Test marketing an introduction

Test marketing is about trying something out before making a big commitment to it. It gives the firm producing and marketing the product or service some idea of what is likely to happen should it decide to go ahead with a broader expansion on a regional or national basis. Test marketing aims to provide estimates of sales volume and market share for a new product, a product extension or a new marketing device, such as a modified advertising campaign, varying media mixes or a change in advertising expenditure.

Conceptually it is very much like holding an experiment. The idea is literally to conduct a test or an experiment to arrive at a sales prediction. This may be done by trying things out in a series of balanced markets under normal conditions and this is the format of the traditional test market. In controlled test marketing, the research firm forces the distribution of the brand, making sure it is stocked in all selected stores and that stocks are maintained. At another level altogether there is simulated test marketing - virtually a laboratory situation, in which real stores are seldom used.

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