Gearing Up For The New Year: How To Get Your Marketing Right

Gearing Up For The New Year: How To Get Your Marketing Right

Got big goals for the new year? Now’s the time to get ready for rollout. Proper master planning and detail-driven introspection are equally essential when it comes time to revitalize your marketing plan. Whether you’re overhauling your dispensary’s entire marketing plan, entering an emerging market, or launching a new edible, a careful look under the hood now will save you tons of time and trouble down the road.

Tuning up your cannabis marketing plan for 2024

Marketing is like a car. There are a whole lot of moving parts that work together or influence each other in some way. If even one piece is off-kilter or not performing at its best, it can have a domino effect that can be a real drag on your big plans. That’s why each component needs to stay in top shape for best results. Here’s how to comb through your current strategy as you plan for the year ahead.

Maintain your engine: Revisit your marketing plan

Without an engine, you won’t get anywhere, and the same is true if you don’t have a well thought out marketing plan to guide your cannabis business. 

A marketing plan is a detailed roadmap for your cannabis brand that outlines your marketing goals and how you intend to reach them. The plan contains measurable and actionable goals (also called SMART goals) for each aim you set. It should also include key performance indicators (KPIs) or metrics that can help you monitor your progress, see when things are working, and when you need to make a change.

When developing a marketing plan, keep in mind the difference between strategy and tactics. A marketing plan is a strategic document that outlines what you hope to achieve and the key elements to consider throughout the year. Tactics, the concrete steps you’ll take to fulfill your strategic goals, should come next.

Check your brakes: Review your compliance procedures

Before you can burn some serious rubber, you’ll need to make sure your brakes can handle the heat. In cannabis, regulatory compliance is paramount, so make sure your best practices are up to date and in line with your local and state regulations. While it’s helpful to take a look in your own garage, this critical component may need the assistance of an attorney, so don’t be afraid to seek outside legal counsel.

It’s a good time to pay attention to social media regulations too. If you haven’t looked at each platform’s terms of service in a while, it’s time for a refresher. This ensures that the content you’re planning for the new year is less likely to get pulled over via shadowban or suspension.

Adjust the alignment: Leverage data to track progress or change direction

Your engine is built and your brakes are good, but you need to make sure you’re moving in the right direction. Your marketing plan can help guide you here, but as you get rolling it’s important to regularly monitor your progress to ensure longevity and good mileage on your efforts.

Is your target audience active on the channels you expected them to be? Is your content driving engagement? What is performing best and on which channels, and what can use a tuneup? Use these insights along the way to adjust your direction and improve the efficacy of your marketing tactics. 

Build these adjustments into your marketing plan, either on a monthly or quarterly basis  — whichever best suits your team. Although your marketing plan serves as the engine that powers your brand, adjusting the alignment can help you stay on course as conditions on the racetrack change.

Rotate your tires: Give your brain a break

As the race drags on, everyone needs to make a pit stop now and then. Avoid burning out by building in time for team members to rest and recuperate. Your marketing plan and creative calendar should account for this by planning content in advance and scheduling posts to your blog, social media channels, and email marketing lists.

Keeping things moving is essential in cannabis marketing, but a bald tire can’t gain any traction. Make sure your plan is proactive and flexible enough to account for members of your marketing team taking time off. When they come back, they’ll be all the more ready to get back on the road.

Clean your spark plugs: Get fresh ideas in circulation

Rusty spark plugs keep your car from starting, and stale ideas hold back your marketing plan. Host regular brainstorming sessions with your team to tease out fresh ideas and, to really push the metaphor, spark some creativity. Customers like fresh ideas and new types of content, so use these brainstorms as ways to drum up something that folks will be eager to watch or read. As always, make sure your ideas comport with your brand identity, but don’t be afraid to get a little out of the box. After all, race fans love a bit of excitement. 

Change your oil: Refresh your content

Like father always insisted, regular oil changes are critical, and so is maintaining the existing content you’ve already created. Check your blog to see if any old content can be refreshed with new statistics or timely framing. Consider how social media algorithms have changed and whether you can tweak your approach to improve your odds of going viral and driving big engagement. While much of your focus may be on developing new ideas and new content, you can’t forget to show some love to what’s already out there. Your cannabis brand and marketing efforts need to be cohesive, and sometimes that takes a little bit of preventive maintenance as your approach evolves.

Trick out your ride: Find ways to stand out

The best way to stand out from the crowd is to build something truly unique that shows off your personality and style. Cannabis branding is much more than just creating a logo and color scheme; it’s about establishing a vibe that encompasses your entire company. Make sure your marketing plan is tied to a brand identity designed to resonate with your target audience, giving them more than just a product or service to buy but a relationship to build. Strong brands drive customer loyalty and repeat business, so craft yours with this in mind.

