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Brand sampling in a post-lockdown world

Author: Catherine Titherington, Business Development Manager (Brands), Eagle Eye Solutions Ltd

As a proven, long-term, equity building tactic, sampling is one of the most marketing effective tools for convincing a consumer to buy. It’s the only one to actually put your product in their hands.

Even before the turbulent period brought on at the beginning of 2020 by the global coronavirus pandemic, brands were looking for more effective ways to amplify and quantify campaign success.

But, with social distancing and more stringent hygiene measures to take into account, they are now actively seeking alternatives to handing out free samples to amplify awareness and garner feedback.

Digitally activated brand campaigns not only replace traditional sampling practices but surpass them in terms of benefits. This is especially true when the digital activation takes place in-venue.

Building incentivised sampling into traditional, above-the-line (ATL) advertising campaigns can also deliver performance marketing mechanics to generate customer data, as well as sales and feedback.

Digitised brand sampling delivery

By tracking the issuance of incentives to digitally opted-in consumers through to the point of sale in a store or venue, brands can inject new experiential elements into the sampling experience too.

Using existing creative media to deliver more targeted marketing, including calls to action via social media, can also gamify more compelling experiences. Consider 19 Crimes’ innovative example.

California winemaker, 19 Crimes, uses augmented reality (AR) to bring the historical stories of infamous colonists to life with talking wine labels via its Living Wine Labels app.

The often cited Product Sampling Study, found 35% of customers who try a sample will buy the sampled product in the same visit or shopping trip. With digital delivery, uplift can be even higher.

Integrating a sampling experience into digital ‘through the line’ campaign execution avoids the dreaded “dead end” of mass broadcast, ATL approaches. But it also disjoins the delivery process.

Alongside traditional experiential agencies, some sampling companies are starting up as agencies. Then there is product discovery hub, TryIt.co.uk. But the reach of such new entrants is online only.

End-to-end tracking and attribution

The capability they are all looking to provide is tracking of a sampling campaign through to next phase, which is a redemption at till. Only then is it possible to calculate true return on investment.

Budgets may be constrained, but this creates the perfect opportunity to demonstrate what can be achieved with the scale, reach and precision targeting and tracking available with digital activations.

Identify a category, e.g. snacks or alcoholic beverages, and work with brands to fund campaigns that boost awareness of a new branded product, the merchant’s association with it and sales for both.

Digital activation and media agencies must to take the lead in CPG marketing and show the way forward for sampling in a post-lockdown world. So brands can truly get to know their customers.

Learn more about the benefits of digital activation sampling: check out this recently recorded on-demand webinar, “Winning the Recovery in Hospitality post Covid-19,” with Catherine Titherington.

Please contact us to find out how Eagle Eye can support your digital activation sampling campaigns.