The State of CBD Marketing Heading into 2020

A report by Bigeye, an Audience-Focused, Creative-Driven, Full-Service Advertising Agency.

Highlights for Busy Readers

  • Millennial women are the most avid CBD fans — and they desire products formulated and sold in a certain way
  • Why you need to follow the lead of caffeine and market a feeling, not an ingredient (think energy drinks)
  • Half of Americans think CBD and cannabis are the same thing, so transparency, education and trust in CBD advertising is essential
  • Regulations are moving quickly. While enforcement is occurring on a patchwork basis today, pressure is building for national CBD advertising standards
  • Most CBD marketing is yawn-inducing. If you want to engage audiences, you need to be bold. Tap into the Zeitgeist; take what people fear and dislike about the  modern world, and position your product as an antidote
  • How digital CBD advertising restrictions are slowly slackening
  • How smart marketers can sidestep these restrictions by advertising on podcasts and other CBD-friendly channels
  • BIGEYE understands the CBD marketing space in a way that your current agency can’t equal. Don’t believe it? Read on…

Every year has a breakout product, and it’s safe to say that cannabidiol (CBD) has earned that title for 2019.

Not only are CBD products flying off retail shelves everywhere, the product has ignited a firestorm of cultural conversation and consumer interest.

If you’re in the CBD advertising business, that’s great news — you’ve got a product that sells itself in many ways. Yet here’s the rub: With rapid growth comes stiff competition. Everyone sees the generational opportunity that hemp-derived products like CBD represent, and they are rushing in to carve out market share.

In order to help you flourish in a crowded space, you need to understand the challenges inherent to CBD marketing, while keeping abreast of all changes in this fast-evolving market.

Let’s take a closer look at some key aspects of CBD advertising and CBD product marketing that you may not have fully considered.

CBD Marketing and Advertising Tips for 2020 and Beyond

There are nearly 4,000 brands within the CBD space in the United States. Given that kind of competition, it’s essential to develop a sophisticated marketing strategy and execute flawlessly. Let’s take a closer look at some tips CBD marketers can follow when creating their next campaign:

  • Differentiate your products through branding. Let’s be honest: There is often very little to differentiate CBD products. Oils, gummies and tinctures are…oils, gummies and tinctures. Differentiation, therefore, needs to occur through branding. Many CBD enterprises have chosen to target the health and wellness market, pitching CBD products as lifestyle enhancers that can help consumers deal with pain, anxiety, insomnia etc. in a natural way. This is a powerful argument, as there is a considerable backlash within society at the moment with regard to overprescription of pharmaceuticals. By pitching your product as an all natural, healthy way to treat common ailments, marketers can target those who use pharmaceuticals while activating a vast market of people who are healthy, but are seeking to use CBD as a life optimization product. 
  • Know your true audience. If we asked you which kind of person has the most interest in CBD, would you say a millennial woman? If not, then your marketing may be off-target. According to a new research report, CBD products hold more attraction for women than men — and women generally prefer “softer” CBD products (such as gummies, infused beverages, beauty products etc.) while men prefer “harder” CBD products such as concentrates, vapes and tinctures. Across all genders, millennials exhibit more interest than any other demographic group, and they are particularly focused on CBD in the wellness context. 
  • Market a feeling, not a product. Given the relatively faceless nature of CBD brands and uniformity of the products they sell, smart marketers should remember that they are marketing a feeling as much as anything else. What does this mean in practical terms? Think about caffeine — nobody markets caffeine directly, although it is consumed in enormous quantities. Instead, companies market the feeling it produces: energy. Brands built an entire product category out of feeling-oriented marketing (energy drinks). Alcohol companies, meanwhile, have build campaign after campaign centered around the social aspects of beer and wine.
  • Focus on trust and transparency in CBD marketing. One of the most significant reasons why people fail to try CBD is because of fear or skepticism about the effects of CBD on the body and the product quality and/or supply chain. This is largely borne from ignorance. Despite its surging popularity, research shows that 60% of people don’t know what CBD is and don’t understand its effects. When a product is this widely unknown — and is also linked closely with psychoactive compounds — it’s hardly surprising that some people are hesitant to put this substance into their bodies. In order to overcome this reticence, CBD product marketing should emphasize trust and transparency with regard to CBD sourcing.
  • Tap the emerging markets. CBD is making waves in a variety of industries, but it is gaining particular traction within the pet industry. Why? The first reason is simple: Dogs suffer from many of the same maladies as their owners, and CBD’s clinical effects can help them manage these symptoms. Second, today’s pet owners are willing to pay almost any premium to provide their animals with the best possible lives — just look at the growth in grain-free dog food. Even though science shows that grain-free dog food might be worse for animals than conventional dog food, people buy it anyway because of the general bias against gluten and the fact that it sounds healthier. CBD-infused pet products, however, have been met with positive anecdotal reports and are selling at a brisk clip. In fact, CBD pet products are the fastest growing category within that industry. The beauty industry is also witnessing exceptional sales growth within the CBD category, as consumers seek natural skin treatments.
  • Stay on the right side of regulators. The FDA is busy sending out warning letters to CBD companies that skirt the rules of legal marketing. According to a recent release, the FDA is cracking down on companies that illegally sell “unapproved products containing cannabidiol online with unsubstantiated claims that the products treat teething pain and ear aches in infants, autism, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as well as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, among other conditions or diseases.” Given CBD’s clinically established success in treating a variety of significant illnesses, it seems foolhardy to stretch the truth by making unsupported assertions. Not only can you quickly run afoul of FDA regulators, such unethical practices make all firms within the CBD market tainted by association.
  • Additionally, the FDA isn’t the only controlling body that needs to be accounted for. The Federal Trade Commission has its own standard, which makes it “unlawful to advertise that a product can prevent, treat, or cure human disease unless the advertiser possesses competent and reliable scientific evidence, including, when appropriate, well-controlled human clinical studies, substantiating that the claims are true at the time they are made.” That’s a reasonably high bar — and one that all CBD marketers should be familiar with.
  •  Counter widespread misunderstandings. Marketers aren’t immune to the “Curse of Knowledge.” We often get so close to the industry in which we operate that we have a hard time understanding that most people lack even glancing familiarity with the products and services we know so well. In the case of CBD, you may be shocked to learn just how much bad information is circulating. According to new research from the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association, 40% of Americans believe CBD is another name for cannabis. Roughly 51% of Americans believe taking CBD will get them high. Approximately 76% of Americans believe CBD is fully regulated at the federal level. Wrong, wrong and wrong. While the FDA is enforcing CBD ad violations, it is working under outdated statutes governing supplements. There is no CBD-specific set of federal guidelines governing the sale and marketing of CBD. Marketers need to understand just how limited the understanding of CBD is among the general public and take steps to help people learn. 
  • Go against the grain. This is advice we’d give to brands in almost any industry, but we think it applies with special emphasis within the CBD product category. The CBD category is driven largely by millennial and Gen Z consumers, all of whom have grown up in an environment where advertising, whether in hard or soft form, is pervasive. As such, routine campaigns often don’t resonate. Cliched 4/20 style product packaging or sedate-and-yawn-inducing wellness branding probably won’t move the needle very far. There are two ways you can avoid falling into this trap: Come up with strikingly original copy and visuals, or tie your marketing into the larger concerns and obsessions of millennials and Gen Z consumers. By this, we don’t simply mean pumping out low quality memes on social media.
  • One of our favorite examples of this type of marketing in the CBD space comes from Recess, a CBD beverage brand. The company brands its products as “an antidote to modern times,” tapping into millennial and Gen Z angst about the state of the world they are inheriting. The brand’s narrative is “the world has gone crazy and we all need a recess.” This works because it taps into a widely shared feeling; it’s pulled directly from the millennial Zeitgeist. As such, it’s very powerful. Recess makes this CBD marketing strategy even more potent by using surrealistic designs on its beverage cans. Their cans are personified, dressed in office suits and shown staring wistfully outside windows. It’s a brilliant strategy — but it’s also a strategy that can only be developed by a brand or CBD marketing agency with real creative skill and industry insight.

