How to Make Brand Videos That Move Audiences

If you aren’t taking advantage of the power of brand video, then you’re ceding an important edge to your competitors. Here’s what you need to get started.

Let’s say you’ve got an exciting new product and you want to introduce it to consumers in the most impactful way possible. How would you go about it? If you’re not immediately thinking “brand videos,” then we urge you to keep reading.

Why Brand Videos Have Become an Indispensable Marketing Tool

Right now, you’re reading a blog — and there’s nothing wrong with that. Blogs are a tried-and-true medium for short, informational content. Yet the blog should be merely a single arrow in your quiver. Audiences don’t always have the time or inclination to read, yet they can almost always find time to watch a short video — provided it reaches out and wrests their attention away from the other dozen things competing for it.

That’s one reason you’ve likely been deluged lately with explainer videos and all other sorts of branded video content. Videos simply work. People engage with them at higher levels than seen with ads or written content.

There’s another factor motivating the brand video proliferation: The learning curve and production costs associated with professional video creation have declined radically in recent years. This means that brands have no reason to avoid joining the revolution.

So How Do I Tell My Brand Story Through Video?

Here’s the good news: Connecting with audiences via video is relatively simple, provided you can follow a few smart practices. When creating brand videos, here are some key things on which to focus:

Story is paramount — and so are people. Creating brand videos simply because “everyone says people prefer video” won’t accomplish much. You still need a compelling narrative that audiences will relate to. Think about a simple yet effective way you can frame your brand story around human characters. Any newspaper editor or photographer will tell you that images of static buildings or landscapes don’t reach people or move copy. As humans, we are naturally drawn to each other, and this extends to our engagement with photos and video. Forego the facts, figures, and product features (or at least consign them to secondary status) and put people front and center in your videos. By focusing on one person, brands can make larger and more complex issues more relatable.

Forge an emotional connection. Savvy brands have long known that a true emotional connection with audiences is the gold standard in advertising and marketing. Nothing converts and builds long-term loyalty like sparking a visceral, emotional reaction. Fortunately, brand videos are a fantastic format for forging these kinds of connections. By using images, dialogue and music to full effect, a great brand video can tell an emotionally resonant story in as little as 30 seconds.

Reach for the original. Remember how we mentioned that proliferation of video? That’s why it’s essential that you take creative risks and push for something original. Audiences today are extremely savvy and cynical about brand messaging. Yet you can penetrate their defenses by delivering something that delights or inspires. Here’s one great example. It’s important, however, to understand your limitations — nobody is looking for an avant-garde HVAC brand video.

Maintain your messaging. Your brand videos are ultimately an extension of your overall brand messaging. They should speak with your voice, project your values, and be calibrated to appeal to your specific audience. While it’s important for your content to reach for creativity and originality, this must still occur within the larger context of your brand messaging.

Don’t skimp on video production. This one is easy — there’s no excuse for a cheesy (unintentionally, at least) or cheap-looking brand video. The cost and skill needed to produce respectable content has plummeted.

The Benefits of Working With the Right Brand Story Agency

At BIGEYE, we’re experts at both brand story and video production, and we can help you take your brand videos to the next creative level. Contact us today for more information. 

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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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Frequently Asked Questions on Brand Messaging

Brand messaging is critical to the health of your business. Here’s a closer look at some of the most commonly asked questions about the subject.

Every business owner wants to build deep, long-lasting relationships with customers. Brand messaging is the mechanism by which this is accomplished. Every communication an enterprise engages in should be done with proper brand messaging in mind.

When done right, it inspires, informs, persuades and catalyzes audiences. When done poorly, it can do serious reputational harm.

Now that we’ve understood the stakes involved, let’s take a closer look at some of the most common questions business owners have about brand messaging.

Brand Messaging FAQ

1. I’m a brand messaging neophyte — can you explain what it means in two sentences?

Sure. Brand messaging is the language, voice, tone, and ideas that a business uses to convey its core value proposition and company values.

2. Can you give me an example?

Absolutely. The classic Nike slogan “Just Do It” is a famous example of potent brand messaging. It distills the company’s ethos into three unforgettable words.

