Avoiding the Inventor’s bias in Concept Testing for New Products

Avoiding the Inventor’s bias in Concept Testing for New Products is really important. You are an inventor (or the NPD team in a large company) who has come up with a great product idea, clearly there is market need and the idea is pretty clear. You can easily start production, maybe a prototype locally and then large scale globally sourced production at low cost. But please pause and take a deep breath…..

You or your New Product Team is too close to the idea. Because you are too close you cannot see any problems with your idea. And the best part is that the problems are pretty easy to fix if you are willing to look. Here are some thoughts on how to avoid the inventor’s bias:

  • Prefer getting an outside firm to do your concept testing if your budget permits. If you are doing the concept testing in-house, be consciously open-minded to look for feedback that contradicts your own understanding and beliefs about your customer needs. You can fix most problems if you are willing to look!
  • Be clear about your target market and the specific problem or need you are trying to meet through your idea. The clearer the target market and sharper its definition better will be your concept test. OK this is Marketing 101 but why do most organizations do such a poor job of (a) defining the target market and (b) articulating exactly what problem or need is being addressed? A likely reason is the inventor’s bias and too much emotional investment by the team in the project. Keep in mind that the investment so far is not financial- which comes as the product is developed and launched.
  • Start by asking folks in your target market via simple interviews
    • (a) Do they really have a problem?
    • (b) Does your solution idea – solve that problem ?
    • (c) Will they pay for the solution? 
  • Extend your customer survey to focus groups if you need. You will find amazing insights. Incidentally, you don’t need to really do surveys or panels unless you have a consumer product and you are looking for quantitative data of possible sales.

Effective concept testing can make a good idea absolutely great in the market. It also lays out what features, functions and benefits your customers care for the most. And that helps development engineers and later marketing to articulate marketing messages.

The best part of┬áconcept testing is that it is not expensive and only requires a willingness on the part of the inventor, to overcome the inventor’s bias.About StratoServe.

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