Today we will learn what a Central Location Test is and the reasons why it is considered the most appropriate method to test concepts, products, packaging, the effectiveness of advertising, as well as to carry out sensory research.
The feedback from customers is vital to the innovation process, but try the products and consumer campaigns can be a logistical challenge.
In this article, we will delve a little more into the reasons for carrying out Central Locations or CLT, the different types available and some alternatives for this type of study, in addition, we will share good practice tips to carry out this type of research.
What is a Central Location Test?
Essentially, it is a way of conducting product market research that takes place in a controlled environment, not in the participant’s home. By being in the room with participants, it is easier to control biases, become more involved in the process, and ideally get accurate and useful results.
A Central Location Test offers the opportunity to get results quickly: field work can be coampleted in one day and results can be obtained in the same week. Central location testing is also very cost effective, as large numbers of people can be interviewed in a single day. If customers want to shortlist a series of products or evaluate the acceptance of a product in the market, this type of testing is a good option.
Now that we know what a Central Location Test is, let’s know what it will be useful for. The main reason to use these tests is to be able to test physical products in a face-to-face environment, exerting greater control of the testing process.
Here are some of the most common reasons these types of evaluations are carried out:
- Helps minimize bias . In a Central Location Test, everyone is monitored together in the same space. It’s easy to eliminate outside influences, present the questions in the same order to avoid confusion, and ensure that participants respond logically.
- Body language and other types of indirect comments can be observed . This is not always possible online, but it can be very helpful when making decisions. Participants can also say things or ask questions that they would not have the opportunity to ask otherwise, which can lead to a more detailed understanding of their opinion.
- Things like taste, smell and touch can be tested , which is not always possible if testing is done at home, without the logistical challenge of shipping products to each respondent.
- It is convenient . Testing large numbers of people at the same location helps save time and resources at the same time.
- You can ask follow-up questions and have personalized interactions with participants in real time, based on their responses. This allows you to go further to capture additional information than might be possible with other testing methods. Also know the advantages and disadvantages of focus groups .
There are different ways to perform central location testing or CLT. Next I will mention the main models:
- Monadic . Everyone here is focused on the same product. The goal is simple: evaluate how well it would work if brought to market. Learn more about monadic tests here .
- Comparison by pair s. In this case, participants compare two products and choose which they think is the best.
- Sequential monadic . First, participants evaluate a product, as in the monadic model. They then move on to a second product and evaluate it. Lastly, they compare the two.
- Proto-monadic . It is slightly different from the previous one. Participants start by evaluating one product (product A) and go directly to comparing it with another. The order usually rotates among the participants so that each product is product A an equal number of times.
- Repeat the comparison in pairs . In this case, the participants evaluate the same pair of products multiple times. The goal is to ensure that the comments are not random or based on first impressions, in order to get a more accurate end result.
How to perform
These are some recommendations that you should take into account to make an effective test:
Recruit the right sample of participants . This is typically done by looking at your target customer base, and then selecting a small group to test. The most important thing is to get a representative sample , but also to focus only on people who actually belong to the target demographic.
Find a good place . This will depend on the number of people who want to get involved. You also have to adapt to the logistical needs of the event.
Make sure you work with a trained team . Your team should be able to ask the questions, control the responses, and ask the necessary follow-up questions. They will need to know how to do it in a way that avoids bias and does not steer the participant in a certain direction.
Design your survey well . Here are some tips:
- Includes an introduction to the survey. It can be written or verbal, but you should clearly explain how everything works, resolve any confusion, and explain the reasons for the survey.
- It begins with a few screening questions . They are typically based on things like age and profession, and the goal is to disqualify candidates who don’t fit the target demographic.
- Make sure the questions happen logically and intuitively . Group similar questions together and try not to confuse the participants.
- Analyze and act . Once the Central Location Test is finished, it is time to analyze the results and put your conclusions into practice. This is perhaps the most important part: if you do it the wrong way, you run the risk of wasting the investment in the whole process.
Make sure the results are presented clearly and any key ideas are highlighted so that stakeholders can understand them. In this way, you can use the results to convince other members of your company and drive real actions.
Learn about other alternatives to the Central Location Test
There are other ways to get feedback on your products in a controlled environment and with pre-profiled participants. Through an online community you can also have an interaction between the modeler and the participants, which will allow you to obtain much more precise and nuanced answers.