Beta Testing -- It’s Worth the Risk

By: Megan Poler, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Valassis Digital
Published Friday, Mar 31, 2017

Beta Testing -- It’s Worth the Risk

Do you like to try new things? When it comes to technology adoption, those who are eager to try new things and first to invest are called innovators. They are knowledgeable about the industry and technology and are willing to take chances. As with any new product launch, there is always a potential risk. But, innovators are willing to accept the occasional setback if the product doesn’t take off. What do you think... are you an innovator? 

Innovators often are the first to participate in beta opportunities. For those of you new to this language, a beta is a pilot test of a product prior to commercial release. In a beta test, the product gains small scale, real-world exposure to identify any minor problems or remaining flaws. Often a beta program is rolled out to a limited test group consisting of select markets, customers or verticals. 

During the beta stage, the company learns how to best position the product; works out operational kinks; and evaluates how the product solves customers’ needs. Usually the company has defined criteria for evaluation and sets a time period or goals for participation in order to properly evaluate its success. Effectively appraising the customers’ experience and their feedback is critical to the product’s success.

Based on the beta learnings, the business model, operational process or product offering may change prior to commercial release. Another outcome of the beta could be the company discontinuing the product offering entirely. With product failure rates ranging from 40 to 80 percent, beta tests are an important barometer. Even if the product or concept doesn’t move forward, there are learnings.

Innovation is becoming more and more of a competitive necessity. Take the opportunity to be an innovator. Fulfill your desire to try new things. Take the risk. You will definitely learn something from a beta and your customers may even thank you!