Everything is out to be tried. A new kind of try-marketing is out here where everyone is bending backwards to offer trials. Is this is a new marketing ploy?


Revathi, this is all about brands wanting to get tactile with their consumers. The idea is a simple one. The best way to sell anything to anyone is to show them the brand. The next thing the consumer wants to do is touch the brand. The third thing would be to use the brand and check it out for its delivery claims.

In many cases, the price of the product is prohibitive to allow a trial without purchase, which means low trials and low buys. Marketers circumvent this by offering the free trial.

What is important to understand is the number of days of trial or occasions of trial that are necessary for the product or service to be just right for adoption by the consumer. Once that is understood, the cost viability of the activity can be worked out. For instance, for a coffee brand to be adopted in a home, a minimum three months of trial daily is necessary. This means that a competing brand should be able to work this right only if it is able to provide that much free stock. A one-time Rs 5 sachet free does not work. At best it is a very expensive waste. The ability of the consumer to see, touch, feel and experience the product or service in all its brand and product sensorial aspects is the biggest advantage.

During a recession, these type of trial offers spring up fast and strong. When there is not enough money to use on mass media advertising, ‘tryvertising’ becomes a very focused way of reaching consumers 1:1.

In recent months the US and Europe have seen a surge in tryvertising. There are tryvertising websites that get you to register onto them with your database. Freebies are then sent to those registered and feedback is solicited. If you register on a couple of these websites and if you are sincere in your feedback, regularity and correctness, you can run an entire home on literally just this!

Do brands over-estimate the consumer's spending capacity? Are there examples of fault lines across categories?

New Delhi

Devika, the fault lines run long and deep. Apparel is a classic case. The gung-ho nature of the economy, the fact that the demographics of this nation skew towards the young and the outdoors nature of the youth-led apparel marketers too are a bit too optimistic in their attitude as well recently.

This has seen inventory pile-ups. Every business plan of many an apparel maker is in the doldrums due to this.

FMCGs did wrong as well. Many focused on larger volume and value packs. The small packs were ignored. Low-unit and low-value packs literally vacated many markets. This proved brands’ undoing in tough times when consumers want to move to smaller packs. Companies such as Britannia, however, took steps at the right time. Its focus on small packs is poised to reap rich dividends.

One read the market, the economy and its peoples wrong in a cautionary recession.

Harish Bijoor is a brand strategy specialist and CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc. Send your questions to cat.a.lyst@thehindu.co.in