As the cannabis industry continues to be one of the fastest consumer markets, the tactics used by niche companies and startups are becoming more main-stream, legitimized and professional. That doesn’t, however, mean that the scary tactics of old have disappeared. In fact, some have become so predominant in a constantly growing culture, that one has to wonder if the cannabis community is doing its due diligence to foster a safe and healthy community.
Since it’s almost Halloween, it’s only fitting that we take a look at the most dangerous and, honestly, scariest marketing tactics some cannabis companies are choosing to use, and explain why you should stay away from using them as well.
Once upon a time, not really that long ago, commerce was relatively simple: you made a product and, hopefully, people bought it and you made money. Consumers based their purchase on product utility: did they need it and would they use it? They certainly didn’t give much thought about the company in terms of what it stood for, who was running it, what its religious or political beliefs were, or whether it shared the same values they had. They understood that companies were in business to make and sell products, and people either bought it or didn’t.
It was simple, really.
That’s how it was for decades.
Then, along came the Internet and everything changed.
The leaves are changing, the temperature is dropping and the summer is officially ending. While many will pack up flag t-shirts, put away leftover fireworks and clean that deliciously-used BBQ, we’re asking that you carry one thing with you as you say goodbye to summer and everything associated with it.
I consider myself a relatively new cannabis user. Other than the small number of times I was exposed to marijuana in college or high school, I’m a “newbie”; less than informed about strains and THC levels and everything in between. I’m a married, middle class professional mother of three, rediscovering this new world of cannabis as both a patient and a consumer.
In its simplest terms, marketing is the communication bridge between your target audience and your brand. So once you’ve taken the critical first step and nailed down what you stand for as a brand, you then need to determine how you want to engage with your target market.
When it comes to establishing a digital marketing presence, companies in the cannabis industry can’t follow the typical route. Many if not most advertising channels are unavailable to reach a broad market. Sure, there are tons of cannabis themed websites that cover topics from culture to growing to the business side of things and all are happy to take your money. Far fewer are able to deliver the sophistication of mainstream online advertising networks and platforms. For sure, things are evolving but we’re a long way from the digital cannabis space being on par with the mainstream. That being the case digital cannabis marketers need to think differently. Building visibility and connecting with your audience requires a dose of S.M.A.C. That’s short for Social, Mobile, Analytics and Content.
Before all is said and done, and you’re about to layout a roadmap for your canna brand, I believe there are five rules in building a brand you should know and, hopefully, follow. I’ve listed them in order of importance, as follows, and while the rules are relevant for any-size company, I’ve written them from the perspective of the start-up or smaller company, which we meet more often in this new category.
Do You Really Know Who Your Customer Is?
Whenever I hear a client say, generally with great conviction, “I know my customer,” my heart freezes, because, much too often, it’s related to his own less than objective perceptions, anecdotes from his sales people, or what the spouse says. But, you really cannot build your business on hearsay and assumptions. So, I ask one simple question: When is the last time you talked to your customer?
While you can’t market cannabis products on LinkedIn, B2B marketers in other industries still have the option to target marijuana and cannabis related businesses. LinkedIn will allow you to run pay per click online ads to this audience. You just need to know where to look.
Here are 4 ways you can find an audience using LinkedIn Ads