The Comprise Guide for Cannabis Marketing Agencies to Stay in the Green

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2023 was a monumental year in cannabis. Social acceptability of cannabis use increased substantially, new states announced legalized medicinal and recreational cannabis sales and X, formerly known as Twitter, became the first major social media platform to allow companies to advertise their brands and products in the U.S. Given the blossoming industry’s ongoing maturation, MJBizDaily researchers project the $30-plus million retail cannabis market will reach upwards of $53.5 billion by 2027.

However, despite cannabis truly hitting the mainstream as new markets progress, cannabis marketing agencies continue facing several crucial challenges in this dynamic industry, including:

  • An ever-changing regulatory landscape.
  • Payment processing issues.
  • Negative social stigma.
  • Competition and saturated markets.
  • Lack of access to traditional banking.

As a Colorado-based communications agency, we’ve been knee-deep in these issues since the state first legalized cannabis for recreational use in 2012. Doing the hard stuff to help companies in cannabis and other emerging markets tell their stories, we recognize that companies in these sectors must navigate a peculiar set of hurdles and prioritize staying up to date on the latest trends, shake-ups and strategies to successfully grow.

The rise of automated tools and ever-tight budgets constrain marketers across industries — cannabis included — to do more with less. To combat those concerns, we’ve included some tips below that we believe can effectively overcome these challenges, attract new customers and seize opportunities within the cannabis market in 2024.

Understand the Cannabis Consumer Market

Survey findings from Gallup’s 2023 Consumption Habits survey found that 50% of Americans have tried cannabis at some point, an all-time high point for the market. While this is exciting news for the industry, cannabis users widely vary — from existing users and connoisseurs who live and breathe cannabis to the canna-curious individuals unsure of what the plant is and does. Cannabis marketing agencies must understand the diverse range of consumers to better connect with each unique audience. 

For example, cannabis enthusiasts may relate best to content diving deep into the different types of terpenes. However, this information may not land well with consumers new to cannabis who aren’t sure which mode of consumption they may prefer. By going too deep “in the weeds,” new cannabis consumers may get overwhelmed and avoid purchasing products altogether.

Ensuring each consumer type receives information tailored to their current knowledge, tastes and preferences, cannabis companies can effectively engage with their audiences and foster an environment that is welcoming and rewarding rather than intimidating and confusing.

Build Brand Trust Through Education

Building and maintaining trust is a cornerstone of successful cannabis marketing. Consumers, particularly those new to cannabis, not only seek high-quality products but reliable guidance on their cannabis journeys. By educating consumers about the various strains, consumption methods and potential benefits, brands can position themselves as expert sources of information and demonstrate transparency in their operations to gain consumer trust.  

Educational marketing materials, such as product guides, how-to videos and informative blogs, can provide customers with clear context on the origins, contents and potential effects of cannabis offerings. Consumers new to cannabis, or those who are canna-averse or canna-curious, should also receive educational content about the legal aspects of cannabis use, such as age restrictions, possession limits and consumption guidelines. Creating educational content not only helps ensure compliance but also builds trust with consumers.

Engage in Responsible Social Media Marketing

The cannabis industry carries a great deal of historical stigma. However, cannabis marketing agencies and other organizations can leverage social media and other communications channels to counter misconceptions, refute unsubstantiated claims and foster positive discussion about the plant. Brands that produce and share educational content, peer-reviewed studies and customer success stories on social media can help shift the public perception and increase awareness of the many benefits of cannabis.

Remember that cannabis social media marketing operates under a slew of legal restrictions, though. Different social media platforms have their own guidelines, and some platforms’ rules surrounding cannabis are stricter than others. 
Understanding and complying with the disparate guidelines of various social media platforms regarding cannabis-related content is critical to avoid account suspension or penalties. Our guide on “Cannabis Social Media Copywriting Do’s and Don’ts” can help you effectively engage responsibly with your audience on social media while abiding by platform guidelines.

Stay Informed and Educated

As states nationwide and countries globally traverse the path to legality, the cannabis industry will continue changing and evolving, with numerous regulatory changes forthcoming in the years ahead. In 2024, emphasizing compliance with local, state and national regulations will be of utmost importance. Cannabis marketing agencies and communications teams should be well informed and flexibly adapt to any shifting legal landscapes, packaging requirements and marketing restrictions. 

While cannabis regulations may hinder success in some cases, other potential upcoming changes can actually help improve operations. Many industry leaders believe cannabis will be reclassified as a Schedule III controlled substance later this year. This reclassification would relieve cannabis operators from Section 280E of the IRS code, which currently forbids businesses from deducting many business expenses from their gross income. Brian Witlin, VP of product at PAX, an electronic vaporizer company, excitedly said in a Forbes article, “With this change, many businesses will become profitable overnight, creating opportunities for capital raises, investments in innovation, and scaling of existing businesses that are struggling.”

We Get It — Cannabis is Complex

All in all, investing in ongoing education surrounding the evolving industry will help protect companies from regulatory infractions and prepare them for opportunities on the horizon.

Are you equipped with the communication tools you need to grow your cannabusiness? Our team of cannabis experts is here to help you develop engaging and transparent content that appeals to your audience while abiding by the law. Pass one our way today to take your cannabis communications higher!

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