Natalie Betts is the co-managing director at product sampling and brand partnerships agency Relish. Specialising in the beauty and FMCG industries AND guiding the business since its inception, Natalie is a master at getting your product into the hands of your future buyers testing, optimising, and personalising the sampling experience.
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Benefits of Product Sampling
Making product sampling work in the digital age requires planning and skills but can provide great results for businesses.
Natalie says that when sampling was first introduced, it wasn’t as response-driven as inserts. However, product samples are no longer just awareness pieces. They’ve become acquisition tools as well, with calls to action.
Tracking Sampling Results
Track your results as much as possible. With brand awareness, not much tracking is done but when you do product sampling that aims to acquire customers, you have to try and track results.
It’s a positive development that people today who are doing product sampling have more of an analytical mindset and want to know much more about performance.
Characteristics of a Great Sampling Campaign
For Natalie, the best sample is one that is disruptive and interrupts somebody’s habitual nature. Based on a campaign they previously did with L’Oreal, you will need three to five days’ worth of sampling to break a consumer’s routine and get them to prefer you.
One other sampling option she mentions is specifically for those who have a limited product range with a significant cost of goods, and this is through renting. Fashion brands can look into this and partner with another retailer that has rental services.
Natalie adds that sampling can be used in any industry, and retailers just need to find the appropriate way of sampling their products.
Getting Your Campaign Started
When it comes to the minimum level to start off your sampling campaign, Natalie says it depends on the business involved. When starting out, look at your own inventory, volume, and budget and work backward to get the number that’s right for you.
For sample sizes, you can always sample full-size products, especially if you have overstock. There’s no need to come out with miniatures or sample sizes. There are a lot of ways to get into this, so definitely work with what you have.
More Product Sampling Tips
Clearly define who it is you’re trying to reach. There’s often a disparity between your target customer and your actual customer, but you can play with both.
If you already know who your actual audience is, focus on them, find lookalikes, and then find the right retailer that reflects who you’re trying to reach.
If we’ve inspired someone to take their first step with offline marketing – what do they need to know to give themselves the best chance of success?
Spend time on your artwork and copy, mainly because there are more dimensions to play with in this space.
Use tactility to your advantage since this type of marketing allows for it, and use language that speaks more directly to your consumers.
Once you’ve started of course you’ve got to ‘keep optimising’! So what’s your favourite way to improve offline marketing performance?
Natalie is a big fan of testing and says to get your AB testing correct.
If you’ve partnered with a retailer for offline campaigns, there are ways you can enhance that perceived partnership. Encourage their employees and colleagues to interact with the advertiser because this will filter through the online space, which makes for great coverage.
If someone listening wants to learn more about offline marketing is there one cheap/free resource you’d recommend?
Explore Relish Agency’s case studies for more insights on product sampling campaigns. Also, go back to the five forces marketing model because that still goes a long way.
Crystal ball time – what’s coming up in the next 6-12 months that we should be getting ready for in offline marketing?
Natalie hopes that there will be automation in warehouses that will allow for segmentation by consumer order.
Aside from this, on a more realistic note, she predicts the return of the subscription market. Brands that offer subscriptions have refined what they’re doing post-COVID and are going to come back more relevant.
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