Type of sampling – Indirect sampling


Yesterday was one of the many farewell occasion  I attended for my retirement. My last day of work was 31.12.12  but  due  to  many  commitments etc, some farewell  occasion was  given  after that. There will be  another on  11.1.13.

It was rather difficult  to  say  goodbye to people you work very closely with  for so many  years and  yes,  there  were  tears…..

Okay,  as  promised,  today’s  topic  is  on  in-direct sampling.

In-direct  sampling  is  where there’s no personal  interaction  between  your  brand or  product  and  the  consumers.

Because  there’s no  human  on  the  spot  interaction,  you  will  need  to  find  ways  to  communicate  to  your  consumers  about  your  products.  Normally,  it  will be  done via dry  sampling.

How  do  you  get  your  consumers  to  want  to try  your  products ?

There are  many  ways.  Depending  on  your  product,  you  need  to  choose  what  would  attract the  consumers.

For  example, there’s  the  usual  leaflets  that  is  attached  to  the  sampling sachets  which  will  describe  the  features  and  benefits  of  the  product.  You can  sometime  find  these  at  the  supermarket  check out counters.

In  Malaysia,  when  you  travel  out  of  Kuala Lumpur  during  Hari Raya holidays,  you  sometimes  get  some  of these type of  samples  at  the  toll gate.

There’s  also  the  free sample  of  detergent  sachet  attached  to  the  magazine. In  the magazine,  there  will  be  an  advertisement  which  talks  about  the  product.

How  does  perfume  company  do in-direct  sampling ?  I have once  seen  a  sample of the  smell  in  a sachet  attached  to  a  women’s  magazine  whereby  when  you  open  it,  it  releases  the  smell.  Great  isn’t  it ?

What about food company ?  You  can  always  attach  a  sampling sachet of  your latest sauce  and place it  in  a sampling  envelope. On  the  envelope,  you  can  put the  features  and  benefits and  also  recommended  usage.

You  can  also  do  house  drops. Again, the  samples  will  be  enclosed in  a  sampling  envelope  and  the  agency  you  hire  will  place  the  samples  in  the  letter box  of  the houses  identified.

One  of  the  disadvantage  of  in-direct  sampling  is that  you  are  not  sure whether  the  consumers will  use  or  consume the products or whether  they prepare  it  correctly  as  per  recommendation.  Wrong  preparation  may  result  with poor quality  outcome of  the  product.

One of  the  advantage  of in-direct sampling is  that  you  can  reach  more  people  in  a  shorter  time frame.

Okay. I hope  this  will give  you  some  ideas  when  you  consider  how you  want  to  sample  your  products.

See  you  next  time.


Type of sampling – direct sampling


As mentioned before, my knowledge of sampling comes from experience in working in a food industry and handling a sampling unit. I have a Diploma in Public Administration, a Diploma in Advertising, a BBA in Finance and an MBA in Management. In none of the classes I have taken, did I study the art or science of sampling.  Well,  may be that’s because  I graduated  with  an  MBA many years ago in 1987. Do they teach a subject in sampling in marketing  these  days ????

Because of that most of the terminology is my own or borrowed from somewhere in  the course of my work.

Now,  I have categorized sampling  into  2 types which I believe encompasses many sampling that is  being  done.

One  is  direct sampling and the  other is  in-direct  sampling.

In this post, I will  discuss  only  direct sampling.

What is direct sampling ?

As  per  the  term,  this is when you have a direct contact with your consumer either  through  your Brand Ambassador ( BA ) or Promoter or Demonstrator.

For example  in  curry paste  sampling  —  your  BA  would prepare a dish using the paste and than serve to the consumers in the supermarket or exhibitions. They would also explain to the consumers about the products  and  of course, consumers can also provide feedback.

In a coffee machine  demo / sampling  — the  BA  will  show or demonstrate  to  consumers how the machine works and sometime even gives consumer a taste of the coffee  that  was made by the machine.  Again, there’s interaction between BA and consumers.

Within  direct  sampling,  you  also  find  2  types of  sampling  which is  what  I call  wet  sampling  or  dry  sampling.

Wet  sampling  is  the  most  popular.  It is  where the  sample  is consumed or tried   at the location of the  sampling. Consumers  will  be  able  to  form  their  opinion  immediately  and  of  course,  with  a  good  product  and  good  sampling / demo,  this  can  immediately  be  turned  into  sales.

