by Daniel Ramirez, Belladonna Growhouse
Although the world is beginning to wake up to the benefits as well as the drawbacks of marijuana, stigma still remains. For that reason, then, businesses who are trying to market the now growing and improving marijuana industry can find that it’s more of a challenge than they would have expected. While some people are happy to look beyond the stigma, many others are a little less capable of doing so. This poses particularly unique problems in terms of strategy for the cannabis marketing industry.
What, then, should newbies trying to promote cannabis and marijuana appreciate about the challenges ahead?
- The Regulation Challenge
The first problem stems from the challenges of regulation. Given that many government authorities have yet to legalize marijuana, it can still be a challenge to get spotted on search engines. Many marketing programs such as pay-per-click marketing try to forbid such content, and thus it can be hard to make a push through traditional marketing means when it comes to marijuana.
Some areas are lax, but FDA regulation – amongst other government authorities- still say no. As such, the regulation issue makes it hard to use the most powerful channels to market the message properly.
- Brand Identity
In such a specific topic and market, it has become increasingly challenging for people to build what would be a normal brand identity. This means that for most businesses in the cannabis industry, following the typical accepted wisdom of marketing is not quite as easy as it may have once seemed.
It’s hard to get a development and a design that is going to help make sure a cannabis business can grow people outside of those already looking for the topic. The main challenge isn’t so much being spotted, but being able to appeal to people who don’t already use the plant.
One way that is possible is by maintaining a high quality blog, where all types of questions are being answered. Another must is having a good “about us” page to show that you are a real company, just like other companies that people might be more familiar with. Lastly, you could always start a museum and work on reaching a bigger audience from there.
- Lack of Traditional Opportunity
Another major issue is that the selling of cannabis is hardly a suitable connection to the likes of B2B marketing, direct mail programs, e-mail marketing, broadcast media and various other popular forms of marketing. For that reason, it has become a rather complex battle for businesses to try and overcome. At the moment, there is a major lack of traditional marketing opportunity for those who are looking to try and make their mark as time goes on.
Unsure how to make that stick? The challenges are going to exist for some time. It’s recommended that anyone looking at making themselves part of the thriving cannabis industry realizes that the typical modern forms of marketing have not yet caught smoke in this part of the industry.
It’s very hard to offer the kind of marketing arm that you would expect when it comes to promoting a product with such a splintered history and past. While possible, there is a huge amount of work, planning and preparation needed before those looking to make their first steps into the marijuana industry can ensure their message is both heard and taken seriously.
And, let’s keep in mind: If it’s hard, it means that not many people can make it work, so if you succeed, you’re one of the lucky few and you truly stand out.
Daniel Ramirez is the Chief Marketing Officer for Belladonna Growhouse, a fully licensed i502 producer/processor in Washington State. In addition to his work with Belladonna, Daniel owns and operates a marketing company specializing in online PR, social media marketing, branding and lead generation. Daniel is a graduate of San Diego State University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management with a focus in Entrepreneurship. Daniel is passionate about normalizing the responsible use of legal cannabis and shedding the stigma associated with the plant.
Source: The Cannabis Industry