Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Sampling in a time-starved world

Product sampling is hardly a new concept in marketing but the process still strains many companies that attempt it. Food products and cosmetics brands have long been icons of sampling but in a time-starved world they are striving hard to find new ways to execute their plans. While the more traditional in-store customer and indirect distributor sampling still prevail, creativity has entered the mix, allowing companies to focus on fresh outlets to run their initiatives. Companies are directly targeting bloggers, trend-setters and looking at even airplanes and cabs to place their products.

Consider Indigo Airlines' sampling campaign for 3M bandages or the one for GlaxoSmithKline's Sensodyne toothpaste. Or an in-flight product sampling campaign for NutriChoice crackers conducted in Jet Airways. Also, when ITC launched Dark Fantasy, it did a sampling exercise with some domestic airlines. Aliasgar Merchant, head, airline business, Global Onboard Partners, an out-of-home, in-flight advertising specialist, says, "In-flight product sampling is popular with FMCG companies as it gives direct access to a captive audience that needs to be engaged. This works really well in low cost carriers (LCC) as they don't serve meals."

What makes in-plane sampling exercise different is the direct access to SEC A-A+ audience (a prime target group for a bevy of advertisers), guaranteed viewership, clutter free environment and direct product interaction. "Unlike sampling in a mall or a retail store, the passenger in the airplane is sitting idle and, thus, it is easier to grab her attention. It is like free samples of juices and energy drinks given to people when they are running," says Mukesh Agrawal, co-founder & head, servicing, The Media Ant, a marketplace for offline media.

But why?

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