Tips for Managing a Focus Group to Market Test Your Invention

Light bulbComing up with an idea for a new product that is innovative and unique is exciting. However, it’s also important to think about whether or not this product will be a commercial success. One way of finding out if your idea will be well received and sell well is through market testing.

This process involves disclosing the concept of your invention, or even some simple prototypes, to a small focus group of testers. Their feedback and opinions can help you shape the development of your product, and understand more about how successful it would be. Here are some tips for managing the market testing stage of your invention, to get the most out of the process.

1)      Think about submitting a patent application prior to your market testing sessions. By having an official statement of your idea and its details, you can prevent rival companies mimicking the unique elements of your product. Patents don’t have to be approved before market testing can start. Even while the patent is in the pending stage, this forms a level of protection which ensures any ideas you have had cannot be taken by anyone else.

2)      You might want to think about the confidentiality aspect of your testers. It may be worth using a confidentiality form to avoid the group sharing your ideas with anyone else before your product is fully finished and released into market.

networking3)      Potentially include a moderator or chairperson for the focus group who can direct conversation. Make a list for them of the key features or important aspects you want them to encourage your testers to talk about.

4)      A prototype can be a good way of allowing your testers to fully understand the how your product will work. This means they can interact with the product and see how it would work in practice (even if your prototype is much simpler than the finished version). Just make sure to collect all samples in at the end of the session.

5)      As well as protecting the physicality of your idea, think about the name of your product. In order to prevent it being used by a rival company, looking into trade marks will mean the name is protected from use by others.

6)      Focus your testing on people who you see to be potential customers for your invention. They will have knowledge and understanding of the area you want to market your concept to – and as such can provide you with more in-depth and relevant responses so you can really tailor your invention to their needs.

7)      Be organised during the testing. If possible, video or voice record the meeting so you have all feedback completely recorded. If not, make sure to take detailed notes – even the smallest comment could inspire you to make a big change.


This post was written by Withers & Rogers and edited by Antonia 

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