Marketing for the CBD Industry

Mar 26, 2019

The popularity of the hemp has started to spread state-by-state across the US. From Washington State to Maine, people have started to re-evaluate the hemp plant and its potential benefits. From clothing to medical treatments, hemp has been quickly making it’s way into the spotlight.

CBD is one of the active ingredients derived from the hemp plant. It is the active ingredient that does not have a psychoactive component. For years, naturopaths have believed that CBD can help with anxiety, chronic pain, as well as reducing inflammation. In June of 2018, the FDA approved its first CBD based drug, Epidiolex for patients with specific forms of epilepsy. Scientist have just started studying the effects of CBD on the human body so this could just be tip of the iceberg. Here is a really good breakdown from Harvard Medical School that discusses what we do and don’t know at this point.

From a marketer’s perspective, it’s very exciting to see an industry forming in front of our eyes, especially one that could help so many people living with illnesses that today’s conventional medicine can’t seem to find an answer to. One of the biggest challenges for this industry will be to overcome the “FUD [fear, uncertainty, and doubt]” that has been cast on the hemp plant and replace it with the facts.

From CBD cold brew coffee to CBD infused water to CBD dog biscuits, it’s starting to pop up everywhere and we have been watching. If you are running- or thinking about running a CBD-based business, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.

  1. At this point, it’s a race to the top. The industry is still forming. Brand recognition hasn’t been established yet. Those companies who are investing in their brands’ look-and-feel will start to rise to the top. In the same way that branding and packaging affects people in a grocery store or while online shopping, it will also affect how they choose their CBD products.
  2. It’s time to build trust. What consumers do know about the hemp plant is that it its cousin (cannabis) is, or in some states was, illegal (even if CBD specifically wasn’t illegal). They also know that CBD is currently unregulated. Where does your product come from? How do I know that yours is the clear choice? How is your product processed? These are all questions that your marketing materials should answer. They should clearly tell your story. It’s important to put people at ease and elicit a feeling of calm and trustworthiness in an effort to build a base of repeat customers.
  3. Break the stereotype. There is enough confusion about CBD vs. Cannabis. Now is the time to break away from the Grateful Dead Bear and hemp leaves. The CBD demographic tends to scale female and should keep it’s focus on wellness and lifestyle. This is a product that can be in every household in the US if we can just allow it to break away from the stereotypes. Good branding as the foundation for all marketing tools is the first step in the right direction.
  4. Plan to scale. As I mentioned above, the industry is still in its infancy. CBD consumption is expected to keep growing. It’s important to have a marketing toolkit in place that will not only help you stand out from your competition but also allow you to scale. (Think: online sales, opening of additional locations, recruiting of employees, etc). Your marketing plan, website, and social strategy will all help you achieve these goals.

Have any other questions? We’re still listening and would love to hear from you. Email me and/or feel free to share this article with anyone you know of who is (or is thinking of) jumping into the CBD world.