Nutraceutical Marketing: Show me the proof! Standing out in the crowd while adhering to industry regulations
If you’ve read our post on challenges in real-world data collection and clinical research in the nutraceutical industry, you know that one of those is standing out in a crowded field of products with accurate, effective and relatable marketing and commercialization efforts. Today, nutraceutical marketing is far more involved than running social media ads with promising health claims – nutraceutical marketing contains effective, trustworthy, and industry compliant messaging and proof. Nutraceutical companies are doing everything they can to create great products and build trust with their customers while adhering to sometimes vague rules and guidelines set forth by the FTC and the FDA.
FTC and FDA regulation for nutraceuticals
The proximity of nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals blurs the lines between different regulatory bodies: the FDA and the FTC. Red tape and gray areas are plentiful when it comes to what a nutraceutical company’s product can and cannot say, do, or be. According to the Council for Responsible Nutrition, “the FDA has responsibility for enforcement of claims that appear on product labeling; the Federal Trade Commission enforces claim substantiation with respect to advertising.” To summarize, anything on the nutraceutical packaging or in the ingredients is regulated by the FDA and anything nutraceutical marketing related is enforced by the FTC.
Furthermore, “Manufacturers of dietary supplements who make structure/function claims must submit a notification to FDA within 30 days of first marketing the product that the claim is being used. If a dietary supplement label includes such a claim, it must provide a “disclaimer” that FDA has not evaluated the claim. The disclaimer must also state that the dietary supplement is not intended to “diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease,” because only a drug can legally make such a claim. Health claims (those that indicate a link with a reduction in disease risk) require the premarket approval of FDA before use.”
With the fine line that nutraceutical companies walk as it pertains to claims about their product, it should come as no surprise that they are very well versed in marketing tactics and leveraging the power of their customers. Customer reviews are a big catalyst for growing nutraceutical companies, as one of the best ways to establish trust and convert a prospect to a sale is to leverage social proof.
What is social proof?
Social proof can best be summarized as “the idea that consumers will adapt their behavior according to what other people are doing.” We live in an age where the reviews and testimonials of others have the ability to move the needle on conversion and customer acquisition rates.
Gathering social proof for a nutraceutical product is a chicken and the egg problem though – generally speaking, strong sales will enable you to collect social proof at scale from satisfied customers, and conversely, high volume social proof will help you achieve those strong sales. So, how should nutraceutical companies handle the chicken and the egg dilemma?
Clinical proof to the rescue
Gathering rich, real-world data from patients and users is a promising solution. For most physical products, companies have one main avenue of displaying proof their product is trusted – through reviews. For consumer health products and nutraceuticals, there’s luckily another important trust building tool for marketing departments to consider – clinical proof.
One wouldn’t traditionally think that the marketing department has much to do with nutraceutical product development, however, a top-level decision to invest in clinical trials and in turn, clinical validation and evidence could yield significant returns in the sales department. According to an interviewee in a study on Consumer Health Marketing Study by Reuters Health, “Branding personal care products with clinical claims is a very common strategy, Claiming that kind of a benefit is certainly something people respond to. While some people will want to see and feel an impact, he said, for many the clinical claim alone suffices.”
The consumer is becoming increasingly savvy and they will often closely examine the proof presented to them. The best nutraceutical products get ahead of their customers' questions by conducting thorough trials and ensuring findings are easily translatable to a wider audience. According to Kelly Dobos, a cosmetic chemist featured in Allure Magazine, “Odds are if a brand's product really is clinically proven, "they'll make the information readily available in case they are called into question.”
Clinical proof seems great, but clinical trials are still expensive and take a long time… right?
In summary, being readily prepared with clinical studies proving product efficacy and effectiveness can be one of the most valuable marketing assets for a nutraceutical company. For many skeptics though, the traditional gripe with clinical trials for nutraceuticals remains – they’re simply too expensive and too time consuming.
That’s where a tool like Smart Omix can make a difference. Thanks to the innovative team at Smart Omix by Sharecare, clinical trials for nutraceuticals are becoming less expensive and less time intensive by the day. We are building industry leading products to rapidly collect rich, real-world data and reduce time to market. Clinical research has never been this easy and accessible.
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