When potential customers are offered a freebie, that is known as a product sample. It is regarded as a marketing tactic that is particularly common in the world of fast-moving consumer goods. It involved getting a version of a company’s product into people’s hands to achieve a specific goal. This technique helps in getting the word out about a company’s brand, also encourages sales of a new product, or helps in testing out the popularity of different product options. Product sampling can be executed in supermarkets and stores, in other tactical locations, or as part of collaborations with the other brands as advised by a company’s sampling agency.
•Things to note while executing product sampling
-The companies have to decide if they are going for direct or indirect sampling. This is a key distinction point. Direct sampling involves face-to-face interaction with the target consumer, while indirect sampling can be done by giving a gift alongside a purchase to the consumer. Direct sampling gives more opportunity to communicate the value of the product, and also educates the customers, and elicits feedback while in indirect sampling the process is usually cheaper.
-The companies need to have a budget. There should be a substantial investment in product sampling as guided by the sampling agency, from product and logistics costs to employee costs and the space hire. All of this can take a big chunk out of the marketing budget of a company. The aim is to make back the money that the companies spend tangibly in direct sales, and less tangibly on brand awareness. The companies need to create a budget for their sampling campaign and then have a method to track their return on investment so they know whether it’s a good use of their marketing spend.
-The companies need to consider the customer’s path to purchase. Customers have a course of action made clear to them while they are sampling the products. How will they purchase it? Where can they go to purchase more? How can they give feedback on the products and the sampling experience? All these customer journeys are to be plotted out so that the companies can analyze them.
•How to sample the products?
1. The companies need to set narrow goals. They can start by figuring out what they want to achieve with the sampling campaign. The goals have to be measurable and should range from gathering a certain amount of pre-launch feedback to getting a percentage increase in sales.
2. The companies need to set a budget. The budget should influence the scale of the goals and what the companies can realistically achieve.
3. The companies have to know their audience. They have to think about the needs, habits, and wants of their current target consumer base. According to the sampling agency, the companies need to know where their consumer spends time, When are the consumers most approachable? What kind of samples would be most useful for them?
4. Identifying the products the companies want to sample. The companies should decide on the product they want to sample for the consumers. They need to decide what they are going to promote and the form it’ll take when they give it out.
5. The companies need to set up a feedback system. As part of a broader consideration of the customers’ next steps, they need to think about how they can make it easy for people to tell what they think of the product. The companies can create an in-person questionnaire or website form for consumers.
6. The companies need to manage the logistics. The companies need to translate their plans into action. The companies need to take charge of the sampling themselves and also increase their reach by working with brand ambassadors, which is regarded as a good idea by consumers.
7. The companies need to run their campaign. Companies need to stay mindful of their stock levels and should record their sales.
8. The companies need to measure their results and implement the feedback generated from the customers. Once the product sampling campaign is over, they have to gather their thoughts and findings and then cross-reference them with the company’s goals. They need to discuss all the aspects of the sampling campaign and discuss what went well and what bad feedback they attained.
Product sampling allows the companies to meet with the target customers directly and gather feedback on the products. The companies can consult a sampling agency to carry out the product sampling campaign effectively and more successfully. This is the most effective way of marketing the products to the customers and creating a successful plan to attain the correct response from them and generate revenues from them. A sampling agency can guide the companies step by step to carry out the product sampling plans.