April 28, 2020 PenelopeFry

Vegan Marketing: The Ultimate Guide

What is vegan marketing? 

Vegan marketing is the action or business of promoting and selling products or services in the plant-based or vegan market, including market research and advertising.

This is the ultimate guide to vegan marketing in 2020.

And let me be clear about something: This is NOT your average “vegan marketing” predictions post.

Yes, I’ll cover the most important current vegan marketing trends.

But you’re also going to see new strategies that are working great right now.

So if you’re looking to start or boost your selling in the plant-based sector, you’ll love this new guide.

Table of Contents

The Vegan Market

The vegan market is the market for goods and services that exclude all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

Gone are the days when your business opportunities were limited to selling soy to vegetarians and people following vegans diets. The movement away from using animal products has broadened to create a diversity of opportunities boosted by growing demand.

This market now includes the following products and services:

  1. Food and drinks
  2. Supplements
  3. Fashion apparel
  4. Cosmetics
  5. Financial products
  6. Kitchen utensils
  7. Health and nutrition
  8. Education (including online courses)
  9. Books and Videos

At jacoi, we have developed a free resource that provides a detailed overview of the vegan market.

Vegan Market Strategy and Campaign Guide

Your success in the vegan or plant-based market will depend on how well you tailor your marketing strategies and campaigns, usually in a marketing plan.

Here are our tips.

Vegan Marketing Strategy

A vegan marketing strategy is all of a company’s marketing goals and objectives combined into a plan for their activities in the vegan market.

You’re already in the plant-based/vegan market if you’re selling food, drinks, cosmetics, fashion, nutrition, supplements, and even financial goods and services! 

Let’s say you’re not offering vegan or plant-based options. You’re still in competition with the people who are. And, you’re already losing.

In other words, a vegan marketing strategy should form part of your business’ overarching marketing strategy. Above all, it needs to answer the following questions:

  1. What does the demand for plant-based options look like in my sector?
  2. How do I make sure that my plant-based products and services meet customer needs?
  3. How can I develop long-term and profitable relationships with customers?

Read our free vegan marketing strategy resource for our guiding tips.

Vegan Marketing Campaigns

A vegan marketing campaign is any plan of action designed to achieve a goal of a company for results in the vegan or plant-based market. The goals can include:

  • increasing awareness for a vegan-friendly product, service, business or organization
  • driving new revenue
  • helping with a turnaround.

Consequently, the key steps required to run a marketing campaign in this sector are:

  1. Define the purpose and goal of the campaign.
  2. Decide how to measure the campaign results.
  3. Select the target audience within your potential plant-based consumer market.
  4. Craft the campaign message and theme to connect vegan-related buyer motivations to your business.
  5. Decide how you will reach your target audience. including marketing channels and tactics. These include online marketing, email marketing, inbound marketing, search engine optimisation, content marketing and offline marketing.
  6. Decide how and when you will publish or launch your campaign (e.g. with Veganuary).
  7. Plan for how your marketing will drive the desired action. For example, consider your calls to action, landing pages, lead forms, and check-out upsells.
  8. Choose the metrics that you will monitor.
  9. Decide how you will assess the campaign, including return on investment (ROI).
  10. Do it!

Read our free tips for vegan marketing campaigns for more ideas.

Vegan Digital Marketing

Vegan digital marketing is the use of the internet, mobile devices, apps, social media, search engines, holographic displays, and other digital channels to reach consumers and promote plant-based products or services (or deliver other targeted messages). It can also be used to reach and influence regulators, investors and other stakeholders.

Here are the key steps in developing a vegan digital marketing strategy:

  • Plan – Plan for a successful expansion or pivot to engage the vegan market within your sector. 
  • Reach – Build awareness of your vegan-friendly offering or plan to create one. 
  • Act – Encourage interactions on plant-based relevant content to generate leads.
  • Convert – Use retargeting, nurturing and conversion rate optimization to remind and persuade your audience to buy your vegan or plant-based goods and services.
  • Engage – Increase sales from existing customers by improving personalized communications relevant to their previous vegan choices. 

Read our free vegan digital marketing resource if you want additional insights. Also, check out our list of vegan directories for backlink building including sites with high domain authority like Veganuary and PETA.