Cannabis marketing made easy

If this checklist sounds like a lot, you might consider choosing a cannabis marketing agency to help you out. If so, CannaContent is ready to serve as your pit crew chief. Our team of award-winning journalists, big brand creatives, and dedicated marketing professionals can help you craft a unique and effective approach that will help your cannabis brand cut through the clutter and make a name for itself. Request a quote today to learn more about how CannaContent can help you succeed in the rapidly growing cannabis industry.

6 Things We’re Grateful for in Cannabis

6 Things We’re Grateful for in Cannabis

As the aroma of Thanksgiving feasts fill the air, there’s a lot to be thankful for in the cannabis industry. At CannaContent, we’re celebrating the season by recognizing the many things that make the space so special, from the plant’s natural healing properties to the social progress the legalization movement has achieved. Although there is always more work to be done — and we look forward to doing our part in the new year — join us in celebration and gratitude for the good things this plant and legalization has brought to us.

1. Therapeutic benefits

For so many of us in the cannabis industry, there is a personal story of how cannabis has helped us or a loved one. That firsthand experience of the therapeutic power of the plant serves as a motivator for countless cannabis advocates, entrepreneurs, and professionals. At the heart of the cannabis industry is the therapeutic potential of the plant. Cannabis’s ability to improve lives, from those with chronic conditions to those who simply need some help relaxing at the end of the day, is what really makes it special.

We’re grateful for the millennia that cannabis has offered humans a way to feel better in so many different ways, be it helping to treat an illness, alleviate pain, or get a better night’s sleep. And we’re also grateful that innovation and development in the legal cannabis industry are giving people access to more powerful types of medicinal and therapeutic cannabis products than ever before. 

2. Growing variety of products 

As the cannabis industry grows, so too does the number of product types available to consumers. Gone are the days of just lighting up a joint, as the market has blossomed into a diverse playground catered to every consumer’s personal needs and preferences. Whether you’re sipping on an infused beverage, pampering your skin with topicals, or indulging in a decadent edible, there’s truly something out there for everyone. 

This inclusivity not only broadens accessibility but also speaks to the versatility of cannabis as a plant that seamlessly integrates into various aspects of our lives. 

“When I was younger, we always just thought about getting some flower and smoking,” said Adam Uzialko, CannaContent’s co-founder and managing editor. “But there’s so much more to the plant than that. Today, there’s a product type for every circumstance and preference you could think of. I still like to smoke flower, but sometimes an edible or infused beverage fits the bill. Other times, it’s not even about getting high; infused topicals have done wonders for my back pain. Each of these products has a place in my life.”

3. Community engagement

The cannabis industry’s impact extends beyond its products and into a role of community engagement and social equity. In acknowledging the imperfect legacy of the War on Drugs, the rise of cannabis markets forced us to grapple with historical injustices. Notably, dispensaries like Union Square Travel Agency, founded in partnership with the non-profit The Doe Fund, redirects over half of their profits to programs providing transitional and permanent housing, employment, and support services to people who have experienced homelessness and incarceration.

Initiatives like this play a crucial role in righting the wrongs of the War on Drugs, aiming to heal communities and foster a more equitable future for cannabis. Many cannabis businesses also contribute to this process by investing in education initiatives to inform consumers and the general public about the plant, its effects, and responsible consumption. As legalization continues to gain momentum, prioritizing local empowerment and engagement promotes economic growth and nurtures a sense of community pride.

While we recognize that the journey toward social equity in the cannabis industry is a work in progress, these conversations are an integral part of our community’s healing. We’re grateful that they’re underway and efforts are being made to work towards a brighter, more equitable future.

4. Economic growth

The growth of the cannabis industry has led to the creation of new jobs and career opportunities for nearly half a million people. According to Vangst’s 2023 job report, the cannabis industry supports 417,493 full-time equivalent jobs in the U.S. From cultivation to processing, retail, and ancillary services, the cannabis sector has become a real job maker and a significant driver of economic growth. 

What’s particularly exciting is that, as legalization gains momentum, so does the potential for even more job creation and economic development. It’s not just about the plant; it’s about cultivating a thriving industry that fosters employment, innovation, and economic growth for entire communities. 

5. Advancements in public policy

As attitudes around cannabis have changed and legal markets are established, more individuals have access to cannabis for adult use and medicinal purposes. In 2023 alone, states like Ohio, Delaware, and Minnesota took the forward-thinking steps to legalize adult-use cannabis. It’s a domino effect we’re thrilled to see as more states step up and consider similar measures. 

As legislative barriers continue to crumble, New Jersey’s decision to allow edibles is just another example of the evolving and accommodating landscape. While there is still an extensive amount of change to be made, we’re grateful to witness the dawn of a new era for cannabis – one where accessibility and acceptance take center stage. 

Of course, many eyes are on the federal government, which still classifies cannabis as an illegal Schedule I drug. However, some federal officials are becoming more vocal about the prospects of federal legalization. Most recently, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) renewed his calls for Congress to act on federal cannabis reform, noting that the “time has come” to end prohibition.