Creating Effective Digital Marketing in an Often CBD-Unfriendly World

Due to its connection to cannabis and hemp, CBD products have faced significant restrictions in terms of digital marketing. Facebook and Google, who dominate the digital ad space, both made advertising CBD products on their properties verboten. If you run a CBD marketing agency or a brand, this obviously ties your hands.

Fortunately, times are changing. Facebook has recently loosened its CBD advertising rules, and will now allow a narrow category of digital CBD ads. As CBD grows more mainstream (and becomes fully legal in all state jurisdictions) it’s very likely that restrictions on Facebook and Instagram will be lifted entirely. After all, that’s a very large pot of ad revenue Facebook is forgoing. Snapchat, meanwhile, takes a somewhat more liberal approach to CBD ads, and as a result is one of the most effective social platforms for CBD ads.

Alternative Digital Marketing Options

CBD ads have also faced some resistance from major digital publishers, who have banned CBD product marketing from some of their most popular websites. Third party marketing platforms specially designed for the cannabis and CBD markets have been created to help brands create an effective CBD marketing strategy for the digital channel. These platforms use technology that automatically verifies the ages of browsers and the states in which they are located in order to ensure they remain compliant with all relevant regulations. This is one clever approach that can help CBD brands negotiate the tricky task of staying compliant, while gaining critical access to high authority publishers such as Buzzfeed and USA Today.

Thought Leadership and Education

If direct digital marketing is still largely unavailable, there are some alternate paths for a CBD brand or CBD marketing company to take. One example: Thought leadership and education pieces. These do not fall under the direct advertising designation and there is considerable public appetite for educational content. The CBD space, while growing quickly, is still something of a blank slate to most consumers. Providing them with high-quality educational content is an excellent way to turn “CBD curious consumers” into loyal customers.

Sponsored Content

It’s also important to remember that many publishers and ad platforms do not have these restrictions and are, in fact, happily courting the CBD market. FieldTest is one such platform. The company has negotiated agreements with high level publishers across the Internet to host CBD display ads. Sponsored content/native advertising placed on third-party websites is another path that can be taken, although many of these programs have the same type of limitations in place.

Influencer Marketing

It’s also important to avoid looking the past the value of influencer marketing. In just four years, influencer marketing has grown from a $1.7 billion enterprise to a nearly $7 billion market. Google searches for “influencer marketing” grew by an astonishing 1,500% over the same period. Instagram alone is well on its way to two billion daily users.

Influencers on that platform and others are not subject to the same restrictions found within conventional CBD digital marketing, which makes them a valuable commodity for brands seeking digital traction. Partnering with the right influencers, however, is key. Raw numbers don’t tell the whole story in terms of reach or influence. It’s better to find an influencer with 10k highly engaged followers than partner with someone who has collected (or even purchased) 100k largely random followers.

