10 Predictions For The CBD Industry in 2020

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CBD Marketing is a tough grind. To help you succeed we have sourced these 10 expert predictions from Patrick McCarthy, the CEO of ValidCare, and included pro tips from our CBD marketing agency team to help you with ideas and implementation.

Ten Predictions To Improve Your CBD Marketing Strategy

This year, 2020, could be the break-through year for hemp-derived CBD products in the United States. We’ve been focused solely on cannabis & CBD marketing since 2017 and we’re expecting big milestones in CBD marketing in the coming months.

Some would say that 2019 will be the year that launched the CBD craze in America, led by the passing of the Farm Bill.

The US Farm Bill de-scheduled hemp and federally legalized it as an agricultural crop and ever since then the interest in hemp-derived CBD products has steadily increased for many consumers in America.

This has led to stiff competition for new and existing CBD businesses who are looking for an effective CBD marketing strategy to sell CBD products to health-conscious Americans.

So what will 2020 look like when it comes to CBD marketing?

We look to a press release from CBD industry executive, Patrick McCarthy, who is the CEO of ValidCare, where he lists his 10 predictions for the hemp-derived CBD industry in 2020.

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1. Seed to Sale Takes on New Meaning

Patrick’s first prediction touches on what’s really most important to today’s CBD customers. He states, “Today’s consumer cares about where the products they put in, and on, their bodies come from.

From big breweries to boutique ice creams, mainstream brands showcase their farmers in their advertising and market organic, cruelty-free and hyper-local manufacturing practices on their packaging to assure consumers their products are natural, safe and worth a premium price.

This trend will hit the hemp industry next, as consumers demand information on plant origin, farming practices, product composition, and sustainability.”

This prediction reinforces our CBD marketing approach of leading with education instead of with your products, first.

This strategy is particularly effective for potential CBD customers who appreciate education and information when purchasing CBD.

If you compare buying CBD products for health & wellness with purchasing specialty coffee or fine wine for your pleasure, i.e. your wellness, you can understand why potential CBD customers would appreciate the background info on where the CBD came from and what ingredients it contains.

CBD Marketing Pro Tip:

  • Use this prediction for the 2020 CBD industry as an opportunity to invest in search engine optimization and a blog content strategy for your CBD website.
  • SEO optimize your CBD content with a relevant keyword strategy so that your content will be found in organic search results when potential customers are searching Google for the answers to these popular questions.

2. Milligrams Matter

In his second prediction for CBD marketing in 2020, McCarthy says: “As consumer sophistication increases in 2020, they will demand easy and reliable ways to measure amounts when consuming or applying CBD and other cannabinoids.”

He goes on to say that “Brands should be prepared to provide clarity on consumable units of products like tinctures, edibles, and topicals.

This will be driven by consumers and regulators alike, requiring “metered” calibration of applicators like droppers or pumps, and standardization of serving sizes for consumables.”

I can totally see this happening this year. People who are interested in CBD are already super confused and have little clue on how much CBD to take for their particular health condition, so understand that proper dosage amounts are important to your already confused customers.

Pro Tip For CBD Marketing:

  • You can get a head start on this potential trend and implement a dosage guide/dosage calculator on your CBD website, and/or, add a customer service element to your retail store where you’re able to consult with customers and provide recommended dosages for their unique needs.
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3. “Hey Boomer!” is More Than a Meme

McCarthy’s third prediction is in very much related to a recent article I wrote titled 4 Tips For Marketing Your Cannabis Dispensary To Baby Boomers.

In that piece, I discuss how this demographic along with the 55+ demo is a lucrative demo to target your marijuana marketing. McCarthy says:

“The AARP crowd is one of the largest demographics using hemp-derived CBD for chronic joint pain and sleep.

Expect this trend to increase as Boomers seek to replace prescription and OTC pharmaceuticals with hemp-derived products — and to lobby for coverage and/or reimbursement through FSAs, HSAs, and supplemental MediCare policies.”

