3 Crucial Data Points For Your Consumer Sampling - Brand Activate - Field Marketing Agency

3 Crucial Data Points For Your Consumer Sampling

Jun 28, 2019

Do your sampling programs feel like buying a lottery ticket? You pay for the program and cross your fingers you are lucky enough to figure out if it is effective. Most sampling strategies focus on market allocations, point of sale material and sales scripts, but very few are focused on the data capture. Often, this is because limited or no formal data capture and analysis is implemented. The event recap is simply used as a means of verifying that the event was in fact executed. We customize your sampling recaps to focus on key data points, making the event and recap substantially more valuable to your business:

1. Consumer Impact & Brand Perception

Intangibles such as Consumer Impact & Brand Perception can be difficult to measure, and sampling programs (along with the data collected from these programs) offer a unique opportunity to measure these outside of formal focus groups or surveying.

For example, there is an important distinction between “every-day” purchases and “special-occasion” purchases. Understanding that your product may be an everyday purchase in metro chains but is a special occasion purchase in tertiary grocery chains can help you make informed decisions on where and when you allocate your sampling events throughout the year.

At Brand Activate, our data collection and recapping are powered by our BenchMark app. Even if samplers in stores are only able to gather 50% of consumer responses in regards to Brand Impact or positioning during sampling events (averaging 15 to 25 survey responses collected at each event), that data can easily grow into a consumer database of thousands and help a brands to optimize its sales based on the most compatible audiences and environments.

The data captured can help to identify environmental conditions that the product will thrive in during future sales events.

2. Return On Investment: Defining Your Key Metrics

Sampling in the Beer, Wine, and Spirits Industry presents multiple variables that need to be accounted for when defining the success metrics of field marketing efforts. If you are using a standard consumers sampled number as a benchmark for success for your brand you may not be measuring your events correctly. Rather than just listing off the differences, I think it will be more useful to give you two examples that illustrate this concept.

Example 1: Tequila Isn’t for Everyone

You can’t compare apples to oranges. Based on our experience the brand that is sampling a flavored vodka is going to have twice as many takers than the brand sampling a tequila expression – but that doesn’t mean that their field marketing efforts aren’t equally as effective. It just means that flavored vodka has a broader consumer base than tequila, which we know to be true based on the fact that in the US in 2016 72.7 million cases of vodka were sold versus 14.9 million cases of tequila.

How do you measure success? We suggest using a conversion rate vs. a total consumers sampled rate. You can do this by accessing the bar’s POS (Point of Sale) system and using the ratio of samples distributed to purchased drinks; this determines a conversion rate that can be used as a benchmark between promotional events.

Example 2: Mothers on Father’s Day

On Father’s Day, it’s common for women to purchase brown spirits that are not in their consideration or consumption set. 50 weeks out of the year they are not the brand’s consumer and therefore are not going to be interested in sampling the product. These women will also rely heavily on the sampling representative to guide their decision-making process and ensure they are comfortable the gift they have purchased.

Contrary to the previous example, it wouldn’t make sense to define your conversion rate as the ratio of samples/purchased. In this case, it may be more appropriate to calculate your conversion rate using a metric based on total-consumer interactions vs. total purchased.

3. Overall Program Results

At the end of each program, it is essential to compare the performance of sampling stores to non-sampling stores. A variety of metrics should be considered, including overall sales, reorder rate, new SKU sales, and new distributions. Further, your brand should be able to segment the account base in several ways, such as market, account type, or zip code. With a sufficient amount of data, your field marketing agency should be able to identify trends in the data, which can be used to inform key account sell in and focus marketing spends.

Example 1: Wrong Place, Wrong Time

The Marketing team has set their new Mezcal’s target as Millennials. The three largest Mezcal markets come back with the lowest sales per event, what happened? When we segment the data we find that more than 50% of the events in each of those markets were executed in big box stores. Upon further review, we find that more than 80% were executed midweek or on Sunday. We know from experience that fewer millennials are big box store shoppers and even fewer complete those purchases Sunday – Wednesday. We are able to use this information to put better parameters for success in place for the next round of sampling events, increasing the target information to Millennial consumers who shop in regional chains, grocery and independents, primarily on Thursday – Saturday.