If you’re a CPG brand, chances are that product sampling has at one point or another played a role in your overall marketing strategy. After all, there are few tactics more effective in boosting brand awareness and communicating the value of your brand than giving consumers the opportunity to see, feel, smell and taste your product in real life.
CPG brands have witnessed first-hand the immense value of adding this trusted tactic into their marketing mix for decades. The long term reality of living in a pandemic however has left many marketers asking themselves whether meaningful product experiences can exist for brands in times of social distancing. The answer? It’s never been more possible thanks to innovative digital sampling methods.
In this blog post, we’re going over the many benefits CPG brands can reap by adopting product sampling (both traditional and digital) and how you can launch winning sampling programs that turn your audience into paying and loyal consumers.
It’s a tactile experience that’s hard to replicate
Though traditional marketing strategies may be effective at communicating the value of your product, they’d fall short in actually proving it to your audience. Product sampling offers consumers a tangible interaction that is hard, if not impossible, to ever replicate. It engages their sense of smell, taste, touch, sight, and hearing in a way that even the most impactful ad or packaging wouldn’t be able to. Having the opportunity to put your product to the test before buying it - provides a type of visual navigation and tactile experience that demonstrates first-hand what makes your product so special.
If your ultimate goal is to convince your target audience that your product is worth the investment, consider pairing your content, advertising, and other marketing tactics with a product sampling program that enables your ideal consumer to witness its value in real life.
“There’s no marketing tactic more effective than getting a free product into the hands of your target consumer. Not only does it create brand recognition and reciprocity, but it also allows consumers to tangibly interact with your product. The sampling space has evolved so much over the last decade, with digital sampling unlocking a whole new level of targeting and measurement for brands.” - Kelly Stewart, VP of Marketing at Sampler
It helps your consumers make buying decisions
When shopping for any type of item, consumers often turn to online reviews or even their peers for a trusted opinion, so that they can make more informed buying decisions. These words are an incredibly important part of the shopping process and can oftentimes be the defining difference between a potential customer and a paying one. Product sampling takes this a step further and rather than serving as a recommendation, it poses as a direct demonstration of what your product has to offer. By trying it before buying it, consumers can build confidence and reduce doubt, leading to higher conversions.
Uncertainty can stop a consumer in their tracks and keep them from ultimately making a purchase. What if it’s not what they expected? What if it doesn’t satisfy their needs and they end up losing their money? Perhaps they’ll be stuck with a full size of a flavour they didn’t enjoy, leading to unnecessary waste.
Every time you hand out a sample, you’re addressing this uncertainty head on and eliminating a piece of the doubt that keeps your audience from converting. Your sample isn’t just a fun little bonus to delight your consumers with, it can be a powerful tool that cuts away the apprehension that they feel before they buy - leading to a fun (and profitable) checkout experience.
"Product sampling is one of the most impactful ways to introduce (or reintroduce) your product and drive conversion to purchase. Consumers on Sampler rely on digital sampling to help them quickly make the best purchase decisions for their household and are 71% more likely to say they are driven to purchase a product after sampling a product vs viewing traditional forms of advertising" - Morgan Kingdon, Director of Audience at Sampler
It builds a relationship with your key consumer
Raise your hand if you enjoy free stuff. Yeah, us too.
Now think about how consumers feel when you offer them a complimentary sample of your product. It’s an instant delight that builds trust and fosters a positive emotional association with your brand. With newer, digital sampling models, this is taken to a whole new level of delight by delivering the sample to your ideal audience directly to their doorstep and giving them the ability to try it on their own terms and in the comfort of their own home.
Product sampling ignites a natural sense of reciprocity amongst your audience, leaving them with the desire to return the gesture by purchasing the product they sampled. In digital product sampling, this reciprocity doesn’t just come in the form of a purchase decision, but also in activities like leaving a positive review in their post-sampling survey, or posting genuine user-generated content on social media showcasing their positive experience with the product - all things that further fuel your brand affinity and loyalty.
As consumer expectations continue to evolve, finding ways to forge new bonds with your highest value audience is more important than ever before. Product sampling can be your greatest ally in forging new bonds with your highest value consumer and most importantly, generating greater value for your brand - one freebie at a time.
How to start launching winning sampling programs
We’ve gone over the benefits that product sampling can offer you, but how do you get started and plan for success?
Our complete guide on how to launch and maximize your product sampling services will arm you with the information you need to ensure your next program is built for ultimate success.