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The Truth Behind Brilliant Sampling Campaigns

Sally Durcan, Director of Hotcow Experiential Agency blog
By Sally Durcan  //  Mon 29th October 2012
Brands are wising up to the fact that getting their product in the hands of consumers is critical to business growth. Everyone loves a free sample, however, new insights from Hotcow’s shopper survey have highlighted that offering free stuff is not a good enough incentive for consumers to try your product. 

Consumers today are more empowered, critical, demanding and price sensitive than ever. They are overwhelmed by the vast array of product choices, discounts and special offers available in the marketplace. Encouraging consumers to stop, listen and buy your brand requires more than just offering the best value for money or free samples. 

According to Hotcow’s research, 71% of consumers will try a product if you grab their attention with something visually appealing that stands out, while 76% will approach a sampling stand if the product is new. This first touchpoint is critical for brands to ensure they don’t miss out on valuable opportunities to create a dialogue with new, past, and existing customers, and ensure that your brand is being considered for purchase.

With a huge array of daily brand advertising, sampling is now more important than ever to influence consumers to add brands to their consideration list, change habits and be inspired to be more creative with their choices. Consumers say that they feel inspired to buy after a sample, but don’t necessarily go in to buy. What will convince them to buy and do so again and again?

From the 1074 people surveyed, 59% of consumers said they ‘sometimes’ go on to buy after taking a sample, compared to just 5% who will ‘always’ buy. The majority (63%) said that they would go on to buy the product sampled if the occasion provided an engaging experience that changed their perception of the brand. Consumers need to have a positive, feel good and hassle free experience to stop and try your product.

Too many brands miss the mark when trying to implement brilliant sampling campaigns. Sometimes it is due to a lack of knowledge and live consumer behavioural insight. Other times, it is simply a failure to plan or ineffective monitoring and measurement. The skill of conversion is in being able to locate the right audience, at the right time, and understand what gaps to plug to turn trial into sale.

There is an opportunity for brands to significantly increase their sampling sales results by knowing the key barriers to purchase. It is all about mastering the different behaviours of consumers in a live environment and knowing that there is no size fits all approach. Brands who understand this behavioural process are more likely to untie the purse strings of consumers and see the greatest ROI.

Bad sampling hurts and knowing the right mechanics to use in your campaign will help you  to get back some of the values lost through inadequate sales promotions, and provide consumers with the right product experience.

View great Sampling ideas and more from Hotcow here 

Ask us why many sampling campaigns fail to deliver real results. 
The Truth Behind Brilliant Sampling Campaigns, Sally Durcan
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