Our key advice is to create conversational content, not just informative content. Why? Because sharing is increasingly happening in dark social media. Dark social channels include discussions and sharing inside email and messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat. It’s called ‘dark’ because it’s private and you can’t see inside – like inside a room with the lights out.

Here are some vegan niche speciality tips for your digital marketing efforts:

Vegan Marketing Video

These three tips will help you position your video production for success in the plant-based market:

  1. Plant-based consumers respond best to video messaging that conveys both ‘authentic’ and ‘grass roots movement’ type concepts alongside a promise of top quality. 
  2. Multiple video productions may be required because there are more than 4 types of buyer motivators in this market. 
  3. Educational, instructional and how-to videos can be powerful vegan marketing video options.

You can find more information about these tips in our free resource for vegan marketing video production.

Vegan Marketing Ideas

The vegan market is vibrant and innovative. You will find a willingness to try and support new innovations and offerings.

Part of the reason for this is the philosophy of veganism. To clarify, veganism promotes the idea that cruelty-free choices are to be celebrated and supported as an act of advocacy to ‘make things better’. The launch of new vegan offerings are often categorised as “good news stories” by conventional and social media, for example.

These three marketing ideas are highly effective in vegan market digital channels:

  1. Share behind the scenes photos and videos.
  2. Create discount codes exclusively for plant-based products.
  3. Spread the word with striking packaging.

See our free vegan marketing ideas resource for more details.

Vegan Marketing Examples

If you look at good examples when planning your vegan digital marketing, you can save time.

Consider what your competitors are doing. How do they engage and cultivate consumers who are fans of plant-based or vegan products or services? What does their messaging tell you about the possible motivations of buyers in your market? Explore other examples to find ideas and data. You’ll be glad you did!

To get you started, we prepared a vegan marketing example that you can use to explore Beyond Meat‘s Beyond Breakfast Sausage™ launch. In other words, you can learn from how their digital marketing and buyer persona messaging came together. 

Vegan Marketing Trends

At jacoi, we follow trends closely.

The plant-based offerings that will have the strongest demand in vegan markets between 2020 and 2025 are:

  • Plant-based cheese and milk.
  • Plant-based protein powder and supplements.
  • Vegan Meat Alternatives. 

The top three vegan marketing KPI trends from 2020 to 2015 will be:

  1. Customer Lifetime Value
  2. Customer Retention
  3. Cost per lead/acquisition

See our free resource on vegan marketing trends for more details.

Why should you use a Vegan Marketing Professional?

At jacoi, we are an agency that provides marketing and training services for the vegan/plant-based market. We’re often asked how we’re different. Here’s an overview of why you should use a vegan marketing professional.

What is a Vegan Marketing Agency?

A vegan marketing agency, also known as plant-based marketing agency, is an agency that has the capabilities of handling all aspects of the marketing process within the plant-based sector. This usually includes strategic planning, creative, production and interactive marketing services and training.

A specialist agency, like the jacoi vegan marketing agency, already has data and an active social media presence within the plant-based markets of each sector. As a result, we can save you time and money in your market research, strategy, and campaign work while getting you better results than a non-expert firm.

See our resource that helps you know what to expect from a vegan marketing agency.

What is a Vegan Marketing Manager?

Knowing the plant-based and vegan markets in all sectors takes time and commitment.

Being able to influence these markets and consumer behaviours takes specialist skills.

These are the two core tasks of a vegan marketing manager. 

Want to know more? Read our free vegan marketing manager resource so you know what to expect.

Where can I post or find vegan marketing jobs?

You can engage a vegan marketing manager through jacoi. If you want to hire an in-house vegan marketing specialist then you can post vegan marketing jobs online. While you can list the generic job websites, there are four niche job boards that specialise in vegan marketing professionals.

Our free vegan marketing jobs resource provides the list of niche job boards and some tips to guide you.

What is vegan affiliate marketing?

Don’t want to hire someone as a consultant or employee? Consider vegan affiliate marketing. 

Vegan affiliate marketing is the process of earning a commission by promoting the plant-based products and services of others.

If you’re looking to hire or become an affiliate marketer remember that this is a niche. These programs aren’t everywhere. Here are the best places to find and offer affiliate marketing programs.

Are you looking to use an affiliate marketer for your business? Here are our top tips:

  1. Choose moderate affiliates.
  2. Contact vegan affiliates early.
  3. Link affiliate program to wider strategies.

Refer to our free vegan affiliate marketing guide for more tips and details. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here are some commonly asked questions that relate to vegan marketing.