Dry  sampling  is  where  your BA  gives  samples  that  are  meant  to  taken home  to  try or  consume.  Normally,  the  BA  will explain  about  the  products  as  he / she  gives  them  out.  In  Malaysia,  food company  sometimes  do  this  during  Ramadhan  out of  respect  to  the  Muslims  who  are  fasting.

You can also have a combination  of  both  wet  and  dry  sampling.

In  the  next post, I’ll  talk  about  indirect  sampling.

What can you sample


What  can  you  sample ?

In most people’s  mind  when you talk about sampling, it’s  sampling  of  food.

I think,  there should a bigger definition of  this.

We  can  even sample non food  items.

For example,  when  you  go into a shop selling jeans….  In most of these shops, they allow you to sample their jeans.  How’s that ? ….  By  letting you  try  on  their  jeans, of course.   When you  try  the  jeans,  you  will  either  love it  coz it  makes  you  look  sexy  and it  fits  or  dislike  it  coz  it makes  you  look  ugly  or  it  did  not  fit.

What about a machine ?  Yup,  they do  sampling  too.

I  have severe  sleep  apnea  and  was recommended by the doctor to get a CPAP machine.  However, the  machine  cost  a  bomb  and  I wasn’t  sure  I  will  feel  comfortable using it.  What  did  the  CPAP  company  do ….. loan  me  a  machine  for  2  weeks  to  see  whether  I  am comfortable using it  or not.  That’s  sampling …..

And  yes,  I  bought  the  machine….

So, whatever  your  products  is,  sampling  can  be  a useful tool in  marketing   to help  increase your sales…..

Think  about  it.

What is sampling ?


Happy New Year !!!

It’s been  a  busy  year end for me as I try to finish off as much work as possible at the office. Because of that,  I didn’t have the time to continue updating this blog.

Having been in this business for a long time, one sometime forget that not everyone knows what is sampling.

Basically, to sample is to take a portion, piece or segment that represents a whole.

For example, in market research, if a person  wants  to  target their product to urban female between the age of 20 – 35 years old, definitely taking the whole population of the targeted female will  be too expensive and impossible to do. Therefore, they will take a number that will represent those urban female.

In  product sampling, be it food or other products, when you sample, you are giving the consumers a small sample or portion of the product that represents a whole.

For example, if  your  want  to  sample  noodles,  you would probably cook the whole pack of noodles. However, you would only sample a small  portion of it.

The portion however, should be enough for consumers to form an opinion on whether they like it or not.

Have you ever gone down the aisle of a supermarket ….. stop at a sampling counter and was given a small cup of drink  that  is  basically just 1 sip of the drink ? After taking that drink, you wonder…..  what is the flavour  of  the drink ……  You can’t even  decide if you like it or not …….

Again,  as  I mentioned  before,  make  every sample count !

By the way, if you have any questions on sampling, let me know.

I’ll try to talk about it and perhaps together we can make your sampling worthwhile.

Questions to ask before sampling.


Some may wonder who I am to talk about sampling. Am I am expert in this ? Well, I do have around 15 years experience handling a sampling team. I just wanted  to  share my experiences  which I hope will add  value to who ever reads this blog.

Whenever you have a product you want to market, sampling should be considered as part of your marketing mix.

The how, what and when you sample will depend on your product itself.

Some of the question you need to ask :-

Is it a new product ?

Are you trying to rejuvenate the product life cycle ?

Do you want to maintain current consumers ?

Are you trying to get new consumers ?

Are trying to get your competitors’ consumers ?

There many questions you need to ask before you decide whether you need to sample or not.

Sampling  is  costly. So don’t do it just because your competitor do it.

Once you decide to do it, make every sample count.

That’s it for now. Till the  next time.

Why do we SAMPLE ?

sampling 1

Picture taken from D2C.com.au

People  sample for  many  reasons. Some  wants  to  introduce  their new  brands and  some  just  want  maintain their brands on consumers top of mind.  Whatever you want, sampling is needed to increase consumers awareness of your brand.

One of the key marketing activity is sampling especially if you are marketing food  items. In today’s world  there are  a lot of brands in the market. Each wanting a share of the consumer’s throat. Consumers today is very selective. They won’t buy unless they like the product. Would  you  pay  RM 5  for a product you are not sure of how it taste and never heard off ?

Therefore, YOUR  BRAND need to stand out from the clutter in  the  market. place.

Follow my blog to find out more…..