Boomers, who are 25% of the US population, are pretty much set up and primed to consume and enjoy cannabis and/or CBD products for recreation, pain management, or other health & wellness issues.

Baby boomers are interested in cannabis because they understand and believe that it provides the user with health and wellness benefits.

According to BDS research, 90% of boomers who consume cannabis believe it relieves pain, and another 90% strongly believe it has medical benefits.

CBD Marketing Pro Tip:

  • Create and publish content targeted to the needs of baby-boomers. this means education & information on the health benefits of the cannabis plants and cannabinoids like CBD.
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4. Hemp Nation is Growing Stronger Every Day

The Farm Bill mentioned in the intro to this article has really helped start the normalization process of cannabis and CBD products.

McCarthy’s fourth prediction states: “Today, one in five Americans report they use hemp-derived CBD for “mental health reasons” such as anxiety.

In 2020, we’ll see even more people ditch Prozac prescriptions for non-impairing hemp-derived CBD to support their mental health goals.

Expect brands targeting this audience to commission research on hemp-derived CBD’s functional benefits for mental health.”

If this prediction comes true, it will be huge for the CBD industry in the United States simply because scientific research followed by consumer education is exactly what’s needed to help sell CBD products in the USA.

Scientific research is essential and of utmost importance in order to grow the CBD industry worldwide, especially with mental health issues, pain management, and other issues that require prescription medications.

Pro Tip For Your CBD Marketing:

  • Use your CBD website and your blog to publish high-quality, SEO optimized articles that inform and educate readers on hemp CBD oil and the benefits of hemp-derived CBD products. Specifically the fact that it’s non-intoxicating and will not get them high.
  • This is super important because more than 50% of US citizens who are interested in CBD still think that CBD will get them high or will make them fail a drug test.
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5. QR Codes Will Be Retired

Do your products have QR codes on them that lead to lab results? This could change in 2020 according to Patrick McCarthy.

“Today it is best practice for manufacturers to put QR codes on packaging, pointing consumers to lab results in order to demonstrate product safety.

As USDA certification is finalized, this stop-gap will be abandoned in favor of a “seal of approval” from the USDA or other standards body.

I suspect some brands or industry coalitions will seize the marketing opportunity to create their own “Michelin Star” system to grade products and build consumer trust.”

This is a really interesting thought, isn’t it? Consumer education leads to consumer trust. Both are vital to selling CBD products.

If there was a coalition or some trusted & experienced organization that could create a set of standards on cannabis quality, and create an actual seal/stamp of approval to be used on all cannabis & CBD packaging, think of the marketing potential and possible spikes in sales!

CBD Marketing Pro Tip:

  • QR codes work well for curious customers who want to check out and review the lab results for the CBD product they’re thinking of purchasing. We already know this to be true as for now it’s the industry standard.
  • Take this knowledge and use it in your website’s content strategy. Make sure your lab results are easily found by all users.
  • Ensure that they render in a mobile-friendly fashion. That is, not to open in a pdf where the user needs to pinch and zoom to read the lab report.
  • Also, be sure that your lab reports are SEO optimized to be found in search results. When Google indexes your website pages, you most certainly want them to index your pages with lab reports, as this can help drive free traffic from organic search from curious potential customers.
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6. Data Will Be King

This one is a bit broad for me. McCarthy predicts “Broad categorical approval of CBD by the FDA won’t move forward until leaders band together to provide the safety data FDA is requesting.

Leading brands are expected to collaborate on human studies to demonstrate safe daily consumption amounts, even if it means de-emphasizing their business interests in the near term to do what’s right for the industry in the long term.

Until this happens, expect more FDA and FTC letters and class actions to chip away at consumer confidence and add risk and cost to branded operations.”

For me, this prediction speaks to the never-ending need to publish and provide high-quality, informational, and educational content on your website, that can be shared on your social media platforms, and rank in organic search results.

