Cannabis brands do not have the same options as companies in other industries when it comes to marketing. From TV, to radio, to social media, the traditional options for bringing a product to market are simply not available to cannabis companies. Because of federal prohibition, the cannabis industry has been forced to explore other strategies, and luckily there are numerous alternative avenues that do not require the approval of large corporate ad tech entities like Google and Facebook to execute. Here are 5 key steps to a successful Cannabis product launch:
Build an impressive website
Google and Bing load websites. Every Cannabis business needs a website for customers and future customers to visit. With the difficulty of marketing within and around state and federal laws, most Cannabis brands have to rely on digital marketing to get their business seen, display their offerings, and tell their stories. Traditional marketing (print, broadcast, direct mail) may be a good strategy for Cannabis marijuana brands. For visibility and traffic to a website, all companies must have a SEO and engaging content strategy because in 2020, digital rules.
Tell your company story
Though federally illegal, cannabis is legal in some form or another in over half the states in the United States of America. Every startup in this space has a story, and it’s important to tell your company story for a successful product launch. In an industry where there are countless businesses selling similar products, it is often up to the consumer to make a decision based on what little information they have in front of them at the retail counter.
According to Forbes, storytelling will not only increase your brand favorability, it can also be up to 22 times more memorable than straightforward facts like THC and CBD contents, harvest date, etc. Audiences may forget the specifics of what a brand tells them, but they will not forget how that brand made them feel.
Be smart with your brand and packaging
How your products look on the shelves next to other products can have a significant impact on their likelihood to be purchased: for that reason, DON’T cut corners when it comes to design. A brand needs to represent something, it needs to have an identity, something that consumers will see and be drawn to, something that is seen and immediately recognized as your company. Your packaging should be a clear extension of your brand, and when all aspects of your brand reflect an idea or personality that resonates with people, you will attract new customers and inspire loyalty.
The fact is, purchasing decisions around cannabis are closely aligned with purchasing decisions around other products. In a survey conducted by Nielsen, a global marketing research firm, an analysis of 9,900 product launches confirmed packaging design as one of the most important factors for product marketing.
The process of building a #brand:
❤️ Purpose: Know your reason why.
🥇 Positioning: Understand where you fit in the market.
😉 Personality: Build a way to connect with customers.
📣 Communications: Construct your messaging.
👨🏻💻 Presence: Have the look and be in the right place.
— Narcis Sauleda (@narcis_uk) March 8, 2021
Give dispensaries / budtenders a reason to be excited about your product
Dispensaries, like retailers, are always looking for the next big thing. Product launches should create a buzz that consumers and dispensaries get excited about. If you are able, the best way to go about this is to get your product out to consumers for reviews and eyes on the up and coming product. Make sure that you invest the necessary time and energy to tell them the story behind your product/brand and what makes your products better than your competitors’.
Partner with influencers who are a good fit
Influencers are major players in the world of cannabis social media. The popularity of social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram has allowed businesses to reach highly targeted audiences in new ways by partnering with individuals who post about relevant topics. Influencer marketing will be increasingly necessary for brands who want to maintain top of mind awareness as long as social media platforms ban direct advertising for cannabis products. While it may be tempting to spend your entire marketing budget to sponsor an influencer with millions of followers, remember that you can only sell to potential customers who are in your market. For that reason, it may be better to spread your budget around to several lower-profile influencers who operate in the same market as your brand. The rise of the so-called “micro-influencer” is happening fast. Micro-influencers are great for small businesses and/or local business because they usually have a more targeted reach and are also more affordable to work with.
Bringing cannabis products to market can be done effectively, but in our industry we just have to be a bit more strategic and intentional. By following the strategies outlined above, you will set yourself apart from competitors who do the bare minimum and create a memorable experience for your customers that will be more likely to result in them coming back for more.