Marketing To The $2 Billion CBD Opportunity: Millennials And Gen Z Are Ready To Get Fit With CBD

There exists a significant opportunity to activate Millennial and Gen Z consumers in greater numbers around CBD options for their fitness routines.

As advertisers race to keep up with one of the world’s newest and still evolving markets, most would probably tell you that one thing is for sure: CBD is not your grandparents’ cannabis-derived product.

Rather than occupy a recreational and straightforward space, non-psychoactive cannabis-derived offerings are now entering the marketplace in different and innovative ways. One sector, vying for a share of what Consumer Reports projects will be a $2 billion CBD industry by 2021, is aiming at the fitness consumer.

Ingestible CBD products and infused creams and lotions — both used as pre- and post-workout aids — have become increasingly commonplace on fitness lovers’ shelves. These are, however, early days, and brands are understandably competing for top-of-mind command in the fitness-and-CBD space. To succeed at reaching a wider audience with the right CBD message, advertisers and marketers must learn even more about the demographics ready to adopt cannabinoid for their daily and weekly routines.

With that in mind, in collaboration with YPulse, we surveyed 1,000 millennial and Gen Z participants on how they view and use CBD products in their workout and yoga sessions. We aimed to bring back data that can help marketers create meaningful experiences aligned around the context and relevance of what CBD consumers are looking for in the marketplace.

What we found is that not only is a significant percentage interested in trying CBD as part of a health-conscious lifestyle but also there exists a significant opportunity to activate millennial and Gen Z consumers in greater numbers around CBD options for their fitness routines.

Millennials And Gen Z Are Curious

recent study by the Physical Activity Council showed that more than 60% of surveyed millennials and more than 70% of Gen Z are saying yes to high-calorie-burning activities. Another thing we know about these generations is that they represent a lot of spending power. Combined, millennial and Gen Z shoppers will add hundreds of billions of dollars into the marketplace.

In our survey, 40% of respondents said they were interested in trying a CBD product as part of their workout or yoga routine. In general, however, fewer than 20% said they’ve already incorporated CBD into their exercises or yoga.

If an essential approach to the yet-to-try-CBD crowd includes identifying likely intenders, then what are some of the factors that highlight millennial and Gen Z consumers most likely to adopt CBD for fitness routines? No surprise, data analytics will play a role.

With consented consumer information, marketers can develop critical insights into building CBD-and-fitness campaigns. Tapping into consented consumer mobile data, for example, can enable CBD marketers to see audience segments that frequently visit gyms and yoga studios.

It’s important to note that premium first-party consented data is highly valuable when it’s based on in-app opt-ins that consumers give to brands. And they consent most often in those apps when brands reliably offer relevant and contextual creative in return. If the brand isn’t handling that exchange in-house, they can get started by working with an in-app advertising partner that can help create that trust-based relationship.

Next, consented data surrounding the identified segment can be further assessed for patterns that suggest the likelihood of CBD ad units proving relevant and welcome on those consumers’ screens. For example, according to Winsight, CBD intenders tend to show an affinity for thrill-seeking activities, purchasing tobacco, and frequenting health stores. That would be the driver for ad content that aligns with those pursuits and products.

Again, well-resourced brands can, in many cases, create and manage this data scenario in-house. Still, there are always partnerships to consider if a given brand needs the resources to access the data that will drive CBD success. A reliable in-house or partnership-based approach to this assessment should include audience segments that are dense with signals from first-party in-app data. Most often, this means SDK-delivered consented data from the opting-in consumer — as well as access to background data and cleansed, verified second- and third-party data that can add scale to the identified first-party base.

Millennial And Gen Z Parents

Interestingly, more parents are driving CBD sales than non-parents. When it comes to CBD as a before-and-after component of workouts, 29% of parents said they are presently using them, compared to 9% of non-parents. Among the parents in the survey, 21% of moms answered in the affirmative, and 35% of dads said they add CBD products to their workout or yoga routines.

This factor suggests that the way advertisers and marketers take CBD-and-fitness to market needn’t be skewed to singles or shy away from presenting the products in a wholesome, normalized fashion. If there’s an assumption to make, it’s that these consumers almost certainly view CBD as a household-safe addition to a lifestyle that young consumers raising children are likely to investigate.

Marketers who reach these parents with specific and personalized messaging can claim their loyalty. That kind of personalization entails affirming their positive outlook on the products that CBD is bringing to market. Creative should emphasize the health-forward effects of CBD, the role of good health and health supplements as a normalized element of the millennial and Gen Z household. It should stay away from the iconography of other products that the cannabis industry markets to different demographics in other ways.

Reaching New CBD Consumers

Marketers have surely taken note of what look to be green-field openings in the CBD-and-fitness space. While overall interest is trending toward half the participants in our survey being ready to try CBD, there’s territory to claim still.

In the end, to build a CBD campaign that drives success and claims market share, painting a more precise picture with a data-forward strategy is what brands and marketers will need to do.

Defining and aligning with consumer patterns around fitness and CBD is the conduit to capturing the billions of dollars that the sector represents. And it is the best chance at winning millennial and Gen Z consumers’ trust and loyalty and spend in the fitness-and-CBD space.

Julie Bernard is the CMO at Verve.

This article first appeared at Forbes.

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