A market test is an experiment in which the company launches a new offering in a limited market in order to gain real-world knowledge of how the market will react to the product. Since there isn’t any historical data on how the product has done, response models and time-series techniques are not effective. A market test provides some measure of sales in response to the marketing plan, so in that regard, it is like a response model, just based on limited data. The demand for the product can then be extrapolated to the full market. However, remember that market tests are visible to your competitors, and they can undertake actions, such as drastic price cuts, to skew your results.
The grocery chain HEB uses Waco, Texas, as a test site. HEB has a loyalty program that enables it to collect lots of data on its customers. When HEB wants to test market a new product, the firm does it in Waco, where individual customer data can be combined with sales data. Testing in Waco tells HEB who is likely to buy the product and at what price, information that makes extrapolating to their larger market more accurate.