Highly Effective Strategies for Cannabis Marketing

Operating a successful business in the cannabis industry is all about brand marketing. Traditionally, growers, dispensaries, retailers, and infuse product businesses relied on word-of-mouth to get their brand out. Today, the growth of the marijuana industry is rising rapidly and more and more companies are looking for the best and most highly effective strategies for making their cannabis products a household name.

If you are among one of these companies or planning to enter the cannabis industry, there are a few things you need to know before you begin to build a targeted marketing strategy. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Understand the Market

This article was written under the assumption that you intend to operate your cannabis business in a legalized market. With that understanding, you should know that the marijuana business is just like any other business; your marketing efforts should be aimed at convincing longtime marijuana users that your brand is better than your competitors.

In markets where medical and recreational use is legal, you have several profit-motivated companies and businesses looking to cash in on the cannabis industry. One problem businesses often run into is that marijuana is now becoming commoditized.

For example, in Colorado, the supply of marijuana is going up while the cost continues to go down. In addition, one grower’s plant tends to look and smell just like another; which is a common problem among any type of farmed product. You should consider the market challenges when it comes to product differentiation.

Determine User Group

There are unique consumer profiles that you should explore and they are divided into you two users: recreational and medical. These groups are exceptionally different and have different objectives when it comes to their purchasing decisions. There are several disadvantages to marketing to both user groups using one parent brand and it has been proven that a one-size-fits-all approach for both user groups is not going to work.

Here are some distinguishing characteristics of both consumer profiles you should know:

Medical Cannabis Patients

– Loyal to a particular product or product category
– Purpose-driven to improve their overall quality of life and treat a medical condition
– Concerned with consistent product quality and predictable effects
– Have a more personal connection with dispensary staff/agents and rely on their advice and guidance
– Higher consumers of non-psychoactive products
– Three times more likely to use cannabis on a daily or almost daily basis when compared to recreational users

Recreational Users

– More eager to try different cannabis products and purchase a variety of different forms
– Strong interest in the psychoactive effects of cannabis
– Sensitivity to product pricing
– Inclination towards adopting new products
– Greater reception for multiple methods of administration

Distinguish Your Brand

Think about what you want your cannabis brand to stand for and consider how your company can help eliminate stigmas that years of propaganda and prohibition have placed on the industry. There are also other factors to consider such as labor practices, avoiding sexism and derogatory messaging, as well as infringing on any existing brands copyrights; which has already happened when a cannabis company in Colorado mimicked Hershey brands and was sued for trademark infringement.

If you take a look at companies that are now successful, you should study marketing strategies done by Tru Cannabis. This company has achieved some initial success with their marketing strategy which they call the “Walgreen’s Strategy” – using a model where the cost of advertising decreases since a single ad is used for all stores under the same brand.

Dixie Elixirs, a company that sells edibles, has created a good brand reputation in the cannabis industry by marketing only to dispensary owners. Their marketing strategy relies mostly on word-of-mouth and press relations to reach out to a large number of customers. Using a creative company logo, they rely on their packaging to keep customers coming back to buy more.

Another idea to help your company achieve marketing success is to take a look at the beer industry since it is been around much longer and experienced similar stigmas as the cannabis industry. When you take a look at a company like Budweiser, it is successful because it has a recognizable logo, brand, and catchphrases. This is something you will have to establish and it is not easy to do overnight; it will take a lot of time and hard work.

Build a Targeted Marketing Strategy

To meet the needs of your customers, you will have to build a targeted marketing strategy using one of the following methods:

1. Traditional – These outlets include media like TV, radio, magazines, and newspapers. There may be restrictions on cannabis businesses and these marketing channels often carry high costs, but you may want to try alternative, non-mainstream publications and look for their advertising opportunities.

2. Digital – Cannabis companies have had some success in advertising on web-based channels like YouTube. Explore the many digital options that are now available and expect more in the near future.

3. Social Media – Find out where your target audience is and engage them on:

– Facebook
– Twitter
– Instagram
– Vine
– Google+
– LinkedIn
– Pinterest
– Many others

4. Event and Sponsorship – Research the right events to attend. Several cannabis-related events are popping up all the time; so you want to stand out by not just renting a booth but being creative. Bring something new to the event to make your company get noticed like polling attendees, speaking at panels, filming video interviews, or even making a music or dance video.

See What Works for You

It may take a bit of trial and error to find out what works for you, but there is definitely potential for huge profits and greater success in the cannabis industry. It is important to remember that marketing under a single or parent brand can have a negative effect on brand equity and positioning.

You should also remember to never market to both recreational and medicinal cannabis users under the same brand. With hard work and effort, you can make it big impact when you use these highly effective strategies for cannabis marketing.

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