Podcast Ads

CBD brands can also take a more unorthodox approach and pursue something like podcast advertising. Growth in the podcast market has been exceptional in recent years, and CBD brands are a natural fit for the podcast demographic. While many people are under the mistaken impression that most podcasts are little more than a couple of people in a basement studio, the top podcasts generate millions of listens and downloads. By choosing podcasts with a strong following (and an audience that overlaps in some sense with CBD buyers), a brand or CBD marketing company can generate a surprisingly high ROI.

Finally, affiliate marketing services such as ClickBank offer another avenue into digital marketing for CBD brands.

Creating High-Level CBD Marketing and Advertising with Bigeye

If your CBD marketing campaigns aren’t resonating, it’s time for a switch. At Bigeye we believe that real results come only when you find a creatively dynamic partner with true domain expertise. 

That’s what we offer our clients. We’ve been working in the CBD space almost since its inception; we’re no late entrant into the field, seeking to capitalize on the latest trend. We keep our pulse on what’s happening in the CBD industry, and we’re always one step ahead of evolving regulations and industry standards. We combine our CBD industry expertise with dynamic creative work and a sophisticated understanding of modern AdTech. We create highly compelling CBD campaigns, then we pair them with the ideal distribution strategy, ensuring that you messages are served to the most relevant audiences possible.

If you’re looking for a creatively inspired CBD marketing campaign that engages audiences on a deeper level and gets them to convert, we urge you to reach out to Bigeye today. We’d love to show you the power of a creatively inspired, tech supported CBD ad strategy.

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Four Can’t Miss CBD Pet Product Marketing Techniques

Today’s pet owners are willing to go to extraordinary lengths — and spend staggering amounts of money — for their animals. This presents a significant opportunity for those who can market CBD pet products in the right way.

Pet owners are still learning the ropes when it comes to CBD-infused animal products — “ways to use CBD on my pet” is one of the most common search queries within the industry.

So how can CBD brands take that curiosity and transform it into a loyal customer base who loves their products almost as much as they love their pets? It all starts with well-executed advertising and marketing.

With that in mind, let’s look at four tips for your next CBD pet product campaign.

Emphasize the Cost Benefits

People are incredibly passionate about their animals. Yet millions of those pet lovers can’t afford to pay for their own medical insurance, let alone foot the bill for frequent vet trips. Even the most tenderhearted dog or cat lover might be forced to skip regular vet visits if their budget simply won’t stretch.

Given that CBD pet products are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased without any need for a veterinary prescription, they present an intriguing option for consumers without sufficient spending power. And that’s a broad category — currently 76% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck; 50% of Americans earn fewer than $30k annually and 38% earn fewer than $20k annually.

By creating marketing messages that emphasizing the reasonable cost of most CBD products, consumers will be more inclined to use them as a supplement to regular animal care under a vet’s supervision.

Segment Your Pet CBD Audience

Audience segmentation is critical for virtually all brands, and it can be practiced in a way within the CBD space that allows you to target specific breed owners. For example, bulldogs and Dalmatians are genetically pre-disposed to suffer from the painful condition of hip dysplasia. 

CBD products have been demonstrated to help with hip and joint issues — the kind of serious issues that often plague purebred puppies. CBD products can also be targeted toward owners of breeds that tend toward anxiety, and of course older dogs and cats who suffer from a range of common maladies.

By segmenting your audience in this fashion, you can deliver more relevant messages and generate a higher ROI.

Emphasize Quality Control 

Pet owners have become as concerned about what they put into their animals’ bodies as they are about what they put into their own. This is doubly so for newer products such as CBD, without an extensive track record to examine.

In order to reassure consumers about the naturalness and quality of your CBD pet products, it’s important to stress that your brand uses top quality raw materials and (ideally) operates on a farm to shelf basis.

Offer a Real World Window Into Common CBD Uses for Pets

A pit bull might be the most fearsome looking family protector on his block, but one stray thunderstorm can have him quivering in the corner. It’s a funny image, but it also speaks to something every pet owner understands: Even the most loyal, brave and protective animals still need human love, care and attention.

Pet products for CBD curious buyers can help provide that nurturing care. A marketing campaign that shows real world examples of CBD pet products alleviating thunderstorm stress is a compelling way to illustrate how CBD can help improve an animal’s mental state. That same campaign could also show older dogs and cats benefiting from the pain-relief and inflammation effects offered through CBD ingestion.

The idea is simple: Provide an authentic, unmediated look at how CBD pet products are helping real animals live better lives. There’s also one more advantage to taking a documentary approach: Pets don’t exhibit the placebo effect or show off for camera lenses, so they make fairly credible case studies — even though they don’t have much to say.

Working With the Right CBD Pet Product Marketing Agency

At Bigeye, we’ve established ourselves as one of North America’s leading creative agencies for CBD brands. Few of our competitors have the domain expertise needed to create credible, compelling and strategically executed CBD pet products campaigns.

If you need help with CBD pet marketing, we urge you to reach out to Bigeye today.

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How to Build a CBD Brand That Appeals to New Consumers

Cannabidiol use is booming, and brands that can reach the “CBD curious” audience are in the best position to profit. Let’s take a closer look at how your CBD branding can appeal to new consumers.

