Month: May 2017

Interactions introduces Brands2Desk Experience.

On May 11th Interactions, part of  Daymon  a global enterprise who has grown from its 1970’s roots in private label expertise to include myriad services worldwide, announced  this new service via a press release last week.    This business extension, Brands2Desk, is part of Interactions Daymon the consumer experience marketing arm of Daymon which includes a wide range of  retail solutions and experiential marketing  options.

Brands2Desk is a new service for Interactions but certainly not a new idea nor service to the sampling industry.  Workplace Impact, Inc. has been in business, doing this kind of work (reaching employee’s at their place of work), in the US for over 28 years while Theworkperk offers an alternative sampling service in the UK.    This new service from  Interactions is a welcome entry as it will increase awareness of and interest in reaching people for sampling and trial efforts during their working days.

I have always thought the workplace does provide a unique and remarkably uncluttered marketing environment for employees to interact with brands. As long as one takes into account the needs of the employer (not interruptive, welcomed,  approved, culturally appropriate) then such programs are seen as providing a real value to the employee!   There is a very positive element that comes from integrating a brand into the already existing social networks and communication channels that exist in every workplace.    Social interactions about a brand  can be quite simply a very natural occurrence.  So,  once a sample becomes available during the workday, people are very likely to talk about as they do about the weather, the work they are doing, their bosses, politics, sports or any other conversation that is simply a normal part of many people’s work days.   Since every workplace is at least somewhat unique (and THEY all certainly think they are) creating a network of companies and relationships is a process so, for brands interested in reaching employees in their workplaces I would encourage questions about any vendors reach, as well as the depth and maintenance of relationships to insure your brand will be welcomed into the companies you seek to reach.

At SamplingWorks we always welcome new entries within our product sampling ecosystem and this new service expands the players  (and brand choice) within our Location category by being a new player in the Workplace segment.

Our belief that product sampling remains an industry on the upswing is again borne out by the introduction of yet another new service from a major company with many strong retailer and brand relationships.


Posted by jlarryburns in Product Sampling, Product Sampling - LOCATION

Elite Sampling & Media Group – divests Network of DR Office Wallboards

Elite a long time sampling (& Media) firm has taken the step of selling to Mesmerize Marketing their network of approximately 5,000 wallboard locations in medical offices.  As was announced in this pick up of their press release,  and based on study data, patients really do have positive response to information provided at the Point of Care (POC).

For Elite as represented by Nick DeBellis (President) this action offer the chance to focus on the core of their “prosperous CPG sampling and promotions business”.   Elite Sampling & Media Group LLC has a long history across several areas of the product sampling ecosystem  including what SamplingWorks refers to as the Location and In Home categories .   I will take this news as yet another good sign for the industry.   A long term vendor chooses to exit (though remaining connected) from a line of  business that was not directly related to sampling which should provide even more focus on sampling and helping CPG brands reach people in several different ways.

Posted by jlarryburns in Press Releases & Coverage, Product Sampling, Product Sampling - LOCATION, Product Sampling IN HOME

Exact Media – Ready for prime time.

Back in February of 2014, we posted a news piece (Ad Week) on Unilever’s early work with Exact Media and it seems the company is ramping up and ready to make a larger splash in our product sampling ecosystem.   In short they provide another way to reach people in their homes via the “ride along’ distribution model coupled with more elaborate (precise) targeting and a respect for research, results provision, and transparency that I applaud.

I’d propose they participate in the ‘In Home’ segment of the ecosystem that I refer to as “Discovery- catalog/ecommerce inserts” because generally the human receiving the sample does so under a “surprise and delight” scenario.  However, some of the press has alluded to adding an element of ‘requested’ to their process as well.    As with most interesting product sampling business models, one finds it difficult to cleanly drop a company into a single descriptor – so I default to a “what they are known for” method for placement.

Back in February of 2014, Exact Media reported reach was 25 million North American households (through an extensive retailer network) and plans were to triple that – by this time I can only imagine they have sufficient targeted reach to handle most brand needs.   The release speaks to services available in US and Canada, sounds like the UK is not far behind with China appealing as well due to the burgeoning ecommerce market there.   As with all models that involve interfacing with retailer fulfillment operations, the magic lies in being able to create an “easy enough” to execute approach that retailer systems can tolerate.   Reading between the lines while noting the “pitch” on the Exact Media site it sounds as if Exact Media has created ways to offer the retailers informational value and a process which just might be enough of a trigger to get attention paid to the very solvable problem of sampling integration (it really just takes a bit of work).

While this ecommerce accompaniment arena is not “new”; several vendors offer services that run in the ‘ride along channel”;  it seems like, as in many parts of our exciting product sampling ecosystem, innovation continues to flourish making me proud to give voice to the power of product sampling as a strategic tool for savvy marketers.

Posted by jlarryburns in Product Sampling, Product Sampling IN HOME

Why I hate Press Releases (although I do cover them)

A press release appeared in this morning’s information diet consumption.  TryFree.Club sent out a release  speaking about their model and site.   Being always interested I went a bit farther and the site is lovely, pretty, easy to navigate – in other words it looks quite legit.  However, a bit farther into it we come upon one of the challenges that plague the ‘free sample’ online eco-system.    While I shall not question the business goals nor entrepreneurial zeal of the founders I find it disturbing when there is a clear assumption made – no one is actually going to read the terms and conditions.  Why?  Becasue right there in clear language lies the following statement:

“The Free Trial Products are NOT Free. They are Free to Try for a certain period. After that period passes, you will be required to Pay, Review or Cancel your commitment to the brand you ordered from.”   

I am not trying to single out this particular site because there are many one could look to for examples of the muddy waters of the the online ‘free sample’ ecosystem but since it popped up in my feeds I note it.   In fact these folks may really be attempting to offer a legitimate source of the kinds of products featured as they speak about the desire to create a marketplace – time will tell.

So, to my marketing readers when you work with your agency, supplier/vendor, and media partner to run a true product sampling campaign just always be aware there are some constant headwinds of “consumer hesitancy” due to the plethora of confusing or even downright misleading sites.   Overcoming such hesitancy is really quite simple, but you need to insure a rigorous thought process surrounding consumer perceptions is considered.     Just one simple tip, even a clear ‘red flag’ – when the mouse print at bottom of a landing page or page one says something like “the owners of this site have no relationship to the brands show on this site”, often in far more ‘legally dense’ language consider yourself warned.

Sorry to rant – maybe I am just crabby today.


Posted by jlarryburns in Press Releases & Coverage, Product Sampling, Product Sampling IN HOME

Ad Age chimes in – more on P&G changes

As I wrote last week, the P&G earnings call was quite a useful bit of learning.   Here is the Ad Age reporting on it – always interesting to see how various press outlet spin the same news.   Favorite line: “…increased investments in product formulations, packaging, advertising, sales support, sampling, R&D and pricing,…”

Posted by jlarryburns in Product Sampling, Product Sampling Ecosystem