Marketing: is the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers, for the purpose of selling that product or service. (Wikipedia)
Marketing is an essential function of all businesses that want to be successful and profitable. This is no different for the emerging cannabis industry. In the infancy stage the industry is at today, most business owners aren’t thinking about marketing because they either have lines out the door or they are not able to produce enough product to meet their customer demands.
Like alcohol and tobacco, there will be major competition as the industry matures and you can bet the major players in the alcohol and tobacco business will be getting involved. This won’t happen until the federal prohibition is lifted but you can guarantee when it does, there will be no one with money and power to equal these behemoths.
As a professional marketer, I have heard similar rationale on all the reasons why a given business is not in the position to market. They are easy to come up with and certainly easier than developing/implementing a marketing strategy. With the legalization of cannabis there is no doubt, like alcohol & tobacco, the customer will always be there but you have to capitalize on each customer.
That being said, the cannabis business owners who take the time and money to invest into marketing now will have a major advantage over those who continue to live off their customer base and think “it’s weed, I don’t have to market.”
Many of the current cannabis business owners have had experience with cannabis growing or selling prior to opening their business. Upon starting their business, they quickly learned there is a lot more to being successful than just growing high quality cannabis. We have already seen many shops closed for various reasons (not including the ones shut down by federal government) and as the competition continues to increase we will see more close.
It is imperative that the cannabis business owners start to become students of marketing and learn the rules they have to follow. Building their brand, staying in constant communication and differentiating themselves from the competition are 3 very important keys to long term stability and success.
The marketing mix is key to marketing success and the cannabis industry it is no different. At this time, we know what the product is, general pricing (dependent on medicinal purchase or adult purchase), the place is the store location but the piece that is missing 99% of the current owners is the promotion.
I have yet to see any strong and regular marketing coming from any cannabis business in Colorado. Developing, implementing & managing an encompassing marketing strategy will ultimately determine the cannabis businesses that will succeed in the long haul. As a recommendation, learn the rules for marketing, collect as much data as possible from your customer base, determine your online and offline marketing strategy & start testing!
To your success,