How to get your Product Sampling right is a question we encounter all the time. The simply answer is always.

Most marketing teams add sampling to the channel plan for the launch of a new product. This is normally conducted from the day of launch for the first few weeks or months. The fact is, this is not ideal. People purchase your product 365 days a years and you need those customers to buy you all year round.

But there are dangers with this strategy. Sampling exclusively at the beginning of a launch, ensures that you miss out on reaching a huge audience base. This is because you are sampling only at ‘a moment in time’ which has a super short window.

Too often, you are missing out on a huge audience, who didn’t happen to be around on the days you were offering people a chance to trial your product.

Plus, lets face it. Not everybody will be in the mood on the day you are there. But a few short weeks later, that consumer could be in a much more receptive frame of mind. We are dealing with people and these people have changing emotions which need to be catered for.

By exclusively sampling at the beginning of the campaign, your competition are given the opportunity to catch up and grab some of those new customers back from you. It is like playing ping pong, you grab some customers – they take them back You grab some more customers – they take them back again. You get the picture, right?

What we are suggesting is that you need to change this cycle to reap greater rewards. Sampling is more than just getting your brand into people’s hands. Sampling is about getting your brand into people’s minds and stealing a march on those who are yet to grasp the true value.

The only real time to avoid sampling is:

* If your product or brand doesn’t doesn’t live up to its taste promises

* If your product or brand is difficult to get hold of

So when is the right time to sample?

Sampling should always be part of the marketing plan. Consistently and regularly. If you give your billboard 3 months to work, why give sampling just 3 minutes?

So here is a short list of some of the times you should consider sampling:

* You have a new product launch

* Your competitor has just re-launched their brand to drive trial

* You are trying to drive a habit with a key audience segment

* Your product has high loyalty but low penetration

* You have a high value product that needs visibility

* You need to drive frequency and habit with existing customers

* Your large CRM database needs some loving

* You want to drive positive WOM

The above are just a few examples of when you should use sampling. Integrate sampling across your other marketing touchpoints to really amplify the sampling experience.

For more advice on how to make the most from your sampling strategy, 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.