How do you market vegans?

So you’re looking to promote the vegans in your business, or position your business as ‘vegan’. How do you market vegans?

  1. Know your business, including your overall business plan and ultimate goal.
  2. Know your audience, including your core desired customer profile or buyer persona.
  3. Diversify your marketing by seeking out secondary and tertiary markets.
  4. Get networking on social media by posting and boosting viral images and videos that link your brand message to your target audience.
  5. Think outside the vegan box and remember to target non-vegans as well!

The team at Vegan Web Design wrote an excellent article that details these 5 Steps to Marketing Your Vegan Business.

How do you target vegans? And, how do I target vegans on Facebook?

Non-vegans are the largest market for plant-based products, but you will achieve good customer lifetime value results from committed vegans. 

Here are three ways to target vegans:

  1. Create offerings tailored to plant-based buyer motivations.
  2. Connect your campaigns to niche events such as World Vegan Day.
  3. Carefully define your potential market audience using social media advertising.

We like the practical vegan social media advertising advice you’ll find in this short video by OZ Marketing.

What does a “vegan product” mean?

A product that is vegan or plant-based does not contain any animal ingredients or animal-derived ingredients.

This includes, but is not limited to, honey, beeswax, collagen, lanolin, albumen, carmine, cholesterol, gelatin, and many others.

To many, the term “vegan” also means that:

  1. The product is free from animal testing (i.e. “cruelty free”).
  2. The production and manufacturing process does not use animal-based products (e.g. fish bladder filters or bone char filters).

The team at Logical Harmony provide a good summary of what vegan and cruelty free means in the cosmetics industry.

Is ‘vegan friendly’ vegan?

“Vegan-friendly” means that some, if not most, products are vegan or there is a vegan option (e.g. swap for vegan cheese). For example, a cafe could market itself as ‘vegan friendly’ if it has vegan options on its menu.

Because of the risk of misunderstandings, the term ‘vegan friendly’ should only be used for a specific product when the product is fully vegan. Labelling a product as “vegan friendly” when it isn’t vegan can open a business up to criticism and worse. You don’t want to risk someone going into anaphylactic shock due to non-vegan ingredients in food product labelled ‘vegan friendly’! Just keep things simple.

If the product has vegan ingredients but isn’t necessarily produced in a fully vegan way, the term “plant-based” is more suitable. Give details in your product description.

Why is veganism popular?

Many people adopt a vegan lifestyle, or choose a vegan option, because they consider it’s better for the environment, health, humanity, religious/spiritial practices, and/or animal welfare.

How do I start a vegan business?

If you’re wondering how to start a vegan business, start with your desired customers and their needs. 

The key 7 tips you need to get started are:

  1. Identify your target market: Who are they, what do they do, what do they value? What need is your product or service filling for your target customer?
  2. Prepare a business plan: Outline a strategy. It’s helpful to highlight the steps you will need to take in order to reach your goal. 
  3. Snap up domains and social media handles: Make sure your lock in a domain as early as possible when you are deciding on your business name. We use SiteGround for domain names and hosting. Don’t underestimate the power of social media too. It is an invaluable marketing tool to engage your customers and grow an audience of potential buyers. So, check that handles are available for the business name you’re considering and lock them in as soon as you can!
  4. Learn how to network: Entrepreneurs don’t achieve their goals alone. Attend networking events, reach out to businesses via LinkedIn, collaborate with brands that could complement your own.
  5. Pay attention to branding: How do you want people to perceive your business? Your logo and other visual tools (e.g. explainer video) will act as spokesperson of your brand.
  6. Get creative with fundraising: Your business venture will require capital. Thankfully there are many options available to you. Think outside the box!
  7. Find a mentor: A trusted advisor is invaluable to any business. Get new ideas and a second opinion when ever you can.

Want to learn more? Here is a great video from LiveKindly that will take you through these steps.

How many vegans are there?

In 2019 there were 600,000 vegans in Great Britan, or 1.16% of the population. Enthusiasm for veganism is not limited to Britain. If Google searches are any indication, interest in the plant-based diet has surged, according to The Economist. Since 2015, searches for “veganism” have tripled in Australia, France and Spain. Searches have doubled in America and roughly 2% of adults consider themselves vegans. In Sweden, home to  Greta Thunberg, searches have more than quadrupled.

how-many-vegans

The statistics page of the Vegan Society statistics page is a great source of regularly updated data.

