Marketing your marijuana brand involves a seemingly infinite number of best practices. There are best practices for growing, packaging, and making labels. There are best practices on designing a website for marijuana products, pricing your marijuana products, and selling them individually or wholesale for individuals or dispensaries.
But how do you craft the “campaign” that is supposed to launch your brand? One important clue is to avoid the pitfalls of the past based on the experiences of current cannabis business owners and marketing professionals. We’ve learned a lot as an industry over the years on what not to do, let’s dive into the top five biggest mistakes in cannabis marketing.
1. Childish Themes
The first mistake to avoid is marketing based on a childish theme. Not because it doesn’t work, but because it does. Many people have a youthful sense of humor and still delight in the joys of childhood (cartoons and candy) well into responsible adulthood, so it can seem pretty tempting to make your labels attractive and silly with imagery. But don’t.
The reason for this is because all childish and child-appealing themes are banned for safety reasons. The goal is for no children to see a cannabis product and then ingest it by accident. So even though it might seem fun, stay away from packaging that features cartoon characters or classic childhood themes. Don’t model your edibles after known candies or treats either, as this has become a matter of great controversy. Most states have laws regarding the appropriate imagery for packaging, so make sure to check with your local jurisdictions.
2. Overextend your Team
One problem we see often is a new cannabis brand trying to do everything; the whole marketing shebang. Most people aren’t trying to do all the marketing themselves, but the occasional ambitious marketing team makes the attempt.
More than likely, all that work you are trying to do by yourself or even with a team is less effective than a focused, targeted approach. If you try to dominate the market with your search word and persuasible table-turners then you’ll get outplayed every time. Even a larger team needs to spin up, mastering one platform before moving on to the next and perfecting your methods for recreating assets on each additional platform.
Don’t try to do it all by yourself. If you’ve got a small marketing budget, choose a few platforms and marketing methods that you know your team can successfully execute.
3. Keep Doing What Doesn't Work
Periodically, take the time to stop and assess which marketing pursuits are helping your cause and which aren’t doing much. It’s easy to fall into a routine of marketing tactics, but not all tactics work with your brand, region, audience, or they just might not work this year versus last year. It’s important to become aware of how your tactics are helping or even harming the campaign.
Among our top mistakes to make is continuing to go through a marketing tactic that just isn’t producing results. Even if the tactic worked for another brand, variables change and so too should your marketing strategy. Whatever you do, don’t soldier on down a marketing path that may not be profitable to you. Instead, study results and ROI (return on investment) to ensure that you stop what doesn’t work and prioritize what does. While this is true for marketing in every industry, it is especially important for the cannabis industry which is new and rapidly evolving.
4. Multi-State Claims
Lastly, there is cannabis marketing that relates to multi-state operations. Right now, cannabis is still a legal gray area and every state that has legalized has done so with different rules. Those rules change all the time and to keep your cannabis business open in any state, you must keep up and adapt constantly. It is, understandably, extremely challenging for any cannabis brand to maintain a wider presence across multiple states. Each new state requires a new configuration of business practices, and those rules might change at any moment.
This means, when it comes to advertising, that you should avoid making claims about your practices that span across multiple states. Because you may have to adapt your business practices and model at any time, you want to keep your marketing focused on the brand’s core values and what you strive for, not the details about any particular operation. In other words, don’t make marketing promises that state laws might force you to renege.
Think carefully about any claims you make that are meant to hold true across multiple states. Having a recognizable multi-state cannabis brand is great, as long as your marketing can keep up with the ever-changing patchwork of state cannabis laws.
Marketing your cannabis brand is a bit of a funhouse maze of requirements, restrictions, and changing environment. Fortunately, you still have a lot of room to work, more than you might realize. With a carefully crafted marketing strategy and an ever-present awareness of the developing market, you should be able to draw new customers to your cannabis brand using a combination of classic and innovative marketing techniques.
If your business is looking for cannabis marketing guidance or a new head of marketing to craft your next successful campaign, contact us today!