How to Test New Home Improvement Product Concepts Using Monadic Testing

How to Test New Home Improvement Product Concepts Using Monadic Testing

Monadic Concept Testing is an approach used in product concept testing to ensure equal representation of individual concepts and to mitigate potential order bias when conducting a survey to collect data. It involves presenting your survey respondents or research group with one single product concept at a time.

From the moment your company generates the idea for a new building material or home improvement product to a successful launch, several important phases must occur in the stages of product development. Each stage of the product development cycle requires research that  gives  your company valuable market insights, test various product concepts and determine which one is most worth pursuing.

Testing product concepts enables you to better understand how your vision aligns with your customers’ needs and where to invest when it comes to creating, marketing and distributing new building products to increase acceptance.

There are various concept testing methods you can use for market research during product development. Selecting the right solution for your venture depends on several factors, including your research objectives, how many concepts you’re testing and your budget. One of the most preferred approaches when it comes to product concept testing, packaging research and pricing studies is proto-monadic testing.

What is Monadic Concept Testing?

Monadic is an approach used in product concept testing to ensure equal representation of individual concepts and to mitigate potential order bias when conducting a survey to collect data. It involves presenting your survey respondents or research group with one single product concept at a time, giving them the opportunity to evaluate the product on its own, before they rate concepts side-by-side.

In this case, each concept is presented equally in a rotation with all other concepts. Testing a product concept in this sort of isolated state enables you to get a clean read from your respondents, without their opinion being colored by comparisons to other products or the order in which the concepts are presented.

A spin on proto-monadic testing is sequential monadic testing, which involves presenting a single concept, followed by several additional concepts, but still one at a time. Survey respondents see each item on its own, but it becomes part of a larger sequence, wherein individuals are expected to identify minute differences and preferences between two or more product concepts.

How are Monadic Testing Surveys Structured?

For monadic testing, you will develop a survey to glean information from respondents about their feature preferences, perceived benefits and purchase intent. If you’re testing multiple building products in a sequential manner, here are what types of questions to include in your survey:

1. Screeners/Demographics

For most types of market research, you begin by collecting demographic information from your respondents, such as their profession, age and household income. You can utilize this information to ensure you are developing a new product or enhancing an existing product so it appeals to your target audience.  This is also a critical stage to ensure high quality respondents.

2. Presentation of Concepts

The next phase of a product testing survey is to present your concept, or concepts, to your respondents. Respondents will evaluate the product concept and rate how well they like the concept, how much it appeals to them, how much it fits their needs, their favorite attributes, and how likely they would be to purchase the product and in some cases, at what price point.

You also want to give respondents the opportunity to provide specific likes and dislikes about an individual concept. This will provide data for your company on the key benefits of different product concepts, unknown variables and potential improvements you could make to the concept itself, as well as directional feedback on packaging and marketing.

The standard structure for a monadic testing survey includes:

  • A variety of single choice, multiple choice, rating, ranking and open-ended questions.
  • Limited open-ended questions requiring each respondent to provide a numeric, single or multi-word answer to questions such as, “What do you like about this concept?” or “What would you change about this product?”

Respondents will rate and rank the importance of various concept features and their associated benefits to the user. Questions presented may look similar to the following:

Market Research Question Types

3. Ranking Product Concepts

If you’re testing a product concept against alternatives, you do so one at a time in a sequence, varying which item is presented first among your respondents to prevent order bias. You can also set up your survey to randomize the questions themselves to help reduce respondent bias that results from survey fatigue, or the natural tendency to be more attentive and engaged early on in a survey and decreasingly so as it progresses.

Once all the product concepts have been shown in the survey, respondents will rank which one they most prefer and least prefer and then provide additional feedback on their most preferred option. These rankings and results can then be used to inform further conjoint analysis research, product development and your overall go-to-market strategy.

What are the Advantages of Monadic Testing?

Monadic testing is one of the more advantageous concept testing methods, both from a respondent point of view and in terms of value for your home improvement brand. By presenting each product concept, one at a time, for evaluation, it stimulates a real-world scenario that enables respondents to focus entirely on a single concept, unlike with comparison testing or other testing methods.

You are able to collect highly detailed and specific feedback through your survey without overwhelming or fatiguing your respondents. As a result, this form of concept testing delivers more accurate, specific and actionable data to inform decisions about product features and pricing during the next phases of development.

Testing Ideas During Product Development

There is always a bit of uncertainty when creating a new home improvement product or making modifications to one of your existing products. However, conducting thorough market research and testing out your product concept can help mitigate that uncertainty and enable you to make informed decisions about product attributes, addressing consumer challenges, and pricing and marketing messaging. At the Farnsworth Group, our team of experts utilizes different qualitative and quantitative methods to assist with informing each stage of product development—from product ideation and concept validation to price elasticity and messaging.


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