6. Unique opportunities for connection 

Cannabis, beyond its therapeutic potential, unfolds as a catalyst for meaningful connections. Whether shared among friends or embraced into the broader cannabis community, the plant offers bonding opportunities that go beyond the traditional social sphere. 

Jordan Lang, CannaConent’s social media coordinator, said she loves the way cannabis is able to bring people together in conversation. “It’s so beautiful to be able to create connections with people over the plant, and the opportunities for education are endless.” 

In these shared moments, the boundaries blur, creating a space where we can authentically connect, share stories, and forge deeper bonds.

Counting our blessings at CannaContent  

As we bring this CannaContent celebration of gratitude to a close, we’re reminded of the multifaceted marvel that is cannabis. From its changing legislation to blossoming community connections and diverse product offerings, the plant and industry stand as an evolving gift that enriches our lives in countless ways. And though many challenges remain in the cannabis industry and our communities, taking time for gratitude and reflection can only serve to strengthen our resolve to continue improving conditions for everyone as we move forward into a new year.

Digital Goes IRL: How Retail Design and Internet Marketing Unite to Elevate Dispensaries

Digital Goes IRL: How Retail Design and Internet Marketing Unite to Elevate Dispensaries

As your dispensary barrels into the next busy season, digital marketing alone can’t do all the heavy lifting. Connecting your efforts to the retail experience is paramount to winning over new happy customers who intend to return time and again. How are you leveraging all the tools at your disposal before major shopping events like Green Wednesday, Black Friday, and 4/20?

Budder Creative Co-Founder and Principal Creative Michael Marra joined CannaContent Founder and Content Strategist Stella Morrison for an in-depth conversation about the many ways digital marketing goes IRL.

The retail experience in cannabis: What lessons can we learn from other industries? 

Marra, who has prior experience working with brands like DKNY and Estee Lauder, walked viewers through the essential components of the retail experience and what marketers consider as they design a space.

“All these [interactions with customers] happen in different places and it’s important to have a plan for the path to purchase to ensure that the customer journey is meaningful and intentional,” Marra said. “This allows for a more robust and memorable retail experience.”

Some of the areas Marra highlighted include:

Promoting hero products

Where are your best-sellers, top products, or seasonal products located in the dispensary? Where and how they’re displayed is key to giving shoppers what they want, steering them to what you want them to buy, or guiding them to walk a certain path through the store.

“The first thing that we would consider in traditional retail would be an opportunity for promoting new and notable,” Marra said. “And this shouldn’t just be new things — often, there are seasonal promotions and cross-merchandising opportunities to highlight, too.”

What these opportunities look like depends on what you want to accomplish. A marketing campaign to promote vaporizers alongside flower has different aims than showcasing gingerbread-flavored edibles for the winter holidays.

Educating shoppers

The more information you can provide about a product, the more likely customers are to understand its purpose and use — and they’re more likely to be satisfied with it when they buy. Signage accompanying a product display can offer supporting information that doesn’t fit on a product package. You may want to consider leveraging QR codes for this as well.

“Not only does it give you a better opportunity to sell that product and present it in a meaningful way, but it creates a cohesive experience that helps build trust with customers,” Marra shared.

Marketing opportunities

The many touchpoints between shoppers and products throughout the dispensary creates opportunities to involve brand partners, something quite common in traditional retail. Marketing and brand activation initiatives often found in traditional retail can and should make their way into a dispensary’s marketing plans.

“There are opportunities for supporting your brand partners to consider,” Marra said.

Signage and flyers are two common examples you’ll see in dispensaries. You’ll find some other examples throughout this blog. Notably, Marra said, window displays common in retail are off-limits or quite restricted for most dispensaries. 

How do digital marketing and the retail experience converge?

The lines between online and brick-and-mortar experiences are blurring, both in the literal sense like the Metaverse and figurative, yet still equally real, ways.

“When we approach retail, we think… that your first point of contact is probably one of those streams of social or web,” Marra said. “How do we continue that conversation in a meaningful way?”

The shopping experience starts before customers step through the door

The internet has profoundly changed how consumers shop. With a wealth of information at their fingertips, the overwhelming majority of customers Google your dispensary, a particular strain, or a brand before they step foot in the store. (And once they’re in the store, there’s a chance they’re looking up brands or strains while standing in front of the products, too!)

With so many folks interacting with your dispensary before their visit, it opens an opportunity to meaningfully engage with customers before that first visit to your shop. This sort of reputation-building can lay the foundation for repeat visitors well before consumers come to the store. 

Digital marketing helps shape in-person shopper expectations

In many ways, a dispensary’s digital marketing primes customers for the retail experience. Shoppers see pictures and videos of the store on social media, in emails, on your website, and on your Google Business Profile. Through these touchpoints, they become familiar with your store layout and your product displays. This means they’ll have a general idea of what they need to do and where they need to go when they arrive. If the real-life experience deviates from what customers have seen online, it may not leave a favorable impression.

