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5 Ways That Concept Testing Data Informs Marketing Messaging

When it comes to concept testing, I’d argue that the most valuable insight is purchase intent, which explores whether a customer will move beyond simply thinking that a proposed product is a good idea to actually making a purchase. Concept testing also gathers several pieces of critical data about prospective products that brands can use to develop effective messaging and marketing campaigns. Customer preferences and perceptions play an important role in developing successful campaigns that help sell products and services. Here’s a closer look at the specific insights that you can use from concept testing initiatives to inform campaign messaging.

1. Audience segmentation: The results from a concept test can give you insights into which demographics a product appeals to most. While concept test data can be considered in the aggregate—that is, whether a product appeals to a broad, mainstream audience—it’s also important to determine whether specific audience subsets represent your ideal customer. By segmenting responses, you’ll then be better able to target elements of your campaign, from the benefits that you highlight in your product copy to final decisions regarding pricing. Concept tests reveal a great deal about the right audience for a product and help marketers drill down on effective selling points. 

2. Benefits: A digital concept test includes visual representation and a description of the product being considered. From that information, customers will focus in on perceived value and benefits. For example, yogurt could be viewed as a snack, as a means of getting calcium and protein or as a natural vehicle for probiotics. Understanding which benefits your target customers associate with a product and value the most can lend laser-focus to which features and benefits you should prioritize during product development and highlight in marketing messaging. 

3. Differentiation: One of the factors that concept testing can reveal is how differentiated the public perceives your product to be. If the perception is that there’s a strong differentiation and purchase intent is high as a result, then dialing into this message can be an effective marketing strategy. In some cases, concept tests reveal that differentiation is important, but it’s not clear how your proposed product brings something new to the table. When the data from a concept test shines a spotlight on this issue, a top marketing priority is going to be finding and articulating your unique selling proposition. 

4. Associated terms and word clouds: Another powerful way to use concept testing is to ask consumers to share what terms and details come to mind when they hear about a specific product. Successful marketing relates, in part, to using the right terms and vocabulary to speak to your audience. For example, if you’re conducting a concept test on a yogurt product and ask consumers for associated terms, you may get a range of words: creamy, silky, vanilla, fruit, breakfast, Greek, dairy, healthy, probiotics and more. Not only can analyzing these terms give you important insights into your audience’s thought processes, but also it can help you refine the language choices that you use in your marketing messaging. 

5. Pricing: While pricing arguably has a bigger strategic relevance to a product and business model, it plays a significant role in a marketing campaign, as well. The decision to price a product at $4.99 versus $9.99 represents an entirely different approach, customer segment and so forth. Through concept testing, it’s possible to better understand the role that price will play in the levels of new product adoption of your idea. At what price point is the product considered high-value, and at what point does that value perception start to wane? By carefully looking at this information, companies can make important pricing decisions vis-à-vis their marketing.

Strategically leveraging the information from your concept test can help you map out a path to effective marketing.

Andy Jolls is CMO of Encino, Calif.-based insights platform Instantly Inc.