3 Reasons to Direct Mail Product Samples

Coffee and shampoo. Or maybe caffeinated shampoo. Direct mailers can send all kinds of product samples to consumers, and he thinks they should, says USPS Direct Marketing Specialist Leslie Goldstein in the e-newsletter he sent out on Tuesday.

Shampoo hairCoffee and shampoo. Or maybe caffeinated shampoo. Direct mailers can send all kinds of product samples to consumers, and he thinks they should, says USPS Direct Marketing Specialist Leslie Goldstein in the e-newsletter he sent out on Tuesday.

“There is a sense of wonderment about FREE samples that arrive in one’s mailbox,” he writes.

He offers to tell the marketers on his email list about the postal service’s discount program, listed on this USPS.com page as “Simple Samples.”

“It’s a way for companies to economically have up to 16 ounces worth of samples delivered into a targeted geographical area for a little as $0.286/box,” he tells Target Marketing on Wednesday.

But first, Goldstein spells out why direct mailers might want to send everything from shampoo to coffee to consumers:

The Gevalia product sample Kraft mailed Nancy Friedman
The Gevalia product sample Kraft mailed Nancy Friedman

Risk Removal for Consumers

Consumers may not want to spend money on something they haven’t tried — but once they try it, they will, he says.

While not listed in his e-newsletter, Silk riffs off of this concept with a commercial about almond milk. A consumer unwilling to try the nutty liquid is mocked by a plant.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVD2OpfLHm8

At least one critic says there’s a better way to market this concept.

“When I listen to the Silk Almond Man,” reads a Marketing Art Gallery post, “I hear the voice of a marketing/strategy executive who is frustrated with people who neither ‘get’ nor ‘try’ his or her awesome product. Assuming my instincts are correct – this frustration is misplaced. The burden is not and will never be on the consumer to become more open-minded or to change their [sic] behavior. Rather, the burden is always on the executive to make an excellent product and to then make a compelling case for why consumers should try their [sic] product. Given that the product is excellent, the executive should be frustrated with his or her marketing efforts, not with consumers.”

Brand Cross-Promotion

If consumers are willing to buy one product from the brand, maybe they’ll consider others now that they’ve sampled it.

“If they like the free samples they receive,” Goldstein writes, “it will also lend itself to reducing their risk aversion to your other products or services. The more familiar they are with what you offer, the less risky you seem to their checkbooks.”

FOMO

Fear of missing out is powerful, but not powerful enough without free samples, Goldstein says.

“We are far more concerned about the possibility of wasting time and money than missing out on something we’ll like,” he says.

Putting a sample in front of consumers reintroduces FOMO.

Target Marketing blogger Gary Hennerberg says these three things happen with FOMO:

Consumers who are the first to try new products are eager to tell others.

Recipients will like knowing the inside scoop. “Combine the concepts of revealing your inside story with a unique selling proposition, or positioning, and the sum is greater than its parts,” Hennerberg writes.

If the sample is only available for a limited time and they receive it, consumers may be more interested.

What do you think, marketers?

Please respond in the comments section below.

Author: Heather Fletcher

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

One thought on “3 Reasons to Direct Mail Product Samples”

  1. Totally agree with this standpoint on sampling, it’s just so much more personal and gets a better response from consumers overall, definitely gonna share this one around

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