3. What are the qualities that make brand messaging effective?

The same qualities that make interpersonal communication effective, for the most part. Great brand messaging resonates with audiences and builds a connection. It inspires, catalyzes audiences into action and engenders a sense of personal identification with the brand. It’s how lifestyle brands are created and lifelong customers are made.

4. What happens when brand messaging goes wide of the mark?

If you’re lucky, audiences simply won’t respond to it. In situations where brands badly misjudge their voice or misunderstand their audience, poor brand messaging can alienate people, anger them, and turn them into another brand’s loyal customers.

5. So how does one create effective brand messaging?

Here’s where things get a bit more challenging. First, brands need to identify and segment their audience. If you don’t know who you’re selling to, you’re just throwing darts in the dark. Do research, identify your audience, and query them. What motivates them? What matters to them? How do they engage with brands?  By understanding the answers to these questions, brands can then draw a line between their customers’ motivations and their own products and services, their values, and their unique value proposition. 

6. What else is important?

One word: Differentiation. When you’re developing a brand messaging strategy, it’s natural to review what your competitors are doing. After all, you’re targeting the same audience, so there should be some overlap between your messaging strategy. That said, it’s critical to differentiate your product or service. Sometimes you can accomplish this through features or innovations, but in many industries, it’s the branding itself that is the primary differentiator. So while you want your messaging to be informed by what your competitors are doing, you don’t want to follow what they are doing. Develop your own unique, differentiated voice and message.

7. Any other tips?

Yes. Consumers are inundated by advertising and marketing messages, so it’s important to develop language and themes that stand out. Seek to be compelling and memorable, rather than aiming for a bland, middle of the road voice designed to appeal to the broadest possible demographic. It’s also critically important to be clear and concise — audiences will disengage immediately if you’re sending confusing messages. Place the audience at the center of the story and explain to them exactly what your brand can do for them. Make sure that your messaging comes through in every bit of content or communication you author, and always ensure your brand speaks in a unified and consistent voice.

Finding the Right Brand Messaging Agency

At BIGEYE, we’re experts when it comes to resonant brand messaging. Whether you’re looking for an innovative approach to brand video or new, tech-forward ways to reach your desired audiences, we can help.

Contact us today to learn more about what a sophisticated brand messaging strategy can do for your firm.

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4 Helpful Apartment Marketing Ideas for the Holidays

Despite the typical seasonal slowdown, don’t let your apartment marketing endeavors take a vacation over the holiday season!

While few renters would say no to a bigger and better apartment, absolutely nobody looks forward to moving day itself. And while changing residences in the heat of summer certainly isn’t fun, moving in the cold months of autumn and winter is, for many people, virtually unthinkable.

The hassle and expense of the holidays only make matters even worse for the apartment rental sector. So it’s not surprising that, despite the inherent joy of the season, real estate professionals tend to approach the stretch of time between Thanksgiving and New Years with nothing short of dread.

However, despite its notorious reputation among property renters, the holiday season need not spell absolute doom for those with the right apartment marketing skills. The real estate market may slow during the holidays, but it doesn’t stop completely!

A wise apartment marketing professional or multifamily marketing agency will tailor their existing marketing campaigns to effectively reach the small amount of renters who absolutely must face a cold weather move. After all, people accept new jobs, establish/terminate relationships, and face a whole host of professional and personal changes all year round.

Looking for even more good news in advance of the upcoming holiday season? By leveraging the unique marketing opportunities that the holidays present, you can actually present a Thanksgiving or Christmastime relocation as a plus rather than a minus… a blessing rather than a curse.

Here are just a few apartment marketing tips that can help you weather the holiday season in fine form.

1. Tailor Your Online Presence to Fit the Season

If you are on top of your marketing game, you are already updating your website and social media pages on a regular basis. Why not use the upcoming holiday season as an excuse to change key elements of your website and other online destinations?

Switching website design to reflect the holiday season is a great way to connect with your existing resident base and reach out to future residents in a positive and heartwarming way. The feelings of general goodwill and togetherness that go hand in hand with the holidays serve as a great opportunity to welcome people into a new home.

2. Encourage Online Sharing to Boost Engagement

Yes, the holidays are great at bringing people together. This holds true whether you are gathering physically around the dinner table or meeting in the virtual space of social media. By sharing holiday photos, stories, and other seasonal content, you can effectively reach out to prospective tenants by reminding them of the traditions and values that so many of us share. Get creative by encouraging employees and existing tenants and to share beloved family recipes, musical playlists, and anything else that may strike a common chord during this special time of year.

