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Top Cannabis Marketing Challenges and Opportunities

Find out how your cannabis brand can turn these marketing challenges into marketing opportunities to reach new customers, build trust, and grow sales.

Cannabis companies need creative marketing because they can't rely on conventional marketing tactics used in traditional industries.

Cannabis' federal classification poses many marketing challenges for plant-touching and ancillary businesses. However, each marketing challenge cannabis businesses face presents opportunities to flip traditional methods on their head to draw consumers' attention creatively.

In an industry that continues to grow across the country, getting ahead of these challenges is vital to position your company for success. Let's dig into these challenges and how your business can turn each into an opportunity to win market share.

Challenge: Consumer's lack of cannabis knowledge.

Opportunity: Stand out as a cannabis thought leader.

There are several reasons consumers aren't knowledgeable about cannabis:

  • The constant stream of new product formats (flowers, vapes, concentrates, edibles, topicals, tinctures, infused beverages, etc.)
  • Limited legitimate research available
  • Pervasive social stigma

The list goes on. Consumer education is necessary to help people understand cannabis products, and it dispels myths and misinformation.

But bundling a botany, biology, and chemistry lesson alongside the history of cannabis into one message that's digestible for consumers is no simple task. Here is where the opportunity lies.

Putting cannabis consumer education at the forefront of your marketing strategy differentiates your brand from competitors. Simple information such as where the product was made, its ingredients, testing results, and general effects greatly builds trust and authority with consumers. Education isn't limited to inexperienced or new cannabis users. For knowledgeable and long-time consumers, try sharing cultivation methodologies, extraction processes, or information about terpenes and cannabinoids. Providing consumers with insights into your cannabis expertise positions your brand as a thought leader, earning credibility among consumers.

Challenge: Onerous marketing regulations that differ from state to state.

Opportunity: Try new avenues to reach consumers.

The cannabis industry doesn't have the marketing and advertising options other industries have. Cannabis ads may require warning statements, not be shown to certain audiences, and may not include certain images and words. Not only are cannabis regulations onerous, but they're also vastly different state by state. For multi-state operators, it's a herculean task to keep up with regulations and build out a cross-state compliant marketing strategy. So how are complex regulatory structures an opportunity?

The bright side is that you're not alone. Your competition faces the same marketing and advertising challenges. That means you can explore burgeoning marketing avenues that are unique and outside the box. For example, join cannabis trade associations in the states you operate in, attend local and national conferences, commission an artist to do your branding, gather email signups, or utilize emerging marketing technologies that the rest of the cannabis industry hasn't tapped into yet.

Challenge: Online and social platforms restrict cannabis content.

Opportunity: Cultivate community on nonrestrictive platforms.

Social media management for cannabis brands is no easy feat. Many social platforms "shadowban," restrict, or even go as far as to deactivate cannabis-related accounts. According to Meta's Transparency Center, users cannot post "content that attempts to buy, sell, trade, donate or gift or asks for marijuana." Cannabis brands can still use Instagram or other social platforms with a similar stance but must be extremely cautious with their language and imagery.

That means cannabis brands shouldn't rely on social media as a consistent marketing channel. Instead, cannabis businesses should focus on the channels they own. A business could market itself through a weekly newsletter sent out to consumers with product information, promotions, new store locations, etc. Another option is a blog on the company website that offers a mix of current events, thought pieces, and product posts uploaded regularly. Owning your channel prevents other parties from shutting it down and allows businesses to promote their products however they see fit. Additionally, it keeps everything in your brand's control.

Challenge: Losing access to digital selling tools

Opportunity: Set up a direct path to your online content

Online avenues to reach and attract consumers to your digital content and websites are becoming difficult for cannabis brands. Similarly to social media platforms, other digital tools, like Linktree, are beginning to remove or shut down cannabis accounts. While brands can have online stores, if you don’t have a way to share it with customers, you do not have a way to grow your business. 

Cannabis brands must utilize digital tools that connect customers to their online content through relevant, contextual experiences. Rather than using a platform that acts as a waypoint for multiple links to various websites, cannabis brands should focus on building pages your brand owns to share new products and capture customer data. Age-gating features ensure pages are compliant, helping brands meet rules and regulations in different state markets.

Digiphy empowers cannabis brand marketing

Challenge: Budtenders can't remember information for every product.

Opportunity: Utilize QR-smart packaging to share product information quickly.

It's impossible for budtenders to keep up with the effects of hundreds of strains, the backstory of brands, and the number of new products entering and exiting the market. Retailers carry numerous products, including flowers, concentrates, edibles, topicals, vapes, and more. While most retailers require sales training, so budtenders have a working knowledge of all in-store products, vital selling points may still be overlooked.

The solution is implementing QR codes on product packaging, digital signage, and in-store marketing materials so budtenders can quickly access relevant selling information. Additionally, QR-enabled packaging and physical marketing assets help consumers learn more about your brand and products. QR codes enable cannabis brands to curate powerful physical-to-digital experiences beyond the point of sale. QR codes turn multiple marketing challenges for cannabis brands into marketing opportunities.

How Digiphy Can Enable Your Business to Capitalize on Marketing Opportunities

Opportunity: Stand out as a cannabis thought leader.

Digiphy enables brands to share product provenance, recipes, research, usage videos and information, and COAs in an engaging and easily digestible format. B2B and B2C brands like Zelira and Curaleaf use Digiphy to educate consumers, increase engagement, accelerate sales, instill trust, and create transparency.

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Opportunity: Try new avenues to reach consumers.

Digiphy is a compliant marketing channel that enables you to capture audience analytics and insights - including geography and demography - throughout various phases of the consumer cycle. You can put the Digiