Product Sampling Marketing Week has featured an insightful article about the factors affecting the success of sampling campaigns, based on some of the data collected from Hotcow’s latest shopper research around product trial and purchase behaviour.

The survey conducted amongst 1074 people in the UK reveals the impact of product sampling along the consumer buying journey and the barriers that need to be overcome to achieve greater ROI results. As Marketing Week has highlighted, “consumers view sampling positively as an incentive to try a new product but marketers would be wrong to thing that they will get new customers by simply handing a sample out for free”.

Given the intensely competitive shopper marketplace, Hotcow’s research project: BUILDING BRILLIANT SAMPLING CAMPAIGNS is aimed at discovering what consumers value in the live environment and what encourages them to sample more and purchase. The insightful results have shed new light on the emotional and rational decisions that people make.

What is needed to grab and hold consumers attention?  What will encourage them to take a sample? What will convince them to buy and do so again and again? Are there any differences in opinion for different genders, ages and locations?

Each year it gets more and more difficult for brands to get on, or remain on, consumers shopping lists – due to an increase in the number of available brands and products, new communication mediums, diverse audiences and tighter purse strings.

The key findings from our research have revealed that:

1/ Normal really is boring – 71% of consumers said that they will try something if you grab their attention with something visually appealing that has stand out.

2/ Brand-in-hand drives brand consideration – 85% of consumers feel inspired to buy after a sample. With the huge array of daily brand advertising, sampling is now more important than ever to influence consumers into putting your brand on their shopping lists.

3/ Bridging the gap between trial and purchase – With only 15% of people saying they will ‘always’ or ‘very often’ go onto purchase, and a further 54% of people saying they will only ‘sometimes’ go onto purchase, brands should focus on understanding the emotional barriers for consumers to take a sample and go onto buy. This will allow you to improve your ROI whilst giving your consumers what they need and want.

Too many brands miss the mark when trying to implement brilliant sampling campaigns. Sometimes is a lack of knowledge and live consumer behavioural insight. Other times it is simply a failure to plan or ineffective monitoring and measurement.

The new insights from Hotcow’s research into the role of rewards, messaging and visual appeal have enabled us to build a more accurate picture of how – and why – people stop, listen, try and then go into buy.

“Product trial is a science and by understanding people’s emotional and rational behaviours, their decision making process and buying occasions, enables us to improve our ROI for clients whilst giving consumers what they need and want.” says Sally Durcan, Managing Director of Hotcow.

Sampling works and consumers believe in it. Lets make 2012 a time to escape the norm!


If you would like to receive a copy of our White Paper Building Brilliant Sampling Campaigns and find out the FIVE truths behind what consumers really think about sampling and what you need to do to properly connect with them, email

Hotcow is a multi-award winning Experiential Marketing agency. We get brands in front of consumers in ways that persuade them to buy. We fully implement our ideas; nothing needs to be farmed out. For more information or free consultation, contact us

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