Why Your Cannabis Brand Needs a Marketing Roadmap
The fundamentals of marketing concepts are crucial, and you need them in place before you can build your cannabis brand
So, you’re considering breaking into the cannabis industry? Good for you! Business is popping and the earning potential is significant, especially as the space continues to grow and evolve. North American sales are expected to reach over $20 billion by 2021, making industry growth even faster than the dot- com era. Not too shabby for a relatively new business model.
That said, it takes more than just a passion for the product and the drive to sell it to have a successful business in the cannabis industry. Sure, generating profits is a common goal among almost all cannapreneurs, but making money should be viewed as a biproduct of a strategic master plan.
Thriving cannabis brands have at least one thing in common, and if you want to take a bite out of the cannabis apple, then you need to design your roadmap to success before anything else. Without it, you won’t know yourself and you won’t know your audience, two costly and dreaded mistakes.
Before building your cannabis brand, you should consider these marketing fundamentals:
Come up with a viable business idea
Before anything else, you need to figure out which part of the industry you want to go into. Educate yourself on the different sectors and then choose the one that is right for you. It may be easy to feel boxed in by the idea of opening a dispensary or starting a grow operation, but there is lots of room to be innovative here. If you liken yourself to an inventor, then maybe you want to design the world’s greatest vape pen. Or, if you’re into culinary trends, then maybe you can create tasty edibles. Whichever direction you choose, exploring your passions and unique skill sets will help you get there.
In any event, your business idea should be original, offer a distinctive solution, and most importantly, you need to ensure that it is within the bounds of the law. You’d be surprised at how many innovative ideas don’t make it past their infancy because they are not supported by the current legal structure.
Create a mission statement
Now that you have a viable idea, it’s time to create your mission statement. Your mission statement should get to the root of why you’re in the cannabis business and define what you vow to accomplish by being there. A well-worded mission statement has the ability to align everyone involved toward the same objectives, while also providing a yellow brick road to your brand identity if your company gets off track. Without it, you may find yourself directionless and distracted in a crowded industry.
To clearly define your company’s mission, you’ll want to:
- Pinpoint your purpose and why you exist
- Avoid buzzwords and be specific
- Make it attainable and inspirational
- Keep it concise
For example, The National Cannabis Industry Association’s mission statement is as follows:
“To promote the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and work for a favorable social, economic, and legal environment for that industry in the United States.”
It is succinct and specific while clearly defining the company’s goals and purpose.
Design buyer personas
Marketing without buyer personas is like trying to put together Ikea furniture without directions. It’s a bad idea. Personas are the basis for all viable marketing strategies, and the pillars that support any successful campaign. Unfortunately, not many cannabis brands are using personas to inform their marketing efforts, which is effectively like throwing spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks. It’s messy and wasteful.
Marijuana users come in all different shapes and sizes, and from all walks of life. Contrary to what antiquated stereotypes may suggest, there is no one size fits all when it comes to cannabis customers, so you need to create persona-based campaigns if you want to get their attention.
First, you need to create your buyer profiles. These are realistic descriptions of the hypothetical people that you want your campaigns to reach. Each persona should include a bio including things like:
- Personal interests
- Pain points
- Type of marijuana user (medical or recreational)
Once you have defined your target audiences, you can create content that speaks directly to these people’s needs and interests.
These basic marketing principles will help you build a strong brand from the ground up, allowing you to enjoy both the excitement and profitability of the cannabis industry.
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