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The ultimate goal for any product is to be number one in the market. When it comes to setting your product apart, have you considered that your competitors could hold the key to help you get there?
If you’re looking for a scientifically proven way to continually perform better than the competition, then this post is for you.
We are exploring one of the most potent product optimisation tools at your disposal, benchmark testing.
Benchmark testing, also known as benchmarking or comparison testing, is a component of market research which falls under the banner of product testing.
“Based upon 40 years of marketing research experience spanning thousands of research projects, I am convinced that product testing is the single most valuable marketing research that most companies ever do.” – Jerry W. Thomas
Product testing provides insight managers, product managers, research and development teams, and marketers with analytical insights that they can use to make better product decisions and improve:
Benchmarking is the practice of testing your product against specific, quantifiable metrics to see how much better or worse it performs compared to competing products.
With accurate and regular benchmark testing, you can:
It goes without saying, the highest-calibre product enjoys the highest customer loyalty and market share. Response to advertising improves, customers are prepared to pay more and profitability soars.
Benchmark testing provides quantifiable, realistic, concrete performance targets. It helps you to understand and apply industry best-practice to your product and process.
“Market intelligence—the result of the research—is now crucial to run a successful, innovative, forward-thinking business in the new age.” – Dynamic Business
Ideal when you want to assess a product’s position in relation to other market players. It is highly beneficial to the food and beverage industry.
Ideal for correcting product development strategies by analysing the processes of the top performing competitors.
Ideal for assessing functions and processes –and can sometimes lead to uncovering innovative solutions to improve your procedures.
Ideal for gauging which internal methods, structures and procedures within your organisation yield the most output with the least use of time and resources.
There are four key elements to achieve accurate benchmark testing:
1. Know what you want to achieve.
A clear goal will yield clear results. Would you like to?
2. Regular testing over time
Regular testing ensures that products performance stays in line with targets and helps you to quickly identify any industry changes and stay ahead of the curve.
3. Use a professional, experienced research company
An accredited, independent research partner will conduct your benchmarking tests with precision, and know how to analyse the data correctly.
Market research professionals ensure that data integrity, confidentiality, and crucial factors which can impact the accuracy of results (such as sample size, the ratio of new and existing customers, real environment testing, and critical variables) have been taken into account.
4. Budget appropriately
Few companies budget for regular product testing and competitive benchmarking which is vital in achieving product superiority. They are missing huge opportunities!
Not only does product testing improve profitability, but it also helps you to avoid devastating losses revenue and brand equity caused by launching a new or renovated product that fails.
The recent Kellogg’s Rice Krispies debacle is a prime example of why brands should use a reputable research partner to test, test and test again.
Kellogg’s changed their recipe with disastrous effects. The new formula did more than drastically change the taste of the product; it resulted in the breakfast cereal losing its iconic “Snap, crackle, pop!”
An article featured on timeslive.co.za explains that the change was motivated by Kellogg’s wanting to source all their major ingredients locally. Kellogg’s SA confirmed that testing had been conducted. They said that the test group comprised mothers and children that were either existing consumers, those who had lapsed or had never consumed the product.
Consumers were not happy about the change and were quick to voice their opinion on social media, deterring hundreds (if not thousands) of existing and potential consumers. Looking at the public’s comments, a few questions arise:
There are many variables which can impact the results (and therefore, accuracy) of product testing. Subtle things like what you ask and which stimulus the respondents are exposed to can make the world of difference. It means knowing whether a consumer merely likes a new product or if they would choose it over the existing product. It’s knowing if the numbers justify replacing a current product or merely launching a product variant.
If you want to reap the benefits of benchmark testing, find a research firm with a proven track record that will guide you through the entire process.