In Business, Marketing, Marketing Strategies

What Is Product Sampling?

Wikipedia Defines a Product Sample as a free sample or “freebie” is a portion of food or other product (for example, beauty products) given to consumers in shopping malls, supermarkets, retail stores, or through other channels (such as via festivals, events, or conventions). Below, we will provide product sampling marketing strategies to improve brand awareness and brand consideration.

Product Sampling is when companies spread the word about their product by letting consumers try it before buying it. With product sampling, you give free samples of your new products to your targeted audience to gain traffic and brand awareness.

Sometimes samples of non-perishable items are included in direct marketing mailings. The purpose of a free sample is to acquaint the consumer with a new product and is similar to the concept of a test drive, in that a customer can try out a product before purchasing it.

Why Is Product Sampling An Important Marketing Technique?

Promoting a new product is often difficult, as the marketplace is saturated with similar products and is very competitive. This is where using samples of your product will benefit your company and brand.

Marketing through sampling gives consumers a chance to experience the product quality firsthand. They do not have to rely on your sales pitch or marketing to learn about the product. They can discover it independently, which provides a more powerful and lasting impression.

What Are Some Typical Product Sampling Strategies?

  • Releasing a new product: A lot goes into a product launch, but people often forget that getting the word-of-mouth machine going is a huge component to a successful launch. Involving customers from the beginning can pay off in a big way. Once your product or service is ready to launch, seed it out through targeted events/festivals/retail locations to reach customers, brand advocates, key opinion leaders, and industry influencers. By doing this, you encourage brand loyalty, receive critical product feedback, and build buzz in the marketplace around your new product.
  • Sampling for social love: The rise of social media has given everyone a microphone to share their experiences with friends, families, and strangers. And that’s a powerful tool in brand awareness if you tap into it the right way. Make sure you add a social media marketing component to your infield sampling strategy.
  • Sampling for reviews: We know that reviews are crucial for selling products and beating out competitors. A sampling campaign is a great way to collect more reviews quickly and increase your competitive advantage. Do you examine product reviews before you buy a product?

Why Is Product Sampling Effective?

Product sampling is a highly effective way to get samples into potential customers’ hands and thoughts. Marketing through sampling increases exposure and allows the customers to taste your product, hopefully leaving them wanting more. It also allows consumers to leave feeling confident and exhilarated about their new product purchase.

Product sampling marketing campaigns provide immediate value. They also have a long-lasting impact on sales compared to other sales promotion techniques. You can track the value of this type of campaign for a year or longer. Compare that to a coupon campaign that you can track for only two to four months.

By implementing product sample distribution into your marketing campaign, your business will obtain excellent results and leave your competitors feeling overshadowed.

Customers are torn between leading a trend on new products or sticking with the products they know. Sampling is the activity that breaks down the wall between sticking with what a consumer knows or upgrading to a new product.

How Effective Is Product Sampling?

Product sampling may be the most effective sales promotion technique to get a consumer to try a new product. However, it can be one of the most expensive. Producing sample-sized products and paying for the sample distribution process adds up fast. This means you must plan your sampling campaign carefully to get the most from it. We recommend working with a marketing agency with a history of product sampling to help maximize budget and ensure your product is promoted with passion and excellence. You might also like our blog in 6 Secrets to Successful Product Sampling.

Another Reason Why Product Sampling Is Highly Effective…

Many brands aren’t doing it.

If you are unconvinced on the importance of sampling, you’re not alone – thousands of brands worldwide choose to avoid sampling as a marketing strategy.

It’s understandable if you’re a luxury yacht maker; product sampling perhaps doesn’t align with your product. However, many brands, particularly in FMCG industries, that could benefit massively from product sampling activities if they chose to use them.

Is Product Sampling Is The Most Effective Way Of Increasing Product Sales?

Product sampling marketing strategies can be the most effective sales technique if done in the right environment. We have two suggestions in this area:

  • Sample the product where the consumer can purchase the product right away.
    • This confirms the customer knows where they can buy the product in the future.
    • You are also setting up the possibility of purchasing your product becoming a habit.
  • Sample the product in a place that is hyper-focused on your target audience.
    • Example: Headphones – Sample these at a music festival

The customer can make a confident decision about a product when they can test it before they buy. Product sampling is highly effective in raising awareness of a new or existing product.

What Is The Cost Of Sampling Products To Consumers?

It may seem like planning to distribute samples is easy, but quite a few considerations and variables come into play. When drawing up your marketing strategy plan, it is critical to consider the various costs of developing and distributing your samples, making sure that you include the research process into your budget. It is essential to research your defined demographic and not to waste time handing out samples carelessly with little to no focus; have your target market in mind.

What Is The Cost Of Product Sampling?

  • Site rental
    • For example, highly dependent on location, a venue cost in Los Angeles can range from $1,200 – 5,000 per day or more for the most luxurious spaces. These costs depend heavily on the location, city, and events happening during your planned sampling.
  • Storage
    • That stock has to go somewhere! Product storage may not be necessary for shorter campaigns, but if you’re shipping tens of thousands of samples throughout the country, you’re probably going to need somewhere to put it. Thankfully most towns and cities have temporary storage units for hire at a reasonable price. Consider the storage cost difference between perishable temperature-controlled products vs. non-perishables.
  • Transport
    • It won’t get itself there – while many big brands may have their own internal distribution network, smaller companies will have to factor in van rental to transport the product sample stock to and from events.

A Quick Recap Of The Benefits Of Product Sampling:

  • Draws people to your marketing activation or product experience
  • Consumers experience your product firsthand
  • Brand Awareness + Engagement
  • Builds brand loyalty faster and more effectively
  • Solicits honest feedback
  • Pinpoints your audience for targeted market growth and additional marketing strategy planning

If you like this blog, you might be interested in learning more about what makes an experiential marketing tour successful.

We are always ready for your questions. Use this link to Contact an Evolve Activation expert to discuss your next successful product sampling event.

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