As a marketer, it is essential to test if the new product concept will be acceptable for the market before involving mass production. There will be a significant risk if you have an ambiguous definition on the audience segments, the timing to enter the market, the message you want to deliver, your competitive point, etc.

So how to solve these problems? In this article, we will talk about the importance of qualitative research, which will be helpful to gain an understanding of underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations. The insights from the research results can also bring hypotheses for potential quantitative research. The qualitative can be applied both to the B2C and B2B industries to reduce the communication cost, and to avoid the unnecessary risks.

Let me give you one example from the China market. Herbal tea is trendy in China, and you can always find different drink brands on the market. The competitions there are fierce, and one brand wants to re-brand itself. (We can’t disclosure the name here, so we name it as Brand A). In the past, the majority consumer for herbal tea was the middle-aged group. Right now, Brand A’s goal is to bring attention from those younger generations. However, the challenges should be what kinds of messages can catch the eye’s of those young people for the products which used to mostly just considered by their parents’ generation.

By starting the survey, we need to compare all the pros and cons for all the existing brands on the market, finding the brand cognitive from them. Do buyers care more about health care? Or do buyers get more resonances from the specific brand stories? What type of brand cognitive will be more acceptable to the buyers, etc.?

Besides, instead of just asking the tea preference or some rough idea in the survey, we can also consider some details such as when, where, and under which circumstance will people buy the herbal tea? What they exactly expect from drinking the herbal tea compared to other drink types? How much do people care or believe the drink can impact the health?How much they are willing to pay? What kind of messages are more likely to be shared among young people, etc.?

After getting the general idea about the current market share, we need to breakdown into detail. We can order and filter the more likable elements from buyers, as well as those sensitive messages which will probably impact the motivation of the buyers. We need to dive deeper and figure out the exact like and dislike the reasons behind the market. Whenever the prototype concept is ready, we can bring to the quantitative research for the A/B testing. Once all the hypothesis is verified, then we can start on the exact tests by emphasizing the new product concept with the latest package design on the first couples of specific markets.

Even until now, the new product concept design is not fully ready. We need to continue to collect feedback from those testing markets, including focus group interview, data trend analysis, market prototype establishment, etc. We will continue sharing those ideas in our New Product Concept Testing II.