October 2013

Is Sampling (or Demonstrations) the Best Way to Drive Trial of a New Product?

2013-10-08T15:55:13-04:00 Categories: Crackerjack Marketer, grow, SandBlog|Tags: , , |

POINT: John Moore

“Give, and you shall receive.” It’s an old and overused proverb. And for good reason… it works.

The more kindness we give others, the more kindness we receive. The more knowledge we share with others, the more knowledge we personally receive in return. The more generous we are, the more generously we profit. (more…)

October 2012

Global Virtual Tasting Creates Chilean Wine Brand Ambassadors

2017-03-01T11:56:04-04:00 Categories: grow, SandBlog|Tags: , , , , , , , |

Last Wednesday I participated in the Wines of Chile Blogger Tasting: A Chilean Terroir Master Class, a virtual tasting sponsored by Wines of Chile and organized by their agency, the thomas collective.

This genius marketing event was a two hour virtual event featuring 12 bottles of four distinct grape varietals lead by Master Sommelier Fred Dexheimer live from Santiago, Chile with 12 winemakers from Chile’s most prestigious regions. With 25+ wine writers and bloggers online and a few in person in Santiago with the group, a word of mouth fleet was created that evening.

Many virtual tastings are done regularly, but this one was different than others I’ve participated in. Here’s why…

The Planning

Over a month in advance, the agency reached out for interest in participating. Then a few weeks out, a thorough kit arrived with all the tools we needed. The week prior to the event, we received a detailed instruction email on how to participate and to ensure we received our kits. Keys to success!

The Tools

An incredible toolkit arrived at our door a week in advance…a full case of Chilean wine! Who doesn’t love to receive that in the mail!

It wasn’t just a box of wine. It was a surprise when you opened it…designed just for us…the Live from Santiago Terroir Master Class kit. Twelve bottles of wine nicely packed, and a kit for the evening with tasting sheets for each round of the four tastings and a one pager on each wine.

The Event

Most virtual tastings are simply a gathering on Twitter. This one was held on Adobe Connect with video…thus the LIVE from Santiago. In addition to the Master Sommelier lead, they had ALL 12 winemakers in attendance to speak to their wine. Thus two hours was needed. Those who read the pre-instructions were all ready to participate with wines chilled, glasses, tasting sheets, etc…

The set up in Santiago was very cool. From a hotel with a tasting bar, host Fred sat on one side and invited each the winemakers up in groups of three during their wine round…Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Carmenere and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Fred introduced each wine and the winemaker shared with us the tasting of the wine, details about it and specifics about their winery and region. We followed along via our tasting sheet, the video, the spec sheet and chatting with other participants.

Having done the tasting solo, I was left with LOTS of wine to share with friends. Word of mouth at work, I gave a friend 4 bottles to share with her friends. Then I went to a friends’ house for dinner the next evening and shared all remaining 8 bottles with 6 more friends. That’s lots of additional exposure and tasting ambassadors.

Cheers to Wines of Chile and the thomas collective for creating a best in class virtual marketing event.

Have you hosted or participated in any best in class virtual events?


March 2010

Driving Trial To Drive Sales

2017-03-01T11:56:16-04:00 Categories: grow, SandBlog, solve|Tags: , , , , , , |

Mocha Valencia Frappuccino, was the one of the new beverages in the summer of 2002 at Starbucks Coffee. I was the marketing manager in charge of the summer promotion.

The beverage team described the taste profile like eating pieces of “chocolate orange” – like that made by Terry’s. (Which is interesting – because Terry’s Chocolate Orange wasn’t / isn’t a universal flavor the way Oreo Cookie or Orange Creamsicle are).

Anyhow, it became a featured beverage.

I don’t know about you… but orange + chocolate isn’t one of my favorite flavors.

I don’t know about you… but I would never order that flavor… I wouldn’t even try it because it was new and different – it is not a taste that sounds appealing to me.

However, sales of Mocha Valencia Frappuccino did fairly well that summer.


Because partners (employees) in stores sampled it morning, noon, and night. That summer, you couldn’t walk into a Starbucks without a tray of mini-Frappuccino samples being thrust at you.

Long story short – trial led to purchase. Through trial you drive sales.

Allowing me to try your product or service prior to purchase reduces the anxiety I have about buying your product. The risk is gone. I’m not going to fork-out $50 for your software to find out it doesn’t do what I want. I’m not going to buy that phone without first trying out the buttons.

Which leads to this great direct mail ad.

Neat Idea No. 1

How does a phone company get you to try their product before purchase? They get you to try it at the retail store. But how do they get you if you’re not visiting the store?

Below is a way to creatively solve the problem of “how do we get trial of our expensive device.”

[click for larger view]

The purple area is actually cut out… The idea is to put your thumbs through the holes and “try” the BlackBerry…

BlackBerry Thumb Trial

I’m not sure if this ad for this “groundbreaking new phone” drove sales and exceeded expectations. But it was a clever way to engage the customer. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out the mail carrier tried it – just for fun – before he delivered it.

Neat Idea No. 2

How do you get people to try grape juice? You could sample in-aisle at the grocery store. Or, maybe have a booth at the mall. But how do you get them in their home? Short of shipping small bottles to customers?

Welch's Taste

Welch’s used a flavor strip in print ads. Peel up the tab and lick to taste. (I wouldn’t recommend this if you found the ad at the doctor or dentist office).

I used to drink grape juice all the time as a kid. I can’t recall ever buying it myself. Perhaps the taste is enough trigger the memory of that flavor as a kid and prompting the addition of “grape juice” to this week’s grocery shopping list?

What are ways you can get your customers to – taste, smell, feel, see, touch, hear – experience your product?

*I’m pretty sure it was 2002 that the Mocha Valencia drink launched, it could have been ’01 or ’03…