It’s always essential to test if the new product concept will be acceptable for the market prior to mass production. There will be a significant risk if you have an ambiguous definition of the audience segments, market strategy, product message, product differentiation, etc.

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

Product Concept Case Study

Let me give you one example from the Chinese 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 disclose the name here, so we will refer to it as Brand A). In the past, the majority of consumers of herbal tea were middle-aged. Right now, Brand A’s goal is to get attention from the younger generations. However, the challenges should be what kinds of messages can catch the eyes of those young people for the products which are most often associated with their parents’ generation.

Fundamental

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 resonate with specific brand stories? What type of brand cognitive will be more acceptable to the buyers, etc.?

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

Detail Research

After developing a  general idea about the current market share, we need to break it down into details. We can order and filter the more likable elements from buyers, as well as those sensitive messages which will probably impact buyer motivations. We need to dive deeper and figure out the exact likes and dislikes and the reasons behind the in the market. Whenever the prototype concept is ready, we can bring the quantitative research for the A/B testing. Once all the hypotheses are verified, we can then 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 continue sharing those ideas in our New Product Concept Testing II.