A Technological Advancement in Target Marketing
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Lawrence Griffith's Samplesaint app is an advancement in target marketing

Target marketing is about to take on a whole new meaning thanks to Lawrence Griffith and his company, Samplesaint. The Chicago-based mobile media firm provides consumer packaged goods companies, retailers, and ad agencies with a mobile and Internet platform for delivering multimedia messages and coupon offers to consumers.

Essentially, consumers can receive push notifications from a brand when they physically enter geographic locations designated as useful for that brand. Since Samplesaint provides business-to-business solutions, its proprietary technology is integrated into each brand’s own mobile app. For example, Samplesaint says that this summer it will launch a geolocation mobile app for Select Brand’s Mumbo Sauce, a 63-year-old barbecue sauce sold throughout the country. Those who opt in to the app will receive recipes, coupons, and video about Mumbo Sauce as soon as they enter a defined trigger point–like the vicinity around and within parks, beaches, and grocery stores.

“You just have to drive by and walk up to it, and boom–it will hit your phone,” says Griffith, who says trigger points can be as tiny as five meters or as big as a football field. “We can put a trigger point at your front door. It’s experiential marketing at its best.”

This concept is called geo-fencing, and ABI Research estimates that geo-fencing will enable multibillion-dollar markets by 2018.

Projects such as the Mumbo Sauce campaign can last three to six months, and costs can start at $25,000 for mobile strategy, program planning, and development. Geo-fencing solutions can range between $170,000 and $500,000 for a flat licensing fee or begin at $2 per impression for incremental fees. Samplesaint earns from $1 million to $5 million annually.)

Samplesaint’s competitors, Foursquare and shopkick, add an extra barrier that affects their ability to scale, says Griffith, who used winnings from the 2004 MillerCoors Urban Entrepreneurs Series business plan competition as startup capital for his company.

Foursquare doesn’t automatically alert a user to deals within the vicinity, and shopkick depends on installation of additional hardware within retail stores for its messaging to be distributed to users’ apps. On the other hand, Samplesaint connects remote servers through satellites to GPS-enabled mobile applications in a way that does not drain the user’s battery.

Targeting consumer product goods companies isn’t Griffith’s first walk around the park. In 2009, Samplesaint was the first to develop mobile scanable barcodes in the U.S. for Unilever, and one of the first to develop an app that used near-field communication (NFC) in the U.S. for Nokia. Dove, Burrell Communications, Lipton, Breyers, and Hellman’s are a few of the brands that have utilized mobile couponing technology through Samplesaint.

Samplesaint’s investors are some of America’s most experienced consumer packaged goods executives, including Edwin Rigaud, the former vice president of Food & Beverage products for Procter & Gamble, and Charles Cooper, the former chief operating officer of Helene Curtis.

Griffith credits the company’s head start in geo-fencing technology to his investors and to having defendable intellectual property that is scalable across multiple handset brands.

“Because we didn’t get $150 million [in venture capital] like Groupon or Foursquare, we had to make sure we won on innovation,” says Griffith. “Not having a lot of working capital forces you to put all your efforts into having better technology.”

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.

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