Of course, the reciprocal nature of social media always begs for a response. Boost overall engagement in a major way by exchanging favorite memories and current moments of celebration throughout the holiday season.

3. Offer Creative Seasonal Incentives

One need look no further than the holiday tradition of Black Friday to realize an indisputable truth: Nothing brings people to the marketplace faster than the promise of a sale.

Since most members of the general public know full well that the holiday season is notoriously slow in the real estate sector, you can play upon this conventional wisdom by offering special incentives. While the precise nature of these incentives will obviously depend on the financial and operational constraints of your particular real estate organization, it is absolutely essential that prospective renters feel that they are getting a worthwhile bargain in exchange for signing a lease during the winter or late autumn months.

Of course, the key to this strategy is publicizing this bargain in a manner that will draw people to your door (or website). By acknowledging the seasonal rental slump and/or adopting a general holiday theme, an effective marketing campaign can present even a relatively small incentive as an exceptionally big deal.

4. Partner with Worthy and Appropriate Charitable Organizations

There is truly no better way to acknowledge the holidays than by lending a hand to the less fortunate among us. Why not make a seasonal charitable donation to a reputable charitable nonprofit that has special meaning, either to your team in particular or to the real estate industry in general?

Do you offer pet-friendly rentals? Consider partnering with your local Humane Society and perhaps even hosting an on-site pet adoption fair. The holidays traditionally engender a boost in pet acquisition because…well, what kid doesn’t want to find a new puppy or kitten under the Christmas tree?

Regardless of your charitable affiliations, be sure that your existing tenants and the public at large know all about it. Post key information, pictures, and other charity-oriented content on your official website and social media pages. Write and distribute a press release to local media outlets and other organizations that might appreciate and/or share your charitable involvement.

For More Information

A different type of marketing agency, Bigeye stresses creativity and strategy in equal measure to help drive successful campaigns no matter what the market or time of year. If you’re looking for a multifamily marketing agency with a deep understanding of the property rental sector, please contact 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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Why Pharma Brands Struggle With Digital Ads

Pharmaceutical companies dominate the airwaves in the U.S., but face a much tougher challenge on the Web.

Turn on a TV during daytime hours, and the odds are strong you’ll see the work of a pharmaceutical advertising agency. Ads for prescription drugs are everywhere during peak viewing hours for older viewers, and only slightly less omnipresent during evening hours.

The numbers bear this out: Pharmaceutical companies are spending about $6 billion on TV ads annually. With an aging population and medical advances keeping us healthier longer, this is a state of affairs that’s likely to continue.

Yet while pharmaceutical ads are everywhere on linear TV, they are much less well-represented in the digital sphere — and there are a few reasons why progress on this front has been halting.

Paging Dr. Google

The Internet has become the public’s number one source for health information. When consumers have a troubling symptom, Google and WebMD are often the first stops. Physicians aren’t immune to the powers of the Internet either, and often use online searches to supplement print sources when developing clinical opinions and treatment plans.

Yet despite this rather transformational change, pharmaceutical advertising is still limited in the digital realm. TV and magazines still receive the vast majority of pharmaceutical ad and marketing spend.

There are two reasons why digital advertising in the pharmaceutical industry remains a relative rarity: Government inaction and federal regulations.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken an exceptionally methodical approach to providing guidance on what is allowable and what is illegal in terms of digital pharma ads and online pharma marketing. Without clear guidelines, companies have been historically risk-averse in terms of formulating digital strategies. While the FDA is slow and deliberate when crafting policy, it sends out warning letters with much higher velocity.

Compounding this difficulty is the current rate of technological change. By the time the FDA offers pharmaceutical marketing guidance on a digital platform, two new platforms have been developed and released.

Bypassing Programmatic Roadblocks 

There’s another rather large fly in the ointment for digital advertisers: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. This federal law grants US citizens privacy rights that protect the use of medical data.

For programmatic advertisers, this is a substantial challenge. By harvesting location data, search data and other personal information, advertisers can serve highly targeted ads to consumers when their intent to purchase is at its apex. This, obviously, is a very powerful tool.

