At Last – Product Managers Rediscover Samples

by drjim on June 27, 2011

Free Sample Anyone?

Free Sample Anyone?

The secret to true product manager success is to get more people to buy your product. Giving it away for free sure seems like a great way to get this to happen – but you probably won’t keep your job for long. Maybe there’s another way. Could rediscovering the lost art of using free samples be something that product managers should rediscover?

Why Should You Bother With Samples?

In order for your product to be a commercial success, it’s going to need to distinguish itself from the competition somehow. It turns out that if you offer your potential customers free samples, this can make your product hard to ignore.

A company called Opinion Research Corp. recently did a study of how effective free samples were. What they found was that 61% of customers said that free sampling was the most effective way to try a new product. 81% reported that they would try a product after they received a free sample.

Note that the idea of offering a free sample applies to both traditional “hard” goods that you can place in a customer’s hands as well as for services that you can allow them to use at no cost for a period of time.

The best part of this is that if you decide to offer free samples of your product, you won’t have to work that hard to find customers. It turns out that customers have been conditioned to actively seek out samples – they’ll find you!

The Key To Successful Sampling

Of course, just handing out free sample of your product is not enough. You need to make this part of a larger marketing plan. The advertising that is done for your product needs to drive potential customers to a location, such as your product’s web site, where they can request that a sample be sent to them.

Depending on the type of product that you are managing, you may want to provide it to your customers in their homes. When your customers receive a free sample of your product in their home they have an opportunity to experience it in a comfortable and convenient environment.

Not every customer is a good candidate for a free sample. You’ll want to focus on making this offer to that group of consumers who are the best match to actually selecting and using your product.

Finally, giving your product away is a good way to generate interest in your product. However, it’s going to be important that you track the results of your sample program so that you can make adjustments along the way. The ultimate goal is to make as many of your free samples convert into paying customers as possible.

What All Of This Means For You

Product managers are once again rediscovering ways to make their products stand out from all of the other products out there. Giving away free samples of their products turns out to be a highly effective way to make this happen.

Customers have shown that they actively seek out free samples of products. They’ve also shown that a free sample will cause them to try a brand. The key is to make sure that you offer your samples to those customers who are most likely to end up buying your product.

Product managers know that it’s not just enough to have the best product out there. We need to go the extra mile and make it easy for our customers to try our products. Free samples need to once again be an option that we consider in order to connect with the customers that we most want to buy our products.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™

Question For You: For how long do you think that you should offer your customers a chance to try a free sample of your product?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Product Managers make decisions about colors all the time. Sometimes it has to do with a product logo, sometimes it has to do with the images that we use in a product brochure. The problem, is that most of us have ever had any training in this whole color thing. What are the colors that we are using telling our customers?

Colors Are A Big Deal

Unless you are a graphics artist, you probably don’t spend much of your time each day thinking about colors. However, most of the company’s that want you to buy their products do. That’s why when you open a magazine, walk by a wall poster, or even when you walk into a department store you get bombarded by a whole array of colors that are designed to communicate a message to you.

Now I’m not saying that there is some sort of secret “color language” going on here. Rather, due to our upbringing both you and your customers have a certain association with colors – different colors have different meaning to you. As Product Managers this means that by picking the right colors, we can make sure that our customers perceive our products the way that we want them to.

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