There’s a whole new gold rush happening in the USA.
All across our nation, a new economy is erupting – the cannabis economy. And while this new, exciting market is an uncharted horizon for consumers, the business model for reaching them won’t change all that much.
That’s because the key to reaching consumers will always be effective integrated marketing. Whether you’re selling cereal or sour diesel, advertising, public relations, promotions, sales, and even packaging are all the tools by which you get your product into the hands of the people for which it is intended.
Forbes Magazine cites that 90 percent of technology startups fail, and some have estimated that, at least at the dawn of this new market, cannabis-related startups will have this same failure rate. Venture capital is flooding into the states which have changed their cannabis policies, and while the going may be tough, there’s gold in them thar hills, to be sure.
So how will the successful cannabis companies of the future emblazon their brands upon our collective consciousness? Well, as stated above, that’s where a creative and competent marketing team comes in. The biggest mistake most startups make is assuming that marketing is an afterthought which can be handled in-house by the funding entity. That’s the easiest way to flush your investment down the privy.
Let’s go over the essentials of marketing, and how they apply to the cannabis economy:
Start with a clear, focused strategy – No matter how cool you think your product is, a little bit of homework, while annoying like any homework, never hurt anyone. Hash (no pun intended) out the strengths of your product, its weaknesses, your competition, and how you intend to position your product in a way that makes it clear to consumers that you’re offering something different and special.
Get your creative communications crew in early – The best way to craft an integrated marketing strategy that does what it’s meant to (reach your consumer) is to put a team in place as soon as possible. When your people know the product and what you want to do with it from the outset, everyone is one the same page, and that saves time and avoids frustration and miscommunication. Consistency in branding and message is key, and having a creative team around for those early sessions will ensure this.
Present your product – Once you have a product that’s ready to go to market, how you package that product is crucial. Back when competition in cannabis was thin, packaging might not have mattered so much. But going forward, the businesses that will survive are the ones whose creative teams aren’t looking at other cannabis companies as competition; instead, they’re looking at large brands.
Promote and communicate – This market represents a huge shift in our culture. There are still few professionals willing to admit their relationship to cannabis, let alone those with cannabis experience on their resume who still have traditional marketing and communications skills. But they do exist, and as the market and the culture changes, your pool of candidates will deepen. These are the people who will know how to make your product or service succeed.
Engage! – Build a relationship with your customer base, and this will build brand loyalty! There’s plenty of opportunity in
the cannabis economy for those with the skills and resources to take advantage of it. Your integrated marketing strategy is how the biggest, most successful businesses will get it done.