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Decision '08: event marketing or product sampling?

Cindy Johnson (ICOM Information & Communications LP, Toronto, Canada)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 1 August 2008




The purpose of this paper is to examine commonly relied upon product sampling strategies, direct‐to‐consumer sampling and event sampling, to determine which method can deliver the greatest return on investment in a variety of situations.


The paper explores information and data collected via case studies in actual programs presented to brands. The trial, sample, and purchase numbers were actual averages from sampling effectiveness studies for these types of programs.


The paper identifies and segments different types of products and the method by which the products are most effectively implemented into trial and sampling programs. ICOM reveals hard statistics on the return on investment of programs utilizing multiple methods of sampling including point‐of‐use, direct mail and event sampling.

Practical implications

Marketers should follow the STEPS outlined in this study to apply the best brand sampling strategy for a given product. Knowledge of targeted consumer base along with careful pre‐event analysis will deliver the best return on investment for a trial campaign.


The paper reveals reasons for a growing shift in corporate budgeted marketing dollars from event marketing to direct consumer product sampling. While event sampling is not always an ineffective or inferior marketing method,the reader can discover methods for a pre‐event return on investment analysis that will reveal the sampling strategy sure to deliver the most “bang” for the marketing “buck”.



Johnson, C. (2008), "Decision '08: event marketing or product sampling?", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 25 No. 5, pp. 269-271.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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