The concept test, the study to make the best decision


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Concept testing is essential marketing research for companies seeking to innovate. They help measure the effectiveness of an idea before it goes into production, understand consumer expectations, and determine whether an idea is viable in the marketplace. In this article, we explore this type of marketing research: how concept testing works, why it's important and how brands can benefit from it.

What is a concept test?

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 into production. They 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.

Monadic testing: a specific concept testing methodology

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

How to conduct a concept test?

Most concept tests involve a series of common steps:

🤔 Define the idea to be tested: before starting the test, it is important to clearly define the idea to be tested. This can include a written or visual description, product specifications, features, benefits, and limitations. It is essential to clearly define the objectives of the concept test, including the specific questions that are sought to be answered.

🎯 Identify the target population: it is important to select a representative population of consumers to build your target sample. This population can be determined based on factors such as age, gender, income, location, buying habits and preferences.

📋 Design the questionnaire: it should be designed to gather relevant information about the idea being tested. Questions can include items such as interest, purchase intent, product perception, benefits, and drawbacks.

💬 Collect the data : from the start of the study, data is collected from your target's responses to your questionnaire. You can track them live on the Episto platform!

📊 Analyze the results: the data collected is analyzed to identify trends, patterns, and opinions of participants. You can then determine if the idea being tested is viable in the marketplace!

To learn more about concept testing and other types of marketing research: consult our Guide.

Why are concept tests important?

Improve consumer understanding for better decision making

Concept testing allows companies to better understand consumer expectations and ensure that their ideas are aligned with market needs and wants. They provide factual information on which brands can base their decisions, which can help minimize bias and misjudgment.

Save time and money

Concept testing allows brands to evaluate ideas before putting them into production, which can help save time and money by avoiding developing products that are not viable in the marketplace. In other words, they allow you to optimise your investments by making informed decisions by providing data on profitability potential.

An Episto case study: Changing the packaging of an iconic dairy product

A concept test can be used to choose the packaging of a new product for a brand hesitating between several options and wishing to optimise its sales. This was the case for a major dairy brand that wanted to test 7 different packaging options. Episto conducted a monadic test on 700 respondents in 3 days. One different product package was shown to a population of 100 respondents in order to compare the results for each option and identify the one with the best impact on consumers. Result: a new packaging in the dairy shelves!

How can companies benefit from concept testing?

Concept testing can be beneficial in a number of ways.

They allow us to develop new products or services by providing information on consumer needs and expectations, or toimprove existing products by identifying the features and functionality that are most valued.

These studies also help determine the most effective pricing strategy for brands' products and services by providing them with information about consumers' perceived value and purchase intent.

With concept testing, brands have the keys to creating effective advertising campaigns with compelling slogans, images and messages for their targets.

Finally, they are a valuable tool for identifying market opportunities by providing information about consumers' unmet needs and expectations.

An Episto case study: Choosing a new product for the deli department

A meat product brand needed to test 2 different novelty concepts. Episto conducted a concept test on 500 respondents in 3 days: the different concepts were shown to two populations of 250 respondents in order to identify the most promising version on the market from the point of view of its future consumers. The result: a new product in the deli aisle of your supermarkets! Thanks to Episto, this brand was able to identify the most promising concept, but also who was the core target of this concept and how they would cook the product.  

What are the limitations of concept testing?

While concept testing is a valuable tool for companies seeking to innovate, there are also limitations to its usefulness:

  1. Results do not guarantee success in the market, as there are often unpredictable factors that can influence consumer behavior.
  2. Concept tests can be biased if the sample of participants is not representative of the target population or if the questionnaire questions are poorly designed.
  3. They may lack important information about real-life consumer behaviors, such as interaction with other competing products or perception of the product in real life.
  4. Concept testing can limit creativity by making companies focus too much on existing consumer preferences rather than seeking to create new needs or market segments.


Concept testing is a valuable tool for companies seeking to innovate and develop products and services that meet consumer needs. By providing factual information about potential market acceptance, concept testing can help companies save time and money, reduce risk, optimise investments, and improve decision-making. Although there are limits to their usefulness, concept testing can be conducted effectively by following certain best practices, such as clearly defining objectives, selecting a representative sample, using reliable methods, and taking consumer feedback into account. Ultimately, concept testing can help companies successfully innovate and thrive in an ever-changing marketplace.

You want to test a new concept? Please contact us!

Discover the other types of marketing research in our Guide.

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