Here’s What No One Tells You About Cannabis Marketing

by Aaron Finch
Cannabis Industry

The cannabis industry is expected to reach $5.3 billion in retail sales by 2020, and as legalization spreads across the United States and Canada, it’s inevitable more people will start exploring their options. 

Even so, here’s what no one tells you about cannabis marketing — particularly with thousands of products on the market and a brand new industry for marketers to navigate: nobody knows what’s going to work. Understand more about the cannabis marketing industry here :

The most obvious benefit of cannabis marketing is the opportunity to connect with a new demographic of consumers. Though the cannabis industry is relatively new, there are already plenty of consumers and patients in need of advice and products. This makes it an appealing landscape for brands interested in creating “word-of-mouth” marketing strategies.

The most obvious challenge of cannabis marketing is the risk of running into a legal snag. Because it’s illegal on a federal level, many forms of marketing are restricted. Even in states with legal or medical marijuana, the rules and regulations are often so tight that they make it difficult for brands to get any value from their efforts. 

Here’s What No One Tells You About Cannabis Marketing :

1. There’s a lot of competition.

Cannabis marketing is aggressive, and it’s only getting more so. There are thousands of cannabis brands on the market, and more on the way every day. Since everyone is rushing to create a customer base before the market becomes oversaturated, there’s intense competition for each potential customer. This means that it’s not enough to simply develop a solid marketing image — you have to make your mark quickly or you likely won’t be seen at all.

2. Your customers are going to find your competitors.

The cannabis industry is still fairly young, and there’s a lot of information on the subject that consumers could conceivably use to discover the best brands in their areas or to compare them directly. 

Some of the biggest names in cannabis marketing are already known for their competitor-oriented strategies, so it’s not a surprise that some brands will attempt to make a name by taking shots at brands that have established themselves among the top players in their marketplaces. This can be dangerous, as it may end up costing you more than you spent on trying to get noticed in the first place.

3. You’ll need to be careful with your cannabis-related social media accounts.

Cannabis industry marketing is at an extreme disadvantage when it comes to online presence. While there is no federal ban on using cannabis social media, some of the most popular platforms like Facebook and Twitter can still be prohibited for brand accounts if the products or services promoted are illegal. 

This means that even before you even have a physical business location established, you have to make sure that any cannabis marketing channels you use will not be restricted from you by any laws or regulations in place.

4. A lot of whatever you do seems to come back to your image.

Cannabis marketing is very image-oriented. While your product or service may be the key to your brand’s success, the way that you present it will help or hurt you. Your customers are looking for something they can trust, and they’ll look favorably upon brands that are professional, polished, and communicate clearly.

 If you don’t have a well-built image of your own, you’ll be competing with a lot of other brands for the same customers. There’s no need to make up for lack of integrity by being a dirty hippy!

5. Your branding needs to match your location and mission.

The cannabis industry has plenty of conflicting regulations — even within the same state or country. This means that while you should take advantage of cannabis branding opportunities wherever they pop up, you may need to also take a step back and look at your overall strategy. 

The fewer headaches you have over your business, the more time and money can go towards growth and development, making sure that your brand is ready for expansion so that it can reach a wider audience as soon as possible.

6. There’s no assurance that your marketing is going to work.

Cannabis marketing has a long, tricky history of failure, from the “Green Rush” in the late 1990s to when American spirits and beer companies invested in cannabis-friendly brands only for them all to quickly go out of business years later.

 This means that before you start planning your next campaign, you need to know what works and what doesn’t. While there are some guides on how to take advantage of cannabis marketing opportunities, they are often based on theories and assumptions that may not necessarily translate into one place or another — so it’s best to take your research into consideration before putting together an actual plan.

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