Beginners Guide for Marketing Cannabis

At first glance, marketing in the cannabis industry can seem tough to navigate. It’s still a fairly new industry, so marketing peeps around the world are still trying to figure things out. Honestly, though, marketing in the cannabis industry isn’t all that different from marketing any other product. Sure, you’re marketing a product that is still considered to be illegal according to the federal government (for now), but you can use the same methods for marketing cannabis that you would for marketing anything else.

Let’s review a newbie’s guide for marketing cannabis.



Cannabis Marketing Regulations


As we already mentioned, marijuana is still federally illegal. It’s easy to forget that, since so many states have made it legal or have at least decriminalized it. And since states are going their own way on this, it’s no surprise that each state has its own advertising laws. Be sure to stay up to date on how your state is handling cannabis advertising and, if your ads cross state lines, check into that state’s laws to ensure compliance.


That being said, most states use the same model as alcohol laws to regulate cannabis advertising. Obviously, you’re not advertising weed products during Sesame Street. But other situations are not as clear cut. For example, when Colorado made marijuana legal in 2014, they prohibited marketing on television programs, radio stations, websites, or print publications where more than 30% of the audience was under the age of 21.


Even if your marketing target falls into a legal category, it is still within the platform’s rights to deny advertising cannabis. The NFL said “no” to a cannabis ad during the Super Bowl because they have a strict policy in regard to players using marijuana. That’s probably one reason why some folks call it the “No Fun League.”

Cannabis Video Marketing


According to Oasis Intelligence, about 31% of cannabis users learn about cannabis products through YouTube. That’s a significant number. Are you getting your ads out on YouTube? If not, it’s time you did.


Promoting your cannabis brand on platforms like YouTube will allow you to increase brand awareness and establish your company as a thought leader within the industry. If you notice you lack brand awareness, your content lacks engagement, or your customers lack the education needed to make a decision on your product, video marketing can be a great way to flip that script. Video marketing increases customer engagement and allows you to connect to your audience on an emotional level.


Competition in the cannabis industry is through the roof — but we don’t need to tell you that. Identify your goals, identify your audience and what their needs are, and you’ll be ready to consult a video production agency to help you make branded videos that will resonate with your customers and grow your brand.



Programmatic Advertising for Cannabis


Many social media platforms as well as Google Ads will reject cannabis marketing ads. One way to counter that is by using programmatic advertising on high-traffic websites.


Programmatic advertising is the process of automatically buying and selling digital ads through an automated bidding system. It’s estimated that 70% of digital ads are bought and sold using programmatic ad methods. It’s a popular tactic because you can hone in on your audience using the large amounts of data these platforms aggregate. It may seem counter-intuitive, but you don’t want to show your ads to everyone. Not everyone uses cannabis and some people are morally opposed to it. If those people get your ad, it’s a waste of money.


Examples of programmatic ads are display ads on websites, mobile ads, and native ads that are displayed as part of web content or an article. Another way to get a focused audience is by advertising on podcasts. There are plenty of networks and shows out there that would be happy to feature a marijuana-themed audio ad. As connected TVs get more and more popular, programmatic TV ads are as well. Not many cannabis brands are utilizing this type of advertising, so it would be a great opportunity to get a jump on the competition. 




Cannabis Email Marketing


No doubt — people complain about how much spam they get. There’s a low-hanging canned meat joke in there, but let’s skip that and instead debunk the myth that email marketing “doesn’t work.”


Email marketing continues to be one of the highest converting platforms in advertising — you just have to know how to hook your audience. Once they’re hooked, you can educate customers and potential customers about new products, new locations, and industry news they may find valuable.


Email marketing allows advertisers to directly target their audience, build databases for future marketing campaigns, and test different options for messaging to see how they resonate. Before signing up with an email marketing platform, be sure that they are cannabis-friendly. You don’t want to have to start all over after a campaign doesn’t go out due to a platform’s objections. 



Keys to a Successful Cannabis Marketing Campaign


Let’s highlight some keys that can take your cannabis marketing strategy to new heights.

  • Identify specific goals that can be measured. A tangible goal that can be qualified with data will allow you to focus your campaign rather than opting for the dreaded “spaghetti marketing” technique of throwing things at the wall until something sticks.
  • Create content for your specific audience. We live in an amazing time as marketers. We can get incredibly granular with our target audience demographics. Know who you’re targeting and how they consume.
  • Use content that can be leveraged across multiple platforms. This saves time, money, and ensures consistency across your whole ecosystem.
  • Track your metrics. Fine-tuning your marketing strategy won’t matter if you don’t know what’s working and what isn’t. Watch the analytics and make adjustments based on the data.



Outsource Your Marketing Needs


Whether you are looking to create moving content or looking for ways to distribute your marketing content, you should always rely on professionals in the marketing industry to promote your product. A professional will save you time, up your content game, and ensure that all regulations and best practices are being followed — which is super important in the cannabis industry. Consider working with a video production company like Think Branded Media for your cannabis marketing video production needs.