It’s also a tool that’s constrained by regulations in some instances, however. If a pharmaceutical advertising agency wants to initiate an automated ad campaign, they must proceed with caution. 

HIPAA outlaws the use of first-party data to link a consumer with a medical condition. This means that a pharmaceutical advertising agency cannot use such data to identify a consumer as a high cholesterol sufferer, then serve her an ad for Lipitor.

While this is a significant limitation, it isn’t a complete deal-breaker. Advertisers often use indirect targeting based on related conditions. They also white-list the sites their ads appear on and use audience proxies (such as medical websites) when creating automated campaigns. Agencies can target content (serving Viagra ads in an article about erectile dysfunction, for example) but can’t target specific consumers. These strategies help them stay on the right side of compliance.

Is indirect targeting based on third-party data or related conditions as effective as standard programmatic approaches? That’s unlikely. Yet it can be quite effective, especially when compared to linear TV ads, which offer only the most crude form of demographic targeting.

And, as digital advertising tools continue to evolve, indirect targeting may improve to a point where it is nearly as effective as using first-party data. 

One thing is certain: Digital spaces remain under-utilized within the context of pharmaceutical marketing. As today’s Gen X and millennial consumers age, pharma brands won’t be able to rely on linear TV and print magazines to reach their audiences — and brands at the vanguard of this transition will be in the strongest competitive position.

The Takeaway

If you’d like to see what a tech-focused pharmaceutical advertising agency can do for your products, contact BIGEYE today. We’ll help you harness the full power of advertising and marketing across every medium.

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Rise of the Chatbots: Bringing AI Into Pharma Marketing

Looking for a low risk, low overhead, but high impact way to introduce AI into your pharma marketing? Then consider the chatbot.

Customer service is one of the most obvious applications for automation — and companies have been ruthlessly efficient in its deployment. Newer tech-based firms, in particular, have opted for near-total customer service automation, at least for routine queries. Most consumers are no doubt familiar with the lengths one must go to in order to get an actual carbon-based life form on the other end of a phone or computer interaction.

While dealing with endless irrelevant computer-generated questions is tiresome now, consumers are about to get some relief. AI and natural language processing (NLP) are growing exponentially smarter. Soon, consumers will have difficulty discerning silicon-based vs. carbon-based customer assistance. As chatbots and other automated programs grow more capable, brands will also be able to extend their functionality into the realm of pharmaceutical marketing.

How Chatbots Can Help Brands Incorporate AI Into Pharma Marketing

AI is playing a critical role in pharmaceutical industry product development. Major companies such as Pfizer and Google are using AI to help with early disease diagnosis. Artificial intelligence is also used to accelerate timelines for new drug discoveries. AI is also positioned to play a critical role in the emergence of personalized medicine, where tailored therapies are created based on a patient’s genetic profile.

Heady stuff, to be certain — yet also fairly far outside of the bailiwick of your conventional pharmaceutical advertising agency or pharma marketing department.

There is, however, one AI implementation that is both effective and viable for marketing purposes: The chatbot.

Today’s chatbots have come a long way from the rather static and limited versions consumers first encountered. Part of this is due to a gradual shift away from rules-based AI (where a chatbot responds according to pre-determined rule sets) to a fully realized NLP implementation. In the latter, a chatbot can continually learn and expand its repertoire, growing more accurate and responsive over time. 

In fact, today’s NLP-based chat applications have grown astonishingly life-like, even incorporating human-sounding conversational pauses and stammers. Some chatbots even make intentional errors to increase their verisimilitude.

Serving an Automated Marketing Role

In the context of customer service and marketing, it’s not difficult to see the benefits of having an intelligent helper who sounds like a human and who is ready to assist with patient queries 24/7. This is especially helpful in an industry where consumers frequently have simple questions about dosages, interactions, and other issues. If your chatbot is capable of seamlessly handling these lines of interaction, it frees up personnel to work on higher-value tasks — one of the core advantages of automation.

That’s merely one application of chatbot AI, however. While a well-designed bot can provide consumers with information and facilitate positive experiences, it also plays another critical role: It accumulates a vast trove of data culled from thousands upon thousands of consumer interactions.

Obviously, privacy regulations govern how first-party data can be used. Yet this information is still quite valuable in terms of identifying how processes can be improved and how consumers respond to particular messages.

