the evolution of personalization: leveraging digital sampling to collect data and build robust consumer profiles

Nov 22, 2022


the evolution of personalization tactics

As we all know, consumers now view personalization as the standard for engagement. What began in the early 2000’s with “personalized” email campaigns (simply addressing the email to consumers’ names!), personalization has now evolved to a data-driven strategy; delivering timely, relevant, and valuable content to consumers across digital channels.

Having a variety of tactics in place to collect consumer data is a must-have for brands striving to stand out in a competitive marketplace, and is essential in creating the personalized experiences that deepen engagement with consumers, build long-term loyalty and increase the ROI of marketing initiatives.

Alongside the evolution of consumers’ personalization expectations are the data-collection tactics that make it possible. Most brands are already collecting data by tracking browsing history, website activity, in-app behavior, device usage, purchase data, engagement, and shopping carts to inform their marketing efforts. But there is, in fact, an additional long-standing marketing tactic that has also evolved and strengthened with the digitization of commerce- product sampling.

Digital product sampling has become a strategic way to not only introduce a brand’s products to targeted and highly qualified consumers, but also to drive and track behaviors post-trial such as reviews and purchase, and serve as a tactic for collecting robust first-party consumer data.

Traditional product sampling, a historically powerful marketing tactic, was once confined to in-store distribution, with a limited ability to track ROI or consumer sentiment post-trial. In recent years, sampling has evolved enormously online, with the ability to integrate sampling across digital channels at key moments in the consumer journey.

Digital product sampling has become a strategic way to not only introduce a brand’s products to targeted and highly qualified consumers, but also offers opportunities to drive and track behaviors post-trial such as reviews and purchase, and serve as a tactic for collecting robust first-party consumer data.

the law of reciprocity: the psychology behind why sampling works for collecting data

In this day and age, consumers are certainly more cautious about how and where they share their personal data – but more often than not, they’re likely to exchange their data for something of value to them.

Product sampling largely works due to the law of reciprocity– when people receive something, they feel compelled to return the favor. In the case of a free sample, consumers naturally feel they need to return the favor or pay the brand back by completing an action. That action could be leaving a review, making a purchase, or in this case, exchanging their data.

In most digital sampling campaigns, a consumer usually signs up for a free sample by trading basic information such as their name, email, and address – a fair exchange.
But, what if we upped the value, by offering a sample that is tailored to their needs – in exchange for sharing more in-depth data about their preferences? The greater the value and more personalized the product or experience, the more information they’ll be willing to share.

The benefits to this scenario are two-fold, the brand can collect rich 1st party data that can help them create personalized marketing and better consumer experiences, and the consumer receives a personalized sample experience and feels that the brand is invested in building the relationship and understanding their wants and needs.

There are various methods for collecting data through sampling campaigns:

Adding survey questions to the signup form: At signup, you can build additional questions into the redemption form, such as quick and easy multiple-choice or demographic information;

  • What is your skin type?
  • What brand of foundation are you currently using?

Including a product quiz to capture additional consumer data consumer– Take the consumer through a landing page experience to find their sample match. The data collected in this scenario could include quiz responses and responses to skin diagnostic and shade finder tools.
Shape the questions in a way that will not only guide the user towards a result, but will allow you to gain additional insight about the consumer based on their response

  • Which is your top skin concern?
  • Which scent appeals to you most?
  • How much coverage are you looking for?
  • How would you describe your hair type?

Requesting feedback post-trial: Requesting feedback or reviews, or measuring purchase intent in post-trial email communication.

Learn More: Although asking any amount of questions is valuable to you as a brand for collecting insights, there is a sliding scale of how many you can ask based on how loyal and engaged the audience is. Read more on which audiences are best suited for data collection, in section four, here.

In addition to collecting data through sampling, there’s opportunity to apply learnings campaign-over-campaign. 

Brands can leverage data collected from past lead generation campaigns to optimize future sampling campaigns. Brands can target consumers with similar interests and behaviors through lookalike audiences or utilize retargeting tactics to introduce new products to existing consumers who are already loyal or primed for their brand. Additionally, once brands have collected data points- through a sampling campaign or their own methods, such as skin-type, foundation shade, or hair-type, they can offer samples to their existing consumers that feel tailored to their needs. 

how abeo help brands collect robust consumer data

abeo’s digital sampling campaigns help brands collect first-party data from consumers in exchange for a free sample to help build their target audiences, while providing the opportunity for brands to leverage this data campaign-over-campaign. Our solutions are positioned to qualify something about an audience-whether that be basic demographics or more specific attributes such as hair type, skin type, product preferences and more through the inclusion of quizzes and survey questions.

Contact us to learn more!


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