Mothers are still buying products, of course. So, who do they trust when they make purchase decisions? What do they find convincing? To start, they believe in themselves. Experience with a product firsthand is most effective. If the labels says it is plush, moms will want to touch it. If it says it tastes good, they'll want to eat it. If it claims it will get the stain out, they'll want to see that happen in their washing machines.
Moms also make purchasing decisions based on recommendations from other moms. Moms pay attention to other moms. In general, people find that a "person like me" is the most trusted source for information about a company or a product. For mothers, word of mouth is even more powerful.
For those reasons, many marketing professionals are choosing product sampling as a means to drive sales and attract new customers. It is a way to cut through the clutter and engage moms in a manner which requires their attention. Tupperware and other home-party concept companies understand and practice this strategy.
As much as those are social events with peer pressure, they are opportunities to touch and experience products as well. HouseParty, Inc. has built its business on this premise and brought its service to a diverse set of brands.
Sampling is especially effective in a pinched economy. Mothers are looking to test products before investing in them. When brands offer sample trials, they are providing moms with the opportunity to feel more confident about a purchasing decision.
Some sites offer an approach that combines sampling and word-of-mouth marketing. A mom tries a free product, and if she likes it, she can have one sent to a friend. Moms then get the satisfaction of sending their friends something that they enjoyed themselves.
Sampling has become the new targeted media strategy. Starbucks, McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts have integrated sampling into their coffee marketing efforts, often through sites like Facebook and Twitter, which further encourage moms to tell one another about a product.
Brands are eagerly adopting the sampling strategy as it allows them to connect directly with moms and capture their attention. Moms, in turn, are embracing this form of marketing because it enables better purchase decisions and community interaction -- both of which they often enjoy.