Having reached a stage where one has an idea for a new product, which has been carefully screened for both manufacturing and ONLINE MARKETING feasibility and which has been given a name, a pack and a personality, the time has come to consider testing it for public acceptability.

The cost of launching a new consumer product on to the national market is extremely high. As we have already seen, it is at best a hazardous undertaking. At worst, it can bring ruin to the company concerned. Wisdom and experience dictate, therefore, that before the expense of a national launch is incurred, the product should be tested in a limited section of the market.

The Principle of Test Marketing

Test ONLINE MARKETING is a well-established device, used not only in the development of new products, but also to test the likely response to changes to existing products, to a new type of pro-motional offer or to a variation in price. Because the costs involved in a test ONLINE MARKETING may be only one-tenth or even as little as one-hundredth part of the cost of a national campaign, this method provides a comparatively cheap way in which to detect faults in the product or its promotion and to correct them.

There are certain disadvantages to test marketing. If the intention is to obtain a true pattern of demand for the product it may take six or twelve months for this to be established. Furthermore, one must not accept all the results Of a test ONLINE MARKETING operation as being indicative of the results one would get in a national campaign. No local area, however carefully selected, will mirror accurately the national market. There will be, for example, no national advertising in the local market. On the other hand, there may be a greater concentration of effort proportionately in the test area than would be likely-or, indeed, possible----in a national campaign.

The Procedure for Test Marketing

Test ONLINE MARKETING can be achieved in a number of ways. Samples of one's own product and those of competitors can be put into plain packs and given to a panel of consumers, selected on as representative a basis as possible, for their comments. It should be borne in mind that this method of testing will provide evidence only of the quality and utility of one's own product in relation to those of one's competitors. Because of the use of plain packs, the association between the product and its brand image will have been broken. In terms of practical market conditions, therefore, this form of test has only limited value.

The generally accepted method of test ONLINE MARKETING is to introduce the product to the market through retailers in selected test towns. Once again the lack of association with a nationally advertised brand image must be taken into account when assessing the results.

A modification of this method is to supply the product through retailers in several test towns and, at the same time, to run an advertising campaign in one of these towns only, with a view to assessing the effect which this may have upon sales in that town. This will undoubtedly introduce a little more realism. Its effectiveness will depend, however, upon the effectiveness of the local advertising media. In Britain, where much of the press has a national, as distinct from local, coverage, press advertising which is restricted to single towns must have a considerably more limited effect upon the consumer compared with the effect of the national advertising which would accompany a national campaign. However, in markets where the main advertising media is locally based, this method has much to recommend it.

A further modification is to market the product through selected retailers and to devise a means of measuring the demand which occurs in those shops which do not stock the product.

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