Editor’s note: Julie Tebeka is the country lead, U.K., of Episto. This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared under the title “The concept test, the study to make the best decision.” 

Concept testing is essential to marketing research especially for companies seeking to innovate. Concept tests not only help measure the effectiveness of an idea before it goes to production but also helps understand consumer expectations and determine whether an idea is viable in the marketplace. In this article, we explore how concept testing works, why it's important and how brands can benefit from it.

A concept test is a marketing research method that involves evaluating an idea, product or service with a representative group of consumers. This method collects comments, opinions and feedback to determine if an idea is viable in the marketplace before it goes to production. Concept tests can be used to evaluate existing products, product ideas in development, packaging, advertising, slogans, brand names and identities, prototypes and new services.

Concept tests can be conducted in a variety of ways, but the most common method is to present the idea to participants (in written or visual form) and then ask them specific questions, noting their level of interest, purchase intent or overall evaluation of the idea.

A monadic test is a concept testing technique. It consists of having different options considered separately. The different versions of the concept are presented one by one to respondents who are asked the same set of questions. By comparing the results, it is possible to identify the option with the best impact on consumers.

Most concept tests involve a series of common steps.

Before starting the test, it is important to clearly define the idea that will be tested. This can include a written or visual description, product specifications, features, benefits and limitation...