Where Should You Conduct Your Test Market Research?

Rafael Roxas
Nov 18, 2021


When conducting test market research, you need to choose a city with a population that is a microcosm of the country as a whole. Otherwise, it’s possible that your results could be positive in those areas but negative once you implement a national rollout. There are many factors to look out for when choosing a city, but here are the top 4 that determine a prime test market location.


Your product will not be for everyone regardless of whether you’re showcasing it in a test market or releasing it to the nation. It’s important to narrow down your scope and figure out what demographic characteristics your target market falls under.

Some factors to consider include:

  • Age
  • Income
  • Religion
  • Household
  • Occupation
  • Marital Status
  • Etc.

Afterward, you compare your target demographic and try to find the city with the largest representation of those characteristics. In doing so, you are able to ensure that your test market research has a larger chance of pulling in a big audience.

Media Coverage

Once your product is placed into the test market research phase, it can be difficult to keep it private from rival companies. A quick post to social media or even a press release pick up from a news station can easily reveal your plans to the entire world. Because test markets often run 1 to 3 months, there is plenty of time for product leaks to occur during that time.

To avoid this, you should choose a city where it would be easy to isolate media and prevent it from escaping to other locations. Non-disclosure agreements are paramount here as well as simply being transparent with your audience on what they should expect and what is expected of them.

That being said, you can also take privacy compliance into your own hands by isolating your test market coverage to an online bulletin board. Your audience can get announcements on secret events that you’re hosting, provide feedback through self-directed activities that you can use to improve your product, and even interact with each other and share their opinions on the dedicated forum.


The bigger the city, the more expensive the test market. Running a study in places like New York and Los Angeles would be costly due to the media coverage you would have to run or control to ensure the success of your pre-market rollout.

Smaller cities that have fewer central media hubs are cheaper in the long run when it comes to coordinating media. Some examples of these would be Buffalo, Rochester, and Albany.

Microcosmic Population

Last but not least, the city you choose should more or less be how the national population looks on a smaller scale. As mentioned earlier, cities that are microcosms of the whole country will show the most accurate representation of what it will be like when your product is officially released. Relying on a population that is not indicative of the nation as a whole could result in a positive test market but a negative national rollout. Since test market research isn’t cheap, it’s imperative to plan properly and ensure that you get the best prediction of success possible.

Here are the top 25 U.S. cities to test market a national product from Small businesses:

  1.  Nashville, TN
  2. Cincinnati, OH
  3. Indianapolis, IN
  4. Charleston, SC
  5. Jacksonville, FL
  6. Greenville, SC
  7. Oklahoma, OK
  8. Phoenix, AZ
  9. Albuquerque, NM
  10. Winston, NC
  11. Birmingham, AL
  12. Greensboro, NC
  13. Orlando, FL
  14. Charlotte, NC
  15. Columbus, OH
  16. Louisville/Jefferson County, KY
  17. Lexington, KY
  18. Tulsa, OK
  19. Baton Rouge, LA
  20. Columbia, SC
  21. St. Louis, MO
  22. New Orleans, LA
  23. Kansas City, MO
  24. Tucson, AZ
  25. Little Rock, AR

Use Civicom ChatterBoxTM for Your Test Market Research

Civicom Chatterbox is an online community platform where you can create short-term and long-term bulletin boards to collect product feedback and provide a forum for testers to connect and share their thoughts. 

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