With cannabis popularity soaring these days and some polls placing support at a whopping 90% – it is no surprise that thousands of new brands will be coming to the market over the next few years.
The cannabis industry is here to stay!
As with any competitive industry, there are a few things that brands need to consider in order to attract customers because unlike before – the customer has choices now!
Back in the day when there were few dispensaries, or even further back when the consumer was forced to buy from back-alley dealers – what you got is what you got!
You didn’t have the freedom to say, “Fuck this, I’m going to the next store!”
These days however, this is no longer the case. Thousands of products, hundreds of venues means that the marketplace is highly competitive. You can find insane discounts, combo packs and a number of other things – all designed to attract your dollars to their store.
In the following article we’ll be taking a closer look at some things brands can do by analyzing real life examples happening right now. This article is designed to inspire aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs to think [outside-of-the-box].
Get a Cause!
Many cannabis companies are rallying behind some sort of social issue. This is true for virtually all other markets as well, however there is a fine line between exploiting a social issue for self-gain, and honestly doing your part to make a difference.
For example, Amazon recently said they would “no longer be testing certain employees for marijuana” signaling that they want federal marijuana prohibition to end.
Some might read that and say, “Wow – so progressive!” but in reality it’s more like, “Amazon likey-da-moneyz” and could give two shits about the social aspect of marijuana prohibition.
If they did believe that – they would have been advocating this for a long time. But now that it’s profitable – they are all on board.
Conversely, you look at brands like Jay-Z’s “Monogram” which is a high-end cannabis brand focusing on helping the African American community get into the cannabis game.
They have an aggressive marketing campaign outlining the damages the war on drugs has done to minority communities and have an active fund to help out black business owners.
That right there is creating a tone for their business – and people who believe in the mission are more likely to support it.
Create a WORLD for your Consumer to Explore!
I’m kind of excited about this other brand I found that is by far not as large as Monogram but in my opinion is executing one hell of a marketing plan!
And I’m talking from the perspective of someone who has been doing branding and marketing for more than a decade.
The brand I’m talking about is Pokebud – a Canadian dispensary using a crazy twist in their marketing.
They have created an entire world of Game-like monsters that live in the fictional world of “The Green Kingdom”.
With characters like “Sea BeeDee”, “Mushadelic”, “Cativa”, “Indiga” and a slew of other characters – the Pokebud brand is setting themselves apart from all the other dispensaries in the market.
More importantly, they have refined their marketing efforts to target both “gamers” and “cannabis users” allowing them more creativity within their marketing campaigns.
In fact, I saw one of their ads run on Facebook, which is why I stumbled upon them and was immediately impressed by the thoroughness of the campaign.
This is something that many dispensaries are not doing and which is why they may not be getting as much of the market share as they’d like.
The truth of the matter is that the cannabis consumer is a very diverse bunch of people, from the average gamer-stoner to the stay-at-home-fitness mom; you can shift your marketing efforts to target a specific “sub-group within your demographics” to enhance your message.
We do it in marketing all the time – now, the cannabis industry is large enough to do the same! Brands like Pokebud is definitely a refreshing site in a world of “sameness”. If you’re in Canada and reading this – you should totally check them out – especially if you’re a gamer too!
Cater to the Average Joes and Janes
This is something that I am beginning to see happen in many cannabis markets. While cannabis could justify its high retail price at the beginning of legalization – the novelty of legal purchases have worn off.
This means that the “average cannabis consumer” – no longer is willing to dish out $20 per gram or buy $240 ounces.
What the cannabis industry will need VERY SOON is the Walmart of weed. A product that may not necessarily be on the level or cost of Whole Foods – but would be good enough for the everyday, blue-collar stoner.
Products that are good and affordable will begin to grow in popularity over the next few years and the brands that are catering to this demographic now will reap the benefits.
While it’s always good to have “expensive” products in your store, you also want to stock stuff that people can buy without thinking about it.
These are called “impulse buys” and they can add a significant consistent revenue stream if managed properly. Consider making specials for your consumer base regularly and stock “low cost – options”.
For example, selling bags of shake for next to nothing helps you get rid of stock and I can GUARANTEE that some stoners will buy it for making brownies or tinctures.
The Sticky Bottom Line
These are just three different ways that you can appeal to your target demographics. Taking up a cause, creating a unique branding strategy and catering to the masses will definitely help you establish your brand within the market place.
If you’re thinking about opening up a cannabis brand – I strongly recommend you consider thinking beyond cannabis in order to bring something fresh to the market. We’ve got enough “Dr. Green Thumbs” out there – let’s start mixing things up!