Trial Run Media has conceptualised the world's first network of automated business intelligence engines (ABIEs), launching this spring, that offers on-demand content like free samples and loyalty rewards, linked to automatic data collection.
Ursula McDonald and Pippa Capstick.
While sampling isn’t new, it has never been automatically linked to data.
What Trial Run Media has created is a consumer experience radically integrated across the physical and virtual environment. With Trial Run, consumers are in charge of the marketing experience. They choose the ‘content’ – a free sample of the brand they want to try - by entering a campaign URL into the browser of their smartphones. They are then prompted to enter their name and cellphone number, after which, they effortlessly receive a code to enter into ABIE’s keypad to release the sample.
A live dashboard tracks each sample in real-time and connects it to the recipient’s mobile phone, creating an instant feedback loop that connects consumers to the brand world on their own terms.
The holy grail of marketing is cracking the code that would see consumers choosing to interact with a brand or business. Trial Run allows consumers to choose their marketing experience and their engagement is tracked, leading them down a funnel towards a purchase, loyalty and personalised engagement.
Appointment sampling is dead. Gone are the days where consumers have to purchase a magazine to try a new product or be harassed in a shopping mall to get their valuable attention. On-demand sampling is the new disruptor that puts the consumer in charge and gives brands and businesses access to instant business intelligence.
Founders Ursula McDonald and Pippa Capstick call it ‘Advertising on-demand’. Ursula explains, “Trial Run will give brands the data they need to make informed business decisions, understand who their market is and reward their most loyal consumers.”
Pippa sees exciting engagement possibilities with consumers: “When someone has chosen to try your brand, they want to hear your brand story and with Trial Run the possibilities are endless – you can share videos, you can chat in real-time, you can invite consumers to events and even direct them to your online store in the moment when they have your brand in their hand.”
But much of their focus has been on creating value to the sales funnel. “Trial Run connects traditional advertising to the trial of a product effortlessly,” explains Ursula. “Brands can add a Trial Run short campaign URL to their TV or print adverts, social media posts and in-store collateral. Consumers will receive a code with a link that tells them which ABIE is closest to them. Or they have the option of simply accessing the code whilst standing in front of the machine, with the added option of a QR code. We know that trial is fundamental to getting consumers to switch brands and Trial Run makes this effortless for both brands and consumers.”
24/7 automatic sampling
The marketing can also be time or location-based. “Follow up marketing messages can easily be tailored for the time of day when consumers are receiving a sample or relevant to the location in which they are receiving them,” says Pippa. “Imagine the loyalty possibilities – who wouldn’t thank you for a free umbrella when it’s raining? That’s the power Trial Run can bring to your marketing arsenal.”
It’s a new concept, never before tried anywhere in the world but these two marketing pioneers are excited about the measurable results Trial Run can deliver. “We can offer 24/7 automatic sampling, automatic stock control, automatic PoPI compliant data collection and an instant data-driven marketing campaign,” explains Ursula. “There is no wastage, no pilferage and results are measured in real-time. Promotions can also be automated linked to real-time sales. It’s the switch machine marketers have been waiting for.”
At launch Trial Run’s footprint will extend across 50 malls in Gauteng, offering 1.9 million sampling opportunities monthly across multiple consumer profiles. This will soon extend to malls nationwide as well as corporate offices, gyms, airports, retail environments and schools nationwide.