The Cannabis revolution is moving online and CBD brands that want to compete need to get ready. Even though Cannabis product ads are still restricted on major online ad platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Amazon, CBD brands are finding creative ways to successfully advertise online. More importantly, they are preparing for the giant tsunami of opportunity that is coming once the online CBD advertising floodgates are open.
From the Dispensary to the Digital Landscape
Long gone are the days when cannabis owners and operators rolled up to the back door of their buddy’s local dispensary (legit or not) and dropped off their product in exchange for a bunch of cash. New data predicts that the CBD market will reach $20 billion by 2024—and that’s billion, with a capital B. As the hemp/CBD/THC market continues to expand, brand owners and performance marketers will have to build real brand value as they are being forced to compete in the digital marketplace against much bigger brands.
Two Main Categories for Cannabis Brands
With so many terms and acronyms—CBD, THC, hemp, cannabinoids, rubs, lotions, vapes and potions—its hard to get a handle on the vast offering in the space. It basically breaks down into two main groups:
- Food products — These are ingestible brands. Think of these as food ingredients or additives. They include everything from energy bars, to cereals, to gummies, edibles, chocolate, candy, energy drinks… even beer, wine and alcohol.
- Wellness products— These are consumer brands. These are also additives that can be sold individually—creams, lotions, potions, oils and tinctures, that go into a whole host of health, wellness and beauty products—everything from skin care products to workout or recovery products to general mental health and physical wellbeing goods, and everything in between.
All Good Marketing Starts with a Strategy
Regardless of how ‘pure’ your product is, how it was grown, harvested and manufactured or, how miraculous the effects of using it can be, you still have to find ways to stand out in an ever-expanding online sea of green. Cannabis marketers have to think out of the box as they compete against other cannabis brands and a broad array of products, and need to get even more creative on how they are going to differentiate themselves from the rest of the burgeoning brands making the digital transition to becoming an online retailer.
So, how do you get ready to rumble and compete against bigger, more well-established brands? It’s all about the data, bruh.
- Know your audience with consumer insights. Brands need to understand who their customer is and what categories they compete in - health, wellness, beauty, fitness, recovery, skin care, etc. And within those categories, who are those niche customers. Mom’s is one thing but there are 30 or 40 consumer profiles that make up “mom’s”, the brands who have this insight and can advertise and convert customers based on those insights will win.
- Own your audience with first party data. Every successful brand in the world needs to own the relationship with their customers. As brands build their brand online and d2c via digital, this will be the difference between success and failure and the key to large hundred million dollar exits! What does this mean? Emails, direct sales, and visitors to your website, fb page, ig, page, etc.
- Data-driven — drive your advertising with data. Creative is great and effective in attracting clicks and engagement but data sells products. Getting an ad to a customer that is appropriate and wants to buy is the key to building revenue and sales and long term customer relationships.
Building your CBD brand starts with getting really clear on what space you’re in and who your target customer is. Once you understand those two key elements, then you can start to compile data-driven insights and build out your audience to take advantage of the online CBD revolution coming soon.