DRAMATICALLY
INCREASE ROI FROM YOUR IN-STORE DEMO

The impact demos have, why they matter more now than ever, and how to #DemoSmarter.

“The most important part of an in-store engagement between a brand and consumer? It all comes down to the product. If it’s not good, nobody will stick around to hear the story”.

Ryan Devlin, Co-founder of This Bar Saves Lives

The impact demos have, and why they matter more now than ever

For brands with exceptional products, including product demos in your marketing repertoire is an absolute must. Product demos or samples give your consumers the opportunity to understand how your product works without the commitment of purchasing first. Customers need to be encouraged, convinced, and reassured; giving them a sample or conducting a demo not only brings them in, but greatly influences decision-making on a psychological level as well. In receiving something for free, they are encouraged to reciprocate, even to the extent of showing loyalty and gratefulness to the brand by making a purchase.

Demoing can come in many different forms: In-store, In-home, Trade shows, Fairs, Advertisements, Roadshows, and more. In-store demos, in particular, give you the opportunity to make two very important things happen: 1) Drive purchase. Demoing is a powerful and practical way to place your product into your customer’s hands at the point of purchase--nothing converts a “consumer” into a “customer” faster than a live sensory brand experience. Let’s face it, a free sample of a beverage, food, or vitamin, or demo of a consumer electronic will influence purchase decision and convert a consumer quicker than any other form of marketing.  

2) Accelerate growth for your brand. Demos directly increase: Product interactions, Introductions, Conversions ("Consumers to Customers"), and Sales. This growth also goes beyond the brand and customer, presenting a unique opportunity for the brand to partner with stores for greater awareness, additional product placement, and a beneficial partnership with the store and potentially other brands.

 

When planned right and executed well, demos can elevate your brand and help you make lasting impressions with your customers. By making that connection, you increase engagement, strengthen your brand’s image, generate quality leads which increase conversion, as well as give valuable insight into your products.

Attack Marketing: Demo smarter

We believe in marketing that moves people, by creating powerful, memorable experiences that build brand awareness and loyalty, as well as drive sales and growth. Every interaction we have with our customers is an opportunity to collaborate, to build trust, and to tell a story that resonates with the brand and its audience. This rings true for demos. Putting together what we’ve learned over the years, we show clients how to demo smarter (not harder).

These key elements are what we’ve learned, honed, and implemented here at Attack! over the last decade to ensure that our clients are successfully demoing every time, increasing in brand awareness and engagement and more importantly, bringing in the highest point of return on their in-store demos. We’ve witnessed the ‘if-then relationship’ in action: by implementing the following areas throughout your demo process, you significantly increase sales (current and future) and positively affect and raise overall program success.

Consistent, on-brand talent

Advantage

What is more valuable than a first impression? Attack! understands the power of that first moment with your consumer. On-Brand Talent ensures that the first point of consumer contact embodies your brand. The first contact between a consumer and your brand starts with your demo specialist. This moment must be enthusiastic, professional, and centered on brand knowledge to convert that consumer to an actual customer. It is key that your demo specialist or talent have the look, energy, and knowledge that personify your brand. Attack! has nearly 2 decades of experience in the natural products industry. From day one, we have a national network of on-brand demo specialists that understand the industry, product sets, and specific trends, terms, and concerns that drive successful consumer interactions. Our recruiting tools tell us more about each potential candidate’s specific look, experience, and relationship to the brand they will be promoting. This intelligent screening and interviewing process allows us to match the best people with the best brands and ensures that every program will have On-Brand talent that looks, speaks, and acts the part.

 

Benefit

On-Brand Talent at its most basic level is ensuring your brand is accurately represented. Nothing is worse than misrepresented brands at demos. Off-brand means you have confused your consumers whereas on-brand means you have energized and inspired them. That inspiration produces a higher ROI (Return on Investment) for the client because they attract more consumers and extend the typical engagement time--both of which improve the trial experience and increase onsite sales.