As seen with many markets that were once of questionable legality, CBD brands must convert skeptical or ill-informed consumers in order to flourish. While many of these consumers are “CBD curious,” they often need a push to fully commit. That push comes in the form of highly persuasive CBD branding and advertising that still plays by today’s CBD marketing rules.

Let’s review some of the most crucial things to know when designing a CBD marketing campaign designed to hit all the right notes with new audiences.

Task Number One: Develop Proper Branding and Product Design

Because CBD is an emerging product in a once-illegal market, there is still a lot of misinformation circulating among the public. Some consumers mistakenly believe CBD is intoxicating; others believe it has no established medical value, and some can’t distinguish it from cannabis.

Smart CBD branding and CBD packaging can help minimize such confusion. Brands, in many cases, will want to avoid any branding or package elements that tie in too closely with the cliched “420” culture elements so often seen with cannabis branding. Instead, it’s often a better idea to opt for a more refined aesthetic. Use neutral and elevated packaging designs and position your brand not as something to be enjoyed, but rather something that helps you feel better.

Task Number Two: Position Your CBD Product as a Tool for Self-Care and Optimization

Do you know what’s even more popular than CBD products right now? The concepts of self-care and optimization. Consumers are feverishly trying to optimize their sleep, diets and workouts and using products to help relax and take better care of their bodies. It’s a multi-billion dollar business.

Fortunately, these concepts dovetail perfectly with CBD products. Smart marketers should emphasize the ways by which their CBD products can help new consumers. These include:

  • Optimize their sleep by reducing insomnia
  • Optimize performance and facilitate self-care through the reduction of anxiety
  • Improve their appearance by using CBD-enriched skin care products

These are merely three examples of the myriad ways CBD branding and marketing can highlight and surface the optimization and self-care properties of products within the space.

Task Three: Reassure New Consumers With Regard to Legality

Remember how we discussed the misinformation floating in the air with regard to CBD products? Many consumers still believe that CBD is illegal, and that belief persists because of a confusing patchwork of statewide regulations governing the sale of CBD products.

Most consumers won’t give a new product a chance unless they are convinced that it’s legal. While state regulations regarding commercial use may vary, CBD has been legal to manufacture on a federal level since 2018. Your marketing should help clear up any lingering confusion for new consumers. 

Task Four: Convince New Consumers it isn’t an Empty Trend

When something attains the cultural status of “gluten-free” or “zero carb,” pushback is inevitable. Consumers who aren’t participating in the newest trends will often dismiss them as being driven by a herd mentality — or they will have doubts about the underlying value of the products that are generating such immense consumer interest.

CBD marketers should anticipate this and answer these doubts with the most compelling thing in their arsenal: Proven research that establishes the value of CBD in a clinical setting. While the average person may not feel many benefits from eliminating gluten, CBD products have a near-universal range of benefits and applications. By focusing on the data that attests to the efficacy of the product — and mixing in real-world anecdotal examples — CBD branding and marketing pros can overcome the natural skepticism that accompanies new products and intensely popular products.

Why Work With Bigeye?

At Bigeye, we have more expertise and experience with the CBD industry than any agency that is remotely close to our size. We’ve been at the forefront of this emerging trend, and we can use our experience to help you create CBD branding and marketing that connects with new consumers.

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In Clear Focus: CBD Manufacturing and the US Retail Landscape

In Clear Focus this week: the US market for cannabidiol. Michael Law of contract manufacturer Eagle Labs shares his observations about the opportunities and potential pitfalls for anyone introducing new CBD products to this booming market. With a background in traditional CPG sales and marketing, Michael offers practical guidance for CBD brands and retailers to maximize results. 

In Clear Focus listeners can exclusively take advantage of a special discount code to receive 50% off a purchase from Eagle Labs’ new line of CBD products: go to IMPIRICA.co and enter the code BIGEYE at the checkout.

In Clear Focus: CBD Manufacturing and the US Retail Landscape

In Clear Focus this week: the US market for cannabidiol. Michael Law of contract manufacturer Eagle Labs shares his observations about the opportunities and potential pitfalls for anyone introducing new CBD products to this booming market. With a background in traditional CPG sales and marketing, Michael offers practical tips for CBD brands and retailers to maximize results.

Episode Transcript

Adrian Tennant:     You’re listening to IN CLEAR FOCUS, a unique perspective on the business of advertising produced weekly by Bigeye. Hello. I’m your host, Adrian Tennant, VP of insights at Bigeye, an audience-focused, creative-driven, full-service advertising agency. Bigeye is based in Orlando, Florida, but serves clients across the United States and beyond. We provide audience research, strategy, branding, creative, media, and analytics services. Thank you for choosing to spend time with us today. A couple of weeks ago we talked about the legal considerations surrounding CBD product marketing. On this week’s show, we’re focusing on CBD product manufacturing. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a chemical compound from the cannabis plant. It’s used in products like oils and edibles to impart a feeling of relaxation and calm. Unlike THC, its cousin, CBD is not psychoactive. Today, CBD is available in tinctures and pills intended to relieve conditions such as anxiety and arthritis pain, and you’ll see it as an ingredient in a growing range of consumer categories from food and beverages to beauty products and apparel. As a CBD marketing agency, Bigeye enjoys working with the entrepreneurial innovators in this space. And today it’s my pleasure to welcome a guest with a unique perspective on the rapidly growing market for CBD products. Michael Law is the Chief Commercial Officer of Eagle Labs, based in Saint Petersburg, here in Florida. Eagle Labs manufactures high-quality, rigorously-tested nutritional supplements and skincare products. The company provides formulation and manufacturing services for private label lines. Under Michael’s direction, Eagle Labs has quickly become a leader in the CBD category, not only manufacturing products on behalf of its clients, but also developing its own CBD product range. The company also offers packaging, design, consulting, and fulfillment services. And Eagle Labs is a Food and Drug Administration-registered facility. Welcome to IN CLEAR FOCUS, Michael.

