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Who can use Express Test?

For decades concept testing has been the preserve of large corporates. Express Test is the first concept test system in SA designed to be affordable enough to be within reach of SMEs and private individuals.

When should you use Express Test?

As a monadic-concept test system, Express test is ideal for:

  • Quick, cost effective testing and refinement of new concepts. As a monadic system, there is no need for the researcher to spend vast amounts of time researching the competitive set, and creating artwork/concepts for each and every competitor.
  • In terms of development stage – preferably early on before business planning and prototyping. However, Express Test can be used to improve existing products as well.
  • When you don’t need precise volume or market share forecasts, and simply wish to know whether your concept will outperfom competitors, along with indicators on how to improve the product, whether it is priced correctly and where to distribute it to maximise sales.
  • Identify the best market segments to target (you many be surprised by who is and who isn’t interested in your new concept).

What forecasts are made?

When it comes to new product research used to reach launch decisions, there are three groups of techniques – 1.) Simulated Test Market models (STM) which forecast market share/volumes to a high level of accuracy. These are complex methodologies which often require a product test along with the concept test – especially in the case of FMCGs where repeat purchase rates must be estimated. Express Test does not claim to be an STM. 2.) Conjoint Analysis which uses consumer reactions to alternative concept profiles which are generated using a computer. Acentric offers this as a more advanced technique for evaluating alternative product and price configurations. 2.) Concept tests which simply evaluate the new concepts performance in terms of preference and other key measure relative to norms or specific competitors. Express Test falls into this latter group. Positive results indicate a strong concept, but assume that your marketing strategy is correct and that you will ensure sufficient promotion/distribution to achieve the concepts potential, but no forecasts are usually provided.

What is overclaim?

When consumers are asked to indicate their purchase intentions in relation to a new product concept, they generally overstate their intentions. For instance if an intention scale is used to estimate the ‘trial’ rate for a new FMCG product in a monadic concept test situation, the percentage indicating they will purchase, is usually far higher than the percentage who do in fact purchase the product to try – even after adjusting for awareness and distribution. This overclaim differs by product category and country. As a result marketing research firms who specialise in new product research, have developed methods to adjust such claims so they are more accurate. There are a wide variety of approaches, and Acentric uses the best approach to suit the situation.

One example is the normative-database approach of using actual trial rates and concept test survey results in order to improve estimates. Since overclaim varies by category and country, databases must be available for the particular category for this method to work. An illustration of this type of callibration process is shown below – although this common variant suffers from multi-collinearity.

What different versions exist?

The test can be customised and priced according to your needs. Besides a normal Express Test, which aims to test one final concept in detail – a ‘concept screening option’ exists. Concept screening is ideal when you have many different versions of a concept and wish to know which is most likely to succeed, but don’t require the detail of a concept test.

How can I protect my idea – should I patent my idea first?

If it is a truly-unique ‘physical’ product, yes, get a provisional patent (a low-cost short term patent). Email us for a referral to a cost-effective patent attorney. 

Otherwise, various procedures are used to reduce risk. Surveys are limited to small sample sizes to reduce the pool of participants. If necessary, Acentric has a standard ‘non-disclosure’ agreement which we will sign. Our panelists also agree to a non-disclosure clause when signing up and are reminded of this at the beginning of each survey. However no system is perfect. That said, your competitors, even if they became aware of the survey will not have access to the proprietary analysis and report which is key to evaluating your concept. Since most new concepts fail, blindly copying rivals new product concepts would be a poor strategy indeed.