Why Package Design is a Critical Decision for CBD Brands

Your CBD package design could be the difference between a lawsuit and increased profits. Work with our creative & production team and save your chances.

Think package design is relatively unimportant? One billion unboxing videos on YouTube would beg to differ. Great packaging has become an ever more important differentiator — and CBD package design is no exception.

Why brands need to get CBD package design right

The CBD market is experiencing propulsive growth, as consumers use oil-infused products for everything from health and wellness applications to beauty and skin regimens. As one of the fastest-growing consumer markets, many businesses are eager to jump into the fray and claim a slice of that ever-growing pie.

While that urgency is understandable, elements such as package design should not be de-emphasized in the race to get to market. Why? It’s simple:

  1. Great CBD package design is a competitive differentiator in a highly crowded market.
  2. CBD marketing ideas are subject to laws and CBD marketing regulations, and all designs must stay compliant. 

For years, CBD sat inside a “gray area” in terms of legality. The 2018 U.S. Farm Bill provided more clarity, legalizing CBD products on the federal level. Yet many restrictions remain in place, and some of these restrictions involve marketing and advertising.

First, it’s important to understand that CBD companies are under much greater regulatory scrutiny. If there is a misstep, fines and penalties may be assessed. This means that brands must exercise caution when determining what to include on their packaging.

CBD products need to be designated as either a food item or a health supplement. This may sound straightforward, but it’s not — many CBD products exist in the space where foods and supplements overlap. Once this determination is made, an FDA-approved food or supplement label needs to be affixed to each package.

Sellers must also include many of the standard labeling items:

  • Product volume
  • Ingredient list
  • Nutritional breakdown
  • Potency
  • Brand information

It’s also important to be aware that packaging and labeling requirements vary by jurisdiction. Indiana, for example, requires CBD package design to contain QR codes that can be used to reveal information about batch numbers, lab results, expiration dates, CBD / THC content, etc.

One more critical consideration: Brands need to be exceedingly cautious about making medical claims. The Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission have been cracking down on CBD brands that make unsupported health or medical claims about their products. The FDA alone targeted more than 450 CBD websites in 2018 for making unsupported marketing claims. 

This means any claims found on packaging need to be fully vetted and beyond dispute. Language that emphasizes words such as “natural,” “sustainable,” “healing,” etc. is far less likely to draw regulatory attention than language that makes a claim such as “CBD oil can be used to treat / cure” a specific disease.

CBD package design aesthetics

In addition to compliance, it’s also important to consider aesthetics. In this case, it’s essential to consider your audience. CBD brands that target a market where there is significant carryover with cannabis use will generally use product designs that are established within that space — think aggressive, not especially refined, and full of cannabis-related puns.

On the other hand, brands that incorporate CBD within their existing product line tend to follow current designs. An upscale skincare brand may use elevated design elements with an understated “infused with CBD oil” tagline included at the bottom.

For brands targeting a more general market, it’s advisable to avoid design elements or language that ties too closely to “4/20” culture, as this will have negative connotations for a sizable audience segment.

Instead, focus on natural and sustainable themes and a premium feel, as these elements are aligned with current consumer preferences.

The takeaway

Great CBD package design is an imperative for brands, both in terms of compliance and aesthetics. Our experts help clients realize their marketing objectives by creating visually stunning product designs, supported by innovative ad campaigns. Ready to take the next marketing step for your business? Reach out to us today! 

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Marketing Strategies for Your CBD Product

In a head-spinningly short period of time, cannabidiol (CBD) has gone from an ultra niche product to a global craze. Walk down any supermarket, pharmacy or gas station aisle, and you’re likely to see racks and racks of CBD-based products.

And that presents quite a significant challenge for CBD marketing specialists.

Not only do CBD product marketers have to adapt to a rapidly evolving marketplace, they also have to:

  • Negotiate changing regulatory standards
  • Deal with inconsistent advertising and marketing industry practices
  • Find a way to differentiate their products amid a sea of competition

It’s a steep challenge — but the rewards make it a worthwhile one. The CBD market — worth only a few million in 2014 — is expected to be worth $20 billion by 2024. In order to take advantage, however, you need to understand the market at a deep level — and you need a well-executed CBD marketing strategy.

Understanding the CBD Market

Before you can effectively market CBD, you need a grounding in the subject, as the laws governing cannabidiol have changed dramatically in recent years.

CBD is a byproduct of the hemp plant. Unlike cannabis, another hemp byproduct, CBD is non-intoxicating and non-psychoactive. The compound in cannabis that causes feelings of intoxication, THC, is present in much lower concentration in CBD. This means that consumers can ingest CBD products therapeutically anywhere and at anytime, and feel no intoxicating effects.

Despite CBD’s non-intoxicating status, it was consigned to a murky gray area in terms of legality for much of its existence, given its relationships to hemp and cannabis, which were both broadly illegal for many years. That changed, however, with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill.

That bill legalized hemp production for the first time under federal law. It also legalized the production of CBD, as long as that CBD does not contain THC levels above a certain threshold. This, for the first time, opened the door to production and sale of CBD products on a mass scale. And that’s precisely what happened, as large corporations entered the CBD space in force, turning the product from a niche concern to an overnight consumer phenomenon.

That story, however, leaves one critical aspect unaddressed: Why was the consumer market so fascinated with CBD in the first place?

A Health and Wellness Craze

If marketing has taught us one thing over the last two decades, it’s this: Consumers are perpetually seeking natural alternatives to make them look and feel better. CBD, much like kale, quinoa and gluten-free, had everything necessary to become a consumer wellness craze. It was readily available, fairly inexpensive, natural and backed by some significant research attesting to its efficacy.

