Sampling and New Product Adoption
The success of a product and even an entire life sciences enterprise often hinges on how well respective markets adopt and take up newly launched products.
It is not enough to create innovative products; success in the market place often hinges on the ability to create processes aligned with customers’ uptake journeys.
In B2B sectors, research scientists and formulators use samples to evaluate solutions before they actually make purchases. To be successful in the B2B market, it is necessary to have an effective sampling campaign. This requires an understanding of the customer adoption process and how sampling fits within this process.
Sampling and New Product Adoption
There are generally five stages in the product adoption process: Product Awareness, Product Interest, Product Evaluation, Product Trial, and, Product Adoption.
Stage 1 – Product Awareness
This is when customers become aware that a product/service is on the market. Awareness is everything: if customers do not know about a product it doesn’t exist!
Therefore your company ought to create different informational materials that raise awareness. Needless to say informational materials should also be easily accessible.
A strong social presence facilitates wider reach at a relatively low cost.
Stage 2 – Product Interest
In the second stage, customers learn more about the new product and/or service. At this stage, it is important that companies work to guide customers through this phase by providing easily accessible information about the benefits the product or service brings.
Among the methods that are most successful today are a website describing the product, blog posts, tutorial or instructional videos, white papers, and other sources of info that the potential consumer can review in depth.
When customers need a more specific answer, it is essential for them to have access to a technical resource to walk them through the new product and resolve any issues quickly.
Stage 3 – Product Evaluation
Prior to purchasing, customers assess, compare and evaluate the product. The more critical, complex or expensive it is relative to their existing is product, the more intense will be the evaluation process.
Today, customers are going online and using social media to probe and inquire about your product or service. This is why information that sets out why a product is different and the benefits it brings to the table relative to the opposition, must be available at this point.
Within the life sciences, webinars are a great channel because they permit in depth communication to potential customers while also offering opportunities for Q&A.
Stage 4 – Product Trial
This is the stage where the customer takes the step to test out the product/service. There is nothing more impactful than a customer actually trialing out a product or service for themselves. At this point, companies should provide their customers with free trial material.
It is critical to set the customer expectations correctly and deliver on said expectations.
The kind of information needed at this point should include application data sheets, quality/regulatory information, certifications, etc., to facilitate confident trialing/evaluation.
Stage 5 – Product Adoption
Stage 5 is the product adoption stage. Here, the customer is ready to purchase the new product/service. All companies aspire to get their customers to this stage.
When the customer is here, your company must ensure that the product is available, easy to purchase and the purchase process is simple and pain free.
How Sampling fits in
As we have seen, customer adoption is key to the success of any new product or service. It is therefore important to create a strategy and the necessary tools that successfully take customers through these 5 stages.
Here are five elements of a successful sampling campaign
Identify Your Target Audience
Marketers are familiar with the strategic concept of Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning (STP). STP is relevant to sampling, too, as it seeks to identify specific niches and personas, to prioritize a proposition. The idea here is to focus on early adopters and innovators who often have the resources and desire to try out new things.
Communicate Ease of Use/Usefulness
After early adopters/innovators have been identified, it is important to create relevant tools that communicate the usefulness and ease of use of the new product.
Therefore, you should aim to provide tools and/or apps on product selection/application, as well as concept/formulae to inspire customers.
Samples should have clear labeling, relevant documentation and application stories to drive intention to use.
Create a Buzz
Let’s face it – no body wants to buy a product that’s unexciting. It is the same with sample trials. So creating an early buzz and building on it will work magic in helping ensure the sampling campaign launches with a roar rather than a whisper. Here is how:
- Bring on board opinion leaders/influencers early
- Host an event about your product or speak at an event/conference, and demonstrate its utility/innovativeness
- Write guest articles in relevant trade magazines
- Reach out to journalists and PR professionals to profile the product/service
- Get early adopters to provide reviews/feedback about the product
- Distribute press releases on social media, PR sites/trade magazines
Make Ordering Easy
In today’s fast-paced marketplace, customers want things quickly and conveniently.
In almost all situations, decisions about what products/services to use will be based on ease of access (as well as ease of use). This has implications for new products/services – if they are perceived as arduous and difficult to access, few will adopt them.
This is why companies need to offer multi-channel sample ordering, backed by a reliable logistics partner.
Track and Follow-up
There’s a saying that goes like this: the fortune is in the follow-up. How true this is for sampling! After customers take samples, companies should track and gather relevant information and statistics on who’s is sampling and why.
Follow-up not only helps assure customers that the company is committed to supporting them through the adoption process but it will ultimately help turn samples into sales.
Highly effective sampling campaigns are predicated on an understanding of the customer adoption process and how sampling fits in this process. A communication and logistics plan aligned with the customer adoption journey puts a life sciences company in a driving seat to achieve commercial success when launching new products.