Take NYC dispensary Union Square Travel Agency as an example. When the store opened its Union Square location, CannaContent produced blogs that illustrated the experience shoppers can expect in the dispensary’s Flower Lounge, its Eero Saarinen-influenced-inspired interior, and what you can expect when interacting with budtenders. This type of content not only engages first-time visitors, but sets them up to expect an enriching experience.

Continuity between digital and retail messaging can shape customer behavior

You want your dispensary’s messaging to strike the same notes across all customer touchpoints. This is called omnichannel merchandising, and it’s key to locking in sales. This strategy ensures you can steer as many customers as possible to take the actions in store you want them to take. This requires tapping into retail marketing best practices, understanding how shoppers move through a store, and how they interact with the options in front of them.

4 ways to use digital marketing to support the in-store experience

Retail and digital marketing strategies are part of the same equation. Working together creates a best-in-class brick-and-mortar experience that begins way before that first visit. Here’s how you start. 

1. Email marketing, text message marketing, and in-store product placement

The close collaboration and communication between digital marketers and the retail experience ensures the customer journey is seamless. A key part of this is product placement itself. Customers get an email or a text message about a special promotion or sale, and they come into the store to take advantage of the deal. Where are you displaying those products, and how? Utilizing your retail space helps draw in shoppers and encourages them to take the actions you want them to take.

From cash wrap product displays to a brand’s shelf presence, digital marketing teams can check in with retailers to make sure those sale products are easy to find. Even details as simple as lighting can make a world of difference in drawing shoppers’ eyes where you want them to go.

“You’re presenting products in a way that should feel precious, interesting, and something that you want to take home,” Marra said. 

2. Social media marketing and setting customer expectations

Use TikTok, Reels, and other social media platforms to show customers the kind of experience they can expect when they come to your dispensary. From practical advice to sexy marketing videos, use the power of the customer’s feed to start the conversation way before the viewer types “dispensary near me” into a search engine.

“You want the conversation to continue in a natural way,” Marra said. 

Some ways you can leverage social media to support the experience in the physical store include:

  • Showing customers where in the store they can find a new product
  • Prominently featuring budtenders and staff members in social media content
  • Sharing messaging on social media that can be seen or experienced in the dispensary

3. Content marketing, consumer education, and store organization

Each shopper’s relationship with cannabis is unique and individualized. Many are learning to look up products beyond the indica/sativa divide, which is a classification of the plant’s appearance and not its effects. 

One such way to organize products is by effect. Shoppers know that different product types are best for certain desired outcomes, like energy, focus, relaxation, or creativity. This is supported through search engine data, which shows consumers are increasingly aware that different types of cannabis products and cultivars have different effects. This opens an opportunity to create content and build a marketing campaign around effects, which is further emphasized by effects-specific displays in the store.

“Cannabis affects different people in different ways, but there are certain aspects to the effects of different strains that can be promoted,” Marra said. “If you have a place to start the conversation, it makes this uncertain experience better. If someone comes into the store and isn’t sure what to buy, but they know they can’t sleep and they see a sleep section, this gives them a place to go.”

Marra emphasized how this retail design can also give customers “talking points” to explore other products and answer the most common question customers have: “What do you recommend?”

“That sale is very dependent on the budtender’s response,” Marra said, adding that the effects-based displays encourage more specific conversations with dispensary staff. “With this approach, the conversation [with the budtender] has already started.”

4. TV displays and product marketing

Considering how many other menu touchpoints there are — from online and app-based menus to in-store kiosks — Marra encourages retailers to think of other ways to leverage that valuable space behind the budtenders to educate customers and share other important information.

“The area behind the [point of sale] is often underutilized,” Marra shared. “People often focus on putting menus up, and maybe they’re all repeating or scrolling the same content.” 

Marra encourages retailers to get creative with what goes on these screens.

“The TV screens don’t need to display menus all the time,” Marra said. “This could open up a cool opportunity to talk more about your dispensary, promoting a particular product, or cross-promoting multiple products … Now, maybe, a shopper is interested in a different type of product they wouldn’t have considered before.”

Align retail and dispensary marketing in time for the busy season

Whether you’re preparing for Green Wednesday or gearing up for 7/10, retail and digital marketing efforts are dependent on one another for success. These omnichannel marketing opportunities create an experience that can turn one-time shoppers into enthusiastic, repeat customers. With a strong customer focus that takes both retail and digital marketing into account, your dispensary marketing becomes an unstoppable force as you head into the most important sales seasons.

Turn to digital marketing experts who know the importance of involving all stakeholders. At CannaContent, our team prioritizes working closely with everyone on your team, from store managers to CMOs and everyone in between. When everyone is on the same page, your marketing plans level up to an unstoppable force.

