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There’s a Better Way: Product Concept Testing

January 12, 2021

Having spent more than 20 years building and leading consumer insights teams at tech companies like Yahoo!, T-Mobile, and Sonos, I learned a thing or two about how to effectively identify, test, and bring new products to market. One of my biggest frustrations in the “old” days was the time it would take to get deep and scalable insights about new concepts. More often than not, my experience led to providing a de facto answer for my product colleagues. It would take 6-8 weeks for a quantitative concept test, 4-6 weeks for focus groups, and it would cost thousands of dollars to provide a solution that would inform their strategic direction.

Of course, we know that in today’s market reality, 6-8 weeks is a lifetime, and product teams don’t have the luxury of time to wait or money to spend. They demand answers in days, not weeks. Executives pressure product managers for data that show their project is worth continued investment. They need to know how big the opportunity is, who the target market is, what features drive product success, what changes to make it more relevant, and how to bring it to market. Product managers are on the hook to generate answers and build confidence as consumer insights teams are placed in the uncomfortable position of making trade-offs to deliver those answers.

What’s the solution? Big Village Insights developed an Agile Concept Testing approach that delivers the deep, emotional learning about a product that product managers crave with the “hard numbers” the executives demand when making go/no go decisions – in 3 weeks or less at a price that rivals DIY. That’s right. With Big Village’s Agile Concept Testing approach, clients receive qualitative insight in a 3-Day Digital Hive that feeds into a large sample, quantitative survey on our CARAVAN Plus agile surveys platform.

Recently, a leading global manufacturer of home electronics approached Big Village with a challenge that to her seemed unsolvable. Her product and design teams were working on a new concept in the highly competitive subscription services market. Her team required fast, detailed, objective consumer feedback that improved the idea and provided data to shape the business case for their MVP (minimally viable product) launch. And they needed answers for an upcoming executive steering committee meeting in 3 weeks. My client’s team had executed small sample DIY research that provided useful input for early-stage development, but they knew it lacked credibility to share with executives.

Fortunately, using Big Village’s Agile Concept Testing solution, we helped our client in two compressed research phases. In Step 1, we used our CARAVAN Plus agile surveys platform to execute a concept test with 2000 consumers who matched their target audience. We captured objective evaluations of the new product, documented subscription drivers and barriers, and created profiles of concept Lovers, Haters, and Rejectors.

In Step 2, we executed a 3-Day Digital Hive with a representative sample of 300 consumers who matched our client’s target audience. We recruited our Digital Hive directly from the pool of consumers in Step 1 based on evaluations of the new product concept (Lovers, Haters, and Fence-Sitters). For 3 days, consumers answered questions about the subscription concept and how they would use it in their daily lives.

Big Village and our client collaborated on the key learnings and recommendations. By collaborating on insight development as the results came in, we quickly uncovered key learnings. Within two weeks – from the first discussion with the client to the final report of results – our client had comprehensive insights with recommendations. Our client and their product, design, and marketing teams had the consumer feedback they needed to shape the product requirements, prioritize features, identify target audiences, and articulate the go-to-market position. The Agile Product Concept testing approach provided our client with the quantitative data they needed to make their go-no-go decision in executive reviews.

When you need results in days (not weeks) and a full-service solution (at the price of self-service) that allows you to be hands-on or off, you have an option. Storytelling and insight development happen in real-time across the phases of research. And Big Village’s approach is 100% consultative with years of experience testing new products. We support our clients every step of the way.

When evaluating concepts, you don’t have to sacrifice depth or quality for cost or time. There is a better way where you can have it all.


Written by David Feick, SVP at Big Village Insights.