Sampling and trialing can be a manufacturer's most effective marketing tool, but it can also be a very expensive activity. In some industries it is an essential part of the buying process.  According to the Promotion Marketing Association's Sampling and Demonstration Council, 83% of consumers agreed that experiencing a product or seeing it demonstrated live increases their comfort level when purchasing.  Manufacturers, who offer product samples and trials on their website or at trade events, should ensure that the product trial experience is a positive one for the customer to maximize the likeliness of a sale. By automating a sampling or trial campaign you can enhance the customer experience. 6-sampling1.JPG

The focus of a sample or trial campaign is to drive registration and participation in sample or trial offers.  This campaign should provide sample/trial offers through several inbound and outbound communications.  With advances in targeted display ads, digital advertising is an excellent tool for driving sample and trial interest.  The campaign should also contain an educational nurturing path.  Remember that content should contain personalized messaging relative to the contact's digital body language.  The campaign communications should also follow the 1:3 rule. There should only be one sales focused communication for every 3 communications delivered.  The other 2 communications should contain thought leadership content relevant to the contact's digital body language and purchase history. 


Optimize the sample/trial registration form.  Capture contact, account and delivery information, product information (version, packaging), buying horizon and date needed by, projected application (where and how the product will be used and in what quantities), and performance requirements.  This form should use progressive profiling. Contact information already captured in the contact record, or stored within CRM, should not be queried.  It's recommended that this form either link to a subscription form, or contain the subscription form as part of the sample/trial registration.  The subscription form should offer options for receiving various communications like monthly newsletters, educational material, and special offers.  It should also provide preferences for when communications are received (specific days of the week), and frequency (weekly, monthly, quarterly).  Capturing information on device preference is also recommended.  Understanding how the contact consumes information (PC, tablet, mobile) will provide insight into how best to optimize content creation and delivery.

Nurture and educate the user throughout the sample/trial period.  Don't forget to send a confirmation of the delivery of the sample/trial. There should be contact information available in case the sample/trial was not received.  Educational content delivered throughout the trial period should provide information on studies, results, and "how to" information.  Content should also provide information on advances in innovation and trends relative to the industry or product.  At the conclusion of the trial period, provide a feedback form to collect information on both the product and the process.

Lastly, don't neglect the campaign data and insight garnered from a contact's digital body language.  Sampling/trial data will demonstrate the effectiveness, or ineffectiveness of the sample/trial process.  This analysis will allow manufacturers to better employ the sample/trial registration process, drive more meaningful engagement, and understand the return on their sample/trial investment.