Product Research is an integral type of research in new product development. It is typically done to validate an idea or concept before going for full-scale production & commercialization. Whether it is about launching a new product or entering a new market or catering to a new consumer segment, a product research is a necessary step to avoid any kind of failure.
Some of the key objectives of product research are:
- To identify the acceptance for a product or possible improvement areas in order to make the product achieve its maximum potential.
- To evaluate the product’s individual performance as well as its performance with respect to its competitive products.
- To observe actual performance of proposed marketing plan i.e. feasibility of suggested price, brand name, product labelling, packaging appeal among consumers, etc. which provides guidance for positioning and marketing strategy.
How to conduct a Product Research:
Testing of a product is carried out by exposing the product idea to the real world consumers/users and evaluating their responses and reactions, using a predefined set of questions. It is same as for any marketing research and includes selecting relevant consumer profiles, right sample size, questionnaire design and analytical techniques.
Some of the widely-used techniques for product research are as follows:
- Monadic Testing: In this technique, a product is tested alone and multiple products’ testing is avoided at the same time. It is typically the best method for product testing as it is replica of a real environment situation where the consumer’s attention is focused upon just one product (normally consumer uses one product at a time). Results provide the most accurate and detailed knowledge about the product weaknesses, strengths, improvement areas, etc. Some products can only be tested monadically and can’t be tested by paired-comparison method (i.e. using two products at a time). For e.g. after testing a perfume another perfume can’t be tested at the same time.
- Sequential Monadic Design: In this, each consumer uses two or more products and evaluate it in a fully balanced design. Each respondent evaluates various products one by one. It provides the comparison between the products. This also allows the opportunity to identify points of differentiation between products and segment consumers basis the same. Moreover, several products are involved and hence provides better basis for decisions and product improvement. Costing is low as compared to Monadic Testing.
- Paired-Comparison Design: Consumers are asked to try two products at a time, side by side and determine which one is better or preferred more. Like sequential this can help picking up the differences among products.
- The Protomonadic Design: This test’s definition varies from researcher to researcher. This design is mostly monadic followed by a paired-comparison. This test provides good diagnostic data. Any of the results of the tests can be used later.