Although far more than half of Americans can access either healthcare or recreational marijuana (or each) in their house states, that does not imply it is quick for marijuana corporations to spread the word about their goods and solutions. Nonetheless, cannabis license holders in Oregon have demonstrated that marketing is not only attainable but also helpful.
Back in 2017, a study published in the American Journal of Public Well being (funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse) located that marijuana marketing had come to be commonplace in Oregon.
The study involved an on-line survey of four,001 adults living in Oregon and tracked their exposure to marijuana advertisements in between 2015 and 2016 right after marijuana had been legalized for retail sales in the state. Extra than one particular in two respondents to the survey (54.eight%) reported that they had observed a marijuana ad inside the prior month. Mostly, they saw marketing on storefronts (74.five%), on sides of streets (66.five%), and on billboards (55.eight%).
Note that two of these areas are straight connected to the store’s place (on storefronts and on sides of streets). In other words, ambient marketing and advertising was operating, but other types of marketing weren’t – or far more probably, other types of marketing weren’t out there to marijuana firms due to marijuana marketing restrictions.
Rapidly forward to 2019 and cannabis firms continue to face quite a few of the very same marketing challenges primarily based on guidelines place in location by state agencies to safeguard shoppers.
Oregon’s Marijuana Marketing Guidelines
As the Oregon Liquor Manage Commission (OLCC) explained in an educational bulletin to current and potential recreational marijuana licensees, “OLCC Recreational Marijuana guidelines are expressed as restrictions on marketing – what is not permitted.”
With that in thoughts, it is vital to comprehend what the OLCC considers to be marketing. In the state’s recreational marijuana guidelines, the OLCC defines marketing as follows:
“Advertising is publicizing the trade name of a licensee with each other with words or symbols referring to marijuana or publicizing the brand name of marijuana or a marijuana item.”
That is a extremely broad definition, Considering that the OLCC warns license holders that failure to adhere to their guidelines could be deemed a “compliance violation affecting your potential to perform or operate your company,” cannabis license holders in Oregon will need to think about these marketing guidelines below a similarly broad lens.
In comparison to quite a few other states’ guidelines connected to cannabis marketing, Oregon’s are really rather easy, albeit broadly written. Sections 845-025-8000 to 845-025-8080 of the OLCC Division 25 Recreational Marijuana guidelines cover marketing restrictions for cannabis license holders. According to that document, marijuana marketing may possibly not:
- Include deceptive, false, or misleading statements
- Include content material that targets any person below age 21
- Encourage transportation of marijuana things across state lines
- Claim marijuana things are protected simply because they’re regulated by the OLCC or have been tested by a certified laboratory
- Make claims that any government agency supports or endorses cannabis
- Claim recreational marijuana has curative or therapeutic effects
- Show consumption of marijuana things
- Encourage the use of marijuana for its intoxicating impact or encourage speedy or excessive consumption
Oregon’s guidelines connected to marketing particularly limit some types of guerrilla marketing and advertising, digital marketing and advertising, and far more:
- No marketing by way of handbills passed out in public places
- No tv, radio, billboards, print media, or world wide web marketing unless there is proof that no far more than 30% of the audience is below the age of 21
- No marketing by means of marketing and advertising directed towards place-primarily based devices (which includes but not restricted to mobile phones unless the marketing and advertising is a mobile app that was installed by the device owner who is 21 years of age or older and consists of an quick and permanent opt-out function)
For cannabis license holders in Oregon, these guidelines absolutely add obstacles to cannabis brand promotion, but they’re not insurmountable. Nonetheless, that is not the case in each and every state. Additionally, external obstacles, such as social media marketing guidelines, e-mail marketing and advertising guidelines, broadcast tv and radio marketing guidelines, and so on add far more challenges that cannabis firms have to overcome in order to market their goods and solutions.
Overcoming Marijuana Marketing Challenges in the United States
Marijuana marketing laws differ by state and usually by municipality. Although Oregon’s laws let marijuana retailers to show indicators, billboards, and far more to market their goods, other states have considerably stricter guidelines. For instance, some states need that all marketing and advertising supplies and ads get preapproval from particular governing bodies prior to they can be applied. Other states restrict almost everything from signage to verbiage in marketing and advertising and marketing. In Connecticut, healthcare marijuana dispensaries have to stick to 16 pages of marketing and marketing and advertising recommendations!
Nonetheless, all hope is not lost for marijuana firms. It is incredibly tricky – if not not possible – for cannabis firms to promote by way of Google AdWords and Facebook Advertisements, but that does not imply there are no other alternatives. It just suggests marketers will need to attain a bit deeper into their bags of techniques, recall all of these standard marketing and advertising possibilities they applied 10 years ago, and get inventive.
