How to Develop a Marketing Strategy in the Cannabis Industry

Many new companies don’t realize that they need a marketing plan when starting their business. Some think they don’t have the time to create one and should instead be focusing on other aspects when starting their company. Even if you aren’t a new company, take the time now to create a marketing plan, if you haven’t already.

As an owner or manager, your time is likely spent on business development, operations, hiring, budgeting, etc. While all are important, spending time to develop a proper marketing plan will actually save you time in the longterm while growing awareness of your brand and increasing revenue.

When your marketing and advertising are 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 target market. Not every channel, or every outlet is going to work for every brand. You will identify these channels when developing your marketing plan.

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 main driver of your marketing strategy and will influence what channels you’re using. You’ll want to allocate your advertising spend to channels or outlets where your target market is viewing. Your messaging, visuals, branding, etc. should speak to your target market. We often see companies who believe they know who their target market is, but when we begin working with them we see that there is a disparity between who they think their target market is, and the actual people who are interacting with their brand and/or purchasing their products or services.

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

Channels

Your strategy should be to focus on channels that allow you to reach your target customer. Are your 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 platform, it is better to focus your efforts on the ones that will be effective and yield a high return.

Budget

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

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

Understanding 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 through 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 sponsor?

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 formulate a better, more targeted strategy.

Start your campaign

Developing a complete marketing strategy and campaign for your business can be a daunting task. Hit us up to see our work examples and learn how we can help you develop a marketing strategy and campaign that is tailored to your business.

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