Experian Unveils Product Sampling Program

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Experian introduced its Product Sampling Program this month, a new service driven by its Insource database that is expected to help marketers better target samples of branded goods.


"Using this service, direct marketers will be able to target extremely specific groups of people. For example, we can target households who use Dove soap or a competitor's brand," said Brian Heffler, vice president of sales for Experian.


Compiled from the databases of both Experian and Metromail (who merged last April), Insource database -- which was relaunched in May -- is one of the country's largest information banks. It covers more than 98 percent of U.S. households and has as many as 1000 selects per household, such as newspapers delivered, annual income, number of children and types of brands used.


In contrast to its competition, Insource is structured around living units, which link people by address and family connections rather than by surname. This allows a company to target all members of a family, even if they have different surnames.


It also can measure the likelihood of an individual residing at a particular location and address deliverability. Compiled from several sources, the bank is updated daily and maintained using the latest technology.


By using such a big and categorized databank, direct marketers avoid wasting products on people outside their target audience, which happens when samples are included in magazines and newspapers or delivered by door-to-door salesmen.


Insource also can be used to target as few as 1000 people to as many as 40 million in any area of the United States, and companies can use PSP in conjunction with other inhouse promotions.


"The program can be customized to fit the client's needs. A client can control the content, execution and timing of the program to co-ordinate with other promotional activities," Heffler said.


As part of the service, Experian offers planning and consultation, assistance with the mail piece and use of its mailing service. The aim is create a one-stop shop for companies.


"This really marks a turning point in the direct marketing industry," said Tom Newkirk, chairman of Experian's marketing division. "It allows marketers to target their audience like never before."
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