Product sampling is arguably the most effective marketing method to launch your new product, and it’s also fairly versatile. Product sampling is a marketing activity where the consumers are given a small product sample to be tested by them. The purpose is to introduce potential consumers to the product, often at the point of purchase, in order to move consumers higher up in the marketing pyramid. If the consumer has awareness or knowledge of the product, the aim will be to move them up to the point of trying it, with the hopes of creating liking in the future. If the consumer isn’t aware of the product, the campaign will aim to create awareness within them, to create an initial intrigue or “buzz”.
For example, a marketer may offer a pack of peanuts as a sample together with the purchase of beer. A cross-product, beer, is used to increase the awareness or trial of an existing product, in this case, peanuts. This activity can generate leads or word-of-mouth market the current product, the peanuts.
Another example would be the trial of a new or existing yoghurt; the consumer tastes a small sample. The sample can be given plain for trial at a store or on the street, or the consumer may purchase a smaller size of the product to receive 100% cashback later on. This is an effective way to increase awareness or sales, or launch a new product into the market. It allows consumers to experience the product firsthand for no opportunity cost.
Sampling can also be used for the purpose of conducting market research pre-launch or right after launching a new product. So, another example may be the launch of a book digitally. In this case, the publishing company sends an opt-in to a market of readers digitally through social media. Then it sends the book to readers’ e-mail for the test, with their promise of getting their feedback and personal information after they read it. This way, the publisher tests the marketing mix variables of the coming launch or relaunch, including the right target market and getting reviews, while the potential readers get some cash as a present for their participation.
Here are some stunning statistics for product sampling
- 92% of consumers will try a product sample
- 53% buy the product sample they tried
- 42% Have switched their brand preference based on testing a product sample
- 56% like product samples because they are looking for alternatives
- 77% said that receiving a product sample would motivate them to try another from that brand
The Multiverse of Product Sampling
There are various ways to orchestrate product sampling, including in-store, online, events, and more. Traditional sampling involves giving away free product samples to customers, so they will feel more confident buying the product. Cashback sampling is when customers buy a product in a store or online with a provided coupon or receive money back after uploading the receipt. Sampler packs include small or trial-size products, and customers who like the sample are more likely to buy the full-size product. Mail drops involve mailing free samples directly to customers’ homes, while limited-time samples are free only for a specific time, adding excitement to the psychological fear of missing out (FOMO).
Digital Sampling, Optimise Your Old Ways!
“It’s no news that today’s shoppers and consumers live in a digital world,” said Ainsley Moir, creator of Food Brands That Sell. “Digital-first retail marketing is where you can move shoppers from a passive relationship to an active connection. However, it can be a bit tricky to adapt sampling to the increasingly more digital world. Traditional methods offer next to no measurement for campaign success, and it’s impossible to retarget consumers that’ve tried your product, which sort of undermines the campaign. Digitalising sampling through receipt based digital campaigns can help sort these issues out though…
Receipt processing technology can really help you create an effortless sampling campaign for already on-shelf products with a preferable user journey. Consumers will simply purchase the smallest size of your product on store shelves, then participate to the campaign digitally by uploading a photo of their purchase receipt, and redeem their 100% cashback upon the validation of their receipt. This way, you reap all the benefits of a healthy product sampling campaign, with the bonus of a much more effective user journey. You get to keep the data of the participants, thus being able to retarget them and measure the campaign accurately.
Crafting and conducting digital product sampling campaigns
Crafting an Effective Product Sampling Campaign involves several vital steps to help businesses reach their target audience, increase brand awareness, and boost sales. Here are some of the essential steps to follow when creating a successful digital product sampling campaign:
- You can identify your target audience and select the right target market for your products to be sampled: Start by analysing demographic factors, such as age, gender, income, and online behaviour, to choose a segment that aligns with their interests and needs. Conduct market research and test samples with a small group to ensure your target audience reacts positively to your sample product before launching the campaign. As stated above, the marketer defines the target audience before starting the sampling process.
- You can set clear goals and objectives for your digital product sampling campaign: Setting clear goals and objectives for a digital product sampling campaign is crucial for measuring its success. Identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) you want to track and establish a timeline for achieving them. Use data analytics to monitor your progress and adjust your strategy accordingly.
- You can create a compelling brand message and packaging for your samples: Craft clear, concise messaging conveying the product’s unique value proposition and benefits. Develop eye-catching packaging that stands out and showcases the product’s quality. Consider incorporating product samples into branded kits or gift boxes to increase their perceived value.
- You can select the proper distribution channels and partners for digital product sampling: Identify your target audience’s active channels and choose partners that align with your brand values and have a similar target audience. Consider collaborating with influencers or bloggers who can showcase your products to their followers.
- You can design an engaging digital sampling experience for customers: Consider creating interactive elements such as quizzes, surveys, or games incorporating the product into the experience. Use high-quality visuals and videos that showcase the product’s features and benefits. Personalise the experience where possible by recommending products based on customers’ preferences or purchase history.
- You can leverage social media and influencers to amplify the reach of your product sampling campaign: Identify the social media platforms on which your target audience is most active and choose influencers who align with your brand values and have a similar target audience. Consider offering them exclusive product samples or incentives for promoting your products.
- You can use data and analytics to measure the effectiveness of your product sampling efforts: Collect data about your product sampling campaign and analyse it using analytics tools. Look for patterns and trends to help you understand your product sampling campaign’s effectiveness. Use the data and insights you gained from your analysis to refine your product sampling approach.
By following these steps, businesses can create a successful digital product sampling campaign that resonates with their target audience and achieves their marketing objectives.