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While sales promotion techniques are considered the tail end of a marketing plan, there are many examples of sales promotion building a brand.
For new products, services or experiences, you often have to get your target audience to try it once before they try it twice. Free product samples are often among the best promotional activities to get a prospect interested. Here’s a look at the way new products are introduced and how innovative sales promotion ideas and product sampling help small and big business quickly grow.
Experiencing a Brand
Product sampling should engage the senses. A food or beverage sample stimulates taste and smell, achieving the goal of stimulating the senses and encouraging purchase action. Price, value and other elements of the marketing mix also need to be in alignment to make a sale happen.
Bare Naked Sampling Success
Bare Naked Granola’s success story is a great example of using product sampling to select customer segments to launch a brand. Two former high school friends showed up at running events to offer product samples to a health conscience audience and build awareness for the product. Their strategy was atypical because they sampled product and used the growing awareness they created to build retail distribution. Their strategy paid off when their ambition and success got the attention of the Kellogg Company, who paid them roughly $60 million for their brand.
Create Repeat Customers
Many small businesses employ the same strategy as Bare Naked when they offer samples of their product to perspective customers as a free trial. To add to the success of this strategy, make sure that you are targeting an audience that will be likely to return and purchase the product. Offering a coupon or a promo code, for online purchases, is a great way to increase a second visit and to track the success of your sampling campaign
Sample a Service as a Product
For a service or an experience you can actually crate an emotional experience that stimulates the senses. This is where creativity comes to play.
For years the Ringling Brothers Circus had to walk their elephants through New York’s Midtown tunnel to get to Madison Square Garden. The simple process of moving the elephants through the city that never sleeps, in the middle of the night, became an opportunity to create excitement and invite residents and the media to come out and cheer on the circus coming to town. This is a creative adaptation of sampling an entertainment product. Even if you didn’t brave the night air to view the parade, the news media coverage made people feel that something exciting is about to happen. The spectacle touched an emotional cord.
Engage Your Customer
One way to make a service come alive is to look at what the end result of using the service brings to the lives of consumers. For example, if you are selling retirement services, what does your prospect expect when they reach their retirement goal? Putting a prospect into an emotionally charged environment helps to make an emotional connection.
MailChimp, and similar email marketing service providers, lets customers use their basic service for free to allow them to experience the brand. Once free users become comfortable with the product, they often convert to paid for services. The ease of use of the service, along with the opportunity to build your audience, is deemed well worth the investment once the free user understands the price value equation.
When I give a speech about team development, I get the audience involved by putting them into groups of three or four to work on a quick assignment. This breaks up the monotony of listening to a speaker drone on, while the audience gets a chance to participate in the development process that I offer.
If you are stuck thinking about how you can make your service offering into a product that elicits an emotional response, you may want to try this brain storming process with your employees or stakeholders. Eighty five percent of decisions are emotional. Touching on one of Packard’s eight hidden needs consumers have is often a good way to uncover how to create an emotional connection with a service product.
Motivate Purchase Action
Turning an emotional connection created by product sampling or other sales promotion techniques requires that you thoroughly define the four P’s of marketing. Trade sales promotions or consumer sampling campaigns are a great way to get broad scale trial by perspective buyers. Focusing on customer wants and needs and the price value equation, along with an exceptional product experience are all elements that elicit a response and motivate repeat purchase action.