Marijuana-related businesses are on the rise, as more and more states bring medical and recreational legalization to the table. Though only four states currently allow legal growing and recreational sales of marijuana, a whopping 23 states currently permit medical marijuana use. But with state and federal law still conflicting, many of these businesses face significant difficulties: from being required to do business just in cash to severe limitations on marketing. So, how can marijuana-related companies market their product while still being within the bounds of the law?
Traditional advertising still has its place with some kinds of marijuana purveyors. In fact, some businesses have knocked it out of the park. In 2014, for example, the New York Times published an ad for a marijuana-purveyor: the first time any such ad had been placed in the paper’s long and illustrious history. The ad itself had been taken out by a Seattle-based startup formed shortly after Washington State began allowing the sale of pot for recreational users.
But the ad wasn’t for recreational smokers. Instead, it focused on medical users in a sympathetic light, targeted towards populations where medical marijuana use had recently been decriminalized. The ad was a savvy step to bypass the negative marijuana image problem and reach massive target audiences likely to be interested in the product. Whether for recreational or medical use, marijuana businesses are still businesses and need to rely on marketing that help return a profit.
Shedding negative stereotypes is one great way to help make marketing more effective, especially for medical marijuana companies. Accessing target markets (limited by the states and areas in which medical marijuana is legal) is also a critical concern. But what other marketing techniques do medical marijuana purveyors employ, and what are the industry trends? One key aspect is that medical marijuana users are likely to care most about strain: once they find one which best treats their symptoms, they’re unlikely to venture beyond it, but as frequent purchasers, they’re most likely to be price-sensitive. Medical marijuana marketing which promotes the capabilities of specific strains and emphasizes affordability (especially compared to traditional drug options) are all likely to be hits.
Marketing Recreational Marijuana
Unlike marijuana sold and used for medical purposes, recreational marijuana is often restricted in many ways. For example, it can often only be sold (in edibles and loose) in state-approved doses, in specific kinds of packaging which can often represent a financial burden to smaller dispensaries.
Preliminary research suggests that the majority of recreational sales happen to novelty users, who prioritize strains with good tastes or specific THC levels (such as low-THC strains for first-time users or extremely-high THC or CBD levels), and since video and radio advertisement is legally off-the-table, having attractive and well-placed storefronts can be critical.
Some companies promote their products in the style of healthcare products, prominently displaying on packaging the chemical components of their strain which are believed to have additional health benefits. Another large segment of buyers has little interest in smoking marijuana (hardly a surprise given the dramatic decline in traditional smoking), but is far more enticed by edibles. Many dispensaries are mixing marijuana strains with luxury or boutique food options to make the product more friendly and accessible.
But staying compliant within the framework of ever-shifting regulations can be immensely difficult. Plenty of businesses simply outsource marketing efforts to third-party organizations who make it their mission to stay ahead of the curve and crunch the consumer and industry data on behalf of their clients to generate the best marketing mix. For example, MJ Freeway Business Solutions recommends the use of competitive data, patient/consumer data, and marketing best practices.
Marijuana industries are exploding in the states which have legalized them, and some reports suggest that marijuana businesses are the fastest-growing industry in the U.S.. But because of strict legal codes and a sometimes-negative product image, marijuana can also be a somewhat tough sell if you don’t know what you’re doing. The best way to market marijuana involves understanding your market segment and catering to their preferences, while staying on top of legal and safety concerns.
Article Submitted By Community Writer