Why has veganism increased?

Veganism has increased for two main reasons:

  1. People have been open to veganism because they consider it’s better for the environment, health, humanity, religious/spiritial practices, and/or animal welfare. 
  2. Food and other allergies have been on the rise. Vegan products exclude common allergens such as egg, diary, and seafood.

For these reasons, consumers have voted with their wallets by choosing vegan products and services.

This year-on-year international growth in consumer behaviour has made it easier and easier for people to make vegan choices, which has in-turn supported continued increases in the popularity of veganism by making it profitable for companies to offer such options.

What companies make plant-based meat?

Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, have recently dominated the industrial scale market for vegan food that looks and tastes like meat.

Other international brands include Quorn Fry Family Food, and Sanitarium Veggie Delights. Smaller quality companies also supply local markets, such as Lamyoung in Australia. Even IKEA has had international success with vegan meatballs and sausages!

Following this growth, major food companies like Tyson Foods, Smithfield, Hormel Foods and Nestlé have rolled out their own meat alternatives including plant-based burgers, meatballs and chicken nuggets.

Thousands of companies make plant-based meat. Visit local grocery and catering suppliers to find alternative protein suppliers in your local market.

Is the word vegan trademarked?

Yes. The Vegan Society created and defined the word ‘vegan’ in 1944, and since 1990 they have been helping businesses demonstrate that their products meet this definition with their Vegan Trademark. Their trademark incorporates the word vegan and a flower. It is the label used as the authentic standard for products free from animal ingredients and animal testing internationally. 

The good news is that they rarely have problems with people and businesses using the word vegan if it isn’t used in a way that mimics their vegan logo image or implies an endorsement from their body.

If in doubt, the Vegan Society can provide more information.

What does veganism promote?

According to the Vegan Society, Veganism is “a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose”.

There are many ways that people embrace veganism. One thing all vegans have in common is a plant-based diet avoiding all animal foods such as meat (including fish, shellfish and insects), dairy, eggs and honey. They also avoid animal-derived materials, products tested on animals, products developed using animal-inputs (e.g. filtered with fish bladders), and places that use animals for entertainment (e.g. rodeos).

Veganism also promotes health and wellbeing. Great health and wellbeing ensure vegan living is sustainable and also supports advocacy by the vegan movement, so self-care and great nutrition are core themes in veganism.

Another core philosophy that veganism promotes is kindness and compassion – compassion for yourself and for others (both animals and people). 

How would you describe a vegan diet?

Wow, the vegan diet has changed in recent years! 

A vegan diet includes all seeds/grains, beans, legumes, vegetables, mushrooms, fruits, greens, seaweeds, and the nearly infinite number of foods made by combining them. Most bread is vegan as well.

In addition, many vegan versions of non-vegan foods are available, so vegans can eat vegan hot dogs, ice cream, cheese, non-dairy yogurt, and vegan mayonnaise along with the more familiar veggie burgers and other meat substitute products like plant-based chicken, shrimp, fish, calamari, and more.

The vegan diet also includes dairy-alternatives such as plant-based milks, creams, butter/margarine, yoghurt, and ice-cream products. 

Other foods associated with veganism include nutritional yeast, tofu, and tempeh. 

Is veganism still growing? And, is the vegan market still growing?

There are underlying trends and drivers supporting continued growth in the vegan market and veganism generally. 

At jacoi, we recently did a study on the vegan market.

We found that the COVID-19 crisis seems to be supporting continued growth in preferences for plant-based products. Sales of plant-based meat alternatives (fresh) were up +279.8% in the USA for the week ending March 14 compared with the year before. In contrast, fresh chicken sales were up +51.8%.

Forbes magazine monitors this booming market closely. They reported that a study by UBS forecast the plant-based meat market alone will grow by 28% a year and reach $85 billion by 2030. Plant-based diary could be worth 37.5 billion by 2025.

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PenelopeFry

With over 17 years in international vegetarian and vegan communities on and off-line, I work hard to follow these niche markets and trends. I have provided menu advice for over 40 restaurants and cafes across 11 countries... and counting! Vegan food is my passion, but I also like sailing and cycling.

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