Since the legalization of cannabis in 2012, in Colorado and Washington, the sector has become one of the biggest industries on the planet, is currently worth around $24 billion, and is expected to grow to an estimated $84 billion by 2020.
Despite this success, it is still difficult for companies to market their products through traditional means, partly due to stigma, and as a result of many laws that still prohibit the advertising of cannabis.
The cannabis industry has had to be creative when it comes to marketing, and here are a few ways in which cannabis companies are marketing their products.
Even though social media is dominating the marketing landscape, and many companies have moved away from traditional methods of advertising, using billboards is still quite an effective option.
One reason why this has been overlooked or underused by a lot of companies is because of the fact that while cannabis is still legal, there are many laws that still exist which are a little confusing about advertising, and some don’t allow it at all. Smaller companies tend to use local billboards to market their products and are mostly used by legal, certified dispensaries.
There are many laws surrounding the advertisement of cannabis in a public space, so dispensaries take advantage of this by being vague about exactly what is being sold, and instead advertise their actual business.
Marketing through sponsorships and health benefits
Another marketing strategy that businesses have been quick to use is that of using sponsorships, or in other words, influencers on social media platforms. This is easier said than done since social media platforms don’t support the advertisement of cannabis, or cannabis products.
This doesn’t mean that there isn’t a way to do it, which is why companies reach out to influencers outside of social media platforms and pay them directly. This has opened up a whole new field of influencers, as companies initially struggled to find some that they could use that were relevant to their brand.
Another way companies are marketing their products is by advertising the health benefits that cannabis and the related products provide, which works well in opening them up to a new audience, and changing any perceptions or stigmas.
Using social media
As mentioned, companies have been quick to take to social media to market their products, with great success. This is because social platforms are more popular now than ever before, which allows brands to reach new audiences. For example, 192 million users are active on Twitter every day, 500 million users are active on Instagram every day, and TikTok has 1 billion active users every month.
One of the ways that companies are using social media is as a sort of digital store window, which means their products are available for the public to see and peruse. Another method is through customer service; replying to direct messages, answering any questions in the comments, or liking and following some customers.
This sort of direct engagement with customers has helped companies not only market their products, but also grow brand loyalty, and awareness of products in the market.
Work with other brands
Because the advertising of cannabis and related products is not yet legal everywhere in the world, companies have found another way to gain customers; working with other brands. This is not uncommon in the business world but works very well in the cannabis industry.
For example, if one company was the producer of various methods of cannabis consumption, like dry herb vaporizers such as MagicVaporizers, or dab rigs, and another company was a cannabis dispensary, then partnering up would have great benefits. This would mean that the producer of consumption methods would get an audience that has cannabis to consume, and the dispensary would have customers that now have a method of consuming cannabis.
Furthermore, brands these days have started guest blogging, which helps in the same way as working with other brands, as they will be able to leverage the audience of whatever site the blog ends up on.
As the industry becomes bigger, these methods of marketing will slowly become more common, and many new methods will emerge once laws allow actual advertising of cannabis-related products.