Peer led sampling is key to getting your brand into the hands of thousands of new customers. In this report, ‘The Power of Peer Led Sampling’, you will discover how women aged 20-50-years-old with dependent children respond to sampling, you’ll learn about the 11 different sampling methods available to brands, and you’ll also discover which methods influence purchasing behaviour the most.

Sampling Key to Engaging New Customers
The power of sampling is well known by marketing experts as a key driver for engaging new customers and getting their brand into the right hands. But over the years sampling has changed and adapted. It used to be that people would get samples through their doors and on cover mounts, and the free flow of samples was more prominent and more consistent than it is today. Today, the onset of digital media has seen budgets stretched, and an increase in the number of households means that we get access less and less to samples. This is ironic when you look at the likes of Coca-Cola, Innocent and Lipton Ice Tea, brands that all became famous using sampling as a key methodology for growth.

But which sampling method is best?
There are over 11 different ways in which a brand can use sampling to reach their new customers. The question is, which one is going to deliver the best results to your target audience. Often this is not a cost led decision, as sampling is more than a simple transaction passing the product from one person’s hand to another. Instead peer led sampling is about ensuring people try the product, like the product, remember the product, consider using the product, talk about the product and, ultimately, purchase the product.

Fine Tuning Your Sampling Strategy
To move your target consumer through this journey requires strategic planning and strategic thought. When looking at women aged 20-50 years-old with dependent children you need to work out where they are currently getting their samples from, and which of the 11 sampling methods they’re going to respond to best, and why. Here at Talk to Mums our founder, Sally Durcan, has over a decade of sampling activity experience and access to a powerful network of over 3 million mums, and to put some facts behind the science of sampling her and her team spoke to Talk to Mums network to get their opinions on sampling in order to help you, as brand managers, improve your sampling results.

Here’s what they found out…

25% of UK Mums with Dependent Children aged 2-16, Are Not Getting Free Samples of any Kind
Out of the 850 mums we spoke to, the overwhelming feedback was that more than a quarter of them have either never had a sample, or are only getting a sample once a year. That is a massive un-tapped audience for brands to reach. And if we break that down even further, one mum of every child at every school table in the country, isn’t being reached. Imagine the possibilities. In our previous survey 83% of mums told us they wanted samples as it increased their preference to purchase by over 43%.

Elective Sampling vs Proximity Sampling
In sampling planning terms you can do Elective Sampling, or Proximity Sampling. Elective Sampling is where mums choose to sign up online for a free sample. Proximity Sampling is where a sample is given to a consumer at a location that is visited, or an event they are part of. Currently over a quarter of mums are using Elective Sampling, i.e. they go online and sign up for selected samples. Why? Because there aren’t enough opportunities to get free samples in any other way.

“I love trying new products as it helps give variety and excitement to the shopping each week. For me, it means I’m more likely to look for that product on the shelf, rather than scan over it as there are so many brands and products in the shopping aisle these days.” Mandy Morris, mum to 3 kids aged 4, 8 and 10.

Comparison Table
Comparing the usage of online sample sign up’s against usage of other sampling channels

  • 128% more than peer
  • 112% more than at an event
  • 141% more than at a train station
  • 136% more than goodie bags
  • 108% more than in retailer shopper bags
  • 101% more than on the high street
  • 138% more than from a door drop
  • 76% more than on a magazine cover mount
  • 74% more than in-store
  • 190% more than at your office desk

How effective are online sign ups in moving your customers through to purchase?
Of the 28% of mums seeking out online samples, only 16% said they were influenced to go on and purchase a product using this methodology. That’s a whopping 84% wastage rate, i.e. out of every £100k spent on online samples, £84k is being wasted.

Which sampling method will make a brand’s message stick?
For this study, we gave mums 11 different sampling methods to choose from. Of the 11 methods given, we asked them which method they would remember the most, which method would enhance the likelihood of them talking about the brand, and which method would most likely make them consider purchasing the product. The results showed that nearly 1 in 2 mums would be more likely to remember the product if it was given to them by a peer. So peer led sampling works, why? Because, put simply, mums are just too busy to retain information, but they listen to their peers, and if they’re shown a new product by their peers it’s more likely to stick in their mind.

If we break this down we have three distinct groups: in-home sampling, out-of-home sampling and peer-to-peer sampling…

  1. In-home sampling is goodie bags, retailer shopper bags, online sign ups, door drops, magazine cover mounts (you interact with these mostly in the home).
  2. Out-of-home sampling is sampling at an event, a train station, on the high street, in-store or at the office.
  3. Peer-to-peer sampling is when a mum gives a product to another mum

The Numbers

  • Mums are 33% more likely to remember a product if it is given to them by a peer than through in-home sampling
  • Mums are 38% more likely to remember a product if it is given to them by a peer than through any out of home sampling

Comparison Table
 Likelihood to remember a product/brand using peer to peer against other forms of sampling methods

  • 27% more more likely to remember then at an event
  • 71% more more likely to remember then at a train station
  • 14% more more likely to remember then goodie bags
  • 14% more more likely to remember then in retailer shopper bags
  • 45% more likely to remember then through online sign up
  • 22% more more likely to remember then on the high street
  • 45% more more likely to remember then from a door drop
  • 52% more more likely to remember then on a magazine cover mount
  • 22% more more likely to remember then in-store
  • 45% more more likely to remember then at your office desk

This means that brands need to tap into a mum’s lifestyle at the right time, and in the right place, in order to get results. But when it comes to spreading the word, there is little difference between the percentage of mums that will remember the product and then go on to talk about the product.

