Retailers have long understood the value of samples and two-fers.
Procter and Gamble was introducing their home dry cleaning product,
Dryel, they shipped free samples to thousands of sorority houses, a
target market they perceived as being a natural fit for the new product.
Visit any Sam's Club or Costco on a Saturday and you can essentially
eat a complete meal if you accept samples given at the end of almost
every aisle. On the two-fer side, don’t be surprised if that cleaning
product you just bought at Target has a sample of another product
shrink-wrapped in with the item you purchased.
Both of these marketing approaches relate to a simple concept: when we've got your attention we want to imbue it with meaning beyond just this moment.
our time-pressed world, organizations would be wise to extend this
concept deeper into their products and services mix. A continuing
education workshop could also include a social or networking component.
The evaluation form for that workshop can also be turned into a
marketing tool by offering a discount to a future program if
registration is completed at that very moment.
possibilities are endless. A board or staff meeting could also include
a needs assessment component by having participants work the phones and
call members or customers randomly to solicit their ideas and feedback.
By getting answers to a few simple questions that could be used to
guide future offerings, a membership application or renewal form also
becomes a marketing research tool. An evaluation form volunteers use to
offer feedback on their experiences also becomes a referral tool if it
solicits the names of individuals they suggest contacting about getting
In terms of sampling, we could learn from the example of many software or online service providers.
is not unusual for either to offer a 30-day free trial at the end of
which your credit card will automatically be charged the full product
price unless you cancel in advance. The key is to get the actual
registration and purchase decision made upfront as a part of committing
to try the product, not making people register and buy at the end of
their trial period. That approach is far less likely to lead to new
sales or memberships.
need to become more adept at maximizing and leveraging the attention of
our information-weary target audiences any time we actually get
individuals to perk up and take notice. Expanding an initial action or
commitment on their part into additional choices can deepen the
relationship we have with them over time.
put this into practice in your organization, the next time you are
planning a meeting or event or designing a response or order form,
consider how you might use the moment to elicit more commitment or
action in support of your organization’s goals and objectives.