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The great consumer shift - 'Definite need for Hygiene Transparency'

According to McKinsey & Co, globally, consumers are undergoing great shifts of preference, mindset & expectations. These shifts will have a significant impact on the product sampling industry and how brands adapt to utilizing this proven marketing strategy.

One of the studies McKinsey & Co cites was conducted by leading global market researcher, Euromonitor International. It concludes that 'many of the new habits consumers have formed are here to stay and have manifested for the long term'.

This shift has a strong basis in psychology as 'safety needs' rise to the top when studying human needs research, dating as far back as 1943 in Maslow's groundbreaking paper, "A Theory of Human Motivation". And while safety is a need that marketers often keep top of mind when developing television and online advertising strategies, it is largely ignored when developing product sampling strategies.

The report categorizes it as a SAFETY OBSESSION and according to the Euromonitor study, Safety is the new wellness movement. This is a paradigm shift. A shift in how the consumer sees herself/himself interacting in the world.

One if these shifts is a demand for HYGIENE TRANSPARENCY. Consumers want to know that items they touch and engage with are safe and secure. US consumers specifically have already started to dramatically change their behavior in response to hygiene concerns when traveling. As an example, expectations around boarding a plane and receiving antibacterial wipes, airline executives say, are here to stay.

Whereas in the past, one may see a few travelers 'wiping down tray tables and armrests', now the behavior has become so common that airlines needed to institute a new process. Flight attendants now collect trash prior to take off and make onboard announcements to 'please place your antibacterial wipes in the trash bin that will now pass by your row as opposed to placing the wipes in the seat back pocket.'

With respect to product sampling strategies, marketers need to be mindful of the 'moment and manner' of distribution in order to ensure maximum trial. A sample that is distributed and not tried , on an ROI basis, consistently ranks as one of the most dominant negative variables in marketing mix regression analyses.

When thinking of the moment and manner, a flight attendant - who is someone of authority while onboard a plane - wearing gloves, handing a boarding passenger a Purell antibacterial wipe, is an intelligent strategy.

On the other hand, a 'brand ambassador' handing a consumer a random beauty, cosmetic, OTC, food or confection sample while attending an event or festival does not meet the test with respect to the marketer being mindful of the 'moment and manner' of distribution.

The best marketers always come back to empathy and their target consumer. Genuinely working to put themselves in his or her shoes. When doing this and keeping in mind the demand for Hygiene Transparency, a sample distributed at the wrong moment and in the wrong manner, could produce a resulting action far worse than simply not trying the sample.

Arrived Research Team


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