The Bones Of A Good Cannabis Marketing Plan

The Bones Of A Good Cannabis Marketing Plan

Whether you’re focused on one marketing campaign or a broader strategy, a strong marketing plan is the necessary backbone for success. This essential document — or set of documents — keeps your marketing team on track. Whether you’re a small business owner wearing all the hats or you have a marketing team, a well constructed marketing plan is an indispensable tool for getting the word out.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan describes the tangible steps a company intends to take to achieve the goals outlined in its marketing strategy. These goals can include:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Nurturing leads
  • Driving sales
  • Launching products or services
  • Data-gathering for future planning

Depending on your goals and workflow, you may choose to create marketing plans on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis. Regardless, your marketing plan should be an evolving document that’s constantly revised and updated as you gather additional data from each of your campaigns.

For smaller businesses and nimble teams, one overarching marketing plan should be plenty. For larger operations, a marketing plan may consist of additional smaller plans, such as a social media marketing plan, content marketing plan, or a new product launch plan. This can help separate teams move in the same direction in their respective focus areas.

What do the bones of a good marketing plan include?

Executive summary

This section is an overview of your marketing plan. It’s useful for communicating what your plan covers to those who are not in the marketing trenches. 

Target audience

Describe in this section the types of customers most likely to need your product and services. If you have it, use data if you can to back up these ideas. You can also develop buyer personas, which are detailed characters that represent each type of customer. These profiles help you zero in on the right messaging.

Objectives

In this section, set some clear, measurable goals you would like to achieve. These should be goals that easily link to a set of key performance indicators (KPIs). Consider metrics like impressions, conversions, and sales that can be tied back to your marketing activities. If you can’t quantify your goal to monitor success, it might not be the best target to include.

Competitive analysis

The best marketing plans include a competitor analysis so you can see what works, what doesn’t work, and what you can do to be different. There are many ways to conduct this analysis, including a SWOT analysis, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Whichever method you employ, be sure to analyze your top competitors to get an understanding of what they’re doing (and what they’re not) and how that creates opportunities for your marketing team to cut through the noise.

Budget

Staying on budget is critical, as your marketing campaigns should ultimately drive an overall return on investment (ROI). Your budget should outline anything you plan to spend money on, including:

  • Expected labor costs
  • Ad spend
  • Tools and subscription costs
  • Merch production costs
  • Event marketing costs
  • Sponsorship fees

It should also include anticipated revenue from your marketing activities. 

12 strategies a cannabis marketing plan should consider

Whether you’re opening a dispensary or launching a new product, the below 11 strategies may find a home in your marketing plan as you build out its structure. Not every strategy is applicable for every marketing plan, but this list gives you things to think about.

1. SEO

Short for search engine optimization, SEO is an umbrella term that includes all the tactics that help your website reach customers on search engines. In cannabis, SEO is one of the few channels not subject to restrictions in itself, although any activities done to enhance SEO, like content marketing, must still adhere to your state’s rules.

Paid advertising is a sticky subject in cannabis, as platforms like Google Ads technically do not allow cannabis content. However, many dispensaries and other types of cannabis companies attempt workarounds, sometimes successfully.

3. Social media

TikTok, Instagram, Linkedin, and other social media platforms are another tricky one for cannabis, as many of these platforms have policies prohibiting cannabis content. But the fact is, customers still look for your company on these platforms. Getting creative with out-of-the-box ideas, influencer partnerships, and other tactics can help you excel on these platforms.

4. Content marketing

Tied closely to SEO, social media, and email marketing, a robust content marketing plan provides readers with the information needed to make good decisions about their choices – and ultimately, the choice to buy from you. Depending on your sector, this can include:

  • Cannabis education
  • In-depth gated content
  • Case studies
  • Product reviews
  • Interviews and spotlights

5. Email marketing

In the cannabis industry, email marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach customers. Reaching a customer in their inbox is a powerful thing. There are many cannabis-friendly email marketing platforms that you can use to set up email lists, design and send emails, build drip campaigns, analyze data, and more.

6. Text message marketing

Text message marketing may be very effective, but it doesn’t come without its headaches in the cannabis industry. It’s not uncommon for cannabis companies to be kicked off messaging platforms or by the networks themselves that do not want to disseminate cannabis-related sales information. It’s still a valuable and powerful avenue to leverage for many cannabis companies. Many of the cannabis-friendly tools for email marketing also include a text message marketing component, so be sure to look for that feature when evaluating vendors.

7. Video marketing

Video is one of the most powerful ways to connect to and build relationships with customers. Whether your campaign calls for a full video production or just some quick clips captured on a quality smartphone, this tactic can be used to enhance many strategies on this list.