Michael Law:        Thank you Adrian. It’s great to be here.

Adrian Tennant:     I gave a summary overview of CBD at the top of the show, but could you give us a bit more of a detailed explanation of what CBD is and how it’s produced?

Michael Law:        Yes, absolutely. And to be clear, there’s a lot of confusion around what CBD is and isn’t. I’ll give you a layman’s explanation of what CBD is. CBD is really a naturally occurring compound as I think you said at the beginning of the podcast. It’s found in industrial hemp plants. It’s important to differentiate between the industrial hemp plant and marijuana. These plants are cousins, but industrial hemp is really what the Farm Bill, the federal Farm Bill approved for cultivation, transport, research, and sale. CBD can support a sense of peace and wellness in humans and animals, as it interacts with the body’s natural endocannabinoid system. It’s not intoxicating and that’s one of the biggest myths about CBD, so you can add it to your everyday routine without experiencing a high. A lot of consumers are also concerned about safety and we’ll talk more about what Eagle Labs is doing to ensure the safety of our products. But there has been a report from the World Health Organization that stated that in humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential. So they haven’t found any evidence of public health issues or problems associated with the use of pure CBD. So I mean, at the outset, I think it’s important to know that CBD has a very strong safety profile and that it is very distinct from marijuana in that it will not make you high. And it is federally legal.

Adrian Tennant:     Right, by some estimates, the US market for CBD will be worth anything between 16 and 22 billion dollars annually within just a couple of years. Why is the market for CBD products growing so rapidly?

Michael Law:        The reason that it’s growing so rapidly is that consumers are using the product and they’re experiencing the effects that they’re seeking. So the repeat purchase levels are very high. There’s a lot of online communication that’s happening where people are sharing their stories with each other. We get a lot of testimonials, even video testimonials from people that have tried our products are just indicating that the product has exceeded their expectations in terms of the benefits that they’re seeking either for themselves or for their pets. We believe that the category is probably in the one to two billion dollar range right now. Most of the category is not what we would call measured by agencies like AC Nielsen or IRI – syndicated data providers – because so much of the volume is done in eCommerce or in unmeasured channels like natural [food] stores, where there often isn’t syndicated data or reporting. The category’s much bigger than most people believe it is today because so much of it is unmeasured. Retailers have really not fully gotten into CBD in the way that they will as soon as it is regulated.

Adrian Tennant:     Michael, that’s really interesting. Just taking the pain-relieving CBD products as an example, do you see them as additive or will they eventually cannibalize sales of traditional pharmaceuticals?

Michael Law:        Yeah, that’s a really good question. I mean, anecdotally, as somebody who’s relatively new to this category… My background is with traditional consumer packaged goods companies like Johnson and Johnson. I’ve sold or marketed products in virtually every aisle in a drug store. But speaking to people anecdotally – I mean, I talk to  every person I sit beside on a flight, every person I have an Uber ride with or meet at a meeting if they’re not in the industry – and ask them if they’ve heard of CBD and if they have what their experience has been. In the anecdotal stories from people who have reduced the use of OTC products or drug products in favor of more natural solutions like CBD is just overwhelming. Again, one of the things that is really exciting to me about this category is the growth potential. The safety profile, as I said, from the World Health Organization and their research is very strong. We need the FDA to come out with a regulatory perspective on their recommendations for dosing and indicated use. I do believe personally that you will see some cannibalization from traditional OTC medications from pharmaceutical products as consumers try products like CBD.

Adrian Tennant:     And I think we should just clarify for listeners that are not familiar with the jargon, OTC stands for “over-the-counter,” correct?

Michael Law:        Yes. Over-the-counter. It’s basically means that it’s available for self-service, like in a pharmacy section.

Adrian Tennant:     Now, I know that Eagle Labs is very quality-focused. So it seems like a good time to segue to that. Can you tell us a little bit about how Eagle Lab’s services and the business fits into this broader CBD landscape?

