What do Kelloggs, Walkers and Cadburys have in common? Apart from making our mouths water with their tasty offerings, these high profile brands are all big fans of product sampling.

This age-old advertising method is mainly used by brands in the consumer packaged goods industry to introduce new product ranges to the marketplace, but it can be equally effective for emerging brands to test new products on the mass market.

While product sampling is great for the consumer as they get to ‘try before they buy’, there is one major disadvantage for brands – and that is the inability to measure the results; in terms of how many sales are a direct result of a product sampling campaign.

Why measure the ROI?

You may wonder why it’s so important to measure your product sampling campaigns. Isn’t the point to just get samples in the hands of potential new customers?

In a word no! Just getting the brand out there is distribution, not measurement. You measure your sampling effectiveness by looking at the investment you’ve put in and the purchase conversion that results.

Here are a handful of ideas to help you measure the effectiveness of your next product sampling campaign:

Baseline Sales Increase: One of the easiest ways to determine the success of your sampling campaign is to monitor product sales, both in the weeks before and the weeks following the sampling event.

For example, say you normally sell 100 units per week through a retail chain. When you run your sampling activity, you should notice a jump in sales for that week. After 4-6 weeks of running the sampling event, you would ideally notice a new higher baseline in your sales.

The difference between the old baseline and the new baseline is the metric from which you would then measure the effectiveness of your sampling campaign.

However, this method is not foolproof, so we would suggest that you hand out coupons with your samples that contain a barcode specific to your product sampling campaign, so you can track coupon redemptions directly from that particular sampling campaign.

Survey the sample recipients: Another way to measure results is by asking recipients to provide feedback on their experience. You could do this via a controlled focus group, or via an online form, where you can entice people by entering them into a contest if they complete and return the survey.

Hotcow is a non-traditional creative agency that specialises in experiential marketing that goes viral. Our campaigns generate buzz through crowd participation, PR and content sharing. Contact us on 0207 5030442 or email us on info@hotcow.co.uk.