8. Out-of-home and digital out-of-home

Out-of-home and digital out-of-home (OOH and DOOH) refers to ads like billboards that your customers encounter while out and about. Depending on your state’s regulations and the policies of the company that owns the property, cannabis advertising may be allowed. Some companies have restrictions, such as not showing a pot leaf, while others have few to no restrictions.

9. Programmatic advertising

Generally regarded as a safer alternative to paid search because they are designed specifically for cannabis, programmatic advertising uses advanced targeting and automated media buying technologies to reach your target audience. Be sure to work with a company that is cannabis-friendly, such as Surfside.

10. Retail marketing

This strategy involves tactics you may leverage to bring people into your shop and how they navigate your store once they step foot inside. Many of these strategies are regulated by state or local law, so be sure to brush up on what’s allowed in your state before making your marketing plan. Some common retail marketing elements include:

  • Pop-up events, commonly leveraged by brands in dispensaries
  • Loyalty programs and promotions
  • Retail design
  • Window displays

11. Trade shows and event marketing

Trade shows remain an effective and popular way for cannabis companies to get in front of an audience of interested customers. Whether you have a booth, sponsor a trade show, or simply go to enjoy the scene, it may be worth investigating trade show marketing options in a desired geographic region or by specialty.

12. Cross-promotion

Cannabis companies are better together! Opportunities for cross-promotion can expose new audiences to your products or services. Your marketing plan may want to include opportunities for alignment with other brands and ways you can work together to elevate one another’s profile.

4 challenges for creating a cannabis marketing plan

If you want to ensure your cannabis marketing plan has legs, there are some realities to take into account. 

1. State regulations

Because cannabis remains federally illegal, each state sets up and regulates its own supply chain. That means the rules vary from state to state. Even in places like New York and New Jersey, which are right next to one another, the marketing rules can be quite different. The bottom line: you need to be intimately familiar with the marketing regulations in your state when crafting your marketing plan. 

Common state regulations for plant-touching companies like dispensaries and cannabis product brands include requirements to avoid marketing to underaged people, restrictions on how and where you can advertise, and packaging requirements. Some states also prohibit tactics that non-cannabis companies take for granted, such as sales and discounts. You may want to take the extra step of showing your marketing plan to legal counsel or a compliance specialist to ensure everything you’ve included is in line with your state’s regulations.

2. Channel restrictions and limitations

There are some marketing channels that don’t like to provide a platform for cannabis. Some social media platforms frequently suspend cannabis accounts for terms of service violations. Marketing and advertising on some conventional media outlets, like television or radio, may violate regulations. Understand where you can safely market and what type of content is permitted on each platform to avoid wasting time and money on an effort that ends up being counter-productive.

Want to learn more about social platforms and how social media algorithms work? Check out our guide on how to succeed at social media marketing.

3. Evolving audience demographics

The cannabis industry is a rapidly changing place that serves brand-new customers and seasoned veterans at the same time in the same markets. As new product types become more common, the way existing consumers shop changes as well. It’s critical to keep your finger on the pulse of the market by staying apprised of the latest headlines, hosting focus groups, and issuing customer surveys.

4. Overcoming stigma

Although most Americans can access some form of legal cannabis, traces of stigma still remain. This can have an effect on your marketing plans and even change course on some of your ideas. For example, some communities may not want a dispensary to sponsor a community cleanup or health fair due to optics. Such a denial means you would have to go back to the drawing board. It’s a good idea to have backup ideas and contingency plans in place for these instances, especially when trying something new.

Cannabis marketing plan mistakes to avoid

Avoiding fractures in your cannabis marketing plan is as simple as conducting your due diligence early. Avoiding these mistakes ensures your marketing plan has strong bones that won’t bend or break under pressure. 

  • Skipping over research: Your marketing plan should be grounded in real data and research whenever possible. Don’t make assumptions about your target audience or your competitors when working on these sections of your plan. Whether you’re incorporating historical sales data, customer feedback, or granular competitor analysis, make sure it’s based on verifiable facts to the greatest extent possible.
  • Unrealistic budgeting: Trying to make your budget look pretty on paper sets you up for disappointment when the actuals come in. Be conservative in your estimates and do your best to stay as close to your true expectations as possible. Underestimating expenses and overestimating revenue is a recipe for disaster, but it happens more often than you might think.
  • No specifics: When you don’t include enough detail or measurable goals in your marketing plan, it can leave you unprepared for the fast-paced, ongoing realities of marketing. If your plan is focused on social media marketing, for example, it should identify which channels you’re pursuing, which types of users you’d like to reach, and an estimate of how much content you’ll need on a weekly basis to reach those goals. Try to get as specific as possible in each section, and remember the importance of quantifying your activities. If you can’t tie it to a number, it may not be detailed enough.

How to prepare to launch your cannabis marketing plan

Audit the basics

Cannabis marketing plans are all about good bones — they’re foundational and keep your strategy upright. The same goes for your daily operations. Take the time to check the major components of your campaign for form and function before you begin.

