On-Premise Sampling ROI

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An Experiential Marketing Case Study

The Brand Challenge

How do you prove that a low price doesn’t mean low quality?  This was and is the ongoing challenge of a not too new adult beverage brand. The brand is building shelf space off-premise, making inroads on-premise, but still hasn’t seen the growth rates expected from what is truly a superior liquid in the category.

The Campaign

Liquid-to-lips. The marketing agency identified 22 markets within which to conduct over 1,000 tastings for on-premise marketing. From retail to sports bars, grocery to neighborhood chain restaurants, music festivals, and sporting events, the activation teams spread out across the country on a multi-wave, 7-month wet sampling campaign to demonstrate the superior quality of the brand.

Consumers are invited to engage the activation team, hear the story behind the brand, and sample a variety of flavors to judge for themselves if a big value can come from a small price.  The messages are getting through.

The Measurement Strategy

PortMA was invited to design and execute a measurement strategy for the activating agency.  We developed a data collection process that captured the program reach (people sampled, premiums distributed, type of account, etc.), the impact (purchase intent, recommend intent, etc.), and value (return-on-investment).

Measuring Program Reach

Brand Ambassadors entered data into a secure, online portal we developed and hosted.  This data was collected after each day of activation and clearly identified where consumers were engaged, how many were sampled, and what was given away to enhance the experience.

Understand Consumer Impact

A short exit survey was designed.  Only four questions.  All closed-ended.  A survey that averaged 35 seconds to complete.  The Brand Ambassadors used this survey (optimized for iPad based data collection) to gather 10 to 15 consumer surveys after the sampling experience.  Across all markets, event types, and events this database of impact data quickly grew into thousands of consumer survey responses.

Define the Monetary Value

The reach data told us how many the on-premise marketing reached and how this reach varied by account, venue, and market.  The impact survey told us how we changed consumer attitude and generated incremental purchase intent.  These measures were brought together to calculate the return-on-investment (ROI) overall and, more importantly, how this ROI varied by market and account type.  By identifying those markets and account types with the greatest ROI, the team was able to target more of these accounts thus increasing the overall return for the brand.

The Results

Nine-tenths (93%) of individuals sampled had not purchased the brand recently and over half (52%) had never even heard of the brand before the sampling experience.  This indicated that the program was successfully reaching new consumers and not only attracting current customers (which at 7% of folks sampled was indexing above the known market penetrations).

Even though the vast majority of patrons were not current customers, over four-fifths (84%) were leaving the event set reporting that they would purchase in the next five weeks.  If even half of these consumers ended-up being new customers, the overall Program ROI was estimated at 126.2% in the first year, climbing to 372.3% in year three.  These findings were developed and approved by the brand’s in-house parent company research team and approved for general dissemination within the organization.

The agency has been able to use these findings to develop C-level relationships within the parent company and explore where they can provide sampling and analytic assistance on other brands within the portfolio.