28 June 2024

Understanding the Science: How Product Sampling Boosts Gen Z Engagement

Dig In‘s CEO Christopher Platt is passionate about product sampling as a powerful marketing strategy to engage Gen Z consumers. Drawing from his extensive research and experience, Christopher has delved into the science behind the efficacy of product sampling. The following article is a collation of his insights, highlighting why product sampling is an essential tool for modern marketers aiming to build lasting connections with younger audiences.

In the present market landscape, standing out is a must for brands seeking to capture consumer attention and foster brand loyalty. At Dig In, we believe that brands should continually explore new and innovative marketing strategies to reach their target demographic.

In this blog, we will delve into a relatively untapped strategy that proves especially effective in engaging a younger audience: experiential marketing through product sampling.

The Science Behind the Influence of Product Sampling

Product sampling has emerged as a leading marketing tool for many consumer packaged goods (CPG) businesses. To better understand the effectiveness of this method, let’s explore the “science” behind successful product sampling campaigns, using a Dig In led campaign for Rockstar as a case study.

1. Building Brand Awareness

One of the main goals of a new product launch is to increase sales. We know that consumers tend to choose familiar brands over unfamiliar ones when faced with options. The challenge, then, is to ensure your brand becomes and remains familiar.

57% of the university students who received a Rockstar Energy Drink in their Dig In Welcome Box had never tried it before.

rockstar image

(This strategy is particularly effective with this demographic, who are new to the market and are still establishing their brand preferences and buying habits.)

One of the most effective ways to increase sales is by encouraging consumers to try products for free. This can be achieved through physical samples or digital vouchers. Studies show that 73% of consumers are induced to try a new product or brand when given a free sample, compared to only 25% who respond to television advertisements. Online physical product sampling can boost sales by 41.6% more than products without sampling.

When consumers receive free samples, the brand becomes more memorable and important in their minds due to the availability heuristic. This cognitive bias means people tend to recall and favour information that is readily available and personally experienced. By distributing free samples, brands can ensure they remain top-of-mind when consumers make purchasing decisions.

2. Boosting Consumer Confidence

Product sampling services allow consumers to test products firsthand, which builds trust and allegiance towards the brand. Studies have shown that consumers who sample a product are more likely to perceive the brand as higher quality. This effect not only boosts immediate sales but also strengthens brand image over time.

89% said yes

Positive user reviews and ratings, often a result of successful sampling campaigns, further bolster consumer confidence. Studies show that online reviews impact purchasing decisions for 93% of consumers, with over half of 18 to 29-year-olds considering reviews in their decision-making process.

The anchoring effect is another cognitive bias where the first piece of information a consumer receives about a product heavily influences their perception and subsequent decisions. Offering a free sample introduces your product positively, making consumers more likely to value and choose it over others.

3. Expanding Potential for Conversions

Consumers prefer options that seem to have no risk involved. By providing free samples, brands allow consumers to try products without any financial commitment, significantly increasing the likelihood of future purchase.

By understanding the “psychology of free stuff,” brands can influence consumers’ immediate purchase behaviour. Product sampling creates tangible connections, making the brand memorable and encouraging future purchases. This strategy is particularly effective in increasing conversions and fostering brand loyalty.

This impressive conversion rate underscores the effectiveness of product sampling in building brand awareness and driving sales.

The endowment effect causes people to assign more value to items they own. Giving free samples creates a sense of ownership in consumers, making them more likely to purchase the product because they now feel a personal connection to it.

Dig In’s Unique Approach

In order to connect effectively with Gen Z, a generation known for its aversion to ads, Dig In offers a unique approach to product sampling. This strategy is particularly impactful during the influential period when young people have just left home and are entering the consumer market for the first time.

Dig In leverages exclusive access to university halls, connecting with over 530,000 new students annually. Our welcome boxes and hall drops create memorable experiential moments, fostering lasting connections and brand loyalty with first-time buyers.

dig in box

At Dig In, we prioritise understanding student needs and preferences. Our authentic engagement with students across the country is powered by quantitative and qualitative data through our follow up surveys to our bespoke campaigns. This guarantees that our tailored campaigns consistently resonate with this demographic.

Conclusion: Leveraging Product Sampling for Long-Term Success

Product sampling stands out as a powerful strategy in the crowded marketplace, offering brands an effective way to engage consumers and build lasting loyalty. By leveraging the science behind consumer behaviour, brands can create memorable experiences that resonate with their target audience. The case study of Rockstar Energy Drink illustrates the potential of this approach, especially in connecting with younger demographics who are still forming their brand preferences.

Dig In’s unique approach to product sampling within the university environment exemplifies how targeted, data-driven campaigns can forge strong connections with new consumers. By understanding and addressing the specific needs and preferences of young consumers, Dig In ensures that our sampling strategies are both impactful and memorable.

In conclusion, product sampling is not just a promotional tactic; it’s a strategic investment in building brand loyalty and driving long-term sales. Brands that embrace and innovate within this space are poised to turn shoppers into loyal customers, securing a competitive edge in today’s market landscape.

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