Sampling is great for getting your product in to people’s hands but is it enough? Can an experience take sampling further than product trial? The answer is yes, but true understanding of how can be a complex issue that requires implicit knowledge of your objectives, the techniques you will use and most importantly, strategic thinking and correct planning.
Strategy is key
When it comes to sampling you need to weigh up your brands needs; ultimately, this will define your strategy. What do you require?
a) Consumer Contact (quantity)?
b) Consumer Interaction (quality)?
Each outcome requires a different strategy and approach.
Getting a high level of consumer contact is all about branded teams targeting key locations at key times, mainly in an ambush style approach with no location fees. This technique works well for big FMCG brands looking to keep an existing product front of mind or new product testing. Sure, it doesn’t necessarily give the consumers any experience they want to re-live, but with the clout of their mass-distribution behind them, keeping their product in the minds of their consumers through sampling can be a great strategic mechanic for gaining new customers.
Question: How many samples have you taken in your life? Can you name the majority of them?
If your brand is looking for customer interactions it requires adding an experience to the mix which makes things interesting…
Here, two types of locations can be used depending on your objectives. Staging an experience close to store (point of purchase) may have limitations in terms of available space but engaging consumers in this context can yield great results. If they have a great experience that emotionally engages them and provides them with a sample to trial or take away, they then have that connection to your brand. This can be an excellent mechanic for driving immediate sales.
You could also stage an activity away from store, at live events for example. This lifts the limits on space and allows you to go all out with a brand experience – allowing consumers to be truly immersed in your brand or sample product. The added bonus of this type of activity is that it can be mixed with social media to drive pre-awareness and utilise the event content to share with a wider audience.
Question: Now ask the same question again about how many brand experiences you have had in your life. They may be more sparse but they definitely live longer in the memory!
Consistency and Relevance
Whichever way you go about generating consumer interactions, it is vital your sampling experience has an overarching consistency and relevance with brand and audience on all levels. This means activating in the right locations, at the right times of the day, with an event that is consistent with the brand message. Everything must tie-in with the target audience to secure that all-important emotional connection!
Getting this right is certainly easier said than done and requires the right strategic planning to initially identify, and subsequently target the right people in the right way. Only with this hard work behind you, can you successfully execute a remarkable sampling activity that will add value to people’s lives and form a deep-set emotional engagement.
Hotcow is a multi-award winning brand engagement agency specialising in experiential marketing. Our mission is simple: to help brands understand the power of “experience-based marketing” and offer expertise in how to develop, plan and execute campaigns in the right way to get the right results, while showing that every pound spent is measurable. Visit www.hotcow.co.uk for more information.