This is a guest post by our good friends at Databricks.
Ever feel like people’s attention spans are getting shorter? You’re not wrong. The average attention span is a measly 8 seconds for Gen X and older, lowering to a mere 6 seconds for the Millennial and Gen Z age groups.
As the world becomes increasingly digitized, the way we consume information has shifted enormously. We now have access to an unprecedented amount of data and content, and as a result, our attention spans have decreased. This is why it’s more important than ever to make sure that you’re releasing brilliant products and services and creating engaging content that resonates with your audience.
One way you can ensure you’re reaching your target audience is through the process of market testing. But what is market testing, and how can you use it to make sure your content is on point? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. This article will give you a quick crash course in market testing. You’ll also be able to identify a number of different market testing methodologies and how best to use them for your business.
What is Market Testing?
In a nutshell, market testing is the process of trying out your product or service on a small group of people before releasing it to the general public. It’s a way of gauging whether or not your product is actually going to be successful in the marketplace.
Let’s say you’re creating a digital campaign about affiliates sharing business growth strategy ideas. You could release it to the general public and see what happens, but chances are, it would get lost in the sea of content that’s already out there.
Instead of doing this, you could run a market test and release your campaign to a smaller group of people, like those in the affiliate marketing industry or affiliate programs. This way, you can get feedback about whether or not your campaign is actually valuable and worth pursuing.
Not only does market testing help you determine if your product is viable, but it also allows you to make changes and tweaks before releasing it to the masses. This means that when you do finally release it, you can be confident that it’s the best it can be.
Benefits of Market Testing
There are a few key benefits of market testing that make it an essential part of the product development process
Helps you assess risks
From data breaches to product failures, there are quite a few risks that come with launching a new product. Market testing can help you identify and assess these risks so that you can mitigate them before they become actual problems. In short, anyone who has ever launched a product knows that it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Saves you time and money
Market testing can save you a lot of time and money in the long run. By releasing your product to a small group of people first, you can make sure that it’s actually going to be successful before investing too much time and too many resources into it. Remember, the price of testing is always lower than the price of market failure.
Helps you gather feedback
Let’s say you’re a startup that’s developed a new app. Before releasing it to the public, you could run a market test and gather feedback on what people think of the app. This way, you can make changes and improvements to it before it gets released to the masses. Consequently, your customers will also be more likely to use and recommend your app if they had a hand in its development.
Helps you understand your audience
Market testing can also help you understand what your target audience is actually looking for. This way, you can create future content that’s relevant and engaging to them.
Helps you build hype
Releasing your product to a small group of people first can actually help you build hype for when it’s finally released to the general public. People will already be talking about it and eagerly anticipating its release.
Now that we’ve defined market testing and its overall benefits, here’s a step-by-step guide for how to do it.
How to do Market Testing
There are a few guidelines you need to follow in order to properly do market testing.
Define your golas
Someone who is releasing auto dialer software will have different market testing goals than someone who is releasing a new type of toothbrush. It’s important to define what your goals are before you start the market testing process. What are you hoping to achieve? What type of feedback are you looking for?
Choose your methodology
There are a variety of different market testing methodologies out there. It’s important to choose the one that’s right for you and your product. We’ll go over some of the most popular ones later on in this blog post.
Select your target market
Once you know what your goals are, you need to select a target market that you want to test your product on. This target market should be small and manageable, and it should also be relevant to your product. Azure data lakes, for example, would not be relevant to affiliates of a fashion brand. Take a moment and write down a few different target markets that you think might be a good fit for your product.
Develop your test plan
Now that you’ve selected your target market, it’s time to develop a test plan. This plan will act as a guide for the entire process, outlining the scope of the market testing as well as the objectives. It’s the process of putting in writing all decisions from your previous meetings so every team member involved knows the what, when, and how of your market testing.
Make sure to include a detailed schedule of the different activities you will be performing and when they will be taking place. Also, list the resources you will need; the people needed to complete the test as well as all necessary tools. Share your plan with all stakeholders and ask for feedback. By doing so you might remove any roadblocks that could delay the process.
Even after reviewing your plan several times, be prepared to have to make changes as you progress through the test process. Make sure you inform your team of any alterations to your plan and update your planning document as well. This will keep everyone on the same page and keep things moving smoothly.
Collect and analyze data
This is the most important part of market testing. You need to actually collect data from your target market and then analyze it to see what their feedback is.
The data you collect will depend on what your original goals are and these could vary each time you carry out market testing. You might look to collect more quantitative data, providing you with information that can be represented statistically. For example, a customer satisfaction survey with a scale of one to five or A/B testing on your new logo or newsletter design.
