But How Will It Play in Portland? | Koeppel Direct

But How Will It Play in Portland?


If there’s one thing that brand managers struggle with, it’s getting product samples in front of consumers with plenty of disposable income.

That’s why Jeff Davis opened SamplingLab in Portland, Oregon. Designed to deliver much more than a mall-based focus group or online survey could ever provide, SamplingLab is a one of a kind experience for consumers and marketing experts alike.

Live Samples, Fast Feedback

Using social media and word of mouth, Jeff’s SamplingLab entices people in their 20s and 30s (a vital demographic) to come and try all sorts of new products. His focus is primarily on food and beverages, but the lounge-like atmosphere could conceivably host an array of products, from small electronics to household cleaners. Unlike a focus-group, Jeff aims to create an experience that seems much more like visiting a coffee house than spending time in a market research group.

In exchange for the lounge and products they can take with them to try in various ways at home, visitors are asked to complete detailed surveys about the products they’re consuming. This way, the various clients of SamplingLab can get quick feedback on product lines that are getting ready to go on the market or are experiencing slumping sales.

Take, for example, Seattle’s Redhook Ale Brewery’s Seedy Blonde Apple Ale. The company had this particular ale packaged and ready to ship to distributors when employees began raising concerns about the flavor. Because they were close to distribution, there was no time to do a full-scale market study so they turned to SamplingLab. Jeff’s company received four cases of the ale and spread the word via Facebook.

Faster, More Efficient Testing & Results 

His testers gave thorough, thoughtful and immediate feedback to Redhook Ale Brewery about the flavor of the ale. They felt that the product was misrepresented by the label, which focused on the apples in the recipe, giving the impression it was more likely to be a hard cider than an apple beer. In just four days, Redhook Ale Brewery had its answer, unlike with traditional firms that might need months to complete this type of research.

This year, Redhook Ale Brewery will be encouraging stores to explain what this product tastes like to customers, but a complete package redesign is in motion for 2016. The money that SamplingLab has saved Redhook Ale Brewery was significant and has resulted in a much stronger product going forward.

It’s an innovative concept, but when businesses need to get their products in front of their key demographic right away, there’s no better way than what SamplingLab has created. Customers can enjoy a relaxing atmosphere, bring their friends and try out some new things, all without the pressure or hassle of traditional focus groups.


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