5 Things You Need To Know About Marketing Marijuana
Marketing is never easy, but marketing marijuana is just plain hard. Thanks to the restrictions around cannabis, companies in the cannasphere are extremely limited on how they can market themselves and their products.
Here are 5 things you need to know about the struggles of marketing weed.
1. There Are A Ton Of Restrictions
Image courtesy of Travis Saylor (Pexels).
One of the biggest challenges of marketing marijuana is the restrictions on how cannabis businesses market their products. Because cannabis remains a federally illegal substance, there are countless marketing restrictions cannabis businesses face that other companies don’t.
Marketing weed online, for example, is especially difficult. Social media platforms like Facebook, services like Youtube, and even search engines like Google have taken a strong stand against cannabis. As a result, most of the paid marketing services you see any other business using (like targeted social ads or PPC) aren’t available to cannabis companies. Instead, they’re basically left to rely on organic traffic. According to Hubspot, companies tend to reach only about 16% of their fan base organically, meaning cannabis companies are really at a disadvantage online. Hence, make sure you design a strategy for marketing marijuana that keeps these limitations in mind and do your best to compensate for them.
2. Print Isn’t Dead
Image courtesy of Kaboompics.com (Pexels).
Since most digital marketing platforms heavily restrict cannabis companies from pushing their products, it’s no surprise that many marijuana companies are looking to traditional print advertising instead.
Rather than wasting time online, many cannabis companies invest in getting ads in local papers, directories, and phone books. Dispensaries, head shops, and other cannabis brands also regularly advertise on billboards or use banner ads on the subway or other public areas.
Print ads in magazines and local newspapers are a great way for cannabis companies to compensate for the limited marketing opportunities online. However, beware that advertising in public spaces can be tricky given cannabis’ illegal status.
3. Branding Is A Big Deal
Image courtesy of THC Factory.
Branding is a huge topic in marketing. And just like in any other industry, building a strong, coherent brand is super important when marketing weed.
Since cannabis has been legalized there’s been a strong movement to change the “stoner” stereotype surrounding cannabis use. Hence, cannabis companies and industry leaders are working extra hard to build solid brands that show that cannabis use isn’t just about “getting high and watching movies.”
And it’s a good thing they are because that's exactly what cannabis users and patients are looking for. That whole “stoner” cliche doesn’t really speak to the majority of cannabis users (we'll go into this in more detail in the next point). Cannabis companies have realized that, and are working extra hard to build brands that connect with different sections of the cannabis market.
For more of an idea about how big of a role branding plays in cannabis marketing, check out companies like THC Factory, Flow Kana, Mary’s Medicinals, and Kiva Confections and analyze how they present themselves.
4. There Are All Kinds Of Different Cannabis Consumers
Image courtesy of Siberian Elessar (Flickr).
Like we mentioned earlier, the whole “stoner” cliche doesn’t really connect with most cannabis users. Why? Because cannabis isn't just for lazy stoners looking to lounge around on the couch all day.
Ever since cannabis legalization in numerous states around the country, it’s become ever more obvious that all kinds of people use cannabis for all kinds of different reasons. Young professionals, soccer moms/dads, successful businessmen/women and all kinds of people in between use cannabis either recreationally or medicinally. Understanding that is one of the key steps to being successful in marketing marijuana.
For more general information about cannabis consumer demographics, check out this article on Social Marketing Fella.
5. Tech Is Here To Help
While there are a lot of things limiting cannabis companies from marketing marijuana and reaching their audience, one thing that’s definitely on your side is technology.
There are a number of ways cannabis companies can use technology to better market themselves. Dispensaries use tablets in-store, for example, to help gather information on their customers.
Meanwhile, some brands use email (which tends to be slightly less restricted than other digital platforms) or even text messaging to reach out to their customers about special deals, brand updates, and other related news.
Make sure you stay on top of tech trends and always keep your eyes peeled for new, innovative solutions that could help streamline your marijuana marketing strategy.
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