How value does peer-to-peer sampling add to the bottom line?
We asked our mums how likely they would be to purchase a recently trialed product using peer led sampling methods over the other sampling methods and discovered to following:

  • 30% are more likely than an in-home sampling method
  • 40% more likely than an out-of-home sampling method

This ultimately means that you will be reaching 33%-40% more customers using peer led sampling methods as these people have a higher likelihood to go on and remember the brand, talk about the brand and buy the brand.

Comparison Table
Comparing likelihood to purchase a product / brand using peer to peer against other forms of sampling methods

  • 36% more likely to buy then at an event
  • 60% more likely to buy then at a train station
  • 16% more likely to buy then goodie bags
  • 29% more likely to buy then in retailer shopper bags
  • 16% more likely to buy then via online sign up’s
  • 26% more likely to buy then on the high street
  • 44% more likely to buy then from a door drop
  • 44% more likely to buy then on a magazine cover mount
  • 29% more likely to buy then in-store
  • 47% more likely to buy then at your office desk

It’s all about a brand’s visibility
At this point we need to look at the frequency of the brand’s visibility and / or the number of taste reminders. The question is, will this peer led sampling strategy ultimately improve the odds of changing behaviours more quickly and moving consumers to purchase? The simple answer to this is yes. If a mum receives one sample of a product via peer led sampling it will result in a 39% likelihood of her purchasing the product, but if she gets three trials of a sample product via peer led sampling it will increase the likelihood of her purchasing that product to 84%. That is nearly doubling your sales potential, and the likelihood is it will keep current customers from switching brands.

When asked a hypothetical question about the likelihood to go onto remember, talk about, and purchase a product if they received more than one sample of the same product via peer led sampling within the same month, the results were as follows:

Table
The increased likelihood to remember a product having received more then 1 sample via peer led sampling.  (3 is our optimum number)

  • 32% more likely to remember with 3 samples over 2 samples
  • 20% more likely to remember with 4 samples over 3 samples
  • 17% more likely to remember with 5 samples over 4 samples

Table
The increased likelihood to talk about a product having received more then 1 sample via peer led sampling. (3 is our optimum number)

  • 28% more likely to talk about a product with 3 samples over 2 samples
  • 19.5% more likely to talk about a product with 4 samples over 3 samples
  • 16% more likely to talk about a product with 5 samples over 4 samples

Table
The increased likelihood to buy a product having received more then 1 samples via peer led sampling. (3 is our optimum number)

  • 25% more likely to buy a product with 3 samples over 2 samples
  • 14% more likely to buy a product with 4 samples over 3 samples
  • 15% more likely to buy a product with 5 samples over 4 samples

What if a mum knows the brand but is new to the product?
So what happens to her behavious if a mum knows the brand but it is a new product? Is there a difference in likelihood to purchase? Is trust already in place and hence the message is likely to stick more because it is a familiar brand, especially in comparison to an unknown brand and product? Again, the results say yes. A known brand should expect to have some leverage on their advertising, right? Right. The results tell us as follows:

There is a 25% increase in the likelihood that a consumer will remember a product of a brand they already know, compared to a brand/product they don’t know

There is a 17% increase in likelihood that they will talk about the new product of a brand they already know, compared to an unknown product/brand

There is an 18% increase in likelihood that a consumer will go on and purchase the new product of a brand they already know, compared to a brand they don’t know

Increasing the Power of Advertising
And what if a mum receives a product sample via the peer led sampling method, how likely is she then to notice an advert about that product? A staggering 50% of our network of mums said that they would then be more likely to notice a product’s advert if they’d received a sample of that product. That is great news for advertisers as it means that adding sampling to your overall marketing strategy will ensure that your other media channels will start to work harder for you as mums stop blocking out messages from brands they don’t know, or care about. Once they’ve had a sample they have a relationship with you, making your message stand out more and getting it the attention it deserves. And is there a likelihood of mums going on to purchase a product after they have trialed a product, and seen an advert? Again, the answer is yes. They are 53% more likely to go on and purchase.

Peer-to-Peer Marketing is your Secret Weapon
In summary, we have demonstrated to you that there is enormous power in peer-to-peer marketing, and by utilising mums and making them part of your marketing machine, you have a win-win situation all round when it comes to peer led sampling. Mums get to use their Network Tree – that is one mum with a powerful network of women at her fingertips – to spread the word, whilst at the same time getting opportunities to try new products. And brands get to empower women to share samples amongst their network and have authentic conversations with them. So used correctly, peer-to-peer marketing has the power to shift behaviours, gain new customers and drive up significant market share in your category.

Call us to today talk about what Talk to Mums could do for you – get in touch on info@talktomums.co.uk or 0207 099 8638.

 

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