How to Develop a Marketing Strategy in the Cannabis Industry

In a new industry, many companies don’t realize that they need a marketing plan. Either there isn’t heavy competition yet, the advertising regulations are unclear, or you simply haven’t had the time to sit down and formulate a strategy.

As an owner or manager, your time is likely spent in business development, operations, and hiring. While all important, a well-executed marketing plan will raise your bottom line and allow you to grow other facets of your business. Marketing can also bring in new business, and attract higher-end talent to your team.

When your marketing is not a coordinated effort, your brand can become inconsistent due to a lack of cohesion in your marketing materials and messaging. We see this every day with companies in the cannabis industry. The best way to avoid this is to develop a strategy that is tailored to your business, brand, and market.

How to develop a strategy

Target market

This is something that needs to be considered even in the beginning steps of creating your logo, choosing your colors, and deciding on your brand imagery.

Your target customer will be the backbone of your marketing strategy and will influence what channels you’re using, how you’re allocating your marketing spend, and how you differentiate yourself from your competitors.

Try developing customer personas to narrow down your target audience and determine the type of people that will identify with your brand.

Channels

Your best bet is to focus on channels that allow you to reach your target customer. Are you customers on Instagram, or on Facebook? Are they driving in a car on a road near your business, or are they on a computer across the country? These are things to consider when deciding which advertising and marketing platforms you will use.

Rather than using every single platform your business, it is better to focus more effort on the few that will be highly effective and have a high return on the time and money you’re investing into the marketing campaign.

Budget

How much are you willing to set aside to promote your brand? Advertising, print, influencers, and are all areas that may require extra spend in order to be done correctly ad effectively.

Marketing should be looked at as an investment in itself. Money that you’re spending on marketing and advertising should help bring more money back into the business, which is why it is important to consider setting aside a separate marketing budget. Working with influencers, paying for editorials, can make you more money in the long run, if executed properly.

Figuring out how to segment this budget is another important decision you’ll face. If you’re just starting out, consider using organic marketing channels like SEO or social media before spending on ads.

How to execute a strategy

Understand the competitive landscape

Your marketing strategy will differ greatly between a medical and adult use market. It will also vary greatly depending on the type of business you own, whether that be CBD, cannabis, hemp, consumer products, etc.

In all cases, you must be aware of local, state, and federal laws and ensure that your business complies and your marketing efforts will not be undone by a banned Instagram account or a phone call from your state’s department of health.

The other important piece is your competitors. Analyze what your competitors are doing in your area or online and use that information to find gaps in their strategies. If your competitors are failing to reach customers in specific channels, consider targeting those channels yourself to get a step ahead.

Set quarterly marketing goals

Developing a strategy for your cannabis company not only determines what marketing tactics you’ll use, but it allows you to set high-level goals for your business. How many patients do you want to sign up over the next three months? How many followers do you want to have on Instagram? How many events do you want to have a table at?

These are all things that can be achieved and measured through a marketing campaign. Setting realistic goals will keep your efforts focused, and you can track the effectiveness of different channels.

Involve your team

Nobody knows your customers and target audience better than the people that interact with them every day. Involve your team in your social media strategy by asking for their input. What are your customer’s favorite products that should be highlighted more on social media? What are the pain points customers have that are solved by purchasing your products?

Drawing insights from your team can help you forumulate a better, more targeted strategy.

Developing a complete marketing strategy and campaign for your business can be a daunting task. After all, it has a direct effect on your bottom line and can cost you a lot of money if your team’s time and advertising dollars are spent poorly.

Start your campaign

Hit us up to see our work examples and learn how we can help you toward a marketing strategy and campaign that is tailored to your business.

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