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  • Writer's pictureNavid Karimian Pour

The Power of Concept Development and Testing in Shaping Successful Products

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

Did you know that 95% of new products fail? One of the key reasons behind this startling statistic is the lack of proper concept development and testing. In the world of product development, each step plays a crucial role in ensuring the success of the final product. However, Concept Development and Testing is often misunderstood or overlooked, leading to products that don't resonate with their target market.


In this blog post, we will delve deep into the intricacies of Concept Development and Testing. We will explore what it is, why it's important, and how it fits into the larger product development process. We will also examine real-world examples of successful Concept Development and Testing, and provide a detailed analysis of case studies where this stage played a crucial role in a product's success.



A Step-by-Step Guide to Concept Development and Testing


Step 1: Define Your Product Idea


The first step in concept development is defining your product idea. This is the stage where you take your initial idea and start to flesh it out. You should aim to answer the following questions:

  • What problem does your product solve?

  • Who is your target audience?

  • How does your product meet the needs of this audience?

  • What makes your product unique or different from existing solutions?

For example, if you're developing a new fitness app, your product idea might be to create an app that uses AI to provide personalized workout plans. Your target audience could be busy professionals who struggle to find time to go to the gym, and your unique selling point could be the AI personalization, which ensures each user gets a workout plan tailored to their needs and schedule.


Click on the links if you want to explore idea generation and idea screening in more detail.


Step 2: Conduct Market Research


Once you have a clear product idea, the next step is to conduct market research. This involves gathering data about your potential customers and the market you're targeting. You should aim to understand:

  • The demographics of your target market (e.g., age, gender, location, income level)

  • Their behaviors and lifestyle (e.g., hobbies, shopping habits, online behavior)

  • Their needs and pain points related to the problem your product solves

  • The existing solutions they're currently using and their limitations

You can conduct market research through surveys, interviews, focus groups, or secondary research (e.g., online research, market reports, industry analysis). The goal is to gather as much information as possible to help you understand your target market and refine your product concept.


Step 3: Develop Your Product Concept


Based on your product idea and the insights from your market research, you can now develop your product concept. This involves taking your initial idea and turning it into a more concrete concept that includes specific details about the product. Your product concept should clearly articulate:

  • What the product is and how it works

  • The key features of the product

  • The benefits it provides to the user

  • How it's different from or better than existing solutions

For example, for your AI fitness app, your product concept might be an app that users can access anytime, anywhere to get personalized workout plans. The app might include features like AI-generated workout plans, progress tracking, and integration with wearable devices. The benefits to the user could be convenience, personalization, and the ability to track their progress over time.


Step 4: Create Concept Representations


Once you have a detailed product concept, the next step is to create representations of that concept. This could be sketches, 3D models, prototypes, or even detailed written descriptions. The goal is to create something tangible that people can see, understand, and react to.


For example, for your fitness app, you might create wireframes or mockups of the app showing the key screens and features. You might also create a prototype that people can interact with to get a feel for how the app works.


Creating these representations can help you and others visualize the product and identify any potential issues or improvements. It also provides a basis for concept testing, as you can use these representations to gather feedback from potential users.


Step 5: Plan Your Concept Testing


With your product concept and representations in hand, you can now plan your concept testing. This involves deciding:

  • What testing methods you'll use (e.g., surveys, focus groups, one-on-one interviews)

  • What questions you'll ask to gather feedback on your product concept

  • Who you'll test your concept with (i.e., a sample of your target market)

For example, you might decide to conduct a survey to gather quantitative feedback from a large number of people, followed by focus groups to gather more in-depth qualitative feedback. Your survey might include questions about the perceived usefulness of the app, the appeal of the key features, and the likelihood of using such an app. Your focus groups might delve deeper into the reasons behind people's responses and gather feedback on the specific aspects of the app.


When selecting your sample for concept testing, ensure it's representative of your target market. This means the participants should match your target market in terms of demographics, behaviors, and needs.