Michael Law:        Absolutely. Yeah. So Eagle Labs had been making skincare and nutritional products for private label clients, large national retail clients, for about 10 years. The company was owned by a chemist with 40 years of experience formulating and Eagle Labs was purchased by an entrepreneurial pair of brothers that wanted to get into the CBD category, but in a way that would ensure that their finished goods would be nothing but the highest quality. So they’ve purchased a very good quality manufacturer with the chemist, as I said, with a lot of experience and then they set about ensuring that their manufacturing processes were going to be ahead of any potential regulations. Our batch records, for example, are over 20 pages long for both the cosmetic products that we manufacturer, anything that might be a nutritional supplement with a CBD. There’s extreme rigor. We qualify any new raw material vendor with three separate batch tests. We get certificates of analysis to ensure that the potency of the raw material for CBD is accurate, and that the safety is also assured that there’s no heavy metals, there’s no bacteria, there’s no pesticides, and so on. So very rigorous on testing anything that comes into our facility. Any new raw materials that come in are quarantined until they’re tested, then they’re moved into the area where they can be used for manufacturing. As we’re manufacturing – actually filling the tincture bottles, for example – we’re testing from the top of the mixer, the middle and the bottom to ensure that we’ve got a consistent level of CBD across the entire batch. And then when we get to the finished goods stage, we send out our samples from our finished goods to third-party labs for final testing. And we get what’s called a certificate of analysis or a C-of-A that shows the potency. So if it’s a 500 milligram bottle, we want to make sure that it’s got 500 milligrams in it and, that it doesn’t have any pesticides, any heavy metals or bacteria in it. So, I would say a very, very strong focus on quality as you mentioned. And in fact, we believe that it’s in our best interest and our customer’s best interest to actually be ahead of what we think the FDA will decide in terms of manufacturing regulations. So we’re moving towards OTC qualification, which would essentially mean we could make a drug in our facility and we would have the processes for making drugs. I think when the FDA does regulate, , there will be a lot of smaller manufacturers that either haven’t or aren’t willing to make those kinds of investments in quality that will disappear.

Adrian Tennant:     So what does a typical Eagle Labs client look like? Are they primarily startups or more established brands?

Michael Law:        Yeah, so great question. The foundation of Eagle Labs was really working with eCommerce clients that were good at eCommerce but didn’t have the capabilities to do manufacturing and fulfillment. We also own a fulfillment company – it’s called Full Stack Fulfillment with fulfillment centers in Florida, Utah and the UK. So we can really be a turnkey provider for anybody that wants to create a brand as we can obviously manufacture for them in a high-quality environment, put out a great finished goods product, we can fulfill it through our fulfillment centers. So we’re meeting with large companies that are already in the CBD business that may be looking for either alternate sources of supply or unique sources of supply in product forms that we can make that they aren’t currently available from their current contract manufacturers. And we’re also having a lot of discussions with retailers regarding creating their own private brands in most health and beauty care and OTC categories. The store brands have about 25 to 30 percent of the market share and believe there’s no reason that a store brands won’t achieve that level of market share if not higher within this category as well. So we’ve been talking to a lot of retailers about about that opportunity and I think a lot of retailers are still kind of sitting on the sidelines. It won’t be long before they’ll be ready to push go on strategies where they’ll have their own brand name in the store on CBD products.

Adrian Tennant:     Right. So it sounds like you’ve helped a lot of brands, or are in the process of helping a lot of brands develop their products. But Eagle Labs has also launched its own CBD line, which I believe you call IMPIRICA. Why did you decide to do that?

Michael Law:        We felt that there was an opportunity in the marketplace, as I mentioned a little bit earlier and a lot of consumers are sitting on the sidelines because they don’t trust the brands that they’re seeing today. But there’s a huge percentage that are very interested. Our research has shown that the reason they’re not trying it yet is they’re concerned about the safety of the product and whether or not they’re going to get a what’s on the label in the bottle and that it’s actually going to be safe and not have things like the heavy metals, or the pesticides, or the bacteria. So our brand positioning is all built around that consumer insight. Our brand positioning is the number one most-tested CBD brand. So as you said at the outset, this is going to be a massive category, upwards of 15 to 20 billion dollars. We feel there’s an opportunity for a brand that is focused on driving consumer trust. And so that, that’s the essence of our positioning.

Adrian Tennant:     It’s obviously great to hear that consumer insights are powering your brand development process. Thinking about your own experience of CBD product marketing, what has been the biggest learning from launching the IMPIRICA line?

Michael Law:        I think that, um, with IMPIRICA there’s an opportunity for many brands in CBD. I would say within the soft drink category, if you ask somebody to name a soft drink, they’d probably say a Pepsi or Coke. If you ask somebody to name a CBD brand or let’s say a wine brand, if you walk into a wine store, you’re going to see a massive assortment of different wines. I think that’s probably the path that the CBD category will take. There will be a lot of small brands, there’ll be a few large brands that will emerge, but there will be a lot of small brands that have either unique positioning, unique benefits, or unique consumer followings. One of the things that has been really interesting about this category, because I’ve worked in a lot of categories where a brand loyalty wasn’t that high and promotion was used as a tactic to drive consumers switching. And what we’ve seen is that consumers that try and brand the repeat purchase if they’re satisfied and many are satisfied, most are satisfied in this category. The repeat purchase levels are very high. So for our eCommerce customers that have their own brands, we don’t see many returns at all. And we see very high repeat purchase levels.

Adrian Tennant:     Now you mentioned that you’re working with several retailers on private label. What advice do you generally have for clients who are considering entering the CBD market with a new product?

Michael Law:        So let’s talk about retailers first. If you’re a retailer and you want to be in the CBD business, I would say be in the CBD business. Have a significant amount of assortment. My advice is that you should have all CBD products in one central location. If you move them into their various subcategories, I think it’s going to be hard for the consumer to know that you’re in the category. My recommendation would be to have all of the CBD products in one location. You can have secondary locations, for example, in the , pain relief aisle for the appropriate products. But I would still have a home location that is, has got everything together. That way you’re concentrating, um, the opportunity for education. I think that you should have in store signage and pamphlets and other forms of consumer education that are, are going to address the most frequently asked questions that consumers might have either on a new brand or on the category itself. I think having it all in one location allows the opportunity to have an in store educator nearby. There are some great best practices from smaller natural food stores and health food stores where there’s an in-aisle educator that comes right to you immediately when you enter the aisle. They come right to you and ask if they can answer any questions for you on the category that also retailers are going to be very concerned about shrink. Shrink is a term for loss – product that leaves the store without being paid for. Retailers, if they have an in-aisle educator, they’re going to have eyes on the product and they can ensure that they keep shrink to a minimum. Some of the larger retailers that are now entering the category have gotten very limited assortment and they’re putting everything in a lockup case similar to what you may see in some retailers for expensive razor blades where you actually have to get somebody from the store to come and unlock the case for you to access the products.

