This series revisits the basics of branding and marketing by answering questions marketers, entrepreneurs and small business owners face when growing their business. I hope this series provides you with knowledge to think smarter and a nudge to make stuff happen.
Is Sampling the Best Way to Drive Trial of a New Product?
“Give, and you shall receive.” It’s an old and overused proverb. And for good reason… it works.
The more kindness we give others, the more kindness we receive. The more knowledge we share with others, the more knowledge we personally receive in return. The more generous we are, the more generously we profit.
This principle of generosity applies directly to sampling and to Starbucks. It can be argued the Starbucks business was built on sampling generously.
To find success during its high-growth years, Starbucks had to dramatically and demonstratively change people’s understanding of what coffee could (and should) taste like.
Back when Starbucks was a small company acting big, sampling of coffees and espresso drinks happened all day log. When you visited a Starbucks, chances were, there would be a taster-cup sample of a just-made drink ready for the tasting. Sampling became ingrained as part of the Starbucks business culture as the more customers tasted, the more they believed that coffee should taste just like that.
Tasting is more than believing at Starbucks, it’s also sales-driving. I remember an internal company study that revealed for every five beverages Starbucks sampled to customers, it triggered a purchase. That’s an impressive 20 percent conversion rate.
What other form of marketing has a 20% conversion rate? None come to mind.
It would be short-sighted of me to say sampling is THE best way to drive sales of a new product. However, my experience at Starbucks tells me sampling is highly effective in creating awareness which leads to trial and can result in higher sales.
REVISITING THE BASICS | archive