When is consumer testing a marketer’s BFF?

Fresh consumer feedback doesn’t need to be out of reach, or even reserved for the biggest of marketing decisions.

Written by Beth Owens
March 20, 2024

When we think about consumer testing, it brings to mind hardcore focus groups or lengthy surveys that take weeks or months to deliver usable results. So, it’s not surprising that consumer testing languishes on most marketers’ wish lists, earmarked for ‘someday’ when there are more resources, bigger teams, or simply more time (the scarcest commodity of all!) 

But fresh consumer feedback doesn’t need to be out of reach, or even reserved for the biggest (and scariest) of marketing decisions. In fact, the most effective consumer testing is conducted early and often, designed to answer this week’s most pressing question so your team can keep being awesome at what they do.

So, when should your marketing team consider undertaking a quick round of consumer testing? 

  1. You want to test whether an idea has mileage (or not)

If there’s one thing that marketers excel at, it’s generating cool ideas. But here’s the rub; marketers rarely have surplus time or resources to work on numerous initiatives, especially in smaller teams. 

In an ideal world, you could flesh out an idea and test it with your target audience before committing to a full-on project. (Plus, it’s a LOT more exciting when you know a certain campaign is going to blow it out of the park!)

With consumer testing, this is exactly what you can do. Whether it’s a new creative element or a fresh campaign idea, your team can quickly assess which ideas are worth pursuing and which are best sent to the scrap heap. 

  1. You want to ‘de-risk’ those big decisions

Launching a new product or expanding into a new market can feel like going all in at a poker game. Get it right, and the payoff is huge. But a bad bet equals a lot of money disappearing down the drain (along with your brand’s street cred).

With consumer testing in your arsenal, bold business decisions don’t have to be a whole Sliding Doors moment for your brand. If you already know what your target audience likes and wants, those feelings of risk and uncertainty are reduced.

Let’s say you just landed a plum outdoor advertising spot at a bargain rate (thriftiness for the win!) But because your brand is new to this format, you aren’t sure what CTA is going to perform best. 

No problem. You can quickly find the ‘consumer approved’ copy by testing a few different options with your audience, instead of leaving your copywriter sweating over the final version.

Because consumer testing takes the unknown out of the equation, you can feel more confident in trying new stuff. It allows marketers to do what marketers do best–only with bigger, badder data backing you up.

  1. You want to refine your options

When you’re launching some seasonal packaging or a new influencer campaign, you want the selection of the final design to feel like informed decision-making, not guesswork. Guesswork is stressful and time-consuming (and doesn’t make a marketer feel particularly innovative or cutting-edge, either).

Testing your top packaging choices or potential brand ambassadors with a relevant audience means your team can go full steam ahead with the stand-out winner–no more hedging your bets or second-guessing.

  1. You need a quick temperature check

If you’re relatively young in your marketing career or a newcomer to a particular vertical, it can be tough to know whether you’re on the right track. A bit of reassurance that your gut instincts are right on the money does wonders for building your confidence and seeing where you may need to foster some more understanding of your market.

This means that a quick round of consumer testing on a regular basis isn’t just great for reinforcing your chosen campaign direction–it’s helping to make you a better marketer.

  1. You want to avoid making yourself the target customer

When the voice of the consumer isn’t guiding your marketing activities, it’s easy to default to targeting what you’re most familiar with; yourself and your team. 

It’s a neat way to fill the void and keep your team moving. But if unproven assumptions or personal biases are left unchecked, your company’s ideas about customer preferences or pain points can end up being way off the mark. 

With consumer testing, you can ensure that what your audience wants aligns with what you think they want–and avoid costly initiatives that hurt your brand.

  1. You want to prove your team is right

Let’s get real for a sec: We know that marketers and senior leadership don’t always see eye to eye. Where you see an exciting evolution in brand messaging, they might perceive a risky or unproven approach that could alienate your target audience. 

Backing up your proposal with a streamlined message test is the best way to challenge those ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ types of objections. After all, it’s not what you think that matters, but what your audience thinks!

  1. You want your marketing efforts to resonate with your target customers


If there’s only one reason to do consumer testing, clip this for your records.

When marketing ideas are informed from the very beginning by consumer feedback, it’s far more likely that your marketing efforts will strike a chord with your audience. Consumer testing, especially when conducted early and often, ensures that your consumer’s likes and wants remain the business’s north star.

Consumer testing with Stickybeak (your true BFF)

Stickybeak is built by marketers, for marketers, so we know that you don’t have the luxury of bottomless budgets or endless surveys to dig into your audience’s deepest desires. You need to find the right balance of speed, cost, and DIY capabilities to tease out snappy answers to focused questions–without getting stuck in complicated reports that sacrifice bandwidth.

With Stickybeak, you can discover in just a few days not only your audience’s favoured option, but why. Our engaging, gamified survey experience unlocks powerful feedback at a fraction of the cost of traditional consumer research, using templates that you can customise in as little as 60 seconds.

Yes, really! Try building your very own Stickybeak test to see how you can tackle the latest question facing your marketing team!