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Every month we survey The Pulse, our network of high school and college students.This month we had over 80 responses. Here is what we learned: Samples, Samples and more Samples Just about a quarter (24%) of the Millennials we surveyed have received a free sample in the last 6 months. Product samples ranged from tampons to shampoo to energy drinks. An overwhelming 60% of respondents tried the sample and another 15% stated that they plan to try it. Whether or not that trial leads to purchase is still a question that we are trying to uncover, we weren't able to get a conclusive answer this time around, but our hunch is that it depends on the product category (yes, we know that is a cop out, which is why we are still trying figure out a better answer). Oh and one more thing... most respondents remember getting their free sample in the mail (see chart below). But that could mean a couple of different things. For example, did they request the sample to be sent to them online? This is yet another thing that we are planning to dive deeper into. Mobile Coupons and Cell Phone Purchases As Steve McCall talked about in his post on Monday, mobile shopping is a trend that we have been tracking. We wanted to learn a little bit more about what the digital natives (i.e. high school and college students) think about this trend. When it comes to mobile coupons awareness levels are low. Just 14% of respondents stated that they had actually heard of mobile coupons and of that group only 9% stated that they have used a mobile coupon. With added support from large retailers, we believe that these numbers will grow. Right now it is still a tactic that is very much in its infancy but one we will continue to watch. When it comes to mobile purchases, the numbers are slightly higher. 15% of respondents stated that they have used their cell phone handsets to make a purchase. As seen in the chart below ringtones top the list, but interestingly clothes come in second. As comfort levels increase, we expect larger and more frequent purchases to be made with cell phones. We survey our Pulse Network every month. Let us know if you have any questions you want us to ask, and we'll be certain to field them.

Online Product Sampling?

At first it may seem like an oxymoron; how can a company possibly put an online sample in consumers' hands? While technically the trial doesn't occur online, driving consumers to the web to request samples lays the foundation for a much longer consumer engagement than traditional hand-to-hand sampling. Not only does online sampling afford brands a chance to deliver samples, but it also allows brands the ability to capture contact information for future offers and more sampling! Dove is a great example of a brand doing an excellent job in this space. The process to sign up on their site and request your choice of samples is very easy, and they offer a revolving variety of shampoos, lotions and soaps. They have won me over in the past by giving me the opportunity to try their products, often resulting in my own personal Dove purchase. Not only is online sampling great for brands, but we see time and time again that consumers love it too. For our LifeStyles client we periodically offer samples and often it takes just 48 hours for us to 'sell out'? of samples! It's a great way for consumers to try their products, and at the same time, LifeStyles receives thousands of new email addresses for future marketing initiatives. Looking for a free sample? Check us out at http://www.lifestyles.com/ and sign up for the e-newsletter to get your hands on one of latest offerings from LifeStyles Condoms. What are your thoughts on sampling? Do you think it is a great investment or a waste of money? What products/brands do you wish you could try? Let us know what you think!

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