So what’s a marijuana brand to do? Right here are some possibilities to think about:
For digital marketing and advertising, programmatic ad purchasing can perform extremely properly, but it does will need to be managed with human supervision to guarantee your business does not get in difficulty. For instance, age verification is normally a concern. Automation can perform, but proceed with caution!
Can not do radio marketing in your state? Think about marketing on podcasts. This is a method that MedMen, one particular of the biggest cannabis brands in California and across the nation, has carried out with excellent achievement.
Satellite Radio Marketing
Numerous states and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will not let cannabis advertisements on broadcast radio, but satellite radio is not deemed to be broadcast as far as the FCC is concerned. That suggests you could have achievement putting advertisements in targeted satellite radio applications.
Outreach can be incredibly helpful – not just standard media outreach but also on-line publisher outreach. What web pages publish content material connected to your company? Come across them and pitch your story tips. Even if a standard media business will not create a story about your brand, you may possibly be in a position to create an post and get it published on an influential weblog.
E-mail Advertising and marketing
The energy of e-mail marketing and advertising comes from your list of subscribers – a list that you have comprehensive handle more than. Use it to create relationships with shoppers that lead to sales and word-of-mouth marketing and advertising. Just be certain to decide on an email marketing and advertising tool that makes it possible for you to send messages connected to marijuana and normally follow email marketing and advertising finest practices.
Occasion Advertising and marketing
Be present at business events. It is that easy. The cannabis business is developing immediately, but it is nevertheless a pretty new business. Shoppers are nevertheless finding out about marijuana goods, and they attend events to come to be improved educated. Attend business events and speak with shoppers and the press.
You can also hold your personal events. These events do not have to be enormous conferences. Hold nearby events to educate your neighborhood. This variety of brand creating not only aids drives sales these days but also aids create your brand reputation, which is vital as the marketplace becomes far more competitive.
Experiential Advertising and marketing
In-shop experiential marketing and advertising presents a quantity of possibilities to marijuana firms. For instance, set up an iPad in your shop to capture customers’ e-mail addresses (to create your e-mail marketing and advertising list). You can even include things like a survey to understand about your customers’ preferences to improved target them in your future e-mail campaigns.
Find out from the Previous to Prepare for the Future
There are many marijuana marketing and advertising challenges, but these obstacles do not make a absolutely uncharted atmosphere for marijuana firms. The alcohol, pharmaceutical, and tobacco industries are filled with related obstacles.
Any company operating in a very regulated business will have to deal with marketing and marketing and advertising restrictions. I spent years operating in the economic business, and I can inform you the list of marketing and advertising restrictions I had to comply with was extremely extended n!
In other words, the marijuana business may possibly nevertheless be pretty new, but retailers and dispensaries do have other industries and histories that they can appear to for guidance in terms of inventive marketing and advertising. In reality, you can obtain some tips to overcome marijuana marketing challenges here.
As the marijuana business continues to develop, especially as recreational marijuana grows, competitors will come to be tougher. When provide outweighs demand (as we’ve observed in Oregon), marketing and marketing and advertising come to be so considerably far more vital. The essential for each and every marijuana-connected company is to prepare a extensive, extended-term marketing and advertising and marketing method now.
Even if points are not overly competitive these days and marketing does not appear like a required investment this year, it will come to be very competitive and required in the close to future. The winning firms will be the ones that are properly ready.
Initially published 9/24/18. Updated four/12/19.
Susan Gunelius, Lead Analyst for Cannabiz Media and author of Marijuana Licensing Reference Guide: 2017 Edition, is also President & CEO of KeySplash Inventive, Inc., a marketing and advertising communications business providing, copywriting, content material marketing and advertising, e-mail marketing and advertising, social media marketing and advertising, and strategic branding solutions. She spent the very first half of her 25-year profession directing marketing and advertising applications for AT&T and HSBC. Right now, her clientele include things like household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and far more as properly as tiny firms about the globe. Susan has written 11 marketing and advertising-connected books, which includes the very common Content material Advertising and marketing for Dummies, 30-Minute Social Media Advertising and marketing, Kick-ass Copywriting in 10 Quick Actions, The Ultimate Guide to E-mail Advertising and marketing, and she is a common marketing and advertising and branding keynote speaker. She is also a Certified Profession Coach and Founder and Editor in Chief of Ladies on Enterprise, an award-winning weblog for company girls. Susan holds a B.S. in marketing and advertising and an M.B.A in management and method.