Pro Tip For Your CBD Marketing Strategy:

  • If you don’t have a website blog and aren’t publishing regular, relevant content that answers the questions potential customers have about CBD and CBD products, you now have the answer as to why your website gets little traffic and generates even fewer sales.
  • As a B2C e-commerce business. you want lots of relevant web traffic. The more people visiting your website, the greater the chances you have of converting them into customers (i.e. sales). CBD blogging increasing engagement with your brand and helps to establish trust and familiarity with potential customers.
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7. CBN & CBG Will Join CBD To Provide More Health & Wellness

CBD has been this decade’s craze, but as the market for cannabidiol becomes oversaturated, cannabis and CBD product companies will introduce other interesting minor cannabinoids like CBN and CBG.

These “minor” cannabinoids already have been “touted as having functional benefits tied to sleep and appetite.”

McCarthy expects the FDA to voice concerns about these “cannabis-derived compounds” and “mirror its communication to industry and the public about the need for these products to be properly vetted for safety and use – and for product companies to market them nonetheless.”

I hope this prediction comes through because this one is a game-changer. Over 50% of the US population that is interested in CBD still believes that CBD will get you high.

We know that’s just not the case but over half of your potential customers believe it to be true!

Our industry needs the FDA to “vet for safety” and educate the public properly, without bias, about the health benefits of cannabis and its cannabinoids.

Cannabis Marketing Pro Tip:

  • Once again, educating your website visitors (i.e. potential customers) about the proven health benefits of cannabis and other cannabinoids like CBN and CBG can help you increase CBD sales for your online dispensary.
  • To make this a win-win situation, we recommend a lead-generation approach and creating something of value for your potential customers (they win!) in exchange for an email address (you win!).
  • For example, create a “lead magnet” like an educational e-book or CBD dosing guide. You can also offer interactive tools like a dosage calculator on your website and/or a CBD questionnaire to help the customer choose the best product & dosage for their needs.
  • Collect and segment these email addresses into lists based on the customer’s interest (i.e. CBD for pain, anxiety, or sleep), and implement strategic email marketing newsletters and offers to pull these ‘warm’ users through your sales funnel and turn them into paying customers.
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8. Investors From The Great White North

This prediction deals with how McCarthy views Canada and Canada’s cannabis industry.

“Last year we witnessed a number of marijuana companies diversifying products and risks by introducing hemp-based wellness lines.

In 2020, expect our Northern neighbors (i.e. Canada) to take advantage of the depressed financial market and invest or buy U.S.-based hemp companies as a way to enter the U.S. market.

9. Competitor’s Consolidating

I feel this point also applies to the Canadian cannabis industry as much as the US cannabis industry.

McCarthy notes that RE Botanicals and Palmetto Harmony are already early consolidators, but will not be alone in 2020.

Now that the first big harvest season is behind us, product companies with outside investments will be pressured to improve top and bottom line results and scale.

Some will try to be good at everything from production through marketing and sales, but many will look to consolidate with other brands who have complementary skill sets and realize synergies to the bottom line.”

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10. Certification Becomes Sexy (And Necessary)

McCarthy’s final prediction for the hemp-derived CBD industry in 2020 speaks directly to the challenge CBD companies like yours are facing when it comes to selling CBD products online.

It’s important to understand this prediction as it will help you better understand your market/end-user.

“2020’s more sophisticated consumers will choose hemp-derived CBD products that are certified by industry or credible regulatory agencies, leaving behind pithy names, labels, and packaging in favor of measurable standards and certified product quality.

Certification becomes a risk to a CBD company’s business plan, as brands that don’t invest in certification risk loss of consumer trust.”

CBD Marketing Pro Tip:

  • If your CBD is certified and endorsed in any way, you should be promoting that fact in your CBD marketing strategy. Adding trust seals/logos on your website is one thing, but they are static and require someone to actually see them or scroll past them.
  • I’d suggest implementing your product’s lab reports and other certifications in your social media content strategy and regularly promote this publicly on your platforms.
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We Can Help You With Your CBD Marketing

Did any of the CBD marketing pro-tips resonate with you?

Would you like to discuss a custom CBD marketing strategy for your business?

Please call us for a free 30-minute phone consultation or email us to request a quote.

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