The Sampling Conundrum

Product sampling is a tactic that’s been used for years to drive trial, awareness and sales almost since the birth of marketing. (Okay maybe not that long, but for a really long time!). Why is that? Because it’s a tactic that’s been proven to work, time and time again.

As we all know, there are many different ways to drive trial and engage your audience with product samples. In early 2015 we began to recognise a trade-off in the available options. A series of prioritisation decisions needed to be made, often sacrificing one desired feature for another.

This is what we call The Sampling Conundrum, and it’s what we set out to solve with the launch of our experiential workplace sampling service back in 2015.

Let’s look at the key attributes of any successful sampling campaign.

  • Targeting & Scale – the ability to impact on the desired audience, do so in an appropriate environment, at a suitable time and at scale
  • Engagement – creating an engaging, memorable experience that will leave a lasting impression
  • Measurable results – quantifiable impact on your brand
  • Feedback and Insight – after all, how will you know it’s been a successful campaign without direct audience feedback?

Many of the different options brands have for sampling are strong in one or more of these areas, but turning up the dial (yes, I did actually write that – sorry) in one area will normally mean making sacrifices in others.

gemsatwork the product sampling conundrum

Targeted or scalable product sampling

Targeted and scalable have until recently been almost mutually exclusive. Traditional methods of sampling were either targeted or scalable – being really targeted usually made it difficult to scale up, at least without breaking the bank.

gemsatwork targeted scalable product sampling

Delivering memorable brand experiences at the cost of scale

You can create a big splash using experiential sampling techniques and provide consumers with memorable experiences, but given the relatively high cost per sample and logistical challenges, it’s rare to achieve large scale with these methods.

Measurable results versus Engagement

It’s traditionally been difficult to measure the ROI of sampling as so much of the impact is realised in the medium to long-term, rather than immediately. Typically, in-store sampling can see the highest coupon redemption, and – as you’re closest to the point of sale – the highest immediate sales uplift. However, the audience is limited and it’s tricky to provide a really exciting, memorable experience in the middle of Tesco. To top it off the relatively astronomical costs render this sort of sampling at scale an impossibility.

gemsatwork measurable results versus engagement

The future of product sampling

We created gemsatwork to solve the Sampling Conundrum and give brands a way that combines the key facets of successful product sampling into a single solution.

  • Targeting & Scale – a network of 10,000 companies with over 4 million employees means you can target specific audiences at previously unachievable scale.
  • Engagement – the workplace provides a captive environment in which your product can become the centre of attention.
  • Measurable results – intelligent targeting and enhanced experiences deliver greater return on investment.
  • Feedback and Insight – capture direct feedback and develop actionable insights to improve your strategy.
the gemsatwork product sampling solution

Check out some examples of how we’ve helped our brand partners achieve their goals, or learn more about our product sampling solutions.

It’s always great chat about brand strategy and activation so drop us a link to or give us a call on +44(0) 203 034 1100