Core consumer insights

Advantage

One size does not fit all. This is why we dive deep into understanding your target consumer and the brand pillars that are intended to attract and convert that core consumer. It is that initial understanding and collaboration that allow us to begin recruiting and vetting candidates for your program. Because we are judged on performance, we leave nothing to chance.

 

Benefit

By gaining a more comprehensive understanding of who your core consumer is we are able to effectively target when/where they shop and reach out when they’re there. This also gives our demo specialists insight into their personalities and informs them on how to best interact.

Comprehensive training

Advantage

Comprehensive training and program testing/certification increase field accountability wherein we involve our client's knowledge about the brand and our program goals. Talent who are trained well, sell well. Attack! ensures that all demo talent complete a comprehensive and interactive training program on every retail event which will include a complete overview of program KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), key product benefits, and a full play-by-play of what a successful interaction with a consumer looks like. Providing our talent with clear expectations and deep product knowledge before they go into the field results in more quality consumer interactions and higher in-store sales conversions. Attack! is known for both fun live and web-based program training sessions which typically include messages from representatives of the brand, demo role-playing, and product/program quizzing and certification.
 

Benefit

One of the biggest complaints we get from new clients is that the past demos have not been getting the sales results they were after--and a core reason for that was attributed to the complacent or “uninvolved” attitude of the talent when engaging with consumers during the demo experience. Our program training curriculum was developed to give staff the information, resources, and positive motivation they need to be highly successful and convert sales in the field.

Staff incentive programs

Advantage

We create loyalty programs with our talent that reward and recognize our top performers in the field. We’ve seen these types of motivators increase onsite conversion rates, talent retention (meaning we get talent to stay on for the whole duration of the program, which can run months at a time), and overall program loyalty (note on its value to ROI).

 

Benefit

One of the biggest challenges of a demo program can be retaining your originally hired staff. Having to constantly rehire and retrain new talent can be expensive, frustrating, and counterproductive.

Quick turnaround reporting

Advantage

Our demo specialists will complete custom event reports on their smartphones at the conclusion of each demo which means you'll have near-instant access to your events KPIs, conversion metrics, product inventory, event photos, and all pertinent custom program info requested. We know how important it is that you’re able to access and see program results, so we’ve built a client portal that provides field data that is simple to sort, batch, and export.

 

Benefit

Getting quicker access to reporting means our client can better optimize the program as a whole and their budgets as we go (meaning they’ll know what locations are producing the highest sales numbers and where foot traffic and numbers are not as great). They can then take the info they have from these reports and adjust our efforts accordingly.

Experienced account teams

Advantage

Dedicated in-house account management teams understand the complexity of running large events and what success in the retail field looks like. Our account managers are communication-driven with our talent and clients alike, and are determined to hit program goals and KPIs. Attack! only brings in seasoned, experienced account managers who are exemplary listeners, communicators, and problem solvers. This is not a “9-to-5” industry and our teams use our proven systems and talent networks to make sure that every event is organized and that talent is prepped and ready for success. The biggest compliment we receive is when clients come back to us time and time again because of the relationships they’ve created with and the success they’ve received from our account managers. Account teams keep weekly meetings slated with clients to keep everyone informed of the project’s progress, to address new information, to share updates, and to look forward while also looking back. Teams who manage your staff and logistics are hand-picked and the very best in the industry. Your dedicated account manager is also with you every step of the way in activating the demo schedule. Think of us as your outsourced field marketing department.

 

Benefit

The effectiveness of the brand ambassador's training and the overall flow of communication and program logistics start and end with your dedicated in-house account manager. Our account managers are trained to have contingency planning in place at every turn and to ensure that every staff member is at every event on time and fully prepared to deliver. They are also responsible for confirming that all event deliverables such as photos, reports, inventory updates, KPI tracking, etc., are received post program and plugged into our system. Attack! staff show rates are typically above 99% and a big for reason this is the skill and effectiveness of our account teams.

Powerful demo technology

Advantage

Our tech is built to manage risk, communicate clearly, and increase field staff accountability.   

