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Go Slow to Move Fast

September 28, 2022

Optimizing the components of concepts in the front end to streamline the back end of the new product and service development process.

We need to simplify the new product and service development (NPSD) testing process. This should not be a surprising statement to anyone in business today – it’s been one of the major focus areas of both corporations and marketing research firms. Some corporations have streamlined the testing process by removing steps to compress the entire timeline, others replace quantitative with qualitative to speed up specific steps, and some have adopted entirely new processes, like lean startup where most of the optimization happens while the product or service is in market.

One of the biggest challenges we have not seen addressed in the market is how to optimize consumer propositions earlier in the NPSD process to allow the back end to move faster.

Back to Basics

Big Village has a different way of thinking about how to simplify the NPSD process; that’s to focus on optimizing the inputs of a concept first, then use concept testing as a validation test for the optimized ideas. Using a concept test as a validation test, instead of screening, is the reason why concept testing was developed in the first place, but this has been lost as the needs of corporations have changed. Concept testing has been used for everything and anything lately, especially for screening sub-optimal ideas. This practice contributes to poor in-market results and needs to change.

So, how do we optimize concepts prior to validation testing?

Optimizing Concepts so 1+1=3

When we think about optimization, a trade-off test such as conjoint or discrete choice often comes to mind. When we talk about optimizing concepts, we are using the same idea from these tests: breaking down its components to build a better concept. Successful optimization can only happen when you evaluate the pieces of the concept that drive consumer perceptions and behaviors before bringing the parts together to be validated by consumers. Only by breaking down the components of a concept can we build an optimized consumer proposition prior to validation.

There are four important components of a concept that should be optimized to build a stronger consumer proposition: idea, name, message and price. Each of these individual tests helps address business questions, such as:

  • Are your ideas relatable?
  • Are your ideas easy to understand?
  • Are your ideas really unique?
  • Are you really extending your brand, or muddying your brand imagery?
  • Have you designed for the right audience? How can you reach them?
  • Does your name cause pronunciation issues that can impact purchase consideration?
  • Do you have messages that can be translated into successful creative?
  • What is an acceptable price range that reduces the gap between price perceptions and actual price paid?

There is another very important reason why this approach is needed: to ensure we have the right KPIs for evaluating concept performance. Evaluating concepts using traditional key measures (purchase intent, value for money, uniqueness, etc.) does not reflect how consumers evaluate new products and services at the point of sale. We know consumer purchase decisions are based on evaluation of the individual components of the consumer propositions that are most important to them. Testing approaches should do the same. Big Village’s approach will deliver a more thorough understanding of why concepts score the way they do for the concept components that are most important to consumers, which will protect against bigger issues later in the NPSD process.

The Big Village Solution

At Big Village, our flexible, simple and quick turn set of Ready-Made solutions for New Product and Service Development are focused on ideas, names, messages and pricing, plus a more focused concept test design, allowing companies to test when and where they need help. Big Village has designed our tests to seamlessly fit into your new product and service roadmap while being efficient and minimizing excess spending that comes from overuse of concept testing. Plus, we allow for prioritization based on the KPIs that are important for each part of a concept and better align to how consumers make decisions.

We’re here to help you make better business decisions. Contact us to find the right solutions!

Written by Jen Hanson, Senior Vice President, Business Advisory, Insights at Big Village