Is product sampling still effective?

By November 9, 2017General

Because product sampling involves giving away something that’s potentially really nice for free, this is a strategy that works well. However, sampling is nothing new. In fact, it’s been around for ages. So, with technology and the world in general constantly changing, is product sampling still worthwhile?

In a word, yes, it’s still an extremely effective marketing tactic. Just picture the scene: you head out to the supermarket to do your weekly shop and you catch sight of a branded stall. Promotional staff is standing by with trays of free goodies for you to try.

It’s really hard to just walk on by, isn’t it? Not only are you reeled in, but you’re reeled in without the hassle of being sold to. The whole concept of sampling works in the sub-conscious.

One of the key reasons why product sampling is still a great technique for growing your company is that it usually drives sales at the point-of purchase. People respond to getting something for nothing. Because of the feeling of reciprocity, passers-by are often converted into customers and, sometimes, brand advocates.

So, whilst the world has certainly changed, the fundamentals of marketing haven’t. As business owners, we still require marketing strategies that should strive to influence and motivate. Ultimately, there are only a handful of tactics that achieve that sort of result.

Most marketing strategies are a bit fluffy and lack the conviction of product sampling. In years gone by, the public had to deal with door-to-door salesmen. Their sole objective was getting a foot in the door so that they could convince the homeowner.

Product sampling couldn’t more different. It’s just as in-your-face and, arguably, it’s even more direct. However, it’s subtler. Sampling still relies on the old marketing principle of someone who responds to a small request being more likely to commit to a larger purchase at a later date. Yet this is infinitely realistic in a product sampling environment.

And guess what? It’s all done in an informal setting with smiles all round. There’s no need for a dreaded knock at the door. No need for tired sales patter. And no need for wasted time. Pick the right venue for your sampling campaign and you’ll have a guaranteed audience for as long as you want.

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