 

Benefit

Tracks staff whereabouts and specific event progress along with real success metrics, KPIs, and inventory.

Event Photos​ and Videos

Clean layouts and easy navigation make viewing your event visuals a breeze! Designed to keep all media organized for quick download and/or use on all social platforms.

 

Staff GPS Check-In

Permission-based location services app that provides full transparency of when/where staff arrive on the event site. Developed for team visibility and field talent accountability.

 

Event Reporting

A lot can happen in a single activation and reports can quickly become robust and complex. We break through the data clutter to give you a clean aggregate view of your activation.

 

Activation Calendars

Full visibility calendar and layout of event details on when and where your field teams are activating, including a full suite of KPI and expected performance metrics.

 

Conversion & KPIs

Measure event conversion rates from interaction to trial to purchase. Track as you go through redemption, downloads, or self-reported data all working towards your program goals.

 

Team Performance

Track your field team’s performance against all program goals and KPIs. Talent success measured for sales numbers, consumer sentiment, and quality of reporting data.

 

Inventory Control

Capture real-time inventory metrics through the life-cycle of your activation. Dynamic dashboards designed to track against store visits, fulfilment hubs, and identify bottlenecks.

Thorough event scheduling

Advantage

Partnering with a demo staffing agency is designed to take the burden off your shoulders. One of the largest burdens you face, beyond the recruiting, vetting, and managing of the demo specialists themselves, is scheduling. The task of reaching out to each and every store location, notifying each of a request to schedule a demo, and then working through the process of getting something on the books is not as easy as it may sound, especially when multiplied by hundreds if not thousands of locations. Attack! has relationships with retailers nationwide, making this process much, much easier. Our account managers can connect with the store management, schedule demos, reconfirm demos as the dates approach, and reconfirm that inventory is on hand to have a successful presentation. This is what you look for in a solid, seasoned demo staffing & activation partner.

Benefit

The peace of mind in knowing that someone has your back is indispensable. Scaling a brand comes with numerous challenges. Knowing that you have an experienced demo partner who understands the ins and outs of scheduling demos on a national scale gives you the advantage of having one less thing to worry about, one less thing on your plate.  

Smarter social media

Advantage

Inside/Outside teams utilize social media to attract attention and gather more people to every demo event. We target demo reps who have large existing social communities and encourage them to not only post event photos but also to get additional consumers to the store before and during the retail event. We also use our in-house account management teams and deep social communities to add awareness and participation to all of our demo events. By engaging with our community before an event we are able to not only get existing brand insights but ensure that there will be even more traffic at the event itself.

 

Benefit

More awareness about the event on social media - more attendees present  - more product trials - more product sales - more brand loyalty, love, and exposure!

Advantages

Brand awareness

On a larger scale, looking beyond demonstrating how your product works, demos are about telling your brand’s story, building awareness. This is why it’s highly important to hire product demonstrators that are not only experienced in customer facing roles but thoroughly understand your brand’s vision and goals as well. By giving consumers insight into how your product works and what makes it stand out from the competition, you create a memorable experience, make a lasting impression that drives loyalty, as well as turn current consumers into potential customers.

Current sales

For several industries such as video gaming, fitness, consumer electronics, music, home goods, and more, studies have shown that product demos are a crucial part of the customer journey, driving purchase and eventually increasing sales. In the case of retail products, in-store sampling and demos have been shown to improve same-day sales, brand franchise sales, long-term buying habits, and the total basket size of the average shopper. In demoing, you have to remember that it isn’t one-sided. You have the opportunity to create an open dialogue with your consumers and tell them not just your brand story, but their story as well. Demoing isn’t showboating for the sake of impressing. It’s about showing your consumers how your products can improve and add value to their lives. It also helps them decide two important things: that they want to buy the product and the brand they will choose in the future.

Future sales

Over time, a great demo will have a viral effect on your sales. Aside from looking at the numbers you make today and the overall performance of your demo, you should be able to track your demos over time and come up with a system that helps you create strategies for quality, consistent demoing ongoing.

