Cannabis business marketing should be a primary concern for every legal business owner at the moment. 

Cannabis business marketing is going to, potentially, become a very large business in a very short time.  

Right now, for all practical purposes, the cannabiz is a viable business opportunity.  It certainly has it’s pitfalls and downsides, but it’s still pretty simple to find a part of the industry that is a good fit, and start building a business.  Not everyone is going to have a huge dispensary or create the next CW; everyone does the ability to become part of the industry.  

At the moment, some form of legal marijuana and cannabis products are available in more US states than not; and while this might be a tenuous situation in another twelve months, right now the available information indicates that more adults want to have access to legal cannabis and marijuana than do not.  

What’s really going to happen if cannabis stays legal?

In our opinion, it’s going to become a horse race to get loyal clients onboard and to keep them – just like any other business, if you’re not offering the customer something that makes them want to come back, they will find another distributor that will. 

One of the biggest challenges that small companies will face is going to be the influx of big money into the industry as time progresses – already a number of ballot initiatives seem to give preference to those with money in the game at the moment (as they should, perhaps), almost as an advance defense against those that will be bringing vast sums and giant war chests when they arrive…  

Cannabis business marketing right now is what we’d consider “making hay while the sun shines”  – if you have a legal cannabiz, you should be doing your best to promote it and profit while you can.  If things go well and the business stays legal, then you’re just building a solid base for the future.  

If not, then at least you cashed out with the most that you could while you could. 

How should I market my cannabiz?

Each state has it’s own rules and laws about advertising – even the ones that have no rules and laws about it – and you’ll need to make sure you work within the confines of the state and local laws in order to be compliant.  You’re obviously not going to be compliant on a federal level, so just pay your taxes and let those chips fall where they will.  

Cannabis business marketing includes generating a master plan, or strategy for growth Click To Tweet

It should include both short and long term goals – number of customers, growth rate of new business, overall sales goals, monthly revenue goals, etc.  It should also include your projected expenditures in order to achieve these goals.  It stands to reason that without spending some money to get more exposure, you won’t increase revenue as quickly as you would if you advertised and marketed within the limits of your state and local laws. 

Are you allowed to have tasting parties?  Can you give away branded swag such as t-shirts?  Are you upselling and cross-selling customers in your dispensary to increase per ticket revenues?  If you’re allowed to, are you doing promotions with vendors such as vape makers, edibles distributors, and the like?

Maybe you don’t want to go it alone. 

Have you looked at using an agency to help you build awareness for your brand locally and statewide?  This is going to be a big one as we go into 2017.  There are definitely some restrictions here on where you can operate, but in many states there is no limit to where you can advertise to adults, even in areas that prohibit dispensaries. 

We’ve been to a number of shows recently, and we’re starting to see growth in the agency model for legal cannabis companies.  While they’re not for everyone, there will be agencies that will help dispensaries, delivery services, edibles and other product makers, to find and grow their markets exponentially.  

There are agencies who help potential business owners obtain their licensees, there are companies that help growers find compatible real estate, and there are consultants who help new licensees wade through the mountains of red tape to be compliant.  Why not agencies who help business owners with the business of marketing their companies?  We think it’s a great idea!

Back to “making hay while the sun shines”…

While no one knows what’s going to happen with the federal laws and how they are enforced with the incoming administration, and while it’s unlikely that on January 22, 2017, every dispensary will be simultaneously raided and shut down, it is important that you, as a cannabis business owner, ramp up your business while you can, take your profits and growth as you find it, and be prepared to be successful if the industry is left alone to grow next year.