The jewelry store with the sidewalk sign that offers complimentary walk-in jewelry cleaning. The non-profit that serves free coffee (right beside a busy coffee shop with an endless line up). The meatball cooking demonstration at the grocery store, permeating in the noses of hungry shoppers. A souvenir stand in Time Square. These are all examples of alternative and effective forms of advertising.
Budget estimates vary, however, a good guideline is that businesses should spend 5-6% on advertising and 5-6% on rent. A company that’s located in a high-traffic, target-rich area will likely spend more on rent, but can then spend less on advertising. Because putting a brand in the direct line of sight of consumers is a fantastic form of marketing. The same principle is true in reverse. If a business is off the beaten path, a larger advertising investment is needed to direct clients to their door.
Additionally, enticing them with something of little cost/value to the business can offer an excellent return. Jewelry cleaning solution is inexpensive, and shining up someone’s sparkler requires minimal effort on the jeweler’s part. Now, while the person is waiting for this lovely service, they will inevitably have a look around at what the store has to offer.
It’s already been established that this patron likes and wears jewelry. Unbeknownst or inconsequential to them, they strategically become a captive audience while waiting, surrounded by products and choices. The chance of them seeing merchandise they like is high. Couple that with the positive impression already formed by having been given something of perceived value for free, equals a likely buyer, now or later. Best of all, the business has spent very little money or effort to achieve this.
The same idea is employed when using samples. Allowing people to test a product without any commitment is highly successful. Oftentimes, companies get bogged down and focus on the logistics and initial investment, and they shouldn’t. Samples can be the cheapest form of advertising.
An article in Post Media states that 81% of people tried a full product after they received a free sample. “Indeed, sampling continues to rank among the most effective tactics in the history of direct marketing, in part because of its ability to do what no other medium can: put a physical product in customers’ hands. Moreover, the practice is finding new adherents even in the digital age."