CBD was soon marketed as a natural antidote to anxiety, depression, pain, insomnia — all of the modern maladies that bedevil large segments of the consumer base. Now, CBD use is regarded by some as a natural, non-habit forming alternative to pharmaceuticals.

Consumers have also come under the increasing belief that what’s good for them is good for their pets. CBD-infused animal products are the fastest-growing segment within the pet industry, as consumers extend their passion for natural health and wellness alternatives to their pets. 

Understanding the Challenges Inherent to Marketing in the CBD Space

Given what we’ve covered thus far, you can hardly blame companies for getting excited above the opportunity presented by CBD. It’s a newly legal product, with extraordinary public demand, that fits squarely into one of the most enduring passions (natural health and wellness products) of the U.S. consumer. Yet while the opportunity is undeniably ripe, there are some significant challenges to negotiate.

First, there are restrictions regarding what can and can’t be said when marketing CBD products, For example, brands cannot make “deceptive” claims about the health and wellness benefits of CBD. Any ad copy positioning CBD as some kind of miracle cure is almost certainly going to draw the attention of the Food and Drug Administration, the agency tasked with regulating CBD marketing.

When marketing their CBD products, brands must also be careful to avoid making specific claims about treating diseases or conditions with CBD products. This, of course, should be the province of a physician. In order to stay on the right side of regulators, CBD marketers should talk about the health and wellness benefits of CBD in broad terms and rely on substantiated information. Fortunately, a plethora of legitimate scientific research exists attesting to the probable benefits of CBD in a range of ailments. Brands should rely on established studies and avoid hyperbolic medical claims.

Understanding what can and cannot be said is only one part of the equation of course. The avenues through which a brand can market CBD products are also constricted. Many marketing channels that are open to conventional products are closed to CBD products. This includes some of the most prominent players in the digital advertising space. Google, for example, does not allow advertising and marketing of CBD products. Twitter, too, bans CBD ads. 

All is not lost, however. Snapchat still allows CBD marketing. Facebook and Instagram had rigorous restrictions in place on CBD marketing but recently eased these restrictions and re-opened their platforms to CBD ads. There are CBD-industry specific digital ad platforms that can be used to reach audiences, even if they may not have the reach of Google. The truth is that these restrictions, while an irritant, are not a formidable obstacle. CBD use has grown exponentially based on little more than word of mouth and positive press coverage.

Yet these restrictions do raise another important point: How do marketers sell their products when there are countless brands, they all do the same thing and some of the largest conventional marketing channels are closed?

Let’s take a closer look at some CBD marketing strategies you can employ to stand out from the wall of competition within the CBD space. 

Core CBD Marketing Strategies

  • Develop a targeted brand strategy. Many CBD brands struggle with differentiation, given the nature of the product and the number of competitors in the space. CBD marketers can effectively differentiate by going after a specific audience with the larger CBD market. Feals, for example, positions its products as high-end consumer health supplements. They come delivered to consumer homes in tasteful boxes, are packaged in pre-measured doses and consumers with questions can contact the company’s “CBD concierges.” This positioning is a long way from a CBD product sold in a gas station with cliched, cannabis-style branding.
  • Employ SEO best practices. In an industry where it is difficult to differentiate, SEO becomes even more critical. Marketers should devote significant resources to search optimization, keyword research, link building, etc. If consumers aren’t being swayed by branding, they are more likely to engage with whatever ranks the highest.
  • Stay on top of evolving industry regulations and practices. As mentioned above, digital advertising within the CBD space comes with a variety of restrictions attached. Yet this is quickly shifting. Facebook announced it would soften its stance in June 2019, and it’s very likely that other major players in the space will follow suit. Marketing and advertising in the CBD space has been slowed by uncertainty over its legal status (while CBD is federally legal, its status in some individual states remains unclear). As this uncertainty shakes out, CBD marketers will gain greater access to conventional channels. By monitoring this closely and staying on top of changes, CBD marketing specialists can act quickly and decisively.
  • Develop a smart content marketing plan. While there is widespread consumer interest in CBD, the fact remains that most people know very little about the subject. They may have concerns about CBD being intoxicating or illegal, even though neither may be true. A smart content marketing strategy centered around education and awareness can help educate consumers. It can also drive traffic to your web properties and social media accounts, burnish your brand credentials and improve your search ranking. This means that a smart, compelling content marketing strategy is an essential piece of any CBD product marketing strategy.

Finding the Right CBD Marketing Agency

At BIGEYE, we are true domain experts in CBD marketing. We’ve been helping CBD brands develop cutting-edge, tech-forward CBD marketing campaigns for years — and we have the experience and expertise to help you take your CBD campaign to the next level.

Contact us today to learn more about what BIGEYE can do for you.

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CBD Challenge: Market a Health Product Without Health Claims

Navigating CBD advertising restrictions or shifting consumer perception can be tricky. Don’t make it harder and market your product using health claims.

Perhaps you’ve heard the tale of how lobsters were once considered worthless and fit only to be served to prisoners? CBD products have a similar origin story. Until recently, growers went out of their way to breed CBD out of plants.

Oh, how times have changed. Now, CBD products represent one of the fastest-growing markets in the health and wellness industry. Consumer sales of CBD products grew an astonishing 500% between 2014 and 2018. Because it is safe, non-intoxicating, and has wide health and wellness applications, CBD is poised to be the most significant new consumer health product category in decades. 

The best part for brands in this market? Growth is only getting started. Consumer perceptions of CBD are shifting quickly, and the regulations guiding CBD products are changing. Both developments have the potential to unleash a wave of growth – and brands need to prepare now in order to capitalize.

