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PRODUCT SAMPLING and Why It's Essential

Product sampling increases brand awareness, generate leads, and drive sales

Get your brand sample into people's hands, homes, and workplaces

Reach audiences at ideal times and places with product sampling campaigns

Enhance your CPG sampling with unique experiences and activities

Spark product sales with coupons and promo codes

Extend your product sampling impact with social media

Be the first to share and people will remember you

Product sampling: What You Need To Know

Product sampling is brand-to-hand distribution of trial-size samples to spark interest and transform people into customers. Experiential sampling is a tried-and-true demand generation marketing tactic leveraged by consumer product goods (CPG) brands.

Companies create "moments of trial" to introduce new products, reach untapped customer segments, and foster stronger brand engagement.

Brand product sampling takes place on public streets, at transit stations, inside offices, inside supermarkets, and in partnership with venues.

Sampling is especially effective for higher-priced products, making it a popular tactic among beauty companies. When you allow people to try before they buy, it overcomes their purchase hesitations.

Well-trained brand ambassadors entice people, present product samples, and host brand conversations, plus nudge them toward purchase. 

Experiential product sampling often serves as the first touchpoint between consumers and a brand. It is particularly valuable for new products or brands striving to make a mark in a competitive market. A well-planned product sampling campaign ensures that brand interactions are relevant, memorable, shareable, and sales-oriented.

Effective sampling campaigns weave your brand narrative throughout the presentation, conversation, and call-to-action.

Event Product Sampling - New York City

Product sampling can take place in various settings, with the following tactics being among the most popular:

Street Sampling -This traditional method, often called opportunity sampling (or guerilla sampling), involves distributing product samples to people in high-traffic areas, such as outside transit stations, near concert venues, and in bustling shopping districts. I

Event SamplingParticipating in events like concerts, festivals, and sports stadiums, offering access to large audiences in a single day. Event sampling often includes tables, tents, and exaggerated props to capture attention and enhance brand outcomes.

In-Store Sampling - Collaborating with retailers to establish sampling stations within their stores is an effective way to introduce your product to new customers and facilitate immediate purchases.

GiftingThis approach involves pleasantly surprising independent shops, offices, and hospitals with product samples, sometimes referred to as "shop drops", "product seeding" or "guerilla gifting."

Food Truck - You can partner up with food trucks to sample your brand. It could be on its own or as special ingredient of menu item. Often includes a sign on the trucking letting people know your brand is being served.

Lifestyle Sampling - A marketing strategy that connects your brand with people via their values, aspirations, and interests. For example, you could sample your brand at yoga studios, dance classes, or Broadway theater shows.

Creative Activation - This tactic combines product sampling with one-of-a-kind brand experiences. It isn't something brands activate daily; it occurs more around holidays, brand anniversaries, or other special occasions. The reach of creative activation sampling is limited, so it relies heavily on influencers and social media to spread the impact.

 

Product Sampling Services


ALT TERRAIN is an experiential product sampling agency that specializes in producing innovative and engaging sampling campaigns.
We work with brands of all sizes to develop sampling strategies that align with their specific goals and objectives. Here's what to expect when working with us: 


1.) Sampli
ng Strategy Development: Creation of sampling strategies tailored to reach and influence your ideal customers.

2.) Product Sampling Structure: Brand assets and activities to attract, engage, and move people. 

3.) Logistics and Staffing: We handle all aspects of product sampling logistics, staffing, training, and shipping.

4.) Activation and Management: We actively manage, document, and assess your product sampling program.

5.) Continuous Improvement: We apply insights and enhancements on an ongoing basis.


No matter what your product sampling goals may be, ALT TERRAIN is well-equipped to help you achieve them. Our team of seasoned professionals excels at developing and executing successful sampling campaigns.

CPG personal care product sampling NYC

How to plan for your product sampling marketing campaign


1.) Establish your goals (e.g., awareness, number of samples distributed, demos, sign-ups, etc.) 

