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Product Samplings: In-Store vs. Guerilla-Style

We’ve been soaking up the sun and making the most of this beautiful weather. It’s nice to get out of the house, see people smiling and exploring the city once again. While we’ve been out and about, we seem to spot a sampling activation more often than not. It’s no surprise really, sampling season is back and ramping up rather quickly. Did you know that product samplings are one of the most effective marketing tactics to directly connect with consumers? Well, it’s true! But there are different kinds. Let us ask, “Do you know which might be the best fit for your brand?”. Well, let us tell you all about in-store and guerilla-style samplings.


In-store product samplings are historically proven to be the go-to method to build brand awareness. They are proven to be effective at engaging consumers and spreading brand awareness about your product or service. Through face-to-face interaction or demonstrations, brands are able to directly educate consumers on their products.

If you want to execute in-store sampling effectively, consider how you build your presence. We would recommend taking a multi-layered approach. First consider location, your product (or service) should either be available either at that location (or nearby) or it should give you access to your target demographic (ideally both). Next, within the physical venue you want to select a specific location. Consider selecting a spot that has high traffic, is visible and easy to get to. Finally, consider what assets you need (or can create) to make your team stand out. Whether you’re sampling at a grocery store, inside a mall, etc. you want to attract consumers your way.

Pros and Cons

As with anything, there are pros and cons. In-store samplings provide you with a readily available consumer presence, consistency, and are unaffected by weather and/or traffic. However, it’s worth considering that you will be confined to a designated area. In addition, assets, along with permits can increase your overall spend. That’s where the appeal of guerilla-style samplings comes into play.

Product Samplings


Guerilla-style product samplings offer more flexibility, creativity and a wider reach than their in-store counterparts. First, let’s define guerilla-style for those who may be new to the practice. Our friends at Hubspot define it rather perfectly, “a very unconventional form of marketing in that it raises brand awareness among large audiences”. Essentially, at its core, guerilla-style is a creative and interactive way to surprise and delight unsuspecting consumers with product samples.

Guerilla-style samplings are often low-cost, high reward. While we would still encourage that you invest in eye-catching or thought provoking gear and/or transportation for your sampling team, you avoid a lot of the fixed costs when it comes to fixed assets, booth builds, etc. that are associated with in-store samplings. Utilizing this method, you can target multiple neighbourhoods or even cities simultaneously. But once you’ve selected your target location it’s up to you to find the consumers. Nevertheless, guerilla-style is a unique and fun way to spread the word, boost sales, win new customers and drive high volume product samplings!

Guerilla-style Sampling

Final Thoughts

While it can depend on the industry, it’s always interesting to see which style brands prefer. Whether you decide in-store is for you, or that you’re better off activating guerilla-style, remember this: create connections with consumers! Catch people where they are and get them excited to learn about your product. Beyond getting your product into their hands, if you can get into their heads and hearts you will win new customers. So, which style is for you? Connect with us and let us know!

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