Teva and other leading global pharmaceutical brands have created chatbots for their internal properties and are using them for pharma marketing purposes. Teva’s Maxbot implementation, in fact, recently won several awards from the Pharmaceutical Marketing Society.

Smaller brands should also follow suit. Though these brands may not have the internal resources to develop a chatbot, the right pharmaceutical advertising agency may be able to develop a chatbot solution that fits the bill.

The Takeaway

At BIGEYE, we believe that technology plays a leading role in the success of a modern pharma marketing campaign. If you’re looking for more from your pharmaceutical advertising agency, we urge you to contact BIGEYE today.  

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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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Creative Marketing Ideas for FinTech Companies

The FinTech space is responsible for some of the most exciting tech innovations in recent years. But has their marketing been as compelling and innovative?

The FinTech space has given us an extraordinary number of new products and services.  Square has changed the way we pay for meals, goods, and services. Venmo allows us to send money back and forth to friends and family with the press of a button. Roboadvisors allow us to invest in stocks without even speaking to a human for guidance.

All thrilling innovations, to be sure. Yet, has FinTech marketing and advertising kept pace with these product innovations?

Along with the basics (such as smart content marketing and audience segmentation), let’s take a closer look at some high impact ideas FinTech firms can use to develop successful campaigns.

Creatively inspired FinTech marketing ideas

Today’s FinTech companies have completely reimagined the way we pay for products and services, conduct our personal banking and send money peer-to-peer. 

FinTech is also a highly competitive space, however — which means that it’s imperative to have your products and services supported by a compelling and well-executed marketing strategy. 

While many of new FinTech products are based on transformative new technological leaps, the space itself isn’t especially fascinating for the average consumer.

Given that, let’s review a few tips and examples you can incorporate when devising your next FinTech marketing campaign.

  • Make your marketing campaigns and strategies mobile first. Consumer-facing FinTech is largely driven by mobile — just think about PayPal, your mobile banking app, Venmo, Square, Zelle, etc. It’s estimated that two billion people worldwide will use at least one FinTech mobile app within the next two years. This means that everything you do should be optimized for mobile. These efforts should be supported by advanced digital targeting services to help you engage your ideal audience and give them relevant messages.
  • Push out great content that’s highly relevant. You may have the most innovative consumer-facing FinTech product the world has ever seen — but if you can’t tell a compelling story about what the product is and how it can help people, nobody’s going to pay attention. Additionally, exciting new FinTech products often come with a bit of a learning curve, so it’s important to be informational and educational when necessary. It’s important to illustrate how your technology will have a practical impact on the lives of users. Advanced audience analysis can help you segment your market and deliver relevant, customized content.
  • Focus on trust, credibility, and reliability. FinTech products are decentralizing authority. Today, for example, you can use FinTech applications to engage in peer-to-peer or decentralized lending, cutting banks and financial institutions out of the process. If you’re going to minimize the role third party authorities play, trust and reputation becomes ever more critical.
  • Zig when others zag. Sometimes the most impactful marketing or advertising campaign is the one that runs totally counter to your expectations. Domino’s Pizza launched a media campaign decrying the terribleness of their original recipe in order to promote their new and improved pizza. It was a bold — and very successful — approach. Instamojo, a FinTech payment platform, took the same strategy and published an article called “Six Reasons Not to Choose Our Free Payment Platform.” It’s an attention grabber, and that’s half the battle.
  • Create a spectacle. If you’re looking for something that’s truly attention-getting, consider the case of WePay. The payment company deposited a 600-pound block of frozen ice outside of a conference staged by its competitor, PayPal. The ice, which had frozen money embedded within, was a stunt designed to highlight complaints that PayPal was freezing too many user accounts. As you might imagine, the stunt went massively viral, gaining top-level media coverage from major tech and advertising industry publications. 

The Takeaway

FinTech technology moves at breakneck speed, so it’s critically important for FinTech marketing to keep pace. Innovative and exciting new products need to be paired with creative marketing that is equally engaging.

At BIGEYE, we’re experts at helping FinTech firms pair their innovative new products and services with the right marketing and ad strategies. We’ll help you reach new audiences and build market share with compelling creative supported by advanced AdTech.

Contact us today to discover what BIGEYE can do for you.

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