Good marketing looks seamless, but there is plenty going on behind the scenes. When you’re creating your business’s marketing mix, there are various tools to consider and implement to keep key stakeholders interested and your business growing. Not all of these tools apply to all businesses, so utilize what makes the most sense for your goals and marketing budget.
Before any other marketing efforts take place, it’s important to first define your target demographic. To whom are you marketing? Define your ideal customer. Who do you picture walking through your door or visiting your website? Is your operation business-to-business or business-to-consumer? Keep your target demographics in mind with every marketing campaign.
Just like everything else in the cannabis sector, marketing also is subject to numerous rules and regulations dictating how and where you can promote your business. The rules vary by state and marketing platform, so it’s important to research the regulations in all jurisdictions where you do business.
Once you’ve researched regulations and identified your target audience, successful marketing is all about the tools you use—and how you use them. Below are eight of the key tools you’ll need for a successful marketing mix.
Paid advertising, including sponsored content, is one of the best ways to ensure the message you want to send appears where and when you want it to appear. A well-crafted advertising campaign—digital or print—can maximize brand exposure, drive traffic to your website or social media presence, and increase the likelihood of converting leads into customers.
Develop a budget for print and digital platforms, the latter of which may include pay-per-click ads, online banners, and native ads. Utilize data-driven strategies to identify the most effective publications, platforms, and ad formats for reaching your target audience.
Public relations (PR) plays a crucial role in establishing credibility and shaping the public perception of a brand. Targeted media outreach can introduce your brand to a wider audience, build a positive image, and attract quality earned-media opportunities.
Engage with media outlets, influencers, and industry publications to share compelling stories, highlight product innovations, and showcase community involvement. By being transparent and responsible in your PR efforts, you can build trust with potential customers, investors, and regulators.
A quality website and SEO
As you establish your marketing efforts, make sure you’re directing stakeholders and potential customers to a professional-looking, well-crafted website through ongoing search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. Utilizing keywords and other SEO best practices can make a difference when potential clients are in need of your products or services.
An attractive, well-functioning, up-to-date website can serve not only as an online billboard, product catalog, and lead-generator for your business, but also as an educational resource, repository for your brand story, and opportunity to interact with customers and potential customers. In addition, when appropriate, websites may contain ecommerce elements that facilitate direct sales or point the way to brick-and-mortar outlets that offer your products.
Intuitive email marketing remains a powerful tool for building and nurturing customer relationships. Develop personalized and informative content to keep your audience engaged, informed about new products or promotions, and connected to your brand. Ensure you send newsletters and marketing messages only to those who have agreed to receive them, and make opting out quick and easy if they change their mind.
Effective email marketing is harder than it sounds. There’s science behind what works and what doesn’t in terms of both the message and the frequency. Done well, though, consistent, well-thought-out email campaigns that provide value along with a sales pitch can lead to increased customer loyalty and repeat purchases.
Social media and strategic partnerships
Partnering with relevant social media influencers can help expand your brand’s reach and credibility. Choose influencers whose values align with your brand’s, whose audience reflects your ideal consumer, and who engage with their followers. Encourage them to share authentic experiences and reviews of your products with their followers. Remember: Most influencers now consider what they do to be a job, so be prepared to pay for their services.
Forming strategic partnerships with or sponsoring local events, charities, and initiatives is another way to expand your brand’s credibility and reputation for civic or cultural involvement. Aligning your brand with a cause or event that resonates with your target audience can produce a positive impact on brand perception and foster customer loyalty.
Creative direction and video content are powerful tools to engage your audience and communicate your brand’s message. Invest in high-quality, visually captivating content that showcases your products, brand ethos, and company culture. Video content may be used across multiple channels—social media, websites, email campaigns, and the digital editions of print magazines—to enhance brand recall and foster emotional connections with your audience.
Also invest in professional photography to create visually captivating content for your marketing materials (including your website and social media channels). High-quality images of your products, team, and events enhance your brand’s visual appeal and create emotional resonance with potential customers.
Trade shows and networking
Participating in industry trade shows and expos can help you connect with potential clients, partners, and suppliers as well as showcase your products or services to a highly targeted audience. Use trade shows as a platform to launch new products and gather valuable feedback from industry stakeholders.
In addition, hosting or participating in trade-related events can significantly impact brand exposure and customer engagement. Organize educational workshops, product launches, and networking gatherings to showcase your expertise and interact directly with your target audience. Events provide a unique opportunity to foster meaningful relationships and create lasting brand loyalty.
Thought leadership and awards
Establish your company as a thought leader by securing speaking opportunities at relevant conferences and events both inside and outside the industry. (Think not only business-to-business and business-to-consumer shows but also mainstream events like South by Southwest and TEDx.) Sharing expertise about key topics and industry trends can position your brand as a knowledgeable authority and strengthen your credibility within the market.
Furthermore, participating in industry awards and competitions can bring prestige and recognition to your brand. Winning or being nominated for awards validates your company’s leadership and vision and sets you apart from competitors, leading to increased brand visibility and credibility.
In the dynamic landscape of the cannabis industry, creating a well-rounded and dynamic marketing mix is essential to drive awareness and increase sales. But it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Like anything else, the process takes time, the right people, and ongoing effort.
If these tools are out of your wheelhouse, consider hiring professionals or starting with just a couple tools and adding more as your confidence grows. Embrace innovation, remain compliant with industry regulations, and stay agile in adapting to the ever-changing marketing landscape to flourish in a fast-moving, competitive industry.
Kim Prince is founder and chief executive officer of Proven Media, a results-oriented agency serving business- and consumer-facing companies throughout North America. She brings more than twenty years of corporate marketing experience and has an impressive background in corporate messaging strategies, public relations, and strategic planning for corporations, brands, and C-level executives.