What Venue Type is Best for your Sampling Program?

Written by PortMA

What Venue Type is Best for your Sampling Program?

We’ve had the pleasure of working on several well-executed, high-impact sampling programs for a couple of national food brands (if I were allowed to name drop, I bet you will have eaten at least one of the brands in the past month). That’s not the point. The point is, there has been a huge debate over what type of venue is best for a big mobile tour with a branded truck: a large footprint, multiple activities to participate in, and fresh, hot samples for consumers to try. So what are the best sampling program venues for this?

If you ask the experiential side, they will most likely champion the big festivals and fairs. If you ask the client-side, they will most likely champion the retail events (grocery stores, etc.)

So who is right? The answer is they both are. Each venue type has its own perks.

Festivals and Fairs

Festivals provide the opportunity to get products in a massive number of consumer’s hands and interact with them in a low-pressure environment that is lots of fun.

This sampling program venue type helps move consumers in the purchase cycle in a way where they don’t even realize. It creates “warm fuzzy” feelings about the brand and can be quite economic on the pocketbook.

Retail Events

Retail events on the other hand are more intimate. They don’t have the multitudes of consumers, but they do have an environment where a brand can have a quality, educational engagement with a person, let them try the product, and guess what… consumers can act IMMEDIATELY!!!

That’s right, they can walk right into the store and make a purchase.

So which venue is best for your sampling program?

The programs I have worked on have had an 80/20 split when there is one – 80% festival and 20% retail. It works well, and the data PortMA has collected supports this type of strategy.

What works best for you? That all depends on the objectives of your program, how hard your client sticks to their convictions, and how well you have done your research.

Additional Resources


  • Experiential Measurement Blueprint
  • Event Impression Calculator
  • Experiential ROI Benchmarking Reports
  • Event Measurement Video Tutorials
Click for Additional Resources