2.) Know your ideal customer, and choose locations they frequent

3.) Integrate sampling booths or signs to pique people's interest from afar

4.) Utilize well-trained and outfitted brand ambassadors

5.) Support with a logistics team to receive, store, and transport, specifically for sampling products at events

6.) Use trial-size, packaged product samples so people can easily place them in their pocket or purse

7.) Include an irresistible call-to-action to incentivize purchases

8.) Integrate social media activities, contests, and promotions whenever possible 

9.) Budget for an onsite manager to oversee setup, make improvements in real-time, and document the sampling

10.) Measure estimated impressions, engagements, consumer comments, and social media impact

11.) Secure proper insurance to cover the public, location, and the sampling staff

 

Top 10 product sampling ideas


1.) Surprise-and-delight commuters with guerilla sampling approach outside transit stations

2.) Standout with costumed characters and attention-generating signage

3.) Activate sampling near locations where people can make a purchase

4.) Integrate influencer visits as part of your sampling campaign

5.) Promote sampling activations before, during, and after on your social media channels

6.) Target trade shows, competitor shops/happenings, and people heading to festivals

7.) Incentivize people to share the sampling experience on social media

8.) Complement sampling efforts with geotargeted social media buys

9.) Tie in your sampling concept with a holiday, national days, and awareness months

10.) Build in a charitable or cause marketing call-to-action

Venice Beach Beauty Product Sampling - Innisfree
How Much Does Product Sampling Cost?

 

Product sampling marketing rates vary widely depending on the venue, setup, number of activation dates, staffing needs, outfit, logistics, and numerous other factors. For example, impactful guerilla product sampling activation can be as low as $9,000 per day, and event marketing sampling is typically upwards of $20,000 per day. 

Share your brand sampling goals with ALT TERRAIN, and we'll gladly provide you with an estimate.

 

Availability


Experiential product sampling teams available in every major US city:

New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, DC, San Diego, Seattle, Denver, Portland, Miami and every city in between.

 

Takeaways


Experiential product sampling marketing is a natural fit for most consumer goods brands, especially food, beverage, and beauty companies.

How, when, and where you activate your product sampling makes all the difference. 

Go beyond basic tabling distribution, adapt a story-centric approach to give people a memorable, shareable experience.  

Enlist a product sampling agency to streamline planning, inventory management, fabrication, shipping, storage, management, training, and reporting.

 

Connect


We'd love to hear about your brand and goals; please introduce yourself.

Get your brand into people's hands!

 

Product sampling marketing FAQ

Product sampling marketing is the act of giving trial-size samples to people for them to experience your brand.

This form of marketing takes place in supermarkets, on-the-street, at events, and host of other locations.

Product sampling is primarily utilized by consumer product companies (CPGs) as it converts a high percentage of people into customers.

Connect with ALT TERRAIN to learn more about product sampling strategies and pricing. 

Product sampling best practices:

1.) Focus on one main goal (e.g. on-the-spot sale, online purchase, etc.)

2.) Select sampling locations where your desired customer frequents

3.) Train your staff on the brand history, story, benefits, and FAQs

4.) Create a presence that piques people's interest, represents the brand well, stimulates the senses, and functions for your logistical needs

5.) Ensure safety and cleanliness of your space, setup, staff, and customers

6.) Outfit your sampling staff with, at a minimum, branded caps and shirts

7.) Include a irresistible, time-sensitive offer people to purchase the product

8.) Document your sampling activation in real-time for quality assurance and content marketing purposes

Product sampling marketing rates vary widely depending upon the venue, setup, number of activation dates, staffing needs, and numerous other factors.

Share your brand sampling goals with ALT TERRAIN and we'll be glad to provide you an estimate.

Product sampling conversion rates depending upon the product, location, and offer, although it tends to be in the 5-25% range making it one of the more effective ways to create new customers. 

Here is a list of the most common product sampling marketing strategies:

1.) Sample products as close to the purchase point as possible

2.) Sample products during people's mass transit commutes

3.) Sample at festivals, concerts, and similar events to associate your brand with people's enjoyable memories

4.) Sample products to students on-and-off campus

5.) Sample at or near high-profile locations or happenings for content marketing purposes

For product sampling marketing strategies for your brand, please get in touch with ALT TERRAIN for a complimentary proposal.

Essential information to share with an agency to produce an effective product sampling marketing initiative:

1.) Brand goals

2.) Ideal customer profile

3.) Cities

4.) Dates

5.) Size, weight, and type of product sample

6.) Product sample logistics (e.g., pick-up, storage, etc.)

7.) Offers available to incentive purchase 

8.) Marketing assets available (e.g., sampling booths, table covers, tents, outfits, props, etc.)

9.) Any existing supermarket or venue partnerships

10.) What other marketing elements are in-the-mix (e.g., digital, sponsorships, outdoor advertising, etc.) at the same time as the sampling initiative