How to make your product sampling campaign sizzle

By December 7, 2015General

Product sampling is one of the oldest and most effective forms of field marketing. As the name implies, it involves giving away a small amount or ‘sample’ of a product that your business sells. It is hoped that a proportion of those that receive it will enjoy it enough to return as paying customers.

While the concept itself is straightforward, you need to put some thought into your campaign to ensure you maximise your return on investment:

The sample

When it comes to product sampling, factors such as quality, quantity and value influence a campaign’s success.

The size of the sample is one of the main things to consider – should it be a miniature version or the full-sized product? It needs to be of a size adequate enough to give the consumer an accurate impression of the full item but not large enough to take away the incentive of paying for the product.

It is also important to ensure that the samples are of the same quality as the paid product or service. If the free sample is of a lower quality than the paid product, customers may associate poor quality with your brand, and all your products.


Presentation can refer to anything, from the location of the sampling station, to the placement of the staff employed to promote the product.

Placing staff near till-points can lead to a greater conversion rate, as customers will already be paying for other goods, which reduces the weight of the decision of adding an extra item.

The promotional staff that distribute the samples is also important, as they will be the faces of your brand. Simple steps such as making sure the advocates are correctly and comprehensively briefed on both the item and brand ethos will work wonders in boosting the public’s perception of your product.

Measuring results

As with all branches of marketing, product sampling can be measured in different ways – some being more quantifiable than others. You can measure the increase in sales of your product, both during and after your product sampling campaign for example.

Improvements to brand image and can be much harder to measure, but one thing you can do is combine your product sampling with a digital platform such as Facebook or Foursquare. By encouraging samplers to interact with social profiles, it’s easier to gauge how effective a campaign is in boosting brand awareness.

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 50 30442 or email us on