CPGmatters: Sampling Events Feature More Established Brands
By Al Heller
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary
of a current article from the monthly e-zine, CPGmatters.
Consumers view in-store sampling as a savings strategy that could help eliminate
the risk of product trials and lessen food wastage at home. This represents
a sea change from the serendipity and novelty feel of sampling not long ago
— before The Great Recession made every dollar count for American households,
and also made consumer packaged goods companies seek more measurability and
accountability from such tactics.
"For shoppers, an inner dialogue of risk versus price means sampling
can effect change in their purchase behaviors. For CPG, the use of in-store
sampling has switched in our experience from 75 percent-80 percent new items
three or four years ago to slightly less than half of our business today," PromoWorks
chief executive officer Dan Steever told CPGmatters in an interview.
"A new item to a shopper is simply one that he or she hasn’t tried.
There’s a clear trend for CPG to sample established items today, partly
to help offset private label encroachment. CPG most effectively fights private
label on the basis of quality, and sampling induces trial at the point of purchase," he
added. "Also, even branded items that people have bought over and
over again sometimes leave their plate, and shoppers need to be reminded of
For example, Campbell Soup Company recently used PromoWorks to run a large-scale
sample campaign that included: one established flavor of soup, a roast beef
sandwich, and recipe cards involving other soup flavors as part of meal solutions.
Mr. Steever said two key consumer insights drove this campaign:
- Chief household shoppers want simple meal solutions. If sampling demonstrates
that a delicious meal can be prepared and served in a grocery store, shoppers
understand they can do it easily at home.
- If the sampling experience moves shoppers to the soup shelf for an extra
few seconds, they’ll pick up additional flavors. Sampling doesn’t
affect only the sampled item; it provides measurable lift of the brand franchise.
"Successful sampling starts with insights, aligns with Shopper Marketing,
and ties to business strategies and broader event calendars established by
CPG companies and retailers," said Mr. Steever.
Discussion Questions: What do you think of the sampling opportunity for
already established brands? What are the overall pros and cons of sampling
as a marketing tool?