Getting ‘brand in hand’ has consistently proved itself to be a powerful marketing tactic, especially for new or reformulated FMCG products – and thus has remained a popular element of the marketing mix for decades. But to get the most value out of a sampling campaign, you need to maximise the number of samples given out – which means smart locations, smooth logistics and excellent sampling staff.
Successful sampling campaigns are generally located in busy areas – whether that’s train stations, sporting events, shopping centres or festivals – which means sampling staff are consistently busy too. So we make sure that all our staff have bags of energy; and that they keep smiling, greet every passerby with the same enthusiasm and warmth, and remain slick with their sample delivery throughout the campaign.
Since launching in 2004, we have provided sampling staff for some of the UK’s best loved brands – from Cadburys and Pringles to Quaker, Tropicana, Weetabix and many more. This wealth of experience gives us huge insight into how the most successful sampling campaigns are run, from choosing the right locations to the best ways to store product – insight that we are always happy to share with our clients.
It is very important to be able to measure a sampling campaign accurately – knowing exactly how many samples are given away per day provides valuable insight, both for justifying investment and designing future campaigns. In 2015 we developed a bespoke reporting app called M+ Reports that enables our sampling staff to record various types of relevant data from their own smartphone while in the field.
When Mash first launched in 2004, much of our work revolved around providing sampling staff for product sampling campaigns. At the time we worked almost exclusively with experiential staffing agencies, and helped to deliver many large-scale sampling campaigns for major FMCG brands.
One of the most iconic campaigns that we provided sampling staff for was the ‘little ray of sunshine’ activity that the marketing agency Initials designed for Tropicana. Over an 11 week period, 22 of our sampling staff delivered half a million bottles of Tropicana (plus an inspiring morning message) to people’s doorsteps between 3am and 7am. Our staff worked in two teams of 11 people. Our sampling staff in London worked across the south of the country while our Manchester based team delivered juice around the north of the UK. The campaign drew huge praise both from its recipients and from within the industry.
We have worked on many other creative sampling campaigns over the years. While some cover the whole of the UK like Volvic or Quaker, others are more niche and focus on high density areas. For example, our best sampling staff in London spent three days in Westfield London serving Haig whiskey to consumers in the run up to Father’s Day. We deliver Lavazza samples at special events like the Wimbledon Championships and London Fashion Show. And 17 of our sampling staff brought ‘joy’ to Covent Garden on behalf of Cadbury – while also giving out 10,000 samples in just one day.
Accurate and timely measurement is crucial for sampling campaigns, particularly large scale activity where hundreds of thousands of samples need to be accounted for. In 2015 we developed a reporting app, specifically designed to be used by our sampling staff in the field, that helps our clients accurately record their sampling campaigns. Staff access M+ Reports on their own smartphone and can input data with or without internet access (data automatically uploads when they enter an internet zone).
It is important that sampling staff are as enthusiastic at the end of the day as they are at the beginning. We are very selective about our recruitment to the Mash book and always look for both lots of energy and a strong work ethic. All our sampling staff are rated by their Event Manager or Account Manager at the end of each project, which gives our clients confidence in their ability.
With a book totalling 4,000 handpicked sampling staff – and a waiting list much bigger than that – we can staff campaigns from the most extensive to the most niche. So if you are planning a sampling campaign in the UK or Ireland, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0207 939 7670 – we would love to help.