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Concept Testing

Concept testing involves testing the “idea” of something, rather than the actual thing itself. The concept is communicated with a rough illustration or photograph, along with a written description. Think of a concept as a rough print ad, although concepts can be presented in storyboard or video form.

Concept testing is widely used to evaluate new product ideas, so that potentially successful new products can be identified early on. Then limited research and development resources (and limited marketing resources) can be focused on the new product concepts with the greatest probability of consumer acceptance in the marketplace. Concept testing can also be used to help evaluate advertising concepts, promotional concepts, packaging concepts, and strategy concepts.

ConceptOpt™ (Concept Optimization)

An online choice modeling system to determine the optimal mix of new product/service concept variables or elements. Qualitative research is typically used to identify the key variables and the ranges of the variables. Once the basic elements of effective concepts for a new product/service (or new strategy) are identified, based on qualitative or other research, a ConceptOpt™ choice model experiment can be set up.

ConceptOpt™ is a research method to help create prototype concepts, using choice-modeling experiments. Different product features, benefits, messages, packages, illustrations, imagery, etc., can represent thousands of possible concepts. ConceptOpt™ tests subsets of all of these possibilities to predict the consumer appeal of every possible combination of concept elements. Target-audience consumers are asked to rate the degree to which various combinations of the variables (scenarios) create interest in buying the brand or product/service. Each respondent usually sees five to 10 scenarios (i.e., combinations of variables). Choice modeling algorithms derive the potential selling value of all possible combinations, even combinations never shown to participants, including interactive effects among the variables. ConceptOpt™ permits hundreds of creative possibilities to be evaluated efficiently. The top 10 or 15 concepts thereby identified then go into normal quantitative testing.


A proprietary system that allows you to screen and evaluate sets or batches of early-stage new product concepts.

In the early stages of a new product development effort, the first goal is to generate as many new product ideas as possible. Typically 50 to 100 or more new product ideas result from early-stage brainstorming. The next crucial step is to evaluate these embryonic ideas and decide which of them are good enough to be developed further.

How Does ConceptScreen® Work?

The structure of ConceptScreen® allows for the comparison of many different concepts to each other. Typically, 10 to 20 early-stage concepts are tested together as a group. That is, each respondent sees and evaluates every concept.

A representative sample of 200 to 500 target-audience consumers are recruited to review and evaluate the concepts. Each respondent sees all of the concepts twice. The respondent first reviews all of the concepts but does not rate them. The second time that respondents see each concept, they are asked to answer four questions about each one.

The answers to these four questions are fed into a mathematical model that computes a relative volumetric market potential score for each concept. The score of all of the test concepts can be compared to the scores of the control concepts to estimate which of the test concepts are likely to do well in the marketplace.


An online system to provide diagnostic feedback for early-stage individual product concepts.

The results from ConceptCheck® can give you a better idea of the needs and desires of consumers, so you can refine the new product concept to improve its chances of success—before going to a full-blown, predictive concept test. ConceptCheck® includes verbatim "why" responses from respondents on the new product concepts.

How Does ConceptCheck® Work?

Each concept is tested monadically. That is, each respondent sees and evaluates only one concept. Qualified respondents are invited to Decision Analyst’s encrypted website to participate in the survey. A total of 75 to 150 target-audience consumers are asked to review and evaluate the concept. Each respondent has continuous access to the concept. The respondents see the concept, then they are asked to answer several questions about it. The questionnaire includes some standard closed-end questions, as well as a series of open-ended questions to determine how the concept could be improved.

Since one of the main purposes of ConceptCheck® is to enrich and flesh out a concept, the report contains the verbatim results of all open-ended questions and insightful diagnostic feedback based off of normative data from the closed-ended questions. ConceptCheck® results provide a "directional" estimate of a concept's probable effectiveness as well as guide the creative development of the concept.


The industry-leading, Internet-based, concept testing system can improve your company's chances of success in developing and introducing new products.

Our predictive mathematical model calculates an overall SuccessScore® for each concept, based on a number of important variables. This score is then compared to our action standards to determine if the new product concept warrants further development.

How Does ConceptTest® Work?

A representative sample of consumers is invited to Decision Analyst's encrypted Webserver to view the new product concept and complete a battery of questions and diagnostic ratings. Recommended sample size is 200 to 300. Each concept is tested monadically (i.e., no respondent evaluates more than one concept). Then the respondents complete a battery of questions and diagnostic ratings about the concept. The results are tabulated and then fed into the predictive mathematical model that calculates an overall SuccessScore®. This score is compared to our action standards for successful new products.

The SuccessScore® Model

This predictive mathematical model calculates an overall SuccessScore® for the new product concept, based on the following variables:

  • Trial interest
  • Unpriced purchase intent
  • Priced purchase intent
  • Uniqueness
  • Frequency of purchase
  • Image projection
  • Source of volume
  • Pricing demand curves
  • Likes
  • Dislikes
  • Missing information
  • Suggested improvements
  • Diagnostic rating
  • Demographics

More Than New Product Concepts

Decision Analyst's concept testing systems are for more than new product concepts:

  • New service concepts
  • New customer experiences
  • New positioning concepts

Qualitative Research

Qualitative research can provide basic understanding in a product category, to serve as a foundation for the creation of sound concepts. Focus groups and depth interviews are commonly used to ensure that new product (or other) concepts are accurately communicating as intended, so that the quantitative testing will be reliable and accurate. Qualitative research is also valuable in tweaking and fine-tuning concepts. Any final evaluation of concepts should be based on quantitative research, not qualitative.

Concept Testing Services

Decision Analyst is a global marketing research and analytical consulting firm with over 3 decades of experience in new product concept testing and new product consulting. Our American Consumer Opinion® panel has over 8 million consumers around the globe ready to evaluate your new product ideas online. Decision Analyst is the leader in online concept testing. If you would like more information on Concept Testing, please contact Jerry W. Thomas, President/CEO (, or call 1-800-ANALYSIS (262-5974) or 1-817-640-6166.

Additional Resources from Decision Analyst

New Product Research and Concept Testing Brochures

Concept Testing Case Histories

New Product Research & Concept Testing White Papers

Better Business Bureau
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