The CBD and cannabis market in the United States is growing rapidly. The CBD industry alone is projected to reach 20 billion in sales by 2024. For industries born in the digital age, marketing online is essential for a company’s relevance and success. However, marketing in this space is no simple task. In fact, regulatory agencies are going after companies associated with cannabis specifically for their marketing practices.
Federal and State Regulation of CBD and Cannabis
One of the largest challenges facing CBD marketing is regulatory guidelines presented by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While still lacking official regulation legislation, the FDA has released a series of announcements and warning letters which outline their stance on what is and is not acceptable in the industry.
Companies are caught in a pickle. They want to leverage the first mover advantage in what is obviously a booming industry, but they also want to build a brand that is positioned for the long-term and can survive impending regulations.For these companies, it is important to stay up to date with everything the FDA releases on the subject. Over the past few years, guidance from the FDA has greatly shifted practices in the industry. From medical claims to product labels, companies must pay attention and adapt to ensure they are compliant. If they fail to meet the guidelines from the FDA, they risk being shut down completely.
Cannabis is even more complicated because it contains the federally illegal substance THC. Although it is still classified as a Schedule 1 substance at the federal level, most states have laws legalizing it for medical use, and some have legalized it for recreational use and commerce. THC is also an issue in broad-spectrum CBD products where a tincture with 0.3% THC (the legal limit) could still contain as much THC as a Marijuana joint!It is important to understand state law in this case. Similar to CBD “regulation” from the FDA, cannabis regulation is performed by individual states. Although similar, every state has their own individual laws. Make sure to be informed before attempting to market for cannabis and CBD companies alike.
Who is the Target Audience?
Another thing to keep in mind when marketing for a CBD or cannabis company is the target audience. They are not a monolith. For example, THC and CBD have audiences that differ in respect to the substance as well different types of end products. Also, it is important to note that although younger people consume more CBD and cannabis products, a substantial amount of older people also consume them, with some reports indicating 15% are 60 years or older. This is good news if you are launching a new company in this space. A more diverse audience allows for niche brands to have greater success.
Success in CBD and Cannabis
Starting a company in the industry can be challenging because there is no playbook to follow. Many companies are figuring it out as they go along. New developments and regulations are constantly popping up, making the ability to adapt extremely valuable. It is important to work with partners that have experience in the field so that your business has a leg up on the countless others attempting to break into the industry with little or no experience.
Due to the saturation of the industry, quality content is extremely valuable. Another thing to keep in mind is the prevalence of misinformation. Rooting your content in quality research can establish your business as a trusted authority in your niche market. Many CBD and cannabis companies are producing regurgitated content that offers the industry fluff instead of value. Using a marketing strategy that focuses on targeted, value-added content can set your company apart.
Looking for help in CBD or cannabis marketing? Contact us for a free consultation.
By Adam Higelin
Adam Higelin is a University of California, Berkeley graduate with a BA degree in Integrative Biology. He is a passionate writer with a love for the environment, botany and music. A special focus on research based, scientific writing has allowed Adam to pursue his dream of educating and inspiring people to better themselves and the lives of others.