I think that retailers like that will sell some product, but they’re not optimizing the opportunity. I think the profit potential in this category is massive and I think it would be worthwhile investing in in-store educators in high volume stores so that you can have a broad assortment and have somebody that can drive consumer education and that’ll help drive conversion. Because once you get that consumer, once they make their first purchase at a given retail location, that product then becomes the destination where they go or that that retailer becomes the destination where they go for that product.

Adrian Tennant:     Right. And you mentioned that Eagle Labs manufactures skincare products. Are there any special CBD cosmetic marketing considerations?

Michael Law:        Absolutely. There are a lot of opportunities. Because the category hasn’t been regulated yet, it’s difficult to make claims. I think consumers are doing their own research. Consumers are looking at CBD as a potential product that’s got anti-inflammatory benefits. So there are a wide range of skincare benefits. Hemp seed oil, which is not CBD but it’s from the same plants just from pressing the seeds has got a lot of skincare benefits as a moisturizer. There’s a couple of key paths within CBD: one is the more medical side where you’re looking to help consumers with a health and wellness issue. And then there’s the cosmetic side as you said, where there may be a lot of skincare benefits that they can come from having CBD as an ingredient.

Adrian Tennant:     So what excites you most about working with CBD products?

Michael Law:        That’s a really easy one. I think the growth potential. So if I’ve got a two-pronged answer, I would say the growth potential and the reported health claims from consumers and the potential for a regulated category that is going to uncover significant  consumer health benefits from CBD at the right levels and the right level of quality. So the first is just I’ve worked in a lot of categories that were static, they didn’t have any growth and that’s when you see traditional consumer packaged goods categories that are struggling for growth, you see a disproportionate focus on promotion and that’s when you get the massive amount of coupons and free-standing inserts in the Sunday papers and all kinds of discounts and shelf tags. This category doesn’t really need that. There’s so much growth potential and I’ve never worked in a category that has the potential to grow five to ten times in the next three, four years. Let’s say that there’s a lot of research that says it will be 20 billion [dollars] – if it’s half of that, that’s still a massive amount of growth. And then on the other side, as I mentioned, the health benefits, the reported health benefits that consumers are conveying anecdotally and through the repeat purchases are just phenomenal and so I’m excited for the research to catch up with where consumers already perceive the benefits and I think that will really unlock the next level of growth in this category.

Adrian Tennant:     That’s great. Thank you, Michael. For more information about Eagle Labs, how can our listeners find you?

Michael Law:        I can be reached by email at Michael.Law@EagleLabsInc.com. You can see our brand website at IMPIRICA.co and for any of your listeners that are interested, I’m happy to offer a special discount of 50% off your first purchase if you use the code BIGEYE at the checkout.

Adrian Tennant:     That’s great. I know our listeners are going to be really excited about that. Thank you very much, Michael. 

Michael Law:        Real pleasure. Thank you. 


Adrian Tennant:     Three things that stood out to me during the conversation with Michael… Firstly, he believes that retailers would do better to have all products containing CBD in one aisle location rather than having them scattered throughout the store. In the various subcategories we heard from Michael that consumer satisfaction with CBD is high and the brand loyalty is correspondingly higher in this category compared with OTC products. And finally, I think Michael underlined the importance of working with CBD marketing experts who know how to get products stocked by retailers and avoid a promotion or sales discounting strategy. Thank you to our guest, Michael Law of Eagle Labs contract manufacturing in SaintPetersburg, Florida. You’ve been listening to IN CLEAR FOCUS, a unique perspective on the business of advertising, produced by Bigeye. If you have questions or comments about the content of today’s show, please email us at info@bigeyeagency.com, and if you have ideas for topics that you’d like us to cover, please let us know. You’ll also find a transcript of today’s show on our website at Bigeyeagency.com under “Insights.” For IN CLEAR FOCUS, I’ve been your host, Adrian Tennant. Thank you for listening. And until next week, goodbye.

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Creating CBD Pet Product Marketing That Speaks to Pet Owners

If you want to move CBD-infused pet products, you need to get inside the heads of pet owners. Here are a few ideas for you to consider when creating your next CBD pet product marketing push.

The days of a Milkbone and a pat on the head are long gone for today’s pets, who are now being treated like pampered and beloved family members. This transition is underscored within the cannabidiol industry, with CBD-infused pet treats booming in popularity. It’s estimated that CBD pet products will become a $1.16 billion market by 2022.

So how do you create CBD pet product marketing that gets the ears of pet parents to perk up? Let’s take a closer look at a few our of our favorite tricks.

Focus on Downstream Effects When Targeting CBD Pet Owners

Great advertising and marketing activates an emotional response — and people get highly emotional about their pets. So, when marketing to pet owners, it’s a smart idea to focus on the impact your CBD product can have on the underlying issues that many pets struggle with.

