What are marketing tests? (With methods, tips and FAQ)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 3 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Before launching a new product, businesses often conduct tests to predict its performance in the market. These tests can help businesses improve their marketing efforts, locate their target audience and determine pricing points. Learning more about this testing process can equip you with the knowledge required to plan a product launch for the company you work for. In this article, we discuss what marketing tests are and why they're important, list common types of testing methods and provide tips to help you plan a successful market test.

What are marketing tests?

Marketing tests are strategies companies use to determine the viability of a product or service in the marketplace. They're an important marketing tactic that measures how well a product is doing. Companies may implement this testing before or after launching a product into the market or during its development stage.

Market testing is a great way to assess new ideas before investing in them. It may involve something simple like sending out an email with a different subject line or a more complex activity, such as creating an entirely new website. By market testing, you can explore one idea at a time to understand what did or didn't work.

Market testing methods

There are several types of market testing methods, including:

Product testing

Product testing involves researching what customers want by asking them questions about their preferences and designing products based on these responses. This type of test ensures demand exists for a product before manufacturing begins in large quantities. Businesses may conduct product testing on a small scale during the development phase and on a larger scale when the goods are ready for general release.

Customer experience testing

Customer experience testing involves collecting information from customers who recently interacted with a company. For example, if a company wants to learn more about how its website affects customer satisfaction, it might conduct an online survey asking people who recently visited the site to rate aspects of it on a scale of 1 to 10. It might ask them what they liked about the site and what areas it could improve. Customer experience testing also allows businesses to test different website versions and see which one performs better.

Related: How can customer experience mapping affect campaigns?

A/B testing

A/B testing compares two examples of the same thing to determine which version performs best. For example, you might show two versions of a website to a sample of visitors and analyse conversion and click-through rates, user satisfaction and other metrics to determine which webpage is better. Companies can also use A/B testing to compare the effectiveness of designs, products or features. They can run this testing with a single customer or a group, depending on the degree of certainty required.

Multivariate testing

Multivariate testing compares many variations of the same element simultaneously to determine which combination of factors produces the best results. Like A/B testing, it allows you to assess more than one variable at a time. For example, you could send three or four emails, each with a different headline and subject line and then analyse how each performs. This way, you can discover which combination works best for the target audience.

Related: Pre-Employment Tests: Definitions, Types and Benefits

Usability testing

Usability testing is one of several usability assessment methods known as heuristic analysis or heuristic evaluation. These methods allow professionals to assess the usability of physical products, websites and mobile apps. Usability testing may involve observing users performing certain tasks on a website or discussing their experiences with them. The goal of usability testing is to identify potential issues so that companies can resolve them.

Content testing

This testing method involves creating different versions of a piece of content, such as an email or blog post, so you can test which version performs better based on metrics like clicks, opens and conversions. This type of market testing helps businesses understand what works for their audience. You can conduct content testing using A/B, multivariate or other methods, including surveys, interviews and focus groups. Business-to-consumer and business-to-business companies that want to understand what motivates their buyers' purchasing behaviour often use content testing.

Related: What is B2B marketing? (Definition and strategies)

Incrementality testing

Incrementality testing determines if a particular change may cause an additional increase or decrease in sales. Marketing professionals use incrementality tests to optimise existing campaigns or determine if a new campaign may be beneficial. Incrementality testing is useful in all stages of the product life cycle, particularly for new products or services. It's also useful when analysing how to allocate marketing resources to existing products or services.

The importance of market testing

The following are some reasons why market testing is an important part of any business's marketing strategy:

  • It measures the effectiveness of a campaign: Market testing allows you to assess an advertising campaign's effectiveness by measuring its returns. You can identify if marketing efforts are successful by considering how much money the company spent on the ads compared to how much it earns from them.

  • It tests new ideas before launching them on a larger scale: If businesses want to try out a new product or service, market testing allows them to see how people react before investing heavily in the goods.

  • It reveals information about the marketing channels that work best: This information enables businesses to allocate resources more efficiently by focusing on those channels that produce higher sales volumes and profits. For example, it's beneficial for an online business to know how much traffic its social media channels bring in to understand where to focus its effort and budget.

Tips for conducting marketing tests

Here are some tips to consider before implementing a market test:

Know the audience

Before you start market testing, it's beneficial to understand the target audience and the ways in which they might respond to campaign elements. This helps to ensure that you're using data from individuals who might like the products or services on offer. It also ensures that any changes made based on the results of the test are relevant to all customers, not just those who participated in the test itself.

Related: 29 website features to impress your audience

Set clear goals and hypotheses

Before conducting a test, make sure you have a clear goal in mind. This might be a specific conversion or sign-up rate or increased engagement with the brand. It helps to define a hypothesis relating to the goal so that you can measure success.

Use a control or experimental group

Using a control group allows you to compare your results with others doing similar research. It also helps eliminate other variables that could influence test results, such as changes in temperature or weather. It can be challenging to find people willing to participate in control tests, so you may want to compensate individuals for their time.

Examples of market testing

Below are a couple of scenarios that involve market testing:

Multivariate testing

A company selling online courses wants to improve the number of individuals that sign up for its free trial offer. The company tests five different headline variations for its landing page: 'Sign up now', 'Go ahead', 'Let's go', 'You want to' and 'Let's get started'. It monitors the number of clicks on each headline using a software program and determines that the winning variation is Let's go. The company also finds that the conversion rate for this variation is 3% higher than any other variation tested.

Usability testing

A company wants to design an app that meets the demands of customers using two different operating systems. It develops a quick survey that asks participants about their current mobile usage habits and shows them a series of mock-ups for an app in development. The company designs the mock-ups for both operating systems to compare participants' reactions when shown different screens on different devices.

The company finds that having a carousel of images at the top of the screen works well in one operating system but not in the other due to differences in how participants navigate onscreen. It also discovers that individuals prefer using swipe gestures to navigate content rather than tapping buttons. Using this data, the company can develop an app that works on both operating systems.

FAQ about market testing

Here are some commonly asked questions about market testing:

What's the difference between an experiment and market testing?

An experiment is a study that tests a hypothesis or a research question. In contrast, market testing is a process which measures the impact of one or more variables on sales volumes and profit margins. The major difference between the two is that you learn in an experiment and predict an outcome in a market test.

What's the difference between A/B and multivariate testing?

You can use multivariate testing to compare many variables against each other without having to determine which version performed best. A/B testing relates two versions of a variable against each other to see which one performs better. In contrast, multivariate testing lets you compare more than two variables at once by splitting them into groups and assessing different variations using different combinations of factors.

Related:

  • What is experiment marketing, and when do companies use it?


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