Step 6: Conduct Concept Testing


Once your plan is in place, you can conduct your concept testing. This involves presenting your product concept and representations to your sample and gathering their feedback. During concept testing, it's important to be open and receptive to feedback. Remember, the goal is not to sell your concept to the participants, but to learn from them. Encourage honest feedback, ask probing questions, and listen carefully to what people say.


For example, in your survey, you might ask participants to rate the appeal of your fitness app on a scale of 1 to 10. In your focus groups, you might ask participants to discuss what they like and dislike about the app, and how they might use it in their daily lives.


Step 7: Analyze the Feedback


After conducting your concept testing, the next step is to analyze the feedback. This involves reviewing the data, looking for patterns and trends, and drawing conclusions.


For example, if most survey respondents rated the appeal of your app highly, and focus group participants spoke positively about the AI personalization feature, this would suggest that your product concept is on the right track. On the other hand, if participants raised concerns about privacy issues related to the AI, this would be an area you need to address.


Step 8: Refine Your Product Concept


Based on the feedback, refine your product concept. This might involve making changes to the features, design, or even the underlying product idea. Remember, concept development and testing is an iterative process, so don't be afraid to make changes and test again.


For example, if participants loved the AI personalization but were concerned about privacy, you might refine your concept to include enhanced privacy features, such as clear privacy policies and user controls over data.


Step 9: Repeat as Necessary


Finally, repeat the concept testing and refinement process as necessary. With each iteration, your product concept should become stronger and more aligned with your target market's needs and expectations.


For example, after refining your app to address privacy concerns, you might conduct another round of concept testing to see how the revised concept is received. If further issues are identified, you would again refine your concept and retest.


By following these steps, you can effectively navigate the stages of concept development and testing and increase the chances of your product's success. Remember, the key is to be flexible, open to feedback, and willing to make changes based on what you learn.



Case Studies: Concept Development and Testing in Action


To better understand the importance and impact of concept development and testing, let's take a look at two real-world examples:


Case Study 1: Tesla's Model 3 Purchase Intent Testing


In 2016, Tesla Inc., the renowned electric vehicle manufacturer, decided to venture into a new market segment with the Model 3 - a more affordable electric car aimed at the mass market. However, developing a new vehicle is a costly and risky endeavor, especially for a company like Tesla that was still in its growth phase.


To mitigate this risk, Tesla came up with an innovative approach to concept testing. Instead of traditional methods like surveys or focus groups, they announced the Model 3 and allowed customers to pre-order the car by putting down a refundable deposit of $1,000. This was done even before the car was fully designed or ready for production.


The response was overwhelming. Within a week, Tesla had received over 325,000 pre-orders, translating to about $14 billion in potential sales. This not only validated the concept of an affordable electric car but also provided Tesla with a significant amount of working capital to help fund the car's development.


This case study demonstrates the power of innovative concept testing methods and shows how it can be used to validate product ideas, secure funding, and reduce the risk associated with new product development.


Case Study 2: Lego's Inclusive Product Development


Lego, the world-renowned toy manufacturer, has a long history of producing toys that are predominantly popular among boys. However, recognizing the need for more inclusivity, the company decided to develop products that would also appeal to girls.


To achieve this, Lego conducted extensive concept testing. They observed how girls played with toys and found that girls were more interested in the interior details of the toy sets, while boys were more focused on the exterior. Based on these insights, Lego developed a new line of products called "Lego Friends" that included more interior details and themes that appealed to girls.


The Lego Friends line was a huge success and significantly increased Lego's sales to girls. But Lego didn't stop there. They continued their efforts to create more inclusive products, which led to the launch of their first LGBTQ+ set in 2021, released during Pride Month.


This case study shows how concept testing can be used to understand customer needs and preferences, guide product development efforts, and promote inclusivity and diversity in product offerings. It also demonstrates that concept testing is not a one-time activity but should be an ongoing process that informs product development over time.



Conclusion


Concept development and testing are critical stages in the product development process. They provide a framework for transforming abstract ideas into concrete product concepts and validating these concepts with your target market. By effectively leveraging these stages, you can create products that truly resonate with your customers and stand a strong chance of success in the market. We hope this post has provided you with valuable insights and practical tips to navigate the critical stages of concept development and testing.

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