Go to market with confidence by adding benchmarks to your concept testing
Four considerations for selecting the right concept testing benchmarks.
Change. Some companies embrace it, others resist. One thing is for sure: the need to change and evolve is the new normal for businesses worldwide.
Whether you call the move pivoting, evolving, or disrupting, the goal is to become more competitive and differentiated. Change might come in the form of a new product line, a shift to a new business model, or a company rebrand.
For any change to be successful, it needs to be tested to understand how it will play in the marketplace. And it needs to be compared, not just against your other ideas, but against what exists in the market.
That’s where benchmarks come in. A benchmark or an industry norm provides the context you need to understand how your ideas stand against industry peers. It tells you how your concept compares to others in your industry. It provides you with the insights you need to inform a bold decision that will lead to your desired outcome.
Add industry context to your concept tests
Let’s say you run a concept test to understand how a new product concept will appeal to your target audience. Your study indicates that 45% of consumers say they would be “very likely” to buy your product — sounds promising, right?
But, how good is 45% — and does it indicate that your product will do better than similar products that are already in the market? What if the industry benchmark for consumers saying they are “very likely” to buy a product is 60%? That might cause you to reconsider the 45% result, which may indicate that your product is not the disruptor you thought it might be.
At Momentive, we offer benchmarks as part of our concept and creative testing solutions. These benchmarks are available across a wide variety of industries. In this article, we’ll dive into four considerations for selecting the right concept testing benchmark, and explain how our benchmarks work and how they can help guide you to build stronger products and marketing programs.
4 considerations for selecting the right concept testing benchmarks
1. Include relevant established and emerging brands in your benchmark
Benchmarks are the most effective when they are backed up by relevant data and created with a proven methodology.
At Momentive, we offer U.S. benchmarks for over 95 unique industries, that are generated from up to 30 top-performing concepts in that industry. Concepts, products and brands are selected based on revenue, market share, projected growth, and industry-wide trends. It’s critical to include both established brands and emerging companies that have rapidly risen to the top of the market.
We collect data from at least 3,000 survey respondents in the U.S. per industry (see our sample survey). During the survey, each respondent is shown a subset of our 30 concepts from the relevant industry, and respondents are asked to rate each concept, one at a time, on a series of standard attributes, such as uniqueness, purchase intent, and overall appeal. And to help you get an apples-to-apples comparison, we use the same standard question wording and response options across all our concept and creative tests.
2. Don't skimp on data quality
A benchmark is only as good as the data behind it. When a benchmark uses low quality data, it can lead to inaccurate results and a series of poor business decisions.
The data for our benchmarks comes from 2.4M+ daily U.S. survey takers across various demographics. We use a double opt-in system to recruit respondents, monitor their engagement, and limit survey invites to reduce professional survey taking. Other measures to ensure we gather high quality data include:
- Regular panel calibration, which ensures response quality is on par with national benchmarks
- Response quality tools, which uses metadata to detect speeding and filter out low quality responses from data
- Bot and fraud detection, which uses email and location verification to detect fraud and identify exclusions to prevent duplicate responses to the same survey
- Accurate targeting with regularly refreshed panelist profiling
- Quality guarantee, which means poor quality responses are replaced at no charge
“Data quality is fundamental to everything that we do at Momentive. We have product and research teams dedicated to making sure we're at the forefront of data quality technology and services.”
Chief research officer, Momentive
3 . Benchmark against recent data
One of the first questions you should ask about benchmark data is: how recently was it collected?
Why? Take the plant-based meat market. A few years ago, plant-based meat was barely a thing, but now it can be found everywhere — in high-end restaurants, fast food joints, and grocery stores for home use.
Suppose the benchmark data on plant-based meat indicates that there is a lot of demand but there are few products in the market that appeal to consumers. Great. But, what if that data is two years old? And in those two years, a front runner has emerged that has massive appeal and mindshare?
You might mistakenly conclude that your alternative meat idea is more unique and appealing than the two-year-old benchmark indicates, and would enter the market with an inaccurate view of how your idea compares in the competitive landscape.
We work to keep our benchmarks up to date, and try to refresh them every six to 12 months, so you have the latest data that captures constantly evolving market preferences for comparison.
4. Benchmark against relevant industries and categories
Benchmarks are only powerful if they’re relevant to your product and brand. Most industries have their own unique attributes, and benchmark data needs to address the unique challenges of a given industry. In addition to over 95 unique industries, we also offer benchmarks at varying levels of specificity.
For example, our beverage industry benchmark includes 11 categories, including beer, bottled water, coffee, and more. You might want to select a benchmark that zooms in on a particular type of beverage (like wine) or zooms out on a benchmark that represents a broader category (such as non-alcoholic drinks).
Hundreds of thousands of survey responses need to be collected to create a comprehensive database that covers many industries, and we’re in a unique position to solve that challenge. Every day, over 2.2 million people answer surveys created using Momentive, including customers, employees, market researchers, or event attendees. Learn more about our sample source and why it’s relevant and trustworthy.
As companies continue to evolve to stay ahead of the curve, the changes they make might come in the form of a new product or brand, expanding to new markets, new packaging or even a new advertising campaign. Concept and creative testing should be an integral part of your product and marketing development process. Benchmarks and the four considerations I’ve outlined, can help you make smarter decisions, differentiate your products, and gain a competitive edge when you go to market.
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Divya Shroff is a senior product marketing manager at Momentive