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5 winning sampling programs to inspire your next campaign

July 12, 2022
  ●  
Cynthia Nakad

Success tends to leave clues and when building a sampling strategy, it can really help to explore examples of best-in-class programs for a dose of inspiration. After working with over 950 brands in 19 countries around the world, we’ve seen our fair share of standout digital sampling programs and we’re taking a look back at some stellar examples.

Whether you’re gearing up to launch one for the very first time or looking for ways to elevate your current strategy, these examples will give you a peek into what you can expect, and serve as the perfect guide to yield the best results.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Zero dB

Zero dB is a next-generation functional drink designed to improve clarity and quieten mental noise. Created from plants and other organic, non-GMO ingredients, Zero dB targets consumers wanting to destress and unwind from the hassle of everyday life. 

Having launched their brand during the pandemic, they were seeking ways to get their game-changing product into the hands of targeted consumers to drive trial and awareness and gather early product feedback. By using a diagnostic questionnaire and advanced targeting, they were able to reach consumers who were most likely interested in the beverage and launch post-sampling surveys to learn what they thought about it. 

The product was a hit amongst claimants with 60% rating the product 4+ stars and many citing that they loved the taste, appreciated the clean ingredients, and felt a considerable calming effect after drinking it. 

With a unique product like a functional drink, consumer education is key for success so the ability to acquire new email addresses was a major bonus for the Zero dB team. Through their program, they successfully grew their email list with 63% of claimants opting in to receive future communications. These, along with key consumer data points are used by the team today to further nurture and educate high-potential shoppers with tailored content. 

The insights and feedback collected during the sampling program not only helped Zero dB prove why their product was so special to consumers, but it also helped prove the demand of the product to potential retailers and support their case for shelf space. 

“Your product may be the best in the world, but there are 1000 brands doing the same thing today. Investors will say to you like why doesn’t P&G, and Kraft Foods carry your product if it’s so good? Digital sampling is a way to have the data to back up your product and say hey! people want this, there is a market for this, consumers are hungry for something new. And we’ll use our Sampler data at all our pitches moving forward.” - Gary LeBlanc CEO & Co-Founder of ZerodB


Shameless Pets

Shameless Pets, founded in 2018, is a natural, sustainable and nutrition-focused pet food brand that uses up-cycled fruits and vegetables to create tasty treats for both cats and dogs. The brand was looking to reach pet owners and drive trial and awareness amongst new consumers.

Pet owners who matched the targeted profile, would later get a box delivered to their doorstep with a sample for their furry friends to try at home as well as the option to leave their genuine feedback.

The tasty treat was an instant favourite with all of the samples claimed in one weekend and 86% of sample claimants leaving a 4+ star rating. The program also revealed consumers’ purchase intent after they put the product to the test with 72% of survey respondents stating that they were likely to purchase it post-trial. 

Getting the pet-owner seal of approval is no easy feat, but the health-conscious brand quickly won them over. The Sampler program helped them prove the quality of their product by offering a tangible experience to those most likely to turn into paying customers. The rising pet brand not only offered pet parents a memorable brand experience at home, but made it easier than ever for them to discover, learn, and stay in touch with the brand long after they claimed their sample.

Path of Life

Path of Life makes delicious, plant-based frozen foods from whole food ingredients that promote a healthy lifestyle. The healthy frozen food brand built a sampling program to target consumers on specialty diets who shopped at particular retailers and send them a coupon to redeem in store. The brand wanted to streamline their demo process while creating an authentic connection with consumers at home. The program not only resulted in its most successful coupon program to date, but also quickly grew its email list, collected valuable ratings and reviews, and grew its retail distribution. 

Within the sampling program, 81% of claimants were likely to recommend the product to friends and family and of those, the majority had never heard of Path of Life before. The team also saw an impressive 67% email opt-in rate which enabled them to build targeted email campaigns that alert consumers of new product releases, new retailers in their area, as well as drive them to join their community on social media. The program was also a great way to gain organic referral and tap into word of mouth marketing with 72% of claimants giving it a 4 star rating or higher and 83% claiming they would recommend it to a friend or family member. 

“The consumer feedback collected in our Sampler program provided a great wealth of knowledge. It gave us insight into the consumer perspective on how to ensure our product innovations and the products currently on shelf are aligned with our consumers.” - Ashley Collins, Brand Manager at Path of Life

Barney Butter

Barney Butter, an all-natural food brand created a healthier alternative to traditional peanut butter made with premium ingredients. The brand partnered with Sampler and media company LifetoGo to build a custom digital sampling program. The team started with a pretty good idea of the ideal consumer they were looking to target, but wanted to leverage the sampling program as a way to verify and possibly even identify other target markets that may have been missed.

Throughout their program, they gathered key consumer insights like where they shopped most often or what their dietary preferences were and even their household make up. For example, 98% of Kosher dieters rated the product 4+ stars, and 65% of age 35+ claimants were more likely to purchase the product. Meanwhile, 88% of Whole Food shoppers rated the product 4+ stars, with 82% likely to recommend it to a friend.

Post-sampling survey questions also gave Barney Butter a good idea of what consumers thought of the product’s quality and price point and even what other products they’d like to see from brands like them in the future. 

“Sampler is an amazing way to get targeted consumers interacting with your products. Consumers are actually picking your product and testing it -- this leads to higher sales. You also get real-time feedback from people that are actively engaging with your brand, so it’s really an amazing way to not only showcase your brand but also build a community around your products.” - Kat Dara, Barney Butter retailer

O.b. tampons

Known for their environmentally-friendly line of non-applicator tampons, this personal care brand was preparing for an influencer campaign and looking for a compelling call-to-action that encouraged their loyal consumers to try and rate their products. 

Driven by a “Less Waste” motto, o.b. was looking to reach millennial consumers that were new to o.b.’s non-applicator product. Using Sampler, the brand paired their social media ads and influencer marketing content with an enticing free sample offer where consumers were invited to claim, try, and review their very own free sample of the product. 

The brand was able to boost the engagement of their influencer videos with a unique URL that seamlessly allowed the audience to match and claim, opt-in to o.b.'s own mailing list, rate the product, and provide their feedback. The program also made it easy for the brand to monitor the performance of their influencer marketing campaigns and identify those with the highest engagement.

The best performing influencer Alana Davidson drove 146,000 views on her video and single-handedly helped the brand move over 10,000 samples during the first days her post was published. The program was a great way to introduce the product to brand new consumers with 64% of claimants never having heard of it before. Consumers connected with sampler, answered a set of questions ranging from demographics to lifestyle habits, matched with their personalized sample, and after providing their shipping information, email and phone number, had their Sampler box delivered to their doorstep. 

In the end, 55% of claimants registered to the brand’s newsletter and left a high number of positive reviews that o.b. could leverage across all of their marketing channels. 

“Once you’ve partnered with a creator who’s in-tune with your audience’s needs and who they turn to when making purchasing decisions, digital sampling lets you take it to another level by actually converting this virtual interaction into a real life one. Getting a consumer to stop and pay attention to an influencer is valuable, but getting their senses engaged and gifting them with a free sample delivered to their home, adds a whole new dimension of engagement and connection” - Cynthia Nakad, Senior Brand Communications Manager at Sampler

Takeaways

Whether it is your first time bringing the product trial experience direct to home, or looking to spruce up your next digital program, these examples highlight how much consumers value this type of memorable product discovery. Luckily, setting up a program is simple and together with your sampling partner you can begin maximizing your marketing spend in no time. 

Sampling
Consumer insights
Consumer feedback
Data
eCommerce

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