CHICAGO: Mondelez International, the snacks company, believes that product sampling will remain a powerful tool for brands, both through online channels and by innovating with in-store experiences.

Steve McGowan, head/shopper marketing at Mondelez International, discussed this subject at the P2P Summit, an event held by the Path to Purchase Institute.

“We know the world is changing … At Mondelez, we want to know how to get there ahead of time,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: How Mondelez mixes online and offline product sampling.)

The company, he continued, “over-invests in shopper marketing” compared with many of its peers, and has moved to “support direct-to-consumer sales” as a channel of ever-increasing importance.

Among the products that have seen online-led sampling campaigns are Honey Maid Grahams, Vea and Teddy Soft Bakes – with such offerings, for example, included with click-and-collect deliveries or sent with at-home orders.

With more digital in the mix, sampling programs are now more effective, more efficient and more targeted as the company has grown more experienced. “It went up, but it took time,” McGowan said.

The company, in fact, tests and closely measures the effectiveness of many programs with different partners. It uses marketing mix modeling to determine if a sampling campaign “did what we intended it to do”, McGowan explained.

As for where Mondelez will train its eye next, it plans to “think about the evolving landscape”, said McGowan, “and which retailers will be growing and winning in the next five years.”

Within that, he expects in-store sampling to develop, not disappear. There will be a focus on “retail-tainment,” he suggested, with fewer, but more high-profile, in-store events.

These could include a mixture of games, interaction, special offers and face-to-face fun that tempts people into stores and encourages them to engage with brands.

“I don’t think sampling’s going to die, because I don’t think stores are going to go away … People want experiences,” he said. “The question is: How do we make the experience enjoyable?”

Sourced from WARC