Stop Trusting What Consumers Say

21 May 2019
Stop Trusting What Consumers Say
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Nick Partridge

You read that right. There’s what consumers claim—and then there’s what they actually do. Senior Innovation Director Nicholas Partridge unpacks our Proto-Selling validation method: a smarter, faster way to gauge demand for new products and services.

If you’ve been around the innovation block, you know that on average 75 to 85% of new products and services fail in market.

Over the past several years, we’ve seen many of our clients struggling with this dilemma. From consumer packaged goods to financial services, large companies in flat and competitive markets, growth through innovation has never been harder to come by. CPG incumbents are struggling to launch new brands and relevant products at the pace of next-gen startups. Legacy service providers are facing rising customer expectations fueled by technology and waves of fintech upstarts.

And yet so many innovation initiatives spend years and millions in development BEFORE they learn in market if consumers truly will actually purchase their product or service. This dynamic creates what leadership and innovators hate: risky, costly and unpredictable “leaps of faith.”

So, what’s causing leaps of faith?

The trouble is traditional validation methods. They’re slow, expensive and most importantly inaccurate at predicting in-market performance. That’s because most traditional methods measure what consumers say out of context, and not what they do—gauging purchase intent, not real purchase behavior.

How do you conclusively prove your solution answers a market need, before you invest heavily in development and full launch?

Sell your product before you build it.

It’s a method we call Proto-Selling: a way to rapidly test your early concept prototypes live on shelf in real stores or online with real consumers.

To shoppers, the prototype product or service appears ready to purchase.

Proto-selling offers our clients, from CPG to banking, the ability to prove that consumers will actually buy their concept product or adopt their concept service just days or weeks after they’ve been generated—rather than the months or years that are typically spent on development and launch before proving in-market success.

To confirm that consumers will actually buy your product, Proto-Selling experiments are as real as possible.

To prove real consumer purchase behavior toward a new concept, our Proto-Selling tests appear to be “at scale.” Real shoppers in real stores or on real websites attempt to buy prototype products and services that appear as ready to purchase as every other offering.

online proto-selling, process, landing pages
in-store proto-selling, process, prototypes

Interested in accelerating your promising product or service concept? 


We can convert it into an in-market prototype that proves purchase behavior with real consumers.

Learn more about our process or download the Proto-Selling Guide.