Toluna LogoBy Debbie Senior, VP, Product Automation

Claims testing is just one of the new product development solutions Toluna offers.

Claims are an important marketing and communications tool.

When markers present claims, they provide a reason for a consumer to trust in your product/service, as well as acting as a promise of the benefit they will receive from it.

A marketing claim is any assertion you make about your organization, brand or product across any channel. It can show up in traditional marketing or advertising, digital promotions, public statements or even on product packaging.

Testing of claims is an important step in the product life cycle prior to launch given you need to ensure that your claim is believable, different and fits with your brand to have the best potential and not create friction with consumer purchase.

Here are our top tips for considering claims.

  1. Product/service claims can be made at various moments including in communications/advertising, in promotions and on the product or its packaging, so it is important to set the context, including any visuals related to the claims, at the start of the survey so this is clearly understood by the respondent.
  2. A claim is not usually made in isolation in a supermarket, store, website or advert but shown alongside the brand. Measuring that a claim fits with the brand is therefore important.
  3. Some claims may be communicating new ideas, ground, technology or scientific progress and it is important these are understood and credible to set realistic product/service expectations. While some new terminology might impress consumers, others can find it detrimental if it’s not clear or feels unachievable.
  4. Most claims, given the competitive nature of the product/service landscape in many markets/categories, need to stand out and demonstrate the unique features/benefits of the product/service. This needs to be taken into account when creating the wording of the claims.
  5. While internal product, marketing and communications teams will have their own sets of claims they want to test based on strategy, what is legally possible and competing offers, it might be useful to conduct some initial qualitative work to help to phrase these in consumer language, narrow down the number to be tested and/or to create new ones based on consumer knowledge of products/services/trends in the category.
  6. The wording used in any claim is important as it needs to be accurate, spelled correctly and checked legally prior to testing. If a claim is stating that a product/service is significantly better than others on the market then it needs to hold up to scrutiny. This is also important for any translations. The tone/boldness of the claim could also be important to check and it can be wise to test a similar claim that uses different tones/commitment levels.

Our top tips for survey research designed to support claims.

  1. The target audience for your survey will depend on your product/market objectives. If the claim is to generate increased usage/sales from your existing customer base then your audience may be narrower versus a situation when you need to expand your target market where your audience will need to be broader. You should check to ensure your provider has sufficient reach and flexibility for the different surveys you need to launch and will provide your results with an option to view different subpopulation groups as needed.
  2. Claims can be tested at different phases of the product life cycle and if the testing is at an earlier phase you may have a higher number to test versus later in the life cycle when the product/service is more defined so your survey design/approach needs to have this flexibility.
  3. If you are testing claims across multiple markets then a key aim is likely to be identifying those that are universally acceptable, which means using a consistent survey design/methodology.
  4. For practical and cost efficiency reasons a sequential monadic survey approach is the most appropriate – i.e., one where a respondent sees and rates several claims per survey. However, to avoid fatigue and ensure quality we suggest a maximum of five per respondent. The order they are shown should be randomized across the sample. In the Toluna Start platform, this is done automatically for you through our Random Assignment feature. We recommend a minimum of 100 completed interviews per claim.
  5. Your claims are most likely to be text statements. Given how you will use them in market, and that they need to grab quick attention from consumers at point of purchase or in among communications noise, they need to be concise and clear and are usually a few words or a sentence. In some scenarios, a product/service might have more than one claim, such as a benefit and a scientific innovation claim.
  6. I’ve already highlighted that we feel the key metrics to measure are believability, differentiation and brand fit but you might decide to add other metrics like easy to understand if the claims are more complex/are using new jargon or ask a couple of open-ended questions to get more detailed insight. Check to see if your providers offer the flexibility you need.
  7. Some claims surveys use a max-diff approach. While this is a technique we apply in other situations, we feel it isn’t appropriate here given it only allows for one metric to be applied otherwise it becomes an impossible respondent task. We feel that a short, combined set of metrics delivers stronger and clearer insight for this survey type.
  8. It is highly likely that your survey results will highlight the strongest claims, those to fine-tune or discard. In the event that it isn’t clear, or there are claims you/your team thought would perform better than they did, online qualitative forums are a useful route to find out why and fine tune options further.

Claims testing is important as claims can be important to driving new business – they provide consumers with reasons to believe and a means by which you can stand out.