Marijuana cultivation and distribution has been operational for years but only became legal in the United States in 2012. A number of states have some kind of legally permissible use for recreational marijuana, but it is still a highly regulated substance under federal law. From its early stage of legalization, Silicon Valley has been injecting capital into the marijuana industry. Marijuana and its affiliated businesses represent one of the fastest growing industries in North America. “Adult recreational sales amounted to $2.6 billion in 2016 and could reach $11.2 billion by 2020. With promising revenue and expansion across states, industries and product offerings, the marijuana industry has become an attractive opportunity for investors” – Forbes.com. Government will make billions of dollars in revenue annually and business owners will smile to the bank. So, why does the cannabis market encounter challenges in creating awareness for marijuana products via conventional methods like other retail products?
Due to federal law regulations, companies involved in the marijuana business cannot go public. The SEC has strict regulations too. Cannabis cannot be on Stock Exchange, so, investors shy away from the industry. You will not find billboards advertising marijuana products in Manhattan. There are no TV commercials on local stations. How then, can the cannabis industry create more awareness for itself, as a legal business that adds to the economy positively?
One of the key competencies of a 21st century business is digitization, and that appears to be the industry’s most viable option to create awareness.
Digital marketing constitutes all internet-based communication from a company or brand to its target audience. The cannabis industry leverages on the global reach of the wider web by adopting a number of online marketing strategies that promote brand awareness.
Advertising on Industry Related Sites
Cannabis businesses are taking advantage of advertising opportunities on websites, blogs, and social media platforms that have content that relates to the industry. A lot of activity is going on on Twitter, Facebook, online forums, and marijuana-specific websites.
Developing Quality Digital Content
As the legalization of weed spreads with Maine likely being the next state to join the list, recreational marijuana users are taking to the internet to get interesting facts and also make orders. Cultivators and distributors are seizing the opportunity to create blog posts, tube videos, and other content-rich resources that promote their brands.
Search Engine Optimization
The cannabis industry understands the importance of SEO best practices. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a practice in copywriting that allows a website to be indexed by search engines. Industry stakeholders hire professional copywriters, agencies and consultants to regularly update their web content with search engine optimized keywords so that their sites are crawled regularly and ranked high on search engines.
If you have a thriving business, then you know what e-mail marketing is. Manufacturers and distributors gather information (e-mail addresses especially) from website visitors. This helps them to build a list of potential and actual customers, and the opportunity to correspond with them on a more personal level in the future.
Every business needs effective marketing to thrive. Marijuana is relatively new, and state and national legislations do not really favor the industry in terms of building awareness. When recreational cannabis was made legal, the marijuana industry experienced a boom. Fiscal projections looked very promising and stakeholders are sure of getting returns on investment. The limited marketing channels doesn’t seem to pose a big threat to the future of the marijuana industry. Information Technology provides a marketing platform for cannabis.