Product sampling has long been a traditional way to introduce new people to product or to introduce a new product into the marketplace.
Sampling at a trade-show has traditionally been an effective way to introduce your product or new product to new people. There are a few problems with this strategy though. One is the fact that many people at the trade-show may not be your target market, so you will have wasted your sample. Secondly, many people go to these shows just to collect the freebies and may not be willing to actually purchase the product at a later date. Thirdly, there are often so many companies sampling products at trade-shows that your product may not stand out in the crowd.
Direct mail sampling can be very costly if you have a very targeted market. The other day I came home to see a BIG bag of cat food hanging on my front door knob. I don’t have a cat and will never own a cat. Most of my neighbours don’t have cats. This product was costly and a huge mistake on the part of the pet food maker. They needed to be a bit more strategic in their approach to reach their real end consumer.
To stand out from other product samples, you need to BE CREATIVE. Here are a couple ideas that will help your product get noticed by the right consumer:
Create Strategic Partnerships
Find a partner with the right audience for sampling so there is no wasted product or reach.
So for example, you are launching a mosquito repellent, but travelling to outdoor trade-shows across the country is too expensive and doesn’t match your strategy. Create a partnership with organizations such as provincial parks or campgrounds, who will hand the samples out to everyone who purchases a park pass. This will come with a fee of course, but you are reaching people who are spending time in the outdoors and will likely try the product out within minutes of receiving it. If the product lives up to its claims, those same people are likely to go to their local store to purchase it for their next outdoor or camping experience.
Gift With Purchase
Not only will you increase sales of your regular product, but you will have introduced your new product to an already loyal customer.
So for example, you are an athletic shoe company launching premium socks into your product mix. There are lots of other sock brands on the market so it is difficult to get people to try your amazing socks. Target your already loyal customers and offer a FREE pair of socks with every purchase of shoes or workout gear worth $100 or more. Customers will be enticed to buy product in the moment since they will be receiving a gift with a high perceived value. Not only will you be increasing sales of your regular product, but you will have introduced your new product to an already loyal customer. If they love the socks, your fans will spread the word, plus the next time they need socks, they will think of your brand.
Also read “Sampling goes digital as marketers look to track results” at Globe and Mail for Small Business for more ideas on how traditional sampling is changing.