Caught this article in Ad Age, Sampling: the New Mass Medium. It’s a good article to read to inspire you to build a sampling program for your brand.

Sampling has been around a long time, but it has come a long way.  You see it in Supermarkets,  Costco and more brands seem to be baking it into their marketing plans.

Even huge mass media brands such as McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and Coca-Cola are doing it big time and treating it as a media buy.

In tough economic times, freebies are apprecoated by consumers and its a less expensive way for Marketers to get their messages out, sample products and generate trial and word of mouth buzz.

Thurston, president of Street Sampling, says that a giveaway of 50,000 samples
would require 250 man hours translating to between $15,000 and $20,000
for labor. The company can then add on publicity stunts, promotional
vehicles and the like. Compare that with $335,000 to produce a
30-second spot, according to a 2006 study conducted by the American
Association of Advertising Agencies, and somewhere between $100,000 to
$250,000 to run that spot during most prime-time network TV shows.

Sampling provides brands with a quality impression and its accountable too.

McDonald’s is doing it big-time.  For example, it has sampled its Chicken strips a few years ago, Southern-Style chicken biscuit and Southern-Style chicken sandwich and McSkillet burrito.

Compared to discounting over the long term, sampling actually builds brand equity.

Try it, you’ll like it and so will your customers.