Lead generation

In generating leads this way, you get to understand your consumers, their behavior, and their level of interest to make a purchase. By making use of these leads, you positively affect sales in the future. So get your customers’ details before they leave and make it a point to stay in touch with them; this can be through monthly newsletters informing them of product updates, deals, or events. By keeping the connection intact, you increase your chances of having them come back and make a purchase.

Consumer insight

Aside from helping you make a sale, demos give you insight into what your consumers really think about your product. Why were they interested in the first place? What are their concerns with the product? Would they recommend it to family or friends?

 

Demoing is also a great opportunity to get to know your consumers (demographics, preferences, needs, and wants, etc.), by doing so, you can better explain your product in their context. This is also another opportunity to gather info on your brand’s image and visibility. Where did they hear about your brand? What other brands are they looking into? How does your product or service fare against the competition? By making use of such information to thoroughly understand your consumers and map their customer journey, you can improve your product demos, streamline your marketing efforts, revitalize your sales plan, tell your brand story, and ultimately make real connections with your audience that turn into long-term relationships.

“Tell people what you want them to know, maybe they’ll understand and remember it for a while. But show them, involve them, and they’ll ‘get it’.”

Kirsten Osolind, CEO Re:invention

How do you
demo smarter?

Demoing can be costly, but effective when planned right and supported by a holistic, 360 degree marketing strategy. A solid demo strategy doesn’t just stop at increasing current sales, but creates a snowball effect, leading to optimized, continued lift in the long run.

 

To demo smarter, there are no hard and fast rules, but if you want to raise awareness, advocate for your product, increase sales, and engage with your audience, here is a simple process you can follow:

Have a strategy in place.

Prepare in advance, don’t leave anything to chance. Avoid improvising as a strategy as well. It pays well to have a detailed, well-thought-out plan in place. To ensure that you cover only the relevant points and leave out the rest, you will probably go through more than one draft. As much as possible, limit yourself to a single slide for the points you will be covering. Then practice and rehearse until your presentation sounds natural and convincing. Also, remember to stick to the given timeframe.

Personalize your demo.

Demonstrate that your product is exactly what your customers need by telling their story. Don’t tell a general narrative and hope they get your point--go into detail, remembering to touch on specific pain points, while bringing it back to the bigger picture.

Most importantly, your demo footprint should act, look, and feel like your brand. This is your opportunity to make the best first impression. In a day and age where we are so used to seeing the "flat" looking table, branded table cloth, product, and half-enthused brand ambassador, it is vital that the look of your demo booth be as vibrant and as unique as your brand. The more targeted your content is, centering around your customer personas, the better you will convey your message and interact with your customers.

Zero in on tangible benefits.

In some cases, less really is more. Your consumers won’t always have the time or patience to listen to you go through all the features of your product, so unless they express that wish--don’t waste their time (or your opportunity) by rambling on. In explaining the features, don’t just spout facts--break it down into concepts they can relate to. How exactly do they benefit from your product? How many hours are they saving? Where can the extra cost go to? How else is it useful?

Don’t give it all away.

This might sound selfish or counterproductive, but your product demo should never reveal your complete how-to. What you can do is offer to provide them with a more in-depth process outline should they choose to take their engagement with you further. In addition, a demo is less a training session and more a sales pitch.

Manage and control your time.

If your constantly being interrupted and answering every question that comes up, you will lose your audience’s interest and run out of time. Don’t let your demo be taken over, you be the one to manage and moderate. This is why it’s crucial to have the right people in place--hire and train a brand ambassador or demo specialist that knows how to firmly and expertly navigate tricky questions as well as able to deliver useful information in a short window.

Stay updated on your product/service.

Clearly obvious, but still important to mention. If there have been updates to your products or services, make sure you know about them. Don’t just be focused on the specific product you’re demoing, keep an eye out for the peripherals too. And if you’re hiring staff to demo for you, help them prepare by giving them a list of frequently asked questions.

“In-store demos now offer an opportunity to connect directly with the customer. The more connection, the higher the sales.”

