One of our clients’ most frequent questions regarding sampling is ‘what’s the best way to sample my product?’ and it is usually promptly followed by ‘Will it will make me money?’ Let’s explore these, because they are interesting questions that should guide any approach to planning a sampling campaign.

‘What’s the best way to sample my product?’ This entirely depends on your brand objectives. What do you want to achieve? Think about the following things: - How important is mass reach? - Do you need to reach new shoppers or are you re-awakening your base audience? Does it matter if there’s a crossover? - How important is targeting? Is city centre targeting with mass reach sufficient to reach urban professionals, or do you need to geo-demographically target it? - How close does your sampling need to be to the point of purchase? Do you need to drive shoppers into store? - What will your target retailers think about your campaign? How important is it to include their media, coupons, stores, car parks or online sampling offer in your campaign? - How much do you want to sample? Full packs? Taste samples? Do you need to create bespoke sample packs?

Think about this early in the planning cycle as you may need to plan sample packs into your launch production schedule, and forecast the volume! - How important is impact? A well run and imaginative experiential sampling campaign will undoubtedly have more impact than simply handing out sample packs in a city centre, however amazing the product, but it will cost more. - Social sharing ability – see also impact! Your reach can be exponentially improved if you provide content that can be shared within social media. You can also gain valuable feedback on the product itself, and start a dialogue with new consumers. - What do you want the people on the receiving end of the samples to think, feel or do as a result of the experience? This should be more than simply ‘try and buy’. - Is the product fragile?

No one wants to sample biscuit crumbs, so covermounting fragile products for example, is more challenging. - How important is ROI analysis? Some sampling modes lend themselves better to robust analysis than others. - Budget: low budget campaigns, well planned, can have surprising impact: How important is cost? ‘Will it make me money?’ It’s important to realise that the ROI on a sampling campaign depends on many variables; the wider campaign, the level of targeting, how easy it is to re-purchase, availability levels, impact, the forecast purchase frequency and how good the product is! No two campaigns are the same, because no two products are the same. Case studies within the category can provide an indication, but ultimately each campaign should be fully tailored to your brand objectives and assessed accordingly, set up with ROI in mind.

CI has a wealth of experience building sampling campaigns to meet brand objectives, and teams who have worked not just agency side, but also retailer side and client side as shopper , brand and category marketeers to deliver them.

If you’d like some help examining objectives and exploring the right route or routes for your brand, give me a call.