Summer sampling - experiential marketing

Trade Show Sampling

Trade shows & exhibitions, designed to secure new stockists for your products

Creating an attractive display of your product samples and presenting them from a high impact, memorable exhibition stand at trade shows is perhaps the most critical location to ensure you get exactly right, in order to impress the highly astute, commercial trade customers. Busy trade shows are highly competitive environments for product sampling, with many brands able to invest big budgets to out-shine their competitors in size and scale, meaning you have to get creative with your experiential marketing exhibition event area to make trade shows really work for your brand.

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Product sampling at trade shows can involve complex catering, chef or cookery demonstrations, chilled storage or ambient tasters. Depending on your products, we will advise and guide on exhibition event areas, sampling equipment, food accompaniments, serving methods and sample presentation options – in order to optimise your impact and create the most effective brand experience.
Smart uniforms, clear signage, calls to action, allergy information and hygienic serving methods are absolute essentials for creating a professional first impression; yet it is shocking how many less experienced food and drink professionals properly plan for this, as it falls outside of their own area of expertise. Partnering with us guarantees that all of these product sampling considerations are carefully planned out, factored in and incorporated into your trade show sampling strategy.
Aside from your exhibition event area and product sample display – having an enthusiastic team of well briefed promotional sampling staff is your most important asset for an effective trade show. Unlike most corporate professionals who ‘have to attend’ the trade show, promotional teams won’t be thinking about their emails piling up or tasks not being done while they’re at the show. They are at the show with the sole focus of promoting your brand, communicating your messaging, presenting your tasters and engaging your customers.
Promotional sampling staff at exhibitions and trade shows are very affordable. Their hourly rates are a tiny fraction of the cost of the event space at the trade show, yet its’ people power that you need to make it work. Don’t leave this essential element to non-specialist head office staff who often cost more in wages, hotels and travel, than a team of locally based promotional professionals who we can handpick, mobilise and brief, ready to support you at your next trade show.
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Key Activities at Trade Shows


– Present Your Produce

– Create Brand Impact

– Capture Sales Leads

– Acquire New Listings

TOP TIP 1 OF 4: Experiential product sampling exhibition stands at Trade Shows

Experiential exhibition areas for product sampling at trade shows should enable your trade customers to both understand and experience your brand’s key messaging and ethos, before anyone has even said hello. To create clear stand-out impact for your brand amongst all of the other brands shouting for attention at every trade show, your display needs to be both visually memorable and physically engaging.

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It’s scientifically proven that the more sensory clues you can trigger (through sight, taste, touch, sound and scent) the higher the recall is and deeper engrained the memory becomes. At trade shows with lots of brands on show, it takes more than a pop up banner and a plastic table counter to create meaningful stand out.  Whatever your budget, there are effective options available, which we can guide you on. Some outline ideas might include:

  •  A branded challenge or game using your products, to act as an ice breaker
  •  A live demonstration or spectacle that’s interesting to watch
  •  A bountiful display of tasty produce that makes you salivate
  •  Clear visual messaging to show your USPs and call to actions
  •  A range of theatrical props and display items to help set the scene
  •  A simple and quick data capture method for long term lead nurturing

TOP TIP 2 OF 4: Trade show product sampling staff and brand ambassadors

You can utilise our teams of professional promotional staff to learn your brand information and enthusiastically recite your key messaging a thousand times each day. These experienced event staff are accustomed to being on their feet all day, every day – and keep a genuine smile on their face because they love their work and are super keen to promote your brand.

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If you think you and your intimate head office team are the only people qualified to be on your exhibition event space, you need to consider whose job is it to:

  • Load up, set up and then pack up the event area displays
  • Set up the catering and prepare the product samples
  • Pull in passing customers from people walking past
  • Be focussed on data capture for lead nurturing
  • Manage the interactive areas or demos on your stand

We will help you to organise the team briefing, select the personnel from profiles that are relevant for your brand and co-ordinate all aspects to ensure your trade show sampling is the best at the show.

TOP TIP 3 OF 4: Presenting your product samples at trade shows

The way you present your product samples to a professional audience at trade shows is critical for how they view you and your brand. Many brands with the highest possible hygiene standards at their factories fail massively with less experienced teams handling the end product at trade shows, who simply tip it into a bowl and allow customers to reach in and grab at the plate without any consideration or awareness of the range of hygiene controls they need to have in place.

After recent, well publicised tragedies such as Pret A Manger’s lack of consistent allergy labelling – one might hope that fatalities caused from poor attention to detail would diminish, but despite your best intentions – it is up to you to ensure you enlist expert support to ensure your brand is not responsible for something equally horrific.

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Clear allergy signage, separate chopping boards, food storage boxes, gloves, serving tongs, individual portion methods are all essential items to ensure that your brand is sampled correctly. Don’t forget you need to show customers what to buy too! A giant pile of sample pieces might look like an unappealing random pile of shapes, unless you have your packaged products and POS display set up alongside it.

Enlist our expert planning to create and plan for all aspects of product sampling at trade shows, to ensure your tasters make a fantastic and not fatal, first impression.

TOP TIP 4 OF 4: Data capture and direct sales teams at Trade Shows

Any low skilled person can hand out your products for free, but the higher level skill that we bring to your trade show sampling activity will be generating a measurable return for the products which are handed out.

At trade shows, attaining data capture and signing sales deals are the gold standard benchmark. For many less experienced in these fast paced environments, it’s all too easy to blow your budget and come away with virtually nothing to show for it apart from the well-meaning but less tangible ‘yeah, we had great feedback from the show’.

More useful to your bottom line sales growth are hard data sets of interested trade contacts who have engaged with your exhibition event team, understood your product proposition, tried your samples and showed real interest in your offering. It is essential that all of these quick conversations are captured using effective data capture methods.

data capture at trade shows and exhibitions

Extra iPads, business cards, clip boards, barcode zappers are all tools of the trade show; and work best when event goers receive a high value reward for exchanging their data with you, over and above the sample that is on offer to everyone else too.

Engage our specialist trade show sampling support and you’ll receive guidance to make your entire trade show experience.

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    Trade shows represent a great opportunity to get your product into the hands of key business contacts

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