Some elements to audit include:

  • Website load times, user experience, and overall functionality, including proper form and lead collection setup
  • How you’re collecting customer information, organizing it, and leveraging it across multiple strategy types
  • Conducting an inventory of the content on your website and using that as a base to create more content or build educational campaigns

Know your audience

We talked about it before, but it bears repeating. Spreading the word involves knowing who you’re talking to. “Anyone with a wallet” isn’t helpful as consumers become more nuanced and discerning in this rapidly-maturing market. Take the time to learn about your customers, whether through their past purchasing behaviors, market trends in your city, or through developing personas and tailoring your marketing plan to specific audiences. 

Map the customer journey

Put yourself in a potential customer’s shoes. Is it easy for them to sign up for emails, receive texts, or enter into an Instagram contest? If you or your team find it difficult or annoying to go through the motions, chances are, your audience will, too. Refine this process before launching any campaign.

Solidify your budget

This is another point that deserves multiple mentions. Burning through the budget can be detrimental to a campaign, especially if it’s working and you can no longer afford it. Think conservatively before any launch, and always account for any extras or incidents that may pop up along the way.

Develop a top notch cannabis marketing plan with CannaContent

No bones about it, a well thought out marketing plan is essential for reaching your target market effectively. Unless you’re a professional marketer, it can be tricky to make sure you’ve checked all the right boxes. That’s where CannaContent can help. Our team of experienced creatives and project managers have years of experience serving all market segments of the cannabis industry. We can develop and execute upon a comprehensive marketing plan that connects your business to your target market. If you’re ready to take command of your cannabis brand, contact us for a quote today.

    Why Is Video So Important For Marketing Cannabis on Social Media?

    Why Is Video So Important For Marketing Cannabis on Social Media?

    Video content is the current undisputed star in social media marketing. This medium is reshaping how companies connect with customers and stand out in a crowded marketplace. Nearly every marketer — 99% of marketers, according to Hubspot — reports that they plan to continue using video over the coming year.

    How can cannabis businesses take advantage of this powerful medium? Learn what makes video so effective for social media marketing and how you can use it for your cannabis business.

    10 reasons to use video on your cannabis company’s social media profiles

    Through video, cannabis brands can tell stories, showcase personalities, and convey messages in a way that resonates with customers. While you may need to get creative with how you leverage video for social media — thanks to the numerous guidelines that disallow cannabis content on popular platforms — good cannabis marketers are used to thinking outside the box.

    1. Video engages all generations

    Video content is the preferred format among all generations, and particularly among the 50% of millennials and Gen Z who claim they “don’t know how they’d get through life” without video in their daily lives. More than half of boomers watch videos, while 75% of Gen Xers engage with video content at least monthly. There’s lots of variety here when it comes to video length, preferred device for watching, and preferred platform, but the essentials are the same: people love watching videos.

    By creating and sharing engaging, informative content, videos reach consumers where they are. Videos possess a unique ability to captivate attention and convey emotions, whether the average age of your audience is 25 or 85.

    2. Viewers are more likely to share videos

    Just over half of social media users are more likely to share videos with their friends over graphics and other types of content. By providing the content viewers want, you increase your chances of reaching new audiences who may not follow you already. 

    3. Converts viewers to buyers

    A well-crafted video can help nudge potential customers one step closer to buying from or working with your business. Videos help people understand your product or service in a quick and easy to digest manner, with an incredible 96% of consumers saying they watch an explainer video before they buy a product. No wonder 92% of marketers say that video offers a positive return on investment

    4. Your brand is more accessible and personable through video  

    Videos serve as a dynamic tool in humanizing your brand to your customer base. The ability to command attention and tell a story creates opportunities to build stronger connections with your audience and engage with your audience on a more personal level. Content like behind-the-scenes videos and interviews show the human side of your business — and humans like to connect with other humans.

    5. You can make it work on a budget

    Not all videos need a boost from professionals with high-grade equipment (don’t get us wrong — many circumstances call for this proper setup). You can create good video content for social media with a modest budget and items you already have on hand. Considering the kind of mileage you can get out of video, you may find that this medium is one of the most cost-effective marketing tools in your arsenal.

    Think about it this way. Shoot one video – a video that could be as simple as someone talking to the camera – and it can be edited for use on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, X (fka Twitter), and Pinterest. That’s seven platforms out of a single video! And that’s not including the omnichannel marketing opportunities you can make work for your campaigns. Extending this logic, a single day of filming can yield weeks or months of content that can be edited, remixed, and repurposed in numerous ways. 

    6. Videos have a longer shelf-life

    Video content is also known to stick around longer than traditional content. For example, TikTok videos can resurface in users’ For You Pages for weeks or months after publication. This ensures that your content will continue to engage and captivate audiences long after it’s first shared. 

