See How You Have Been Throwing Your Marketing Away

missed_opportunityA few months ago i traveled to the US, while visiting family in New York, I was walking through Manhattan when a young woman handed me a sample bar of handmade soap. It’s a common marketing tactic to hand out free samples, but in this case it was also a missed opportunity as the execution was poorly done.

If you’ve ever walked through Manhattan you can’t get very far without someone outside a store trying to hand you something. I assume it’s similar in many cities around the world.

You generally aren’t interested in what’s being handed to you. You might take it because it’s easier than not and then proceed to place whatever was handed to you in your pocket or the nearest garbage can.

When the bar of soap was handed to me I never glanced up and visually processed the store and several months later I can’t even tell you what street I was walking down at the time. I think it was somewhere on Columbus Avenue, but I’m really not sure.

Assuming I got home, tried the soap, and liked it, the only way I could ever buy more would be if the soap or packaging told me where to buy more. The problem is neither had any information on it.

  • The packaging should have included store name, url, phone number, or other contact information.
  • The store name and/or contact information could have been engraved in the soap itself. It would wash away, but give a few extra days to remember the information.
  • The packaging (with information above) could have been designed in a way that made me want to keep it at least until the soap was gone.
  • A business card or some keepsake could have been included with the sample.

My guess is the store was more concerned with keeping the sample small and the packaging generic in order to save on the costs of the sample. Unfortunately this limited any chance they had for success in marketing their product.

They relied on me remembering where I was when the soap was handed to me, which wasn’t likely to happen.

Better would have been to give a larger sample that allowed for important information to be included and ideally saved after removing the packaging, even if it meant less samples could be handed out.

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