Shelf Score – July 2014

Instantly Shelf Score

We recently launched the Instant.ly Concept Testing platform, designed to be a rapid and easy solution for companies that want to test new concepts early in the product development process. With 95% of new product launches failing, it’s important to look for early warning signs and market indicators of success. Consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies are constantly launching new products. It’s been estimated that 50% of revenue for food-based CPG companies comes from products that weren’t on the shelves five years before. It’s easy to see why more than 20,000 new products hit the shelf each year. Being data geeks, we love tracking trends and helping our clients follow developments in the CPG space, which is why we’re publishing Instant.ly Shelf Score™.

Continue reading

5 Tips for Developing Insightful Research Analysis

data analysis

How you analyze and visualize data makes all the difference.
Image source Flickr user Marc Smith

Many companies set out with a research agenda that’s focused on a specific goal: should we move ahead with this new product design, is our customer service organization functioning effectively, or what direction should our company go next? Others simply know that it’s time to get access to market data, ideally directly from their customers, and so they create a research design and initiate a survey or concept test.

There are several elements that go into a successful market research effort, from asking the right questions to going after the right sample group. But one area that we haven’t discussed in a while is how to develop insightful research analysis. Your ability to extract impactful insights from your research is what will determine whether it’s a success or not. Here’s a closer look at five tips every company should keep in mind for developing insightful survey and market research analysis.

Continue reading

What’s the Difference between a Concept Test and a Product Test?

shopping cart with items

Which product concepts will make it into consumers’ carts? Concept testing lets you know.
Image source: Flickr user Robert Couse-Baker

For brands that are introducing testing into their product development process for the first time, it’s important to understand the different types of testing that apply throughout the product development life cycle. Understanding what testing options are appropriate at each step in the process can keep you focused, and ensure that you get the kind of feedback you need from your audience to be successful in the market. Here’s a closer look at the differences between concept testing and product testing. More importantly, here are some key takeaways every brand needs to know about concept testing and why it needs to be a central aspect of your product development testing plan.

Continue reading

Why Now’s the Perfect Time to Shake Up Your Market Research Efforts

changing market research

Is your research agenda stuck? It may be time to mix things up.
Image credit Jake Hills via Unsplash

Is your company doing all that it could and should be doing with regard to your research agenda? Many marketers and managers have their doubts. It’s often a case of not conducting enough research, not doing the right research, or not pushing the boundaries of innovation. In a few cases, it’s not doing any market research at all! Yet more than ever, companies are coming to realize that the market’s voice can transform everything – from how they choose which concepts to develop into full-blown products to how to manage and deploy those in the market. Many companies find that their research agendas go stale over time. There’s never been a better time to shake up your agenda and tackle new challenges with market research. Here’s how to make that happen.

Continue reading