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Deciphering the Greek of Sampling Online

I rarely make a shopping run to my local Trader Joe's grocery without trying their sample of the day. So last week when they offered me some Greek Tzatziki Sauce paired with my favorite pretzel slims it was a no-brainer. Yes, I bought a tub of it on the spot, devoured it at home and Tzatziki Sauce now owns a permanent spot on my grocery list. A perfect case in point of a brand using sampling to effectively create trial which in turn drives purchase and eventually advocacy. So what can we learn from Trader Joe's Tzatziki sampling tactic? And how could we even improve it? The biggest lesson here holds true for all sampling - find your people and get their attention! Seek out those who are pre-qualified and generally inclined to try your product and then be at the right place and right time to capture their interest. Tzatziki worked for me because it was paired with something I purchase already, it met my requirements at the time, and I was in a mind-set to try and purchase new foods. But what if I hadn't been in Trader Joe's that day, how could they have connected me to my new favorite Greek sauce? Like many folks, I spend a lot of time online. So is Tzatziki online too? Turns out it is. (Try a quick Google search and you'll find people talking about the sauce on sites and blogs.) This is a good start for getting the word out but not enough to reach a larger group ' and it wasn't enough to reach me. So how can a brand use the digital space to spread the word and reach even more consumers that fit their target profile? Simply by giving samples out and facilitating conversations! At its core 'Digital Influencer Sampling' is about finding your people and getting their attention. The people involved in this sampling method are bloggers, posters, contributors and editors. And the best way to get their attention ' and this should come as no surprise ' is to simply reach out to them. In a nutshell what holds true for offline sampling holds true for online sampling: step one, find your people, step two engage them, and step three give them your goodies for free to encourage trial. There is a lot of nuance at this point in the discussion that comes into play and ultimately makes the difference between a great digital sampling campaign and an ok one. From selecting your influencers to how you communicate through keeping the conversation alive. And the job of a great agency and smart brand is to properly facilitate all that with the aim at growing relationships past 'hello' and into the stages of brand advocacy. But once that dialog has begun most 'digital influencers' are like those consumers at Trader Joe's ' hungry to engage, try something new and willing to spread the word about what they like. And when all goes well, that small group of Tzatziki fans chatting online will grow into a larger one and soon they'll have reached me and other target consumers like me who are waiting for someone to connect the dots and get something new into their hands to try and fall in love with.

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