13 March 2006

Testing ideas thoroughly

Testing the attractiveness of your idea before doing anything sounds self-evident but many ideas get launched without significant testing. There are a number of levels to testing:
  • no testing at all, just the intuition of the creator of the idea
  • testing limited to friends and family
  • research with potential customers
  • research with potential sales and distribution channels
That isn’t to say that research will always produce a sensible answer. Very often tests ask the wrong questions, often because the offer hasn’t been fully thought through so the questions to the group of people being tested haven’t been properly developed.

A good example of this is the research that was conducted by Sony into the Walkman, one of the best selling personal electronic categories during the 1990s. Sony was wise enough to realise that the initial research was defective and re-designed it quickly to test whether their assumptions were correct.

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