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Eclectic Thought Samples From Larry Burns

The Road To Building An Industry Authority: Following Up

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I’m excited to share this update on our quest to build an industry authority.

Back when we first started talking about this, I didn’t know that there were literally thousands upon thousands of trade associations in the United States. And that there were companies whose mission is to help groups come together and form such associations.

We connected with a particular firm that we believe will really help us, assuming all the pieces come together and we obtain the broad-based industry support we require to continue down our path.

Everything takes longer than one would ever hope or anticipate. It’s been hard to get all of us who are actively running businesses to focus on and devote time and energy to this association,  which we all do know will ultimately help every one of us. Yet, we were able to hold our first Board of Directors meeting in July –  and the passion in the room was high. Seven of us, each from different types of sampling companies, were in attendance. It was gratifying to have such good coverage representing the spectrum of the state of the art in product sampling.

Next Steps

We have commitments from nine folks at the table. (The seven who were there, and two who could not attend at the last minute. Again, that whole “running a business” thing gets in the way.)

So, right now we are authoring a recruitment letter that will be sent to every other company in the product sampling business that we could think of, inviting them to join us as charter members.

I am confident that we will continue to move forward, but we agreed that we ought to be sure we have broad-based support before we execute the final documents and go through the process of developing the appropriate legal entities. We will be a 501(c)6, which is the proper form for a  trade association as a legal entity.

We know what this association needs to be. We have short-term objectives. We have broad agreement about what our mission and our goals in the marketplace ought to be. We even have an initial draft of Generally Accepted Sampling Practices, which will serve as a guide to basic requirements, so we can ensure that vendors who commit to adopting these practices are legitimate players in this expanding multi-billion dollar product sampling market.

It was inspiring to bring this group of people together and discuss the challenges of product sampling. We all tend to be competing for similar marketing funds – in fact in many ways we are ferocious competitors – but we all recognize that the way to broaden the success of product sampling overall is to increase the awareness and desire for it amongst the “powers that be” within marketing companies.

All in all, the initial meeting in May and the follow-up meeting in July were both very productive.

What do those of you who read these notes think about the progress so far?

P.S. If you know of any product sampling companies or vendors who should be invited via Sampling Works, please do let us know!


Categorised as: Learning, Marketing, Media, Sampling


  • Phil Gruber

    Larry, Thanks for you summary and leadership role. Yes we have come a long way since you and I first discussed this organization over Sushi, but we still have a formidable climb ahead. Our key next steps are: 1) release the recruitment letter and gauge the interest and support from those outside the initiators, 2) determine the redundancy with the BAA Sampling Council, and 3) assuming 1 & 2 pass the test … pony up.

  • Would love to hear an update on how this is going. Thanks!