If you’re in cannabis marketing, chances are that you’re familiar with juggling the ever-evolving variety of restrictions and regulations around content development and execution. From ensuring the kids aren’t too interested in that packet of edibles to prioritizing the description of ‘potential’ benefits of your product, marketing cannabis-related goods and services can feel like an elaborate experiment. Here are a few evergreen reminders that, no matter what the barriers to entry are in your state, will help you stay focused on the long-term end goal of brand growth and awareness.

Begin Where You Already have In-Roads

Maybe your last brand before cannabis was deep in the Facebook trenches, boosting posts regularly to get the engagement they deserve. In cannabis, your organic reach will pale in comparison, but don’t jump on to too many platforms too quickly, especially if you’re not capable of handling the pace of creating high-quality content that performs best online.

Many cannabis marketers choose breadth over depth when facing the threat of the shadow-ban, going all-in on channels from Facebook to OTT to print ads in your local diner’s menu without a true strategy for any of it. Before you start that Tik Tok channel, be sure you’re ready to maintain it with the kind of content – and cadence – Tik Tok-ers have come to expect from the pandemic of boredom we’ve experienced over the last three years.

Research Phase

Before diving into a new channel and strategy with two feet, ensure you’ve done a thorough review of your brand and your ‘competitors’ (in quotes because competition can and should be considered for collaboration in emerging markets like cannabis).

Consider the audiences you serve during this research phase. It won’t be enough to target ‘all cannabis users’ with every post or advertisement. The market is sophisticated enough at this point to be segmented by demographic, geolocation, and product category and other characteristics. Identifying unique and budget-friendly ways to approach potential customers based on who they are will lead the way in determining how to meet them where they are – that is, which channel should be used to broadcast that niche message.

Stay Sharp

Regulations are changing daily – and sometimes, in some states, it feels like hourly. Between each channel’s federal perspective, each state’s expectations and the vast number of software and services that have cropped up to help control the chaos, brands could easily give a compliance officer a full-time job in maintaining a hugely varied multi-channel strategy to marketing. Existing algorithms are also reviewing content retroactively after new controls have been implemented, so there’s nothing good to come from a ‘set it and forget it’ marketing strategy in cannabis.

Instead, ensure that your compliance team is ready for the onslaught and keep them close as you expand your strategy to other channels. They should know what to look out for and when, just like the marketing department should expect to know about the products your teams are creating before they end up on shelves.

Wise Storytelling

How many cannabis companies have you seen marketing “the highest quality product in the state”? Value propositions like these have come to mean little to consumers who are shopping with other reasons in mind. Rather than using an umbrella approach and hoping for the best, cannabis marketers should find unique and constructive ways to tell the stories behind a high-quality product.

How did that strain get its name? Why does the grower use one method of trim or cure over another? Why do those edibles use dark instead of milk chocolate? Consumers of cannabis are just like any other consumer – inquisitive, thoughtful, and loyal – and brands should be meeting them with reasons to buy their product far beyond self-proclaimed value propositions.

Strategize Together

It’s likely that your team of colleagues fall somewhere within your core audience targets. After you’ve defined those differentiators, be sure to invite those teammates to contribute their perspective as consumers and in offering different understandings of the product creation or positioning.

Your team is your biggest ally when it comes to the question of how to market a product. Use its experiences and network to your benefit when maintaining an internal research and development program. Further, team members participate in the creation of the strategy, they’re already bought in and ready to be the brand ambassadors you need them to be when going about their daily lives.

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