Kirsten Osolind, CEO Re:invention

“The worst mistake you can make is investing money in a demo and not having the right people to demo the product.”

Kirstin Everard, Turn-Key Marketing
& Promotions

More improvements to your in-store demonstrations 

Simplify.

While wanting to impress the customer is all right, remember to not overwhelm them with information. Too many features and they’ll think it’s too complex and will move on. Instead, keep it short and sweet by highlighting your main points. After doing so, don’t hover, let your product speak for itself.

Remember, it’s not about you: it’s about the customer's story.

We’ve mentioned this before. In showing how the product works, remember to tie that into how it will benefit your consumers. With your product/service, you are solving a problem--not showing off how great it is. Be mindful about the time you spend with each customer, structure your demo and the length of time on the level of interaction you receive. Some have the time to listen, while others simply don’t.

Prepare a script.

It’s all about making your demo educational yet natural, powerful yet informative. To avoid losing your audience with fluff and fillers, create a script you can use and refer to.​

Train.

Placing staff to face customers is one thing, having them on-brand, prepared, and knowledgeable in your product and your brand’s goals is another. For your staff to be effective and to remain competitive in the field, they must undergo rigorous training. By employing the following demo training techniques, you form a team of dedicated, connected, passionate individuals who can represent your brand well and successfully convert consumers to customers.

 

Brand Bootcamp:

  • What makes you stand out from your competitors?

  • What does the competition have that you don’t?

  • Who are your customers and what is the most effective way to reach them?

  • What are your brand’s goals?

  • How do you improve your customer’s experience?

 

Program Quizzes:

  • Tests on demo play by play and desired results

 

Product Specialist Certification Programs:

  • Product knowledge and specifications (updates, similar products)

  • Latest trends, tools, and techniques

Location is everything.

Location, location, location. Having your demo set up where your customers can easily see and reach you is crucial to successfully pulling off a great demo. Setting up in a location with high visibility and foot traffic ensures that your product is accessible and that your customers have the opportunity to watch, listen, and talk with you.

 

Now that you’ve chosen a strategic location, it’s just as important that you test beforehand. Be prepared for glitches to happen, for unexpected obstacles (remember Murphy’s law: anything that can go wrong will go wrong). With equipment, it’s better you bring your own; it’s never wise to solely rely on others’ equipment (or facilities). Minimize risk and prepare in advance.

Find your shoppers’ time.

Choosing a strategic location is just one part of the equation. In addition to targeting them where it matters the most is the when. By understanding how your customers behave--their intent and their context--you have the opportunity to connect with them during micro-moments that help lead them to making a purchase. Practically speaking, your demo won’t be set up 24/7, so to be cost-efficient and effective, you need to anticipate when the optimal hours are, what will drive them to make a purchase, and how you can be useful in getting them from point A to B.

Adapt.

You want to manage your time and stick to your plan, that’s understandable. At the same time, don’t be rigid. If your customer has a suggestion or raises a good point in the middle of your spiel, have an open ear.

Provide proof.

To truly impress, get your points across clearly and succinctly and have evidence to back your claims. You want to provide people with not just heady information, but with enough reason to make a purchase, to buy into your brand story.

Avoid repeating yourself.

Don’t beat around the bush and don’t waste your or your customer’s time repeating something or showing a feature you’ve already shown. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, don’t repeat yourself, it only makes you lose credibility.

Keep it jargon-free.

Unless your audience is technical, speak in simple terms. You want to educate and not just merely inform your customers, and you certainly don’t want to go over their heads with technical terms and industry jargon.

Keep an eye on execution and performance.

Post demo, you should be able to keep a track on your results as well as measure the effectivity of your methods. By keeping track of both quantitative and qualitative data, you can streamline your marketing and gain deeper insight into improving your demoing technique. Be sure to have your demo specialists or brand ambassadors record and document critical information on the event such as important questions and answers, highlights, sales before and after the demo, the length of the demo, etc.

