Why Brands Should Be Baiting Customers With An Effective Sampling Program

Consumer goods brands like P&G, SC Johnson & Sons, and Kellogg’s realized long ago that samples are the most effective way to get people to try—and then buy—their products, which is why they spend billions (yes, billions) of dollars a year on sampling programs.

Consider this data on the power of product sampling:

  • Product sampling is the #1 driver of purchase intent, 2x higher than coupons and 2.5x higher than in-store advertising.
  • A study from Arbitron found that 30% of people receiving samples in retail stores purchased the product before leaving, and that 58% said they would purchase it again.
  • According to a poll by Opinion Research Corp. 61 percent of those polled said that sampling a product is the most effective way to get them to try a brand.

With the proven power of sampling and the low cost production costs of soft plastics, scents, terminal tackle, and line, why has the fishing industry missed the boat when it comes to product sampling?

The fishing industry changes s-l-o-w-l-y
The fishing industry has historically been slow to adopt new marketing techniques. Many of the largest fishing are just starting to use social media platforms like Facebook and very few have adopted Twitter, YouTube and Instagram—even while their target audience uses these platforms daily.

While consumer brands have been sampling for years, the fishing industry has yet to effectively adapt this marketing tool.

“Why give it away if they will pay?”
Many brands don’t sample because they think that there is no need to give something away that people will pay for. So they focus their budget on traditional advertising like print and television.

But as manufacturing costs go down, more brands enter the marketplace and compete for attention, resulting in increased advertising costs for everyone. As it is now, a full-page color ad in a popular bass fishing magazine can cost more than a well-equipped bass boat!

“It’s too expensive!”
For brands to run their own sampling campaigns, they need to produce product, pay for a distribution list, packing materials, packaging labor, and postage. Many brands jut find this too expensive to try.

However, many are not aware of other cost-effective ways to distribute samples of their product. Services like Mystery Tackle Box, which launched in July of 2012, offer brands mass distribution of samples at a fraction of what they would pay to distribute them on their own.

“We are bringing to the fishing industry what’s been one of the most effective promotional tools in the CPG [Consumer Packaged Goods] industry for decades.” Says Jeremy Gwynne, CEO of Mystery Tackle Box. “Our brand partners both large and small are seeing and increase in sales, dealer inquiries, and social media engagement from our program and starting to wonder why they didn’t think of sampling earlier.” Says Gwynne.

Is sampling right for your brand?
It’s hard to find a good reason not to test sampling. Considering how much anglers collectively spend on lures and tackle (over $2 billion a year in the US alone according to the latest ASA survey), it would be wise to let potential customers sample your product in hopes of winning them over for life.