Sampling strategies aren’t a new marketing tactic to increase brand awareness and attract new consumers but is an expensive one. Giving away product samples for free can be a little terrifying at first. What if we don’t make ROI? How do we measure the success of a product sampling campaign? How do we turn samples into business? You must have a clear reason for why you are sampling your product, along with how you plan to sample, and where.
Getting Smart with Product Sampling Strategies
Store Demos :: Be Where Your Product Is Sold
The reason your product isn’t flying off the shelves is because consumers have 1) never heard of the product and/or 2) are interested, but afraid to try something new. Food products and cosmetics are the two types of products that are popularly sampled in department and grocery stores. A food sampling at the store your product is sold can be extremely effective. The food handler is able to compare the opening inventory to the closing inventory (after their shift) and provide real time results.
It’s important to select an appropriate time and day to conduct a store demo, to ensure there is high traffic – we want to ensure there are enough people to sample your product! Selecting high energy, professional staff to represent your brand is mandatory. The staff must be well educated on your product, friendly and encouraging, so shoppers feel comfortable sampling the product and are willing to learn more.
When planning store demos for your product samples, it’s always beneficial to plan ahead. If you have a schedule of the product samplings over the course of 3 months, then the event staffing agency is able to put together a core team of certified staff to rotate shifts throughout this time. This will ensure the staff feel comfortable, are familiar with the product, and are confident describing the product and distributing samples to a potential consumer.
Guerrilla Sampling :: Target Your Core Consumer
Hosting a booth at a trade show can cost thousands and thousands of dollars that your company may not have to shell out for one event. This is when guerrilla sampling becomes extremely cost effective. In the photo above, Tigris supplied dynamic brand ambassadors to sample Coco Libre, pure organic coconut water.
Tigris executed a street team promotion outside of the CHFA trade show in Vancouver. Our events staff roamed the street outside the Vancouver Convention Centre to distribute Coco Libre’s Pure Organic Coconut Water with show go-ers and the public. This saved the cost of being an exhibitor at the CHFA, and the staff were still able to target the same demographic, going inside and outside of the show. The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) is Canada’s largest trade association dedicated to natural health and organic products – the perfect event for a Coco Libre consumer!
Guerrilla sampling is “fishing for the right people in the right place at the right time”. Staff must be highly motivated, track interactions, and approach new consumers in a friendly way. For example, when sampling, it’s best to say “complimentary” VS “free”. Think of it as a surprise gift to consumers!
Themed Events :: Partner with a Coexisting Event
In the photo above, Corona partnered with Ivy Bar to create “Patio Parties” every Thursday during happy hour for a few weeks in the summer. Corona is sold at the bar, and to increase sales, Tigris provided Corona promotional models to give out free samples and swag to guests enjoying their after work beer. This type of sampling is great because it doesn’t put any pressure on the consumer to purchase the product, but it does leave a lasting impression. Guests at this specific bar were ‘regulars’, and by providing this fun experience, guests made the decision to purchase Corona VS their regular beverage.
Brands are also able to collaborate on an event, instead of creating their own, as mentioned above. For example, Tigris is working with Grace Kennedy Foods for a series of events for summer 2016. Some of these events include desiFEST, Taste of Lawrence, Salsa on St. Clair and Caribana. At each event, our brand ambassadors are responsible for setting up and tearing down a branded booth, sampling the product and managing sales. These events must be planned ahead to ensure there is space for your brand to be onsite. The benefit is exposure – hundreds of people attend these popular summer events.
Food Trucks :: Attraction Attention and Media
If you’re willing to spend money to make money, branded food trucks are the way to go! This mobile sampling strategy is splashy, newsworthy and very trendy. In the photo above, Tigris teamed up with Roaming Hunger and Uncle Ben’s to execute a Food Truck Challenge. In Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, 3 food trucks in each city competed to win the best dish, which was created with a new product from Uncle Ben’s. Your food truck sampling strategy doesn’t need to be nationwide or a competition – you can simply have the food truck visit high traffic locations during lunch, for example.
For Uncle Ben’s promotion, the food truck samples were completely free, and thousands and thousands of people showed up to receive their samples and vote for their favourite truck. If you promote a free event properly, the people will come!
Discover Which Sampling Strategies Work Best For You
When sampling your product, regardless of which sampling strategy you choose, don’t forget a call to action! Providing a coupon for a discount on their fist purchase, or BOGO (buy one get one free) is a great incentive to get people to purchase your product. Sampling is a great way to gain the consumers trust and confidence in your brand/product, as well as lower the risk of trying something new.
Are you interested in trying one of the sampling strategies listed above? Contact Tigris today at 416-293-9119 or send an e-mail to [email protected]. We operate in over 15 markets across Canada including Toronto, Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver with over 1,500 dynamic events staff on our roster.