DEVELOPING A CANNABIS SKINCARE RANGE? DON'T BE GENERIC, GET SPECIFIC!
Updated: Sep 8, 2020
Is your business looking to launch a Cannabis inspired skincare range? It makes sense, Cannabis skincare is becoming increasingly popular for all sorts of customers, and rightly so.
The anti-inflammatory properties of Cannabis have shown real efficacy for people suffering from acute skin conditions like Psoriasis, Eczema, and Acne.
Topical application also holds benefits that are more than skin deep. Salves, Gels, and Balms can provide effective relief for muscle and joint pain.
Beyond pain relief and soothing various skin conditions, CBD cosmetics undoubtedly also has a place in the beauty industry and its many niches as well.
And herein lies your biggest challenge. Your brand and range of products are going to be hard pushed to solve every problem and address every need of all potential customers. If you try to please everyone the result is almost certainly going to be a generic offer that doesn’t really resonate very strongly with any specific consumer group.
Imagine two potential customers:
A 28 yr. old men’s professional cyclist suffering saddle sore and a 74 yr. old grandmother suffering arthritis.
The difference in needs for both customers is vast, not to mention they will have different levels of disposable income, buying habits and it is highly unlikely the same branding will appeal to both.
Generic brands might fare OK in an emerging and novel market space but if you plan to build a sustainable business then develop a generic ‘Pot of Gold’ at your peril. If you create a ‘Multipurpose Cannabis Cream’ customers might be left wondering if they can also clean their car with it.
The key to longevity and success is specialisation. You should seek to own a niche and to do that you should understand the customers you are going to target intimately! Make market research and market validation your secret weapons and you will be able to create meaningful, lasting relationships with your target customers because you truly understand them.
CBD Skincare – Developing A More Targeted Approach
Market research and market validation are expansive topics and like most specialist fields can get overly complex and a bit overwhelming.
In our experience, this means that a lot of new brands suffer most from avoiding research and market validation than they do from trying it and making mistakes along the way.
The reality is, doing market research doesn’t have to be complicated, and speaking to potential customers doesn’t have to be expensive. The great news is, whenever you do it, you will make both your products and your branding and messaging much more effective and powerful.
Let’s explore a few simple principles and ideas that you could implement straight away to get a better understanding of your customers and their needs and develop a specific and compelling solution for them.
If you already sell products online or in-store then you are in luck. You should already have some detailed customer insight that can help you target specific customers and address their unique skincare needs!
Dig deep into your demographics. What do you already know about your customers? You can no doubt find out a lot about your customer’s age, gender, location, spending habits, and where they interact with you most. Use this to your advantage to build a better picture of the customer you are trying to serve.
If you are pre-trading and do not have access to existing customer data that is by no means a green-light to just wing it. What is the saying? “Assumption is the mother of all….”
Regardless of whether you have access to existing customer data or not, the opportunity to research your potential customers and refine your offer to them is near limitless.
In the UK you can access fantastic demographic data for free from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and there are many organisations offering great insights into wider skincare and wellness trends.
For example, The Cosmetic Toiletry and Perfumery Association releases an annual report that always holds valuable information about industry trends. See their latest report by clicking the logo here:
You can also make use of other great free resources like The British Library. You can access market research, webinars and they even have a specific Business & IP Centre offering a wide range of support. Click their logo below to learn more:
We also all have access to a plethora of free to use Social Media sites that contain within them possibly every data point you could ever want about billions of consumers! There are communities everywhere for every skin condition, every beauty trend, and most niches. Join them, interact with them, record the demographics of them! Businesses have never been so fortunate to have such an easy method to reach and speak to potential customers.
Do Your Own Market Validation!
Category wide statistics and industry reports are fantastic at giving you a good sense of the latest trends in skincare and can highlight factors that influence buying decisions. It’s a great start but going deeper still will challenge any remaining assumptions and refine and improve your offer even further.
The great news is, there is a centuries old, tried and tested, gold-rated, not so secret method for learning more about your customers....
Speaking to them!
It is time to do some proprietary research!
The more time you spend speaking to your potential customers the better your products will fit their needs, the more effective your marketing will be, and the harder it will become for would-be competitors to steal your market share. Market validation is a powerful tool.
You don’t have to spend the earth to do this. Sure, you could spend a lot of money on the latest sensory and consumer testing facilities but that is prohibitively expensive for most brands.
The good news is that some of the most effective consumer testing can be really cost-effective.
Why not create a survey for customers to fill-in? You could learn all about their buying habits, favourite brands, skincare routines, packaging preferences, and more and it doesn’t need to cost a penny!
There are lots of useful platforms that make it easy to do online like Google Forms, Survey Monkey and countless others.
Why not create pages and ask questions via Social Media sites? Be creative and you can reach a lot of customers from your phone!
Below is a quick example of something you could send to customers along with a low-cost sample pack to get their feedback. Click the image below to take the survey yourself and get some inspiration for creating your own:
Online surveys can be super flexible so spend some time thinking about the most important things you would love to learn about your customer. It is a good idea to get some quantitative and some qualitative data so mix up your question types and be creative. You will be surprised by how much you learn.
Just don’t send them 100 questions… you won’t get any responses!
When it comes to skincare there is also no substitute for meeting potential customers face to face. Watch them open, smell, and try the product. Again, this will give you amazing insights, and if that’s not possible? Why not ask testers to record an unboxing video?
The more Market Validation you do like this, the more compelling, effective, and appealing your cannabis skincare brand will be!
Market Validation – Is It Worth The Effort?
This kind of activity can be cost-effective, but not cost-free. You will probably have some product costs to allow people to try products and you will no doubt invest a lot of time, effort, and other incidentals along the way.
It makes it very tempting to gloss over… after-all, it's more exciting just diving into product design or branding!
I would however encourage you to look at it as an investment rather than a cost. Spend in this area of your business almost always returns dividends. You will:
Understand your customer better
Understand your competitors better
Develop a stronger range of products
Market your business MUCH more effectively
Not only that, if you get creative it can be really fun, can create an early customer base, and speed up rather than slow down progress in other areas of the business, like product development and marketing.
You will see your investment repaid and in the worst-case scenario? (The feedback is awful!), Well then it might prevent you from throwing good money after bad on a product that does not fit the market. Much better to find that out long before any serious investments are made!
Apply Your Research! Continuously!
If you have done some good quality market research and validation you are in a much stronger position than brands that haven’t. It is now time to ensure you leverage this advantage and use it to outperform, outmaneuver, and overtake the brands that rushed ahead and skipped this step.
All too often this amazing research, painstakingly collected and organised finds it’s way to the bottom of a draw, next to your 500-page business plan, and collects dust forevermore.
Such a waste!
To make the most out of your efforts you should aim to keep this research central to everything you do. It should directly influence many of your business decisions and your overall strategy.
Make sure you develop detailed customer personas for your brand. Here is a quick example:
A persona like this will keep different functions and areas of your business focussed on the customer and the mission and will guide better decision making. Doing this makes sure the customer is always central to what you do and your decisions are less likely to be based on faulty assumptions.
Have multiple customer 'types' with varying products to fit their needs? No problem, you can make as many customer personas as you feel is relevant to your business. Just use a bit of common sense, at a certain point too many personas become unusable. Remember the idea of building personas in the first place is to gain more focus and clarity.
If you get this right, you will see a great return on investment for your business. The exciting thing is, once you realise how effective it is, you also realise it’s an investment you can continue to make! Markets change and consumer preferences shift and adapt, if you are constantly studying and validating the market, you will always be one step ahead!
We'd love to know what you think in the comments. Do you have any top tips to share?