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Effective Sampling Strengthens Brands

Posted: September 3, 2008, from the September 2006 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 5 of 5

Sampling ROI is the value of incremental business the brand sees after sampling costs, annually based. With sampling being a higher cost-to-consumer ratio, it is critical to measure the effects and ROI. Johnson recommends a market research effort aimed at measuring the ROI of a sampling program. Marketing research should include information such as if the sample was tried, the number of samples received and if a full-size product was purchased. The brand may use a third-party research firm that can design the research aspects, including the control cell, while the program is being designed. “It completely changes the ROI of a program if you find out that each consumer received two samples on average, instead of one sample, on average. Most brands are not measuring this aspect of their program in any way,” said Johnson.

Additionally, when sampling a premium brand, the ROI should also measure the incremental profit realized by moving current users of the base brand to the premium-priced brand.

Sampling can be an effective tool in brand marketing when executed with a well-designed and measured program focused on the brand’s objectives. Each brand must decide which product or system within a line would be best served by sampling and then focus on that product’s target audience. A brand must do its homework, creating samples that give the consumer a positive experience. Sampling is most effective when combined with an ad-driven campaign or another product. At the same time, a brand cannot forget to measure the ROI of its program. When a brand follows these steps, sampling can achieve an increase in brand loyalty, sales and expand a user base— creating a positive and effective sampling experience for the brand.