Some savvy folks at Sony know product planning can be guesswork. They used a Japanese crowdfunding site to test a new product concept.
“We hid Sony’s name because we wanted to test the real value of the product, whether there will be demand for our concept,” said a member of the Sony team. The quote shows the company’s team understands that traditional market research has drawbacks, especially when it comes to innovation. Moreover by crowdfunding, the Sony team is avoiding a big pitfall of testing product ideas without also testing the true economic value or price a customer will pay. Using non-traditional approaches can be less costly and faster to implement. The following are two additional non-traditional ways to test product ideas.
Test Ad: Use Adwords to advertise a new product. You do not need to build the product to test in this way. Make your landing page a way to collect interested users. If you get a zero click-thru rate, that really tells you something about your ad description and the product idea.
Test Purchase: Use a purchase button on your landing page. If you get users to click thru that again tells you something. This will test your pricing as well. Inform these customers you will let them know when the product is ready.
Alternative approaches to discover what products may gain market traction are worth considering, regardless of your company size. Just be careful not to mislead your potential customers. You must be honest about where you are in your product development.