If you’re looking for answers to more specific questions and you want to know the reasoning behind why customers make decisions or have certain opinions, then you want to collect more qualitative data. This could give your team more detailed feedback as to exactly what consumers like or don’t like about your landing page for instance or what specifically is the problem with your new app.
There are a few different ways to collect data, which we’ll go over in more detail shortly
After you’ve collected and analyzed your data, it’s time to make changes to your product based on the feedback you’ve received. If you’ve carried out a survey on your affiliate program, for example, you may have found that it was difficult to understand. You would then utilize this feedback by making it more concise, adding new features, or even scrapping the whole thing and starting from scratch
The market testing process is never really done. You should always be testing your product and gathering feedback so that you can make improvements. Let’s say your market audience said they found it difficult to use the apache hadoop ecosystem you were testing. You could then make changes to improve the user experience and retest to see if those changes were successful.
Now that you have a general understanding of market testing and how to implement it within your business, let’s take a look at some of the different methodologies you can use. These are the primary market methodologies:
This is one of the most popular methods of market testing. A/B testing (or split testing) is when you create two different versions of your product and then release them to two groups of people. You then compare the data to see which version was more successful.
If you’re testing affiliate marketing software, for example, you might create two different versions of your landing page. Version A could have a headline that says “Make money online,” while version B could have a headline that says “Earn extra income from home.” You would then release these two versions to two different groups of people and see which one performs better. This will give you an idea of which type of messaging is more effective.
Beta testing happens when you release a limited version of your product to a specific group of people before it’s released to the general public. This is a great way to get feedback on any bugs or problems with your product.
If you’ve just released a new user testing app, for example, you might want to do a beta test and send it off to a small group of your trusted customers. They can then use it and provide feedback on any bugs or problems they find. This can help you fix any issues with the product before it’s released to the general public.
Usability testing is when you test how easy it is to use your product. This can help you identify areas that need improvement, discover opportunities to streamline, and learn more about your target users.
If you’re testing your affiliate website, you might ask people to use it and then give you feedback on their experience. This can be helpful in identifying any areas that are confusing or difficult to use. By asking people to perform specific tasks on the website, you can quickly identify any areas that need improvement. You can also utilize this type of testing to learn how easy your website is to navigate.
This is a great way to find out which type of content is more engaging for your customers, whether they prefer infographics to blog posts or webinars to ebooks.
For example, let’s say you want to recruit new affiliates with specific marketing content. You might create different types of content (text, images, videos, webinars etc.) and test how each type performs. You may find, for example, that you were most successful at recruiting affiliates with webinars. You can then prioritize webinar development over a type of content that proved much less successful.
With this data you can then focus on creating the type of content that is going to get you the results you want.
Focus groups occur when you gather a group of people together and have them try out your product. You can then ask them questions about their experience and get feedback on what they liked and didn’t like in order to improve your product.
For example, if you’re introducing your autoML python SDK to a group of data scientists, you might invite them to a focus group and ask them to try it out. You can then ask them questions about their experience and get feedback on what they liked and didn’t like. Detailed personal feedback like this can be immensely helpful in identifying areas in need of improvement.
Incrementality testing measures the impact of a single change on your product. This can be helpful in identifying how effective a particular change is. These tests are always controlled so that you can determine the uplift an interaction brings vs a ‘no-change’ scenario.
For example, let’s say you want to test how changing the color of your call-to-action button affects conversion rates. First, you would create two versions of your product: one with the original color and one with the new color. You would then track conversion rates for each version and conclude by comparing the results. This type of testing can be helpful in identifying small, specific changes to how you showcase your content.
There are a variety of market methodologies that can each provide you with valuable intel about your product. Regardless of the method you choose, always remember to test early and often. The more you test, the better your product will be.
Additioditionally, don’t forget to test different versions of your product. You might be surprised at how a single, small change can make a big difference. And finally, always take the time to get feedback from your users. They’re the ones who will be using your product, and they’ll have the best insights on how to improve it.
Good luck and happy testing!
Bio: Pohan Lin - Senior Web Marketing and Localizations Manager
Pohan Lin is the Senior Web Marketing and Localizations Manager at Databricks, a global data and AI provider connecting the features of data warehouses and data lakes to create lakehouse architecture. With over 18 years of experience in databricks instance types, web marketing, online SaaS business, and ecommerce growth. Pohan is passionate about innovation and is dedicated to communicating the significant impact data has in marketing. Pohan Lin also published articles for domains such as SME-News. Here is Pohan’s LinkedIn.