Month: August 2017

Product Sampling Is The ‘Anti-Promotion’ Media Post, picks up April’17 post.

Product Sampling Is The ‘Anti-Promotion’ Media Post, picks up April’17 post.

I liked this and commented on it when it originally ran on LinkedIn back in April – (interesting that the links of original new item are “no longer available”).  Yet, now this time around I have been contacted by several folks who “thought of me” when it ran this time in Media Post.   Speaks to the nature of “reach” and it’s continued importance in what we as marketers (and people!) consume.

What I said then I still believe to be true …Sherry Orel’s (April 7. 2017) post is a heart-felt suggestion that appeals to my own emotion surrounding how under appreciated the art and science of product sampling is! Product sampling is a different strategic tool in the marketing arsenal, it has unique qualities and as she points out “No other consumer promotion tactics need to work as hard as sampling in order to be successful.” To me that suggests that to truly tap the full power of product sampling and use it to your best advantage as a marketer you really need to step back and consider what is the absolute best approach for your brand and that requires both terrific creativity and solid execution. Frankly, that is why SamplingWorks has been launched. Though I might express certain ideas Sherry touches on in a slightly different manner we are singing, in harmony, from the same sheet music when she says, and I quote “Sampling is a proven, long-term, equity building tactic that is the most effective tool in the marketing mix to convince a consumer to buy your product.” and that my friends, I could not have said any better!

Read the post – it’s a good one!


Posted by jlarryburns in Product Sampling, Product Sampling Ecosystem
Joining forces … SG360° Acquires Data Service Solutions (DSS)

Joining forces … SG360° Acquires Data Service Solutions (DSS)

Best wishes to all involved, knowing both firms and the midwest market this move seems eminently logical.

I wish all involved luck and success – these two firms, along with enormous printing prowess,  have substantial expertise in the care and feeding of product sampling programs.  In particular the assembly & fulfillment as well as distribution & packaging design elements of “How Sampling Works”.   The industry lines continue to blur however and hence handling data, order capture and other parts of the process are, I am certain, enhanced as well.

Available scale increases as success grows a company –  a good thing for the business.   I am, however, left concerned about support for startups and smaller scale firms who are inefficient / costly to manage by companies of ever growing size.   It’s the nature of the business a positive in many ways so I am not ranting against that windmill.    Thankfully new technologies and equipment can make “small runs” feasible so, I continue to hope care is given to insuring smaller scale clients are not forgotten as they too can also grow into more important customers … over time.

Posted by jlarryburns in Press Releases & Coverage, Product Sampling, Product Sampling IN HOME
USA Today – Really?

USA Today – Really?

While decidedly tongue in cheek this piece in today’s USA Today raised my hackles a bit.    Yes, the science is real – reciprocity is a very real behavior and not overlooked by our industry as a positive.  However, to suggest that the act of taking a sample obligates one to feel they “ought to” buy is taking the science a bit beyond simple the reality of the marketplace.   (The tattoo example is interesting but fails to mention if in the “club” perhaps there were other factors (say alcohol consumption) that might have played in the willingness to get the tattoo – regard less of subjects reporting (or some 68% of them)  reporting later that theyu would not have gotten it if it were not free.)   I am discussing free product samples here (what a surprise given the title of these pages) and not commenting on the free shipping issue

Look, the reality is that today’s shoppers are very “hip to the tricks” of marketing.  People understand that stores are handing out free samples to get you to buy, they know that brands are providing samples to people because the brands believe that once someone tries their product or service they are more likely to buy it again.  There is no mystery, no hidden secret impulse brands are trying to leverage.   People by our very nature and genetic make up are curious animals – we (generally, as a species)  LIKE to try new thing, to explore, to discover.  When a brand engages in product sampling they are simply offering someone a choice to try or not.   Is a brand likely to receive some ‘halo’ of positive thought by participating in a sampling event, well yes, of course.   But, with “conversion” norms NEVER coming even close to 100% – if reciprocity was an absolute rule – wouldn’t everyone feel compelled to buy?

In the real world people make choices, they generally do know what they are ‘getting into’ with a sample and I seriously doubt that any CPG brand is relying on “guilting” someone into buying simply because they sampled.   Many people pass by free samples all the time and do not “take one” – why?  They self select or perhaps they do feel like they do not want to be obligated if they engage – whatever their reason is it’s theirs.

But, in truth if you are interested and want to try something for free go right ahead – with full knowledge that you MIGHT feel, if you liked it, it is worth buying – or not.    Humans have free will even though in far too many cases tricks of manipulation can get people to do things they do not want to do.   In the world of free product samples perhaps common sense ought prevail and we should not make an assumption that free samples inevitably lead to higher rings for the retailer.  Sure, they HOPE it does and that is part of the reason to invest in sampling but I think more highly of we shoppers  – don’t you?

From USA Today, August 14th 2017,   No, nothing comes for free. Not even free samples or free shipping


Posted by jlarryburns in Product Sampling