Sample Kit Protocol
Does your company have a protocol for when an architect or contractor contacts you requesting a sample?
Product samples are tangible items that the market can touch, see actual color, and visualize installation through project completion. A product sampling protocol is a valuable resource at your disposal that helps reinforce your brand messaging. If you don’t have a protocol, it’s time you adopt one. Below are some simple ideas that can help get you started.
1. Develop a customized kit. Whether its a product sleeve, a special box, or a binder it should be customized to represent both your brand and product. Avoid generic off-the-shelf materials and don’t rely solely on a product label.
2. The quality of your kit represents the perceived quality of your product. It’s similar to how packages are perceived in your local grocery store. If the package looks graphically and structurally bad, shoppers perceive the product to be inferior as well.
3. Develop a kit that has staying power. If the kit is useful, easy to store, and looks like it has value, architects and contractors will likely hold on to it. If you simply shove product into a shipping box with labels it’s likely to end up in the trash after it serves its purpose.
4. Assume the contractor or architect submitted requests to all of your competitors as well. Develop a kit that provides immediate and clear differentiation. You need something that will ensure your product stands out.
5. Use a sample kit request as an invitation for ongoing dialogue. Assign the lead to a sales rep who can hand deliver the sample. Follow-up with the prospect through email and direct mail campaigns, and invite them to participate in your various social media communications. Keep the conversation going, no matter what happens with the project for which they initially requested the sample(s).
6. Change your mindset from sample kits being solely reactionary and develop a proactive approach. Push sample kit requests in marketing initiatives. Change from trying to evaluate marketing success via abstract website impressions to a more concrete metric like sample kit requests.
Sample kits are not inexpensive, but by developing a sample kit protocol that works on multiple levels from sales, marketing, and operations, it’s sure to provide a long-term return on investment.