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Why concept testing surveys?

When you have a new idea or concept you wish to launch, you can save a large amount of money by eliminating bad concepts early on using concept test surveys (or sometimes conjoint analysis). Concept test surveys have been used for decades to improve the odds of success.

Monadic (single product) tests enable rapid concept testing. Further these tests work best as part of an established concept testing system – not as once-offs – to enable reliable interpretation of the results, which is why DIY concept testing is very risky.

By placing your idea (anonymously) in front of a representative group of consumers (using a survey not a focus group) and measuring consumer reaction on a specific set of measures, you can get an indication as to whether or not you should launch as is, refine or abandon. While on the surface this seems logical, there are problems to watch out for.

Avoid the concept-test interpretation traps

A trap many fall into, is that they compare the new product-concept scores to the same scores for existing products and services. The problem is that new concepts tend to get higher scores on certain questions, which only then drop later as familiarity grows. The risk is that you then reach the false conclusion that your concept is better than the alternatives. That’s why it is best to use a professional marketing researcher who specialises in concept test. They will be able to compare your new concept scores to normative databases of previous new concept tests conducted using the same system.

Another trap many fall into, is that they interpret the ratings for each question in the same way. However the range of likely scores differs depending on the question. A professional marketing researcher who specialises in concept test will be able to compare your new concept scores to previous new concept tests conducted using their standard system.

Lastly, purchase intention overclaim can lead to misleading conclusions. Each product category has different overclaim factors; as do different cultures.

Acentric’s Express Test concept testing system solves all three problems. Your scores are compared to a database of previous tests and purchase intentions are adjusted using a statistical model to eliminate overclaim.

What types of products and services can it be used on?


Acentric's concept test is especially useful for testing mass-market products and service concepts. If you are targeting a niche market, then the norms may not apply, but other aspects can be evaluated. Keep in mind thought that the costs of testing a niche are usually higher than a standard 'genpop' survey.

What concept testing is and what it is not

Traditionally concept test surveys referred to surveys testing product or service concepts, but some have broadened this to include ad testing, package testing, website testing and logo testing. This is unfortunate. Ideally product and service concepts should be distinguished from the communication of those concepts, as gaps between product concepts and how they are in fact communicated is often of interest.

Concept tests & marketing mix

While concept tests are able to evaluate product and price using a survey, the promotion / communication and distribution are not usually evaluated in the survey but instead incorporated using other methods.

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