Sampling is the lowest hanging fruit in marketing lagniappe


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#505 in the Purple Goldfish Project was submitted by Frances Lewis

It has a fragrant bouquet:


“Thanks so much for the MENG webinar. Laughed out loud — I had “3 or more” moments in last week — stayed at a Doubletree (though had great experience with housekeeping as well as cookie) and ate at Five Guys.

My third was Sephora — was searching for a perfume for a gift, and salesperson not only gave great “traditional” assistance, but created customized samples in little spray containers, then bagged and labeled.

Grew up in New Orleans. Remember “lagniappe” very often as a tray of hard candies given in lieu of a penny’s change. Great concept.”

Thanks Frances. The act of creating customized samples is a nice touch on behalf of Sephora. They realize that sampling is the lowest hanging fruit in marketing. There may not be a more cost effective way for brands to drive purchase intent and conversion than sampling.

The proof is in the numbers as highlighted in this article in BRANDWEEK. Here are the top two takeaways from the Arbitron survey:

  • 24% of consumers bought the product they sampled instead of the item they initially set out to purchase
  • 35% of customers who tried a sample bought the product during the same shopping trip

If Sephora leverages it in cosmetics . . . then Kiehl’s absolutely wields it to great effect. According to Real Simple magazine, “Kiehl’s hands out samples of every product it sells — approximately 10 million giveaways a year.”

Kiehl’s samples in 3 different ways: #1 At a Kiehl’s store. #2 At a Kiehl’s counter in a department store. #3 Or over the phone!

What was the 3rd one again? Call Kiehl’s and tell the operator what you’d like to try and the company will send you up to 3 samples. If you don’t believe it, here are their digits (800) 543-4572.

According to Kiehl’s website:

We understand that no two skin or hair types are exactly alike and that products work differently for each person. To ensure you find the precise products that meet your needs, Kiehl’s pioneered an extensive Sampling Program many years ago. We’re confident that when you try our products, you will recognize the high quality and efficacy of the preparation. We invite you to try 3 Kiehl’s samples with your first order of the day to discover other Kiehl’s formulations from our extensive line of skin, hair and body care.

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra) – I followed up with Frances to find out more about the Doubletree lagniappe. Here is the example:

“The housekeeping experience was small but appreciated — my experience in asking the drivers of the morning housekeeping cart for extra coffee, towels, lotion, whatever, is that they never seem to understand the question, or want you to call housekeeping. In Madison, they quickly gave me several more coffee packets (it had been a late night!), and offered cream, cups, sugars, etc. without making me feel I had hijacked them.
My recent experience with retail and travel (except airlines) is that customer service is way improved, and that these establishments are moving beyond lip service to real training and empowerment of their staffs. Hope this holds in the recovery!”

Here is a little extra on a Purple Goldfish ‘Hall of Famer’ the Doubletree cookie:

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stan Phelps
Stan Phelps is the Chief Measurement Officer at 9 INCH marketing. 9 INCH helps organizations develop custom solutions around both customer and employee experience. Stan believes the 'longest and hardest nine inches' in marketing is the distance between the brain and the heart of your customer. He is the author of Purple Goldfish, Green Goldfish and Golden Goldfish.


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