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The seven steps to sampling heaven

By Joss Davidge

We’ve already covered ‘The seven sins of sampling’ - what NOT to do when planning and executing sampling campaigns. 

sampling2But avoiding common pitfalls is only half the job. To achieve real success and stand-out with your sampling, you need to balance the basics with the science.

To make sure that your sampling campaign reaches the right people at the right time, and gives them an experience to talk about long after their free ‘taster’, we’ve written these Seven Steps to Sampling Heaven: 

1. Make it a real experience 

Think about ways to extend the engagement time with your audience, and give them a richer experience of the brand that they will remember long after the sample in their hands. But don’t clutter or confuse, often the simpler ways to engage the senses work best. When sampling Danone’s Oykos yogurt, we brought a taste of Greek luxury to busy train stations and shopping centres. Consumers could sample the yogurt in authentic Greek-themed surroundings complete with our ‘hunks in trunks’ who they could use as foot stools and be photographer with.  

2. Talk to the right people at the right time 

Picking the right environment is crucial when trying to minimise wasting samples on freebie hunters.  Homework pays dividends. Profile where your target audience shop, eat and work. Understand their patterns and behaviours and think about what time of day they have the most time to stop and talk. Balance common sense with technology to ensure you talk to the right person, in the right mind-set, with the right message, at the right time. 

3. Ensure the perfect serve 

To create maximum impact, the sample needs to reach the consumer in optimal condition. Meticulous planning is essential and everything needs to be carefully assessed, from the supply chain to how your sample is going to be stored on the day. No one wants to try a warm beer or a melted chocolate bar! 

4. Brand Ambassadors are your Brand Angels 

Research shows that consumer experiences are hugely driven by the person they are interacting with.  Employ staff that are passionate and engaging and take time to train them. Do they fit the product?  When we worked for Pampers, for instance, we often favoured mums as our Brand Ambassadors because we knew they’d be able to make an instant connection with the target audience. 

5. Stand out in a crowd 

Be bold and make sure you can’t be missed. Think of your surroundings, how are you going to stand out?  Think back to our Oykos activation above, it was impossible not to notice the hunks in trunks despite it being rush hour in hugely busy stations! Building an immersive experience where consumers can interact with exhibitions or demonstrations is a great way to increase dwell time. The more time spent experiencing the brand the better. 

6. Be meticulous with planning 

Leave no stone unturned in the planning of the activity, meticulous attention to detail will ensure the campaign is a success no matter what you come up against. You might not be able to control the weather, but you should always have thorough contingency plans to cope with challenging situations 

7. Evolve the experience 

Learn and evolve sampling campaigns with specific focus on the results you want to achieve. Something that worked in theory doesn’t always work in practice so use real-time feedback to instantly adapt the activity to give the best possible experience. Follow these principles religiously, and you’ll be well on your way to higher things with your next sampling campaign.

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