The accelerated evolution of an innovative consumer health product

The velocity of change in the CBD marketplace has been remarkable. Just five years ago, CBD products were essentially unknown. A Google Trends chart outlining historical search interest in the phrase “CBD” appears as a virtual flat line from 2004 to 2016, before spiking dramatically in 2017.

That interest is coinciding with research that indicates CBD products may have far broader health and wellness applications than previously imagined. Scientists have established that CBD products are especially effective in the treatment of severe childhood epilepsy. Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes both induce major seizures in children and typically do not respond to conventional epilepsy medications. CBD-derived medicines, however, have been proven to inhibit or even stop such seizures from occurring.

While that application is powerful, it is also quite narrow. CBD’s broader application (at least at the moment) is to be used in the treatment of depression or anxiety. Although CBD is not intoxicating, it shares some of the mood-stablizing qualities of other cannabinoids. 

Studies also suggest that CBD has significant potential as an insomnia remedy. While the healthcare sector has developed a number of powerful insomnia treatments, most of them are habit forming and must be used under a physician’s supervision. CBD holds the potential to be a safe, effective, non-habit forming alternative — a melatonin of sorts, but with much greater efficacy.

CBD has also been shown to reduce pain in clinical settings. A recent study in the European Journal of Pain demonstrated that when topically applied, CBD can reduce pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. CBD is believed to inhibit inflammatory and neuropathic pain, two of the most difficult forms of chronic pain to treat.

Ultimately, these health and wellness applications illustrate the most exciting thing about CBD – it’s a widely available consumer product that’s safe, easy to purchase, and can theoretically help almost anyone improve their health or quality of life.

There’s just one catch: CBD brands can’t really broadcast this yet.

The challenge of marketing a great health product…without making health claims

Though the 2018 Farm Bill took CBD products out of a legal gray area and conferred federal legitimacy, the reality of buying, selling, and marketing CBD products remains fairly complex.

In the context of health, the most important thing to understand is this: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not allow brands to market CBD products as therapeutic treatments for disease or other conditions. The FDA also does not allow CBD products to be marketed as dietary health supplements. This doesn’t mean the FDA believes CBD has no therapeutic utility; the agency gave its blessing to a CBD-based epilepsy treatment, Epidiolex, which is marketed as such.

The FDA’s position means that CBD brands must approach any health-related claims with caution. A CBD marketing plan must be carefully crafted, and include precisely calibrated language, in order to stay compliant with FDA rulings.

Working with a top CBD advertising agency or CBD marketing company is often the best way to ensure that a campaign is compelling, yet still designed to stay on the right side of CBD advertising laws or CBD advertising restrictions. 

A CBD marketing agency can also serve another key purpose: Helping brands navigate the minefield of CBD online advertising. Large platforms such as Facebook and Google do not allow CBD ads, which means that alternative CBD marketing ideas are necessary

Fortunately, more guidance from FDA regulators is coming; a meeting on the topic was scheduled May 2019. Once the FDA provides greater clarity with regard to CBD marketing, CBD advertising restrictions may ease on some of the larger online ad platforms.

Preparing for product liftoff

Few product categories hold the potential of CBD. Though its applications within the health and wellness industry are immense, CBD also holds promise as a beauty treatment, and additional applications or use cases are still likely to develop.

The complexity of the legal and regulatory landscape surrounding CBD products has acted as a brake on growth, and has also likely dissuaded some from entering the business. This isn’t a negative, however. Brands that transcend these challenges by creating the most compelling, legally compliant marketing and advertising campaigns – and distributing them through the best available channels – will be ideally positioned to thrive when the floodgates truly open.

About us

At BIGEYE, we’re experts at helping brands negotiate the inherent challenges associated with CBD advertising restrictions and marketing regulations. Contact us today to learn what we can do for your CBD brand.

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When Two Industry Giants Collide: CBD Finally Goes DTC

Intelligently mapping a CBD marketing plan is one thing, but tackling CBD and diving into the raging sea of DTC can be difficult.

What happens when a massively popular product category meets a scorching hot sales method? We’re about to find out, as CBD goes DTC. New CBD brands and CBD advertising agencies are moving to the Direct to Consumer model, as they seek to leverage first-party data to power their CBD marketing plan efforts.

Additionally, as we’ll see below, the CBD product category is a natural for the DTC model, as it allows consumers to access these products in a way that many find preferable to conventional retail settings.

The brands pioneering the CBD / DTC connection

CBDistillery, which sells hemp-derived products (gummies, creams, drops, etc.) uses a model that falls somewhere between wholesale and direct, selling online-only through its dedicated e-commerce portal. This allows CBDistillery to capture first-party data, which is critically important in a CBD marketing plan.

Another CBD brand, Feals, sells CBD products DTC by emphasizing two key elements: Consumer education and a subscription service. The subscription model has grown enormously in recent years (800% from 2014 to 2017) and has been a key driver of the DTC model.

Consumer education, on the other hand, is critically important for CBD brands selling DTC. Why? Because many consumers are still wary about the CBD / cannabis link and do not understand that CBD is not psychoactive like marijuana.

Even for consumers who understand this distinction, many are concerned about not having sufficient knowledge to dose correctly. These concerns, obviously, are heightened when products are delivered to your home in a box – there is no friendly staffer at a store or dispensary to help.

Feals addresses this issue by providing easily measured “flights” (essentially dosages) of CBD products and access to educational information and concierge-style customer service. Consumers can call Feals’ CBD hotline to receive additional guidance. This allows consumers to enjoy the convenience of DTC without worrying about misusing the products they are purchasing.

