Image by: Public Domain Pictures
By Dexter Lunde
Product development can be expensive and complicated. However, in order to have a good product to sell you have to be able to do some good product development and market research. However, you have to make sure that you do the right kind of research.
In the 1980’s, Coca Cola decided to change up their product in order to stay fresh and new. They did the testing and it seemed to work well so they put the product out. There was a huge backlash. They released their original product and called it “Coca Cola Classic” which outsold their new version (and it eventually had to get taken off the market). So what happened? Inadequate testing.
#1) Get it Out There
Don’t wait for your product to be perfect first. If you wait for that, it’s never going to come out and by then, you’ll be so invested in it (time and money) that you won’t want to hear the bad news if there’s no market for it.
#2) Focus Groups AKA Quantitative Research
Focus groups are the biggest asset to finding out if you have a market for your product. It is a diverse group of people (from different age groups, socio-economic backgrounds, religions, nationalities, races, etc.) that are assembled in order to talk about your product and test it out. They talk about the good things, the bad things, what needs work, if they could use something like it, etc.
You can also do an omnibus survey, which is the same thing only it is a questionnaire that is sent out (usually via website or e-mail) with questions that involve your product. It is sent to random people from different backgrounds as well.
#3) Beta Testers
Beta testers are like focus groups only they come in after you’ve met with focus groups and you’ve decided to go on with your project. After you meet with the focus group and you’ve talked with your partners, meet with your designers to see how you can improve on your product. After you’ve made adjustments and you’ve made it as “best as it can be” (note that it won’t actually be perfect), you pull together a group of people (hopefully they are diverse as your focus group) in order to figure out how you can make your product better.
#4) Look at the Strongest Viewpoints
Let’s say that you have ten members of your focus group. If you get two people who really hate your product, two people who really love it, and six who think it is okay – listen closely to those four outliers. That’s where you’re going to get the most usable information.
Make sure that you ask for honest feedback. That’s why you don’t ask people that you know for their opinions (mainly your family and friends) because they will be biased.
#5) Figure Out Your Target Market First
If your product is going to be specifically aimed at a small target market, look at them first before you hit the focus groups and beta testing. Do your research and find the perfect profile for your product. After that, gather people who fit that profile (about seven people would be best).
#6) Don’t Coddle Your Baby
Yes, I know that you’ve put a lot of time and effort into making your dream take shape and become reality. However, you can’t coddle it and treat it as if it is perfect and unbreakable. You need to be open to criticism and feed that constructive criticism back into your research and development team. If you aren’t open-minded about the process it will end up biting you in the butt later on (and that’s going to be a hard one to explain to the wifey).
#7) Cast a Wide Net
For your initial group of guinea pigs, you have to make sure that you cast a net wider than your immediate friends. Yes, I know that I’ve already said this, however it is important to note. Some of you may have limited funds when it comes to research and testing (believe me, I know where you’re coming from) so you can’t do the networking that you need. So use your friends to do the research for you. Use their social media accounts to gather a group of people that you don’t know.
In addition to this, consider going to a crowdfunding site to test out your idea as well as raise some money and awareness for it. There is always a section for a pitch so use that section to test out the concept for the product and see how many supporters you can get. If you get a lot then you know that you’re going to get somewhere with this idea.
Now it’s your turn. Have you ever been part of a focus group? What advice do you have for other market testers? How do you test out your products? Do you additional market testing ideas to share with the readers? Let us know your ideas and thoughts in the comments section below.