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It probably won’t require much thinking on your part to figure out why consumer audiences are drawn to product sampling; we all appreciate getting a little something for free. And the field of product sampling marketing is also one that has been known to bring meaningful results for many a brand, helping to spur on what can be vital awareness and sales.

But it can also be tempting for some brands to imagine that the implementation of a product sampling marketing campaign would be relatively straightforward, es if t

he product they intend to offer as a sample already exists. implementation of a product sampling marketing campaign would be relatively straightforward, especially if the product they intend to offer as a sample already exists.

Alas, the process isn’t quite that simple, due to factors like those outlined below.

There is a distinct difference between direct and indirect sampling

When a lot of people think of product sampling, they picture a scene that is, in effect, direct sampling, taking the form of a face-to-face interaction, whereby a brand ambassador offers a sample of a product for the customer to try.

There is, however, also such thing as indirect product sampling, which lacks this in-person interactive element – as in the case of a free gift that might be packaged with an item the customer was going to purchase anyway.

These types of product sampling marketing have their respective advantages and disadvantages; indirect sampling is generally the cheaper of the two to implement, but direct sampling presents greater scope for in-person feedback to be provided.

Regardless of which of the two types you do embrace, you will need to make that decision between the two, which might not be straightforward.

Prudent budgeting is critically important

It might seem an overly obvious observation to make, but offering free samples inevitably means you will be incurring costs. That cost will need to be paid for somehow, and it is not just the samples themselves that you will be effectively paying for – it is also such elements as the costs of hiring the space, recruiting employees to give out the samples, and the associated logistics.

So, if you are presently considering a product sampling marketing campaign, do you have a method for determining a budget, and for tracking the return on investment (ROI), so that you can be sure the campaign represents a good use of your firm’s marketing resources?

Remember that there are, broadly speaking, two ways in which you will be aiming to make back that money you incur on the campaign: the tangible way, in the form of direct sales, and the less tangible way, in the form of generally heightened brand awareness, and the further sales that may occur at a later stage partly because of your campaign. So, working with your budget will also not be a straightforward process.

You will need a strong sense of what you are seeking to accomplish

Linked to the above, you will not have the sense of direction that your product sampling marketing campaign requires – or even a consistent measure of whether your campaign is a success or failure – unless you also have clear objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) in place. These, in turn, will inform many of the strategic and creative decisions that you make with your campaign.

So, before you begin putting in place the central elements of your product sampling marketing campaign, you will need to know what you are attempting to accomplish. Will this campaign, for example, be coinciding with the launch of a particular product? Or will you be using the campaign as a means of expanding your audiences for your existing products, or perhaps seeking to change current perceptions of your brand?

For a more detailed discussion about the nuances and complexities of successful product sampling marketing, and what an impactful and relevant campaign could look like for your brand, please do not hesitate to reach out to Tribe – your fully integrated, London-based experiential agency.


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