Why DTC and CBD are well-paired

The DTC model fits well within the CBD space for a variety of reasons. First, some consumers still believe CBD products carry a stigma, and they prefer to purchase CBD products discreetly rather than publicly. This mindset is likely to change in the coming years, as CBD products become routinely sold at every CVS and Walgreens in the United States.

Second, consumers use CBD products to treat anxiety and sleep disorders as well as improve daily skin and beauty regimens. What do these things have in common? They all lead to daily or near daily consumption – something that is ideal for a DTC subscription business.

Third, while CBD use is pervasive in large cities, in smaller communities the products are much less accessible. The DTC model helps narrow this availability gap, helping serve the ever-growing demand for CBD products. Those who live in smaller communities don’t have to worry about a lack of local retail options, or the possibility of a greater stigma surrounding CBD use.

Getting CBD marketing right

While CBD and DTC have extraordinary potential when paired, brands need to be cognizant of the challenges associated with a CBD marketing plan. A patchwork of regulatory rules limit what can and can’t be said. Additionally, major ad platforms such as Google and Facebook do not allow CBD marketing at the moment, citing legal and regulatory concerns. 

This means that brands need to exercise caution when considering elements such as product design and marketing messages. Failing to do so can bring action from the FDA, FTC, or other agencies.

About us

Our team of experts understands the myriad challenges of CBD marketing – and we can help you launch a creatively inspiring (and fully compliant) campaign. Do your marketing right by contacting us today to learn more.

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CBD Mania has Arrived, but What do Consumers Really Think?

With the CBD market estimated to hit $22 billion by 2022, it’s best to understand the CBD marketing regulations that could stop you in your tracks.

At this point, only hermits and monks are unfamiliar with the story of CBD (cannabidiol), but few know about the CBD marketing regulations. In the last 12 months, CBD products have permeated the public consciousness much in the same way the “gluten-free” craze did a few years earlier.

Despite this market omnipresence, there’s still one thing we’re a bit foggy on — what U.S. consumers actually think about these products.

Fortunately, a recent GlobalWebIndex post took a deep dive into this issue and surfaced some remarkable insights.

Let’s take a closer look.

The CBD explosion

Cannabidiol, a hemp / cannabis byproduct, is non-intoxicating and has been associated with a variety of positive effects on health and wellness. For people looking for a more natural way to treat issues such as pain, anxiety or insomnia, CBD is an attractive proposition.

As such, the CBD market has seen extraordinary growth in recent years. One report estimates the CBD market alone could be worth $22 billion by 2022. One key to unlocking that growth is public perception.

GlobalWebIndex queried U.S. Internet users about their perceptions of CBD and found strong support for the market.

  • 64% of respondents indicated they would be open to using CBD products 
  • 15% said they’d do so if stronger evidence of medical value existed
  • Only 14% of respondents ruled out CBD completely

CBD sales get another boost because they are situated within a market that’s expanding at a rapid rate: Health and wellness. That market is now worth more than $4 trillion and has been growing at a rate of nearly 13% annually. Trends toward alternative medicine and self-care are underpinning this growth, as more people are seeking viable alternatives to pharmaceuticals.

Data from GlobalWebIndex shows that U.S. consumers place CBD squarely within this context:

  • 65% of U.S. consumers associate CBD products with healthcare applications
  • 37% associate CBD with food
  • 28% associate it with beauty and personal care

The survey also found that most CBD users are deploying the product within a health and wellness regimen. More than half of respondents said they are using CBD to treat pain, stress, or an underlying psychiatric condition.

The regulatory evolution

Recent growth in the cannabis market is directly tied to loosened CBD marketing regulations. The 2018 U.S. Farm Bill allowed, for the first time, CBD and other hemp-derived products to be sold commercially. This move came on the heels of a wave of medical and recreational marijuana legalizations at the state level.

Consumer opinion backs up this regulatory evolution. More than half of those surveyed by GlobalWebIndex reported believing that all cannabis products should be legal, while another one-third support full legality for CBD and hemp, but not recreational cannabis.

Somewhat surprisingly, negative connotations associated with cannabis use were not a primary concern for those surveyed. Instead, most respondents expressed concern with consumer protection. Because CBD is ingested, it’s critically important to establish safeguards in terms of product safety and marketing.

Why marketing CBD is challenging

Google, Facebook, and other major digital ad platforms restrict the advertising of CBD products. Additionally, a web of media laws and CBD marketing regulations governing CBD marketing plans exists through different jurisdictions, limiting what marketers can do.

As the market matures, however, these rules are likely to change. Consumer attitudes indicate that finding the right CBD messaging is important:

  • 56% of consumers want CBD health benefits to be stressed
  • 46% want to see testimonials from health professionals
  • 39% want testimonials from current users
  • 37% want CBD’s “natural” status emphasized
  • 33% want CBD’s legality promoted
  • 29% want to see CBD promoted as a beauty product
  • 25% want CBD showcased with food and beverages

There’s another marketing angle that makes sense in terms of CBD –premiumization. Research from GlobalWebIndex indicates 60% of consumers are willing to pay a premium for CBD-infused products.

In larger, more cosmopolitan areas, CBD products are being marketed as a more upscale / healthy version of a standard coffee or chocolate bar. This strategy is likely to bear fruit, as consumers have long demonstrated a willingness to pay a premium for niche health products (gluten-free, organic, non-GMO, etc.).

The takeaway

At BIGEYE, we understand the challenges that come with cannabidiol and CBD marketing regulations. If you’d like to hear more about what a sophisticated CBD marketing campaign can do for your business, reach out to us today.

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Red, Yellow, and Green: 3 Colors Explaining the CBD Market

Knowing the difference between red, yellow, and green when it comes to the CBD advertising restrictions is vital to the success of your business.

