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OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill.-Sampling continues to be one of the hottest of all promotion tools, according to a recent survey by Donnelley Marketing.

Continued high levels of sampling and other in-store activities drove consumer promotion budgets ahead of promotional media advertising for the third consecutive year in 1993, Donnelley's 16th annual survey of promotional practices revealed.

The survey, conducted among top marketing executives, found that trade promotion still represents the largest chunk of promotion budgets, at 46.9%. Consumer promotions weighed in at 27.9% and media advertising represented 25.2% of promotion budgets. Consumer promotion exceeded media advertising by 2.7 points, its highest margin to date.

This year's survey, which included sampling data for the second consecutive year, found that sampling actually declined somewhat, representing 11% of consumer promotion budgets last year compared with 13% in 1992.

However, overall use of sampling was up, as 90% of respondents said they included sampling in promotion plans vs. only 77% in '92.

Usage of coupon media increased last year, but respondents projected an 11% decline in free standing insert couponing in 1994, possibly reflecting a shift toward more targeted promotions.

The survey was conducted between Oct. 15, 1993, and Jan. 15 among 131 package-goods and services executives. There was a 38% completion rate for the written questionnaire survey.

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