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Free samples and word of mouth

It’s hard to talk about something you’ve never used.

Free samples, one of the oldest marketing techniques, is a proven way to start conversations.  You need to put something in people’s hands to spark the talk.

I got a free sample of a Schick Quattro razor in an order I received from Amazon. I liked it and I’ll probably switch brands.

My wife got one, too. She didn’t like it.

What’s the net word of mouth impact? Probably positive.

  • As a happy user of the product, I’ll be talking about it over the long term.  I have a story to tell about how I got it free and how I liked it enough to switch. Plus, you talk more about things that you see every day.
  • As a non-user, my wife may mention it if directly asked about the razor, but her experience with the product is essentially over.  Not much left to talk about, and it’s unlikely to come up in conversation.

The lesson: Free samples are a great way to start word of mouth.

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Comments

  1. Thomas February 13, 2008 at 8:33 am #

    It is also tryverting as well which able you
    you to try&buy in a secure environment. Just
    feeling secure is often understated. Most
    sampling are made in insecure environments like
    the mall etc. There you are a bit insecure whitch
    enable your dopamin levels to rise. They are often blocked by the adrenalin levels. Maybe something to consider if you hand out free samples.

  2. Katie Konrath February 13, 2008 at 11:29 am #

    There’s also the fact that people are less likely to talk negative about something they got for free. Sure, they didn’t like it… but they liked that they didn’t have to pay for it.
    So even if someone directly asks your wife about it, she’s not going to rant about how awful it was. More likely, she’d just say something like “Oh, it didn’t work for me.” or “No, I didn’t like it.”

  3. Michael Werner February 21, 2008 at 12:13 pm #

    Dear Doctor:
    Ahh, Free.
    One of my favorite things. But, I gotta tell ya, Andy, this is one of the damn hardest things I can get my marketing and sales teams to buy into, and I’m the boss.
    They simply want to “control” everything about the customer/prospect relationship and giving valuable stuff away, to them, is giving up a possible sale.
    Doctor, what advice can you give me to overcome this short-sighted attitude?
    Michael “Lost in a Maze of Contrariness” Werner
    CEO and Publisher
    InfoSource Learning

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