CBD companies are seeing green. Lawmakers are flashing yellow. And some online platforms are holding a large red stop sign that says “CBD Ad Restrictions”.

That’s the status of the CBD industry in 2019. There is intense consumer interest, lots of money changing hands, and it’s all happening under the cloak of regulatory uncertainty. However, more clarity may be forthcoming.

Let’s take a closer look at why the regulatory and legal landscape is so confusing, what that means for CBD marketers, and what the future might hold. 

A legal and regulatory patchwork

Before we explore the law, it’s important to grasp one key distinction: hemp-derived CBD products – which help with pain and anxiety as well as provide health and beauty benefits – are non-intoxicating. This means they are not subject to the same restrictions seen with medical or recreationally-approved cannabis products.

Meanwhile, laws remain a complex patchwork. Technically, cannabis and hemp-derived products with a THC level greater than 0.3% remain scheduled as a narcotic by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). However, this is a murky situation, as they have also been legalized (and are widely sold) in a variety of U.S. states.

The 2018 federal Farm Bill legalized cannabis and hemp-based products below that 0.3% threshold — a threshold that most CBD products sit below. However, states still have their own laws governing CBD products.

Currently, there are only three states where all cannabis and hemp products are illegal: South Dakota, Idaho, and Nebraska. There are another 33 states where cannabis and hemp products are legal, either recreationally or medically. This legalization extends to CBD products.

Finally, there are 14 states that have either partially or fully legalized CBD products. However, the rules governing access vary widely. In Alabama, CBD products are only available to those who are in a medical trial or who have a serious medical condition. In Wyoming, the standard is much stricter: Only patients with severe epilepsy who have failed to respond to other treatments may purchase and use CBD products.

Evolving marketing standards

While low-THC products may be legal, significant restrictions remain in place on how they can be advertised and marketed.

CBD products with a THC level below 0.3% can be retailed at brick and mortar shops and online. Additionally – and this is a critical competitive differentiator – conventional cannabis products are not only banned from online sale, they cannot be fully digitally marketed. Manufacturers and sellers are limited to the narrow category of brand promotion when marketing cannabis products with a THC level higher than 0.3%.

However, businesses marketing CBD products also need to be careful in terms of the language that is used. The FDA has targeted CBD companies making health claims for their products that the FDA considers to be unfounded. The FDA also targets CBD companies that market their products under the category of “dietary supplements.” The FDA’s official position is that all CBD products are excluded from the dietary supplement category and cannot be marketed as such.

Given these CBD advertising restrictions (no health claims, no dietary supplement claims, etc.), CBD companies have to walk a thin line with their marketing efforts. However, these rules may be easing, as greater clarity from the FDA could be coming soon.

The agency held a hearing in May, 2019 to “to obtain scientific data and information about the safety, manufacturing, product quality, marketing, labeling, and sale of products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds.”

The agency also plans to establish “new pathways” for the lawful marketing of products containing CBD.

Some observers believe this action is long overdue. A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers prodded the FDA into action, raising concerns that the marketing regulations are too onerous and regulatory certainty has been too slow to develop – something that is costing American businesses money. After all, the hemp-based products market is booming globally, and U.S. businesses are at a disadvantage given the uncertainty that surrounds industry-marketing practices.

Once the FDA issues firm guidance, CBD businesses will be able to advertise with confidence, and won’t have to worry about running afoul of the ad hoc enforcement structure that federal regulators are currently following. 

CBD advertising 2019 and beyond

Creating FDA-compliant CBD marketing in the absence of clearly articulated FDA rules isn’t the only challenge CBD companies face.

Because federal rules governing sub 0.3% products are looser, players in the CBD space have a definitive edge over those selling intoxicating, cannabis-based products – if they know how to take advantage. To do that, you need a finely tuned understanding of not only the laws, but also the rules that have been established by various ad platforms.

Google, Facebook, and other large digital advertising networks do not allow CBD products to be marketed due to the current regulatory uncertainty.

The takeaway

We’re experts when it comes to the ins and outs of CBD advertising restrictions and marketing. Contact us today to learn how we craft CBD marketing ideas that move the needle. 

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The CBD Conundrum: How to Market Your Products Effectively

With the CBD industry rising in profits and concerns, it’s time to partner with a CBD marketing agency to enhance your brand and product positioning.

Whether you’re selling CBD products or you’re a CBD marketing agency, it’s a great time to be green.

U.S. farmers are switching — in large numbers — from pumpkins and squash to hemp. Sales of products containing CBD oil have exploded, as the extract is being used in everything from beverages to bath products.

For companies operating in this emerging market, such developments are thrilling. Yet there’s one thorny issue that remains to be resolved: CBD advertising regulations.

While the public is eager to hear more about CBD, the largest digital ad platforms are quieting that conversation. Because there is no legal uniformity concerning how cannabis-derived products are classified, some of the largest advertising networks have simply opted for a wholesale ad ban.

This has left CBD businesses scrambling to find alternative methods for marketing CBD products and reaching mainstream audiences. Here’s the good news: Those methods exist, and the right CBD marketing plan can help businesses reach their stated goals.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the challenges inherent to CBD marketing — and how smart companies can solve them.

What to know about marketing CBD products

Google and Facebook are the two titans of digital advertising. Unfortunately, both have policies restricting the marketing of CBD products. Google AdWords censors CBD ads by filtering forbidden keywords.

While it’s possible for companies to be oblique or vague enough in their wording to escape automated censoring, that’s not a truly sound strategy — oblique, vague ad copy is just going to confuse consumers even if it manages to escape filtering. 

