Why Is Concept and Product Testing So Vital?

With the news that Tesco and others have been rationalising their range, it’s easy to become disheartened that this is yet another hurdle to face when it comes to innovation process.  The well quoted statistic of only around 2 out of 10 product launches succeeding only serves to challenge us further…..


…BUT, when it comes to innovation we’re not defeatist!  We need to rise to the challenge and work harder than ever to get products onto the shelves and keep them there.  Line extensions may no longer be enough to cut the mustard, and we need to aim for ‘true’ innovation that taps into a genuine consumer need to be a compelling and differentiating offer.  The ultimate goal of NPD is to cement a product into the psyche such that it is a habitual purchase (akin to a type of brand loyalty in a sense) – but of course, this is no mean feat!



So how do we approach innovation at Marketing Sciences?  First and foremost we’re passionate about helping new products succeed and thrive on supporting our clients through each stage of their innovation process – from ideation, to concept testing to final product testing and validation.   This means that along with the excitement of helping new products come to life, an inherent part of our role is to be honest with our clients when something’s not working.  We take pride in the ability to step back, look at the bigger picture and be prepared to be ‘cruel to be kind’ when the news isn’t good (providing economic savings in the long run).



No individual product or innovation funnel timeline is the same. The stages of NPD are many and varied. A flexible approach is needed, and whatever point of the stage-gate process we’re at it’s important to set action standards and adopt an approach that ensures budget efficiency throughout.   We also need to ensure learnings are not lost through what can (at times) be an iterative process, not to mention all the other insights and learnings within businesses that get forgotten due to organisational changes, staff turnover, too much data, insufficient time ……(the list goes on!).

Product Testing

It’s our job to keep relevant information top of mind, and keep reminding ourselves of what the consumer is saying in the context of our wealth of experience.   To do this, and to truly understand what ideas are likely to resonate most with consumers and trigger an emotional engagement, we build on traditional techniques with innovative approaches that involve both neuroscience and our Sensory Panel, both of which can and do, supplement the innovation framework.


Neuro 3



Of course, once a product is ‘out there’, it’s far from the end of the story.  The best of products isn’t going to succeed if the longer term if the marketing mix isn’t correct, a strong competitor enters the market or sufficient investment is lacking.   Marketing Week recently published that a startling 35% of shoppers claim they have been aware of a new grocery or household product but haven’t been able to find it when they go shopping; This too could stem from multiple reasons – lack of pack shelf standout, ineffective merchandising, level of distribution etc.

 All of this means that for true NPD success, we need to care for our brands after they’ve been launched, but this must be preceded by an honest and constructive research process, that ensures our products are as good as they can before being released into a challenging market place.

If you’d like to hear more about how we can help you in the NPD process, whatever stage, then please get in touch.  


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Laura Ablett
01962 842211
Article date - 16/10/2015
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