Fuel Cycle

Improving Product Experience with Market Research

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Read on to discover:

  • How market research methods can be applied by product leaders
  • Five types of market research for product experience improvement
  • The ROI you can expect from implementing product experience research

Market research (MR) is the process of gathering information about customers’ needs, wants, and preferences. The two main types of MR include qualitative and quantitative research. Qualitative market research involves collecting real human insights via in-depth interviews, focus groups, observations, and videos. Quantitative market research, on the other hand, refers to the process of collecting large amounts of data through surveys, questionnaires, and other polling methods. 

MR is typically conducted before bringing a new product to market so that brands can make smart business decisions. Product teams work closely with market research teams to understand what consumers want/need, conceptualize, develop, tweak, and ultimately launch products based on research findings.

At the end of the day, it’s extraordinarily difficult to launch a successful product without conducting some form of market research. This article will dive into the different types of product research, including concept testing, price testing, usability testing, product testing, and message testing, and why they have a high return on investment (ROI). 

5 Types Of Market Research For Product Experience

Concept Testing

Concept testing is done at the earliest stages of product research so product developers can understand if a product is worth developing or not. At a high level, concept testing maximizes the chances that a product launch is successful. 

During concept testing, researchers meet with participants in person or online via focus groups to discuss the potential product, its features, benefits, pricing, and more. This process helps product teams determine how to move forward.

There are many benefits to conducting concept testing, perhaps the most important being cost savings. By testing concepts, businesses can avoid developing, manufacturing, and launching bad products that will cost them money in the long run. 

Product Testing

Once a business determines that its product concept is viable, it can conduct in-depth product testing. Product testing is a process by which researchers test the features and performance of products using prototypes. 

There are several ways to conduct product testing, like the Kano Model. Using the Kano model, product managers can determine which features dissatisfy, satisfy, and delight their audience. Dissatisfiers are the features customers expect at a bare minimum, ones that don’t improve satisfaction when implemented. Satisfiers happen when improved functionality leads to improved satisfaction. Lastly, delighters are features customers were not expecting; in other words, they provide a “wow” factor. 

With product testing, product developers learn which features work and which ones need some work, helping them perfect the product.

Usability Testing

While product testing can tell researchers a lot about how well a product’s features meet the needs of its customers, usability testing takes it a step further by evaluating how a customer actually uses the product. Usability testing is all about getting potential users of a product to evaluate it in real-world scenarios. 

In-home usage testing is a specialized form of usability testing where brands provide their products to consumers to use in their homes. This testing aims to see how consumers react to products in their natural home environment instead of a lab or simulated set-up. Researchers can gather rich customer data, including diary studies, video/photo diaries, pre-and post-test evaluation, quantitative surveys, and qualitative discussions. A virtual focus group or interview can also offer powerful real-time feedback. Researchers can “meet” testers remotely and ask questions while they are using the product.

Usability allows product teams to understand how consumers use the product and determine how they can improve. 

Price Testing

Another component of market research for products is price testing. Price testing helps businesses discover what customers are willing to pay for a product. Many companies use competitor research to get a general ballpark for pricing and fine-tune it with consumer research. 

Price research can consist of surveys, online community discussions, virtual and in-person focus groups, and more. 

Pricing research helps product teams to understand their market’s willingness to purchase, capture the highest return on product investment, preserve the value of the brand, and make strategic decisions on how to change pricing over time.

Message Testing

Message testing is done at the later stages of product development, closer to the launch period. Message testing involves analyzing what types of marketing messages create the most impact on target audiences. This process allows marketing teams to determine what content, offers, and marketing messages will create high engagement. 

To get started with message testing, brands should use both qualitative and quantitative methods. Quantitative metrics can tell marketers which subject lines, taglines, calls-to-action, or landing pages get the most conversion, while qualitative research often involves customer surveys that ask open-ended questions to dive deep into a customer’s motivations, preferences, and lifestyle.

With message testing, businesses can create messages that attract more customers and improve profits.

ROI Of Product Experience Market Research

Ultimately, product experience research is essential to creating a successful product that will delight customers instead of a disastrous product that will make them run for the hills. Product testing research can save businesses money by helping them avoid poor products via concept testing while perfecting great ones through product, usability, price, and message testing. Product testing research ROI can be seen in reduced product development time, increased customer confidence, improved digital marketing conversions, bolstered product quality, and increased profitability overall. 

Product teams and market research teams should work together harmoniously to understand what consumers want/need and launch products based on data. It’s nearly impossible to bring a successful product to market without conducting product research. After launch, product and research teams should continue to evaluate the product throughout its life cycle to improve quality and features and stay ahead of competitors.

At Fuel Cycle, we hear stories from both established and up-and-coming brands launching a new product or campaign that strikes a deep chord with customers. Suddenly, they’re filling a gap that nobody else knew existed. Find out how by watching our webinar, Delta Testing: Getting It Right The First Time today.

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