Blog Posts

Marketing for the Cannabis Industry

What is Marketing?

Ask ten marketing professionals to define their field, and you’ll get at least ten different answers.  Dr. Philip Kotler (the guy who literally wrote the book) defines marketing as “the science and art of exploring, creating, and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market at a profit.  Marketing identifies unfulfilled needs and desires. It defines, measures and quantifies the size of the identified market and the profit potential. It pinpoints which segments the company is capable of serving best and it designs and promotes the appropriate products and services.”

There’s a lot going on there. Generally, marketing helps companies identify their target customer, design the best product or service for that customer, and communicate their message most effectively, resulting in increased sales (and hopefully profit!).

What are the different functions/tasks in Marketing?

Marketing is a broad term that can include many functions within a company, and each has its own goals and tactics. Some functions that are typically included under the marketing umbrella are:

  • Market Research – Assess target market through surveys, focus groups, data analytics
  • Branding – Define and create vision/mission, messaging, logo design, sales strategy
  • Product Marketing – Develop product positioning including messaging, competitive analysis, launch plans, communications
  • Public Relations – Garner public attention via press, media, events, partnerships
  • Advertising – Build awareness of product via print media, online, TV, radio, billboards
  • Channel Marketing – Develop tools for selling by partners, resellers, distributors
  • Lead Generation – Acquire potential new customer information through direct methods and SEO/SEM
  • Social Media – Increase visibility across social media sites through social and content marketing

For startups and small companies, it can be a challenge to staff these roles separately, so often there is one “Marketing” person wearing many or all of the above hats.

What does Marketing mean for the cannabis industry?

The cannabis industry operates differently than “normal” industries – the varying legality both between states and with the federal government affects all aspects of a cannabis-related company, including marketing. Some examples of marketing challenges particular to the cannabis industry are:

  • Consumer research can be challenging due to stigmas around the product.
  • State and local restrictions on advertising content and placement vary.
  • State and local restrictions on packaging design limit branding potential.
  • Social Media accounts for cannabis companies are frequently shut down due to unclear/changing policies.
  • Cannabis product manufacturers can only operate in one state, limiting national branding opportunities.
  • The legal landscape and relevant policies for this industry are constantly changing, requiring extraordinary flexibility in marketing plans.

Why does a cannabis business need marketing?

Marketing may seem like a luxury for most young companies, whose focus must first be on getting their product or service built, and then on selling it.

But the marketing function plays an essential role that bridges development and sales, as it helps a company answer key questions that are necessary to a successful offering. Marketing can answer questions like:

  • Who is our customer? Where does she shop? How much will she pay? What does she do for fun? Why would she pick our product over others?
  • What is the best way to publicize our new product launch? How and where can we advertise? How and where do our customers get their news and media?
  • How should we design our product? What type of packaging should it be in? What should it cost? Where/how should we sell it?
  • How will people recognize our brand? What is a brand?

What marketing services are available for cannabis companies?

If your company is faced with any of these questions, then you can benefit greatly from some professional marketing! Whether you are just starting out and working to define your brand and offerings, or you are already operating but would like to grow your business, we can help.

If your company is considering any of the following projects, working with seasoned marketing professionals can have a tremendous impact on the results:

  • Company or Product Launches
  • Messaging, Brand Development or Rebranding
  • Advertising and Social Media Campaigns
  • Competitive Analysis and Positioning
  • Thought Leadership and Content Marketing
  • Media Relations and Speaking Engagements

Let Ingrid be your Marketing Department!  Our team of seasoned professionals can work with you to identify and meet all of your marketing needs.