A Smarter Way to Sample
Product sampling has been a tried-and-true marketing tactic for decades. Since the dawn of consumer packaged goods, sampling has been used to increase product trial, build brand awareness, and gain word-of-mouth referrals. But there are better ways to leverage this channel than the traditional grocery store hander-outter who knows very little about your brand—or the people they’re giving the samples to.
Some brands have gone to direct mail, using media dollars to build awareness and convince potential customers to request their own samples. But even this adds a step to the process and requires your prospect to take actions on their own before trying your product.
We have found that a much more effective sampling program removes that barrier while using community and educational influencers as the method of delivery. That means your product gets a tacit endorsement from an individual parents and kids already trust.
We’ll get into the details, but first let’s cover some of the basics.
Why are sampling programs so effective?
Today’s marketplace is noisier than ever. To cut through the clutter, established brands use updated product lines to give past consumers new reasons to return. At the same time, upstart challenger brands are trying to disrupt products or experiences, convincing people to rethink even the most traditional product category.
In fact, 42% of consumers have switched their brand preference based on trying a product sample.
No matter which lane you travel in, one fact remains true—a great way to rise above the noise is letting people try before they buy. Recommendations from friends and family members will always go a long way. But the most fool-proof opinion about a product is your own experience.
Product sampling takes all of the risk out of that initial trial. There’s no reason for the consumer to worry about wasting their hard-earned money on a product they may not ultimately like or use.
How can sampling benefit my brand?
It’s easy to see how sampling can be a great fit for many companies in many industries. Some brands have gone so far as to allow in-home trials for weeks or even months, from mattresses and pillows to used cars.
But sampling isn’t reserved for once-a-year purchases. Putting a sample-sized package of your latest granola bar or sunscreen can be all it takes to build a lifelong customer for commodities people rely on (and purchase) every day.
So how can a great thing get even better?
That on-the-spot grocery store experience we talked about can impact decisions during a very high-intent moment. But those products are still competing with literal and figurative noise.
Using a curated and thoughtful opportunity offered by a trusted source can be an even more effective sampling strategy. We work with schools, educators, and community partners across the country to strategically deliver samples to select audiences. This allows us to be much more targeted in our delivery. Instead of your sample being handed to any and all, your product is hand delivered to a parent or student by a trusted peer or authority figure.
This approach also leverages the power of peer-to-peer endorsements. Someone your audience knows and trusts has enough faith in your product to share it. This gives your audience much more confidence in your brand and the experience it will provide. They’re now approaching your sample with the mindset “if it’s good enough for them, it’s probably good enough for me.” And even beyond that initial impression, your brand now has built-in credibility because of the way your sample was distributed.
How to build an effective sampling program
Creating a sampling program in and of itself can be a simple process. But smart planning and unique insights can make it even stronger. To get started, here are a few key things to keep in mind—regardless of your goals.
Sampling should be one component of an overall marketing strategy
Being more selective about how, where, and when your product is delivered can help increase ROI and improve the overall success of your efforts
Having access to a network of trusted grassroots influencers and peers increases efficiency and effectiveness when rolling out your samples at scale
Have clear KPIs in mind to measure success, whether you’re seeking product feedback, an increase in purchase intent, reaching new customers, or any other objective
When you’re ready to get started
There’s obviously much more involved in the rollout of a sampling program than we can cover here. Our team is ready to help you get up and running. We use decades of experience and long-standing relationships to get your products in the right hands.
Contact us today by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
ITK Collective Charleston, SC 29403