Spending on sampling rose 9.4% in the past year due to its ability to “engage consumers, foster brand interaction and measure ROI.” Deemed as “advertrying”, sampling has gone through a resurgence in the past few years evolving from a high priced tactic of handing out free products to the new mass media buy.
Samples offer consumers a practical opportunity to try new products and brands, free and totally without risk, and have a lasting impact on consumers’ buying decisions and are able to change previous buying habits like no other advertising material.
Sampling in relevant environments like sporting events where the consumer has an affinity towards the product is important to a campaign’s success. Sampling is an effective marketing tool since the consumer’s association and affinity to the product can be controlled through the relevance of the environment. For example, when a cyclist or runner is provided with a specific sample in the goodie bag, they are much more likely to test the product due to the relevance and timing of its distribution.
Another sampling benefit to the brand is the increased opportunity of a “halo effect”. A “halo effect” is where the perceived positive features of a particular item extend to a broader brand. Sampling increases the likelihood of a “halo effect” due to its ability to have the consumer test the product, increasing the awareness of the brand and the brand’s other available products. Once the consumer is able to identify the brand’s name, as well as create an affinity to the brand, they are more likely to test out other products of the same brand.
In a recent survey, nine out of ten consumers say they would purchase a good or service if they experienced it and were satisfied. Consumers are looking to test products before making their purchasing decisions and the more a brand can provide them with a sample trial, the more willing and confident a consumer feels to make a final purchase. Engaging the consumer through trial sampling allows brands the ability to make an impactful connection with the consumer leading to a higher likelihood of a final purchasing decision.
Another aspect of consumer engagement is word of mouth. Even if the consumer does not use the sampling product, they are likely to pass it on to someone else, thus providing a greater footprint for the brand.
Sampling via the Goodie Bag provides an accountability factor due to the ease of tracking the campaign. Whether it’s a coupon or samples they receive at a specific event ,the local, regional and national sales responds, thus leaving a clear indication of the success of the programme. It redefines “impressions” by creating consumer interaction with the product and measuring the sales impact.
Marketing campaigns all come down to effective ROI and with the controlling and relevant benefits that sampling offers, it’s hard to deny this re-emerging marketing tactic.
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