Case Studies

#DemoSmarter

Humm - In-Store Demo

The Challenge

  • Seeking a demo/experiential agency that could activate nationwide.

  • Needing to have superior reporting capabilities in order to gain data quickly for continual optimization.

  • Needing to increase sales consistently, nationally

Solutions and Highlights

  • Developed custom reporting portal providing real-time access to data via region, store, day of the week, etc.

  • Optimized activations to increase store sales.

  • Provided Humm with both a retail demo & an event solution giving them access to great talent nationally for all their field marketing needs.

  • Activated over 2000 in-store, retail demos throughout the US in Whole Foods, King Soopers, Krogers, Albertsons, QFC, Publix, and other independent chains.

  • Increased per store sales by >19.5%.

"Attack! has been a great partner to Humm. Their attention to our brand and the performance of each and every demo has helped to make our demos more and more successful. Attack! has helped us find solutions to scaling our field activations. The team is collaborative, solution-focused and performance driven. I am very happy to have them as a national demo & event staffing partner."

Field Marketing Manager, Tim Stanton | Humm Kombucha

The Challenge

  • ​Seeking a demo/experiential agency that could activate nationwide.

  • Needing to have superior reporting capabilities in order to gain data quickly for continual optimization.

  • Needing to increase sales consistently, nationally, in anticipation of acquisition.

Solutions and Highlights

  • Activated over 1000 in-store, retail demos throughout the US in Whole Foods, and 4 other retailers.

  • Developed custom reporting portal providing real-time access to data via region, store, day of the week, etc.

  • Developed sales incentive programs to drive continual sales lift and velocity across all demos.

  • 18.5% increase in per store sales.

  • High retail sales greatly contributed to the brand being acquired by Pepsi.

Boxed Water - In-Store Demo

The Challenge

  • Provide national in-store & event sampling for the brand as it rapidly expanded across the country. 

  • Work with sales so they had a one-stop shop for making field marketing requests, both for field marketing events as well as retail sampling.

  • Highlight why Boxed Water is Better (sustainability)

Solutions and Highlights

  • Created a single-entry event & demo request system for

  • Boxed Water sales & marketing team members to request event/demo support nationally.

  • Created a national infrastructure of Field Market Managers, Event & Demo Specialists highly trained on Boxed Water culture & product knowledge.

  • Developed a training curriculum & demo program where Event & Demo Specialists encouraged passers by into a discussion about the sustainability of the product, and how their purchase can make a substantial difference.

  • Engage customer conversion through conversations about how simple choices can help reduce customers’ carbon footprint, as well as reminding them of Boxed's pledge to protect the environment.

  • 500 demos nationwide.

  • 24 events conducted.

  • 12,000 Boxed Water’s provided directly to consumers.

References

A great demo goes way beyond making a good first impression. It demonstrates just how valuable your product or service is, is an opportunity for you to connect with and convert current and potential consumers, is key to generating leads, and is pivotal to increasing current and future sales.

 

At the end of the day, while each brand has its own way of conducting demos, a few things remain clear: 1) A great demo requires a lot of work, 2) Is possible for everyone to do, and 3) Will yield rewarding results.

Conclusion

Briefly summarized, here’s what you need to remember:

 

Before the demo

  • Plan your strategy.

  • Have the right people in place, i.e. talent that is consistent, on-brand.

  • Practice, train, and perfect.

  • Know your audience well. Do your research. Modify your approach accordingly.

  • Use the power of social to attract your audience.

  • Choose your location well.

  • Have your own equipment and test.

 

During the demo

  • Present content that is relevant to your audience.

  • Tell a story. Present a solution, not just facts and figures.

  • Be engaging, clear, and concise in your delivery.

  • Manage your time by monitoring questions and knowing when to listen.

  • Remember to present the big picture as well as the details (tangible benefits).

  • Document by taking photos, taking note of questions, answers, and highlights.

 

After the demo

  • Close the sale.

  • Maintain the connection, follow-up.

  • Track performance and sales.

  • Analyze the data for future sales.

  • Improve where needed.