Facebook and Instagram also do not allow CBD advertisements. When you consider that Facebook and Google (and their digital properties) own roughly 60% of the online ad market, that presents a significant challenge.

So how do you market effectively?

While it’s true that Google and Facebook have made it more difficult to market CBD products, a good CBD marketing agency can help overcome these limitations. There are several strategies that can be pursued to break through to consumers.

Those strategies include the following:

Partnering With Influencers

Influencer marketing has never been more popular. The right influencer with a large, engaged following can give a brand instant traction within its marketplace. More importantly, influencers can pitch CBD products in an organic fashion that doesn’t break the rules of Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, etc.

One example: Beauty is one of the most popular influencer categories on Instagram, and also a profitable market for CBD oil. Many high-end cosmetics are incorporating CBD into their products to help provide users with a natural, healthy glow.

This lends itself perfectly to Instagram, the most visual of all social networks. By partnering with an influencer, CBD products appear organically within the audience’s feed, reaching the most highly engaged segment of consumers.

People also trust reviews and recommendations from influencers more than they trust conventional online advertising. According to Adweek, 90% of consumers trust recommendations from other people — even people they don’t know personally — more than conventional ads.

Another benefit: CBD brands can use influencer-generated content on company blogs, social media accounts, and websites. CBD brands can also drive more followers of influencer accounts to their networks through crossover marketing.

And, most importantly, all of this can be done while still staying on the right side of CBD advertising laws.

Industry Ad Networks

While Google AdWords may not be an option, other entities are more than willing to host CBD ads: Cannabis-specific ad networks. These networks serve digital ads on websites that take a pro-cannabis posture.

While this approach can reach the hardcore, highly motivated audience segment, it has quite limited utility in terms of connecting with the larger market of buyers. Most people simply don’t browse CBD or hemp-oriented websites, so acquiring customers within the mainstream will be challenging.

That said, these networks do provide a smart option for raising product awareness within industry-related publications.

Leveraging PR

While Google and Facebook keep CBD ads at arm’s length, the news media has been more than accommodating in terms of earned coverage. Organic media coverage in a high-authority publication is a dream outcome for many small to mid-sized businesses, and CBD is no exception. Getting that coverage, however, is often a steep challenge.

CBD companies do have one innate advantage in this regard, however: the CBD category is relatively new, fast-growing, and of considerable public interest. That means that it’s newsworthy — provided you can come up with a clever news hook and know how to pitch an editor.

That’s going to be a near impossible task for many business owners. However, the right CBD marketing agency can help businesses develop a hook, craft a pitch, and reel in the kind of earned media coverage that moves the needle.  

The takeaway

At BIGEYE, we’re more than up to the challenge of navigating the CBD marketing minefield. If you’d like to hear more about how we help CBD companies reach new audiences and grow by using our sophisticated CBD marketing tools, please visit our website today.

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Dog Treats, DVDs, and CBD: 2019’s Hottest Product Category

It’s time to navigate the tricky terrain of CBD digital marketing with a specialized CBD marketing agency by your side through it all.

The health and wellness industry has given us some powerful cultural trends recently: Quinoa, kale, gluten-free…the list goes on. Yet cannabidiol (CBD) has the potential to dwarf all of them. The CBD product category is exploding and brands are scrambling to take advantage – while simultaneously trying to gain more clarity into regulatory compliance issues and the tricky terrain of CBD digital marketing.

To help you stay up to speed, let’s take a closer look at some of the latest developments in the CBD space.

A DVD of “The Avengers,” a bucket of popcorn, and a side of CBD oil

The retail adoption of CBD products continues to surge. You may have heard about CBD products popping up at CVS and Walgreens – but did you know you can also buy CBD gummies, sprays, oils, and lip balms at your neighborhood video store?

Family Video, the largest movie rental chain in the United States, is rolling out CBD items in 250 stores nationwide. Thanks to streaming services and Redbox, the movie rental business isn’t quite what it used to be, and Family Video expects CBD sales to help drive in-store revenue.

So far, so good – at least according to media reports. The video chain claims it is moving CBD merchandise quickly and may extend its CBD offerings to all locations nationwide.

Staying ahead of the curve on compliance

The 2018 U.S. Farm Bill opened the CBD floodgates, as it pushed CBD out of its gray area legal status. Yet while CBD is now legal to manufacture and sell (at least federally), there is still significant uncertainty around regulatory standards. Right now, there is little guidance with concerning standards for CBD extraction or production.

That uncertainty also extends to CBD digital marketing. Right now, the Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission have offered little in the way of advertising and marketing guidelines, though they have sanctioned several companies for making false or misleading health claims.

Many CBD brands are choosing to prepare for compliance by following established industry practices within the food and health supplement categories. That means complying with the terms of the FDA’s Food Safety and Modernization Act as well as following industry standards and best practices for all growing, production, and manufacturing. 

A dog treat worth begging for

Pet owners spent $72 billion on their animals in 2018, a nearly 10% year-over-year increase. This reflects a trend that’s even more popular than CBD – spoiling our pets and treating them like proxy children.

Direct to consumer (DTC) brands are driving growth in this market. Today, you can have DTC brands ship curated boxes of food, treats and toys for your pets to your home on a weekly or monthly basis.

CBD, of course, is the next evolution. Pet owners have been treating canine anxiety and other issues with their own CBD stocks. Now, brands are jumping into the fray, offering their own spins on CBD pet products (Bacon Flavor CBD Dog Treats, anyone?).

While this might sound a bit whimsical, smart CBD brands understand that it’s big business. Pets are projected to be one of the fastest-growing segments of the CBD market over the next five years, reaching $125 million in sales annually at a yearly growth rate of 57%. 

The takeaway

At BIGEYE, we’re fascinated by the evolution of the CBD market – but we’re also deeply cognizant of the challenges that come with CBD digital marketing. Brands not only need a compelling campaign, but they also need to focus on compliance.

The challenge doesn’t end there. Because the world’s largest digital ad platforms remain closed to CBD products, brands can’t simply rely on Google and Facebook to find their audience.

Don’t be intimidated – we can help you navigate this terrain successfully. Contact us today to learn more about what the right CBD marketing agency can do for your brand.

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Why the Market for Pet CBD Supplements and Treats is Booming

CBD has gone from fringe to mainstream in record time — and treating pets with CBD is the latest trend. So what does this mean for pet care marketing?

Step into any CVS or local convenience store and you’re likely to be surrounded by CBD-infused products. In a very short period of time, CBD supplementation has gone from a fringe concern to a full-fledged health and wellness phenomenon. Rapid growth in CBD use isn’t strictly driven by human consumption, however; many pet owners are also dosing their animals — something with profound implications for brands engaged in pet care marketing.

Let’s take a closer look at CBD’s benefits, the reasons for its newfound prominence and the impact it’s having on the pet care industry.

CBD 101

For the uninitiated, CBD is a non-psychoactive compound derived from the hemp plant. While CBD is a chemical component of cannabis (one of hundreds), it does not have an intoxicating effect.

It does appear, however, to have health benefits. Research has shown that CBD can have a positive effect on anxiety, depression, insomnia and certain forms of pain.  CBD is commonly administered in oils and gummies and can be taken orally or through the skin.

Why is CBD exploding in popularity?

In a word: Legality. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the sale of CBD products across the U.S., allowing them to be widely sold in retail and online settings. Prior to this, CBD products existed in a legal and regulatory gray market.

This gray market status acted as a brake on CBD growth. While there are local jurisdictions that still have regulations governing CBD, production and sale of the compound is fully legal under federal jurisdiction. This has given CBD brands and large retailers the confidence to market these products vigorously — and they’ve found a highly receptive market. Many people are seeking natural, non-pharmaceutical treatments for anxiety, insomnia and other issues, both for themselves and for their pets.

Why has CBD captured the fancy of pet owners?

CBD-infused pet supplements and treats represent one of the fastest-growing segments of the pet care market. CBD pet products are projected to have a compound annual growth rate of 57% over the next five years. 

The reason for this is simple: Anxiety, pain and inflammation are all widespread, chronic conditions for household pets. Roughly 20% to 40% of dogs presented to veterinary behavioral specialists are diagnosed with anxiety. Meanwhile, virtually all pets struggle with inflammation and pain during their final stage of life.

Many pet owners are seeking an alternative to vet-prescribed pharmaceuticals. Additionally, vet care isn’t always accessible to pet owners. CBD pet products are filling this niche — and experiencing extraordinary growth in the process.

What does this mean for pet care marketing?

Grain-free dog food and CBD pet supplements and treats are the two trends responsible driving much of the new growth within the pet care sector. As such, both have the attention of pet care brands and pet care marketing agencies.

Marketers would do well to consider the common thread between grain-free dog food and CBD treats: Both product categories offer something new and ostensibly better for pets. Today’s pet owners consider themselves to be more like “pet parents,” and they are willing to do whatever they can to give their furry children the best experiences and products possible.

This attitude should be top of mind not only when marketers are creating ad messages, but also when engaged in package design, identity and other branding elements.

Finding the right pet care marketing agency

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks — so why bother waiting for your existing marketing agency to modernize its approach to pet marketing? At BIGEYE, we’re pet marketing experts. Whether you need brand naming services, SEO expertise or any one of our full suite of marketing services, we’ll help you create the kind of work that makes audiences sit up and beg for more information.

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A Marketing Guide for Your CBD Product

Business in the CBD space is booming — and well-capitalized competitors are entering the field. Here’s why the right CBD marketing agency can help brands win today and tomorrow.

The cannabidiol (CBD) brand category is growing faster than a weed planted in Miracle Gro — and for good reason. Public demand for CBD products has been nearly insatiable, providing enormous opportunity for early moving brands within the space. Now, however, competition is becoming much tougher, as more established companies seek to carve off their own slice of the CBD market pie. In order to win, brands need the services of a top CBD marketing agency with true domain expertise.

Let’s take a closer look at growth in the CBD market and how today’s brands can strengthen their competitive position through smart CBD product marketing.

Why CBD products have captured the public’s imagination

Within the space of a few years, CBD products have gone from a niche concern to a mainstream phenomenon. This remarkable transformation is tied to two developments. First, the 2018 Farm Bill made the production and sale of CBD products legal in all federal jurisdictions. While this opened the floodgates from a legal and regulatory perspective, there was still another piece necessary to turn CBD into such a high-growth category: Extraordinary consumer demand. This demand has been stoked by a perfect storm of market conditions and public need. 

The global wellness industry has been booming in recent years, with consumers seeking to optimize how they eat, live and care for themselves. CBD products fit squarely within this category. They are non-intoxicating; they’ve been medically proven to help treat a variety of widespread health issues, and they are an all-natural alternative to pharmaceuticals or other interventions. Combine these qualities with easy accessibility, it’s no wonder that CBD is fast-approaching “gluten-free” as the next great, market-driving consumer health and wellness craze.

As the CBD space is maturing, however, competition is fast increasing. Large enterprises capable of leveraging massive economies of scale are entering the market. In order to remain as competitive as possible, it’s imperative for today’s brands to have access to high-quality CBD advertising and marketing.

A guide for effective CBD product marketing

Now is a critical time for CBD brands, as market share and customer loyalty are up for grabs in an industry that is both very young and rapidly evolving. Companies that can excel at audience acquisition and brand building during this phase will create sustainable long-term competitive advantages.

Put the right CBD advertising strategy in place today, and you’ll reap substantial benefits as the market matures.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at a few of the more important things to consider in the context of CBD oil marketing.

Brand story and positioning

The CBD market is growing crowded — and many of the brands in the category offer little in the way of smart differentiation. Some borrow the same tired and cliched “4/20”-style branding from the cannabis industry; others are choosing to brand their product squarely within a health and wellness context.

Your company’s brand story and positioning will play a critical role in helping you connect with the right audience. Done at a high level, your brand story tells consumers who you are. It communicates your company values. It creates an identity for consumers to connect with. Tell the right story, and consumers will want to purchase your products because your brand aligns with their own sense of self.

You can choose to create a refined brand that targets the upper end of the market. You can choose to create a trendy brand targeted at millennials and Gen Z.

Yet no matter the approach you choose, branding needs something else to be effective: A deep knowledge of your potential audience.

Audience segmentation and market research

Audience targeting is a virtual pre-requisite for success in any competitive brand category. Let’s take the example of CBD cosmetics. If you’ve created an expensive CBD oil-infused beauty treatment that’s designed to eliminate wrinkles, what does your consumer market look like?

With a few exceptions, it’s not men, so we can remove roughly 50% of consumers right away. Your product is pricey, so it probably won’t appeal to anyone earning under $40k annually, removing another sizable group of people. It’s an anti-aging product, so younger millennials and Gen Z won’t be too interested.

Suddenly your market looks much smaller — though it’s still easily large enough to target, assuming you have the right CBD advertising. The problem is this: Many advertising and marketing channels take a scattershot approach. Legacy TV ads, for example, have only the most general demographic data to guide them. 

In order to get your messages to the ideal audience with laser-like precision, you need two things: Audience segmentation and tailored ad and marketing distribution.

CBD brands can acquire the first through the creation of detailed brand personas and sophisticated market research. Brand personas are demographic profiles of idealized customers: Who they are, educational status, income, family situation, their likely behavior, preferences etc. Market data can be culled from a variety of sources: customer feedback, formal surveys, data gathered from devices etc.

These approaches can then be combined with programmatic advertising that allows CBD brands to tailor their ads to certain audiences. Today, programmatic ads have grown much more powerful and refined, incorporating behavioral data, location data and other factors. For example, a CBD brand could choose to serve a Google ad to someone on a mobile device who is within a one-mile radius of that brand’s brick-and-mortar store. Or, a CBD brand could serve ads to consumers based on recent search interest or other factors.

Focusing on the health and wellness market

CBD brands have an innate advantage over many other products within the health and wellness category: Their products are backed up by hard evidence that substantiates their efficacy. Numerous studies have shown that CBD can have a positive impact on anxiety, pain, insomnia, and other critical health issues.

Given that tens of millions of Americans suffer from these maladies, this is no small market. Yet along with highlighting the very real (and all natural) benefits offered by CBD products, taking this approach has another benefit: It helps erase the remaining stigma associated with the CBD market.

Though times are quickly changing, there is some residual negativity caused by CBD’s association with cannabis. Many people are still unaware that while both products are hemp derivatives, they are wildly different in how they manifest physically. CBD is non-intoxicating and leaves a very subtle impression — no different than taking most supplements.

CBD advertising and marketing should draw this distinction. While CBD products are exploding in popularity, the public remains spottily educated in terms of CBD’s legality and its non-intoxicating nature.

Brands that help educate the public through marketing will be in a strong position to sell more products and establish long-term consumer loyalty.

Navigating a tricky advertising and marketing environment

Any CBD marketing agency will tell you the truth: Advertising your product to consumers is not the same as advertising apple juice or a new and better way to buy a mattress. This is because CBD products, while federally legal, still exist within a somewhat murky regulatory environment. Local jurisdictions have varying rules and regulations governing CBD production and transactions.

This state of affairs has had ripple effects for CBD businesses. Just like cannabis brands, CBD brands cannot advertise their products on some of the largest digital ad platforms. Google and Facebook (and by extension Instagram) do not accept digital ads from CBD brands.

While it’s very possible that this may change in the future, as regulatory clarity grows and CBD products become even more mainstream, it’s something of a hindrance today. Google and Facebook are often referred to as the “digital ad duopoly” for a reason — they control the bulk of all online advertising.

This doesn’t mean that CBD brands are entirely locked out of the digital marketing sphere, however. CBD brands can choose to advertise within smaller, industry specific digital advertising networks. While they may not have the reach or effectiveness of Google or Facebook, they are also less expensive.

Additionally, Snapchat allows CBD ads. While it may not have quite the reach of its “digital ad duopoly” competitors, it’s still a major advertising platform that is particularly well-suited for targeting younger consumers.

The takeaway

The CBD industry has experienced extraordinary growth in recent years — and it appears that we’re still in the early stages of a major new market. As Fortune 500 firms and prominent retailers begin staking their positions within the CBD space, competition will only grow fiercer.

This means that it’s essential to capture market share today, and lock in lifetime customers who are just now beginning to learn about CBD products and their myriad benefits.

At BIGEYE, we’re CBD marketing experts. Why? Because we offer a few things that other CBD product marketing agencies can’t match. First, we’ve been working with brands in the CBD space for years, and we have deep domain knowledge. Second, we’re a tech-focused marketing agency with a full suite of services. We can help you build your brand, identify and target your audience, and then harness the latest technology to deliver world-class creative campaigns.

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