    7. Video improves exposure and engagement 

    If you’ve logged onto social media recently, a video probably came up first on your feed. This is because video content typically performs best with most social media algorithms due to its ability to capture the viewer’s attention for longer periods of time. 

    Videos are also more likely to be shared on social media than other types of content. Studies show that video is shared 1,200% more than images and text combined. This is especially true for live videos, which have the highest engagement rate of all content types

    Don’t shy away from incorporating live streams into your socials now and then. However, prepare yourself with a clear objective and structured outline to ensure your message comes across successfully. 

    8. Provides powerful and valuable data 

    Did you know that YouTube’s algorithm for recommendations drives 70% of what people watch on the platform

    Incorporating video content into your social media strategy unlocks a treasure trove of valuable geographic and demographic data to analyze. This approach can empower your brand to create more content based on your viewer’s online behaviors. Utilizing these analytics also provides the data you need to test narratives and formats to determine which types of content are being watched in full — and subsequently appeal more to the interests of your followers. 

    9. Makes info more digestible 

    Whether through animations, demonstrations, or real-life examples, video transforms intricate ideas into accessible, bite-sized portions of knowledge. Studies continuously indicate that social media users gravitate toward concise content, with the majority unlikely to engage with lengthy captions or graphics. Utilizing video content is a great way to condense complex concepts into visually engaging narratives, ultimately facilitating a quicker understanding for the audience. 

    10. Allows for more creative freedom

    Video content provides an open canvas for new ideas. Unlike static images or written text, videos are a dynamic way to experiment with storytelling techniques, visual effects, music, and more. The use of sound, for example, can help direct an idea and bring traction to your video where you least expect it. With video, your brand will more easily capture the audience’s attention and showcase your unique identity, visions, and values. 

    Achieving success with social media video content 

    Now that you’ve got a better understanding of video’s role in social media marketing strategy, it’s time to take it to the next level: actually creating good content. For starters, you’ll need a handle on your target demographic, what those in that demo want to see, and the social media platform you’re using. But once those basics are down pat, there are a few specifics to keep in mind when it’s time to start creating.

    What are the most effective types of video content?

    Each type of video on social media has its own unique role to play in engaging your audience and conveying your message. Some of the most effective types of video content for social media include: 

    • Live videos: Engage your audience in real time with authentic and interactive videos. These can help bridge a stronger, more personal connection between your brand or company and the viewers. 

    • Product reviews: Offer authentic and informative insights into your products with product review videos, whether recorded by your team or influencers in your network. These videos help demonstrate the value and benefits of your products while offering customers the information they need to make an educated purchasing decision. Plus, customers are more motivated to buy something after watching a video about it.

    • Client testimonials: Showcase footage of satisfied customers sharing their positive experience with your products or services. This provides vital social proof that helps build trust among potential clients.

    • Behind-the-scenes footage: Provide a glimpse of the inner workings of your business. This offers transparency and helps to humanize your brand to build deeper connections with your target audience. 

    • User-generated content (UGC): Highlight videos created by your customers. This helps foster a sense of community while building continued trust with your customer base. To boot, leveraging UGC significantly reduces your team’s production time and costs. 

    4 tips for successful videos on TikTok and beyond

    Crafting compelling videos for social media involves a blend of creativity, strategy, and technical know-how. Consider these four essential tips to ensure your videos stand out: 

    1. Understand regulatory requirements: It’s especially important for cannabis brands to familiarize themselves with any laws or regulations governing content in their field. Adhering to these requirements will keep you compliant and build trust with your audience. For example, if a social media platform explicitly says no smoking, don’t post a video that shows you lighting up a joint.

    2. Keep it short and sweet: Attention spans on social media are limited, so delivering your message quickly and efficiently is crucial for retaining engagement. Keep videos concise and to the point. The sweet spot for “longer” videos is 2 to 10 minutes, but some platforms don’t allow longer videos as a rule. Plan your content around the time constraints of your chosen platform.

    3. Prioritize accessibility: Ensure your videos are inclusive by providing closed captions or subtitles. Platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and LinkedIn do this for you automatically, or you can work with a transcription service or software to take this on for you. On a related note, be sure to use clear visuals and avoid overly complex graphics so audiences of all abilities can clearly understand what you’re doing.

    4. Invest in quality: Good lighting, clear audio, and stable shots make all the difference in the world. These items elevate your video into one that looks polished and professional. Trust us, it’s worth the investment.

    Elevate your social media video marketing strategy with professional expertise 

    Even armed with all this insight, we understand that diving into video marketing can feel like a daunting task when going at it alone. That’s where a professional cannabis digital marketing agency like CannaContent comes in. Our team of experts offers specialized knowledge of the cannabis industry to guide you through the process of formulating an outstanding video market plan. From ideation to execution, we’re here to help you create content that resonates with your target audience and aligns with your brand’s vision and goals. If you’re ready to bring your cannabis brand to the next level, request a quote today.