One example: Dogs who exhibit amazing bravery when protecting the family from strangers are often end up cowering in the corner as soon as a thunderstorm strikes. The sound of storms can be overwhelming — and dogs simply don’t understand what’s happening.

By creating marketing content that underlines how CBD can be effective in the treatment of storm-related anxiety, you provide a powerful use case — and an emotionally resonant experience — for pet owners to chew on.

Stress the Anecdotal

Research may not be the plural of anecdote, but for those engaged in CBD pet product marketing, that’s all we really have. While there is considerable scientific literature on the impact of CBD on the human body, research on CBD in dogs, cats and other animals is scant.

Given this paucity of scientific data, CBD pet product marketing is better focused on anecdotal experiences. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; anecdotes can be quite powerful, given the shared experiences of pet owners. A marketing video with four or five pet owners who have administered CBD pet products to their animals is one strategy you can employ to help audiences connect with your campaign. 

Stress the Safety and Naturalness of Your CBD Product

Pet owners today are nothing like the pet owners of a generation or two ago, many of whom wouldn’t dream of checking the ingredient list in their pet’s can of Alpo. Today, you can set pet owners scanning pet food ingredients with the same intensity they’d show when signing mortgage documents. In other words, healthy, clean and natural ingredients are very important to today’s pet owners.

This, of course, extends to CBD consumables as well. Pet owners will want to be reassured that the CBD-based dog treats won’t feature elevated levels of THC or anything that might cause their beloved pet to have an adverse reaction. This means that CBD pet product marketers should make an effort to emphasize the natural and safe status of their products. Before pet owners will trust you to help their animals feel better, they need to be convinced that the product will do no harm.

Emphasize the Quality

It’s a widely accepted fact that quality can be somewhat variable in the cannabidiol industry. Pet owners, once again, are demanding the best for their animals. If they are willing to spend $80 on a bag of grain-free dog food that has boar meat as the first ingredient, they are also going to be willing to pay more for the highest quality CBD pet products they can find. 

This means that marketers should position their products as premium if possible, and take pains to reassure consumers that quality is standardized and not subject to the industry’s checkered record of variance.

How BIGEYE Helps CBD Pet Marketers

At Bigeye, we have the domain expertise to help you create a CBD pet marketing campaign that truly resonates with pet owners. Contact us today for more information about how we can help. 

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Why Client Education is Essential in CBD Marketing

If you’ve never had a client question the legality or the psychoactivity of CBD products, consider yourself fortunate. Here’s why CBD education should be the first step with clients.

When you work in an industry, you often acquire the “curse of knowledge.” This means that because you spend all day knee-deep in the ins and out of your business, you often begin to assume that people know much more about your industry than they actually do. The CBD business is not immune to this, and it’s something that often adversely affects CBD marketing.

Here’s the truth: Most consumers know much less about CBD products that you may imagine. By at least one recent estimate, 35% of men and 49% of women interviewed said they had less than “some” familiarity with CBD. Another 15% reported never having heard of CBD.

Those numbers should give pause to anyone involved with CBD marketing. Why? Because those numbers mean about 50 million Americans have yet to even hear about CBD products, while another 125 million or so are relatively clueless about CBD. Many confuse it with cannabis, think it is illegal or are unaware of its benefits and applications.

Smart marketers aren’t going to simply sit back and wait for these consumers to type “CBD legal” or “CBD law” into their search engines. Instead, they will take an active role in addressing client education.

Why Client Education is Crucial

An absence of knowledge isn’t the only reason why education is critical — the other key factor is the nature of the product. The cannabis industry has taken an extremely aggressive approach in terms of providing potential customers with education about their products. Today’s cannabis dispensaries hire qualified “budtenders” who gently walk new consumers through the various strains of their products and the effects they have on the human body. Consumers can also scan bar codes from packages into kiosks to get self-serve educational information.

While CBD and cannabis are distinct products retailed in different contexts, education should also play a key role within this category. Though CBD is not psychoactive, many consumers do not know this. Many others don’t believe it entirely, until they’ve experienced it themselves. The association with cannabis remains at the front of their mind.

By taking an equally aggressive approach to product education via marketing and branding, it’s possible to put the minds of the “CBD curious” at ease and convince them to try products in this space for the first time. It’s also important, however, to proceed with all due caution, given the state of CBD marketing rules.

What to Know About CBD Marketing and Educational Awareness

When using CBD product marketing or branding to educate consumers, it’s essential to do this in a manner that comports with all relevant laws and regulations. One key example: Brands cannot advertise their products in a way that makes illegal health claims. The FDA has cracked down on dozens of CBD brands that have made unsupported health claims when marketing their products.

It’s more than possible to educate and market while remaining on the right side of federal regulators, as there is a plethora of valid scientific data available that attests to the clinical performance of CBD. Brands should reference this data and carefully outline educational information that is supported by the scientific literature, rather than making hyperbolic health claims that have no basis in medically established fact.

A well-designed and smartly executed educational component that stays on the right side of existing rules can be a powerful marketing tool, as it will resolve many of the lingering doubts CBD curious consumers may have. Once these consumers understand that CBD is non-intoxicating, federally legal in 50 states and comes with a variety of medically validated benefits, any hesitance to try CBD products may quickly dry up.

Why Bigeye is the Preferred CBD Marketing Agency

At Bigeye, we were developing compelling cannabidiol marketing campaigns before most other agencies had even heard the letters “CBD.” If you’d like to work with true domain experts, we encourage you to reach out to Bigeye today.

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