Step 3 – Idea testing and refinement
Depending on the nature of the creative thinking idea, and especially whether it needs resources like budgets, people or time, the idea might then need to create a business case. This is especially true if the innovation and creative thinking process is quite formal.
You can read more about what goes into a formal innovation business case in our guide to marketing innovation. But for the purposes of this guide, we wanted to cover a few alternative things that might happen at this point.
If the idea is relatively small, and resource has already been set aside to work on “creative thinking”, it may be that the team then develops a prototype to test. This is very common in teams who follow the agile process. Small team create mock-ups or very basic versions of the idea and test these with consumers.
This broadly falls within the scope of market research. It’s likely to be a qualitative style approach to generate first impressions and get feedback. Quantitative research may come later. But this usually requires more budget and therefore a business case.
Live tests and A/B tests
If the idea is more related to advertising or customer experience, there are opportunities to test out the idea “live”. Digital media channels for example let you select very specific audiences. So, you might choose to put an advertising creative idea in front of a small number of people in a specific location. Websites can let you run what are called A/B tests. Here you show different pages to different groups at the same time, and compare and contrast how the pages perform.
It’s important to consider how to build in feedback from consumers. It may not always be valid or relevant. You have to question how consumers will respond to the idea if you take it all the way to launch. If test audiences don’t like it, it can be hard to let go of ideas. But ultimately, it’s your target audience who will decide if your idea is any good or not. So, if something just isn’t working, either fix it or let it go.
You are obviously looking for that one winning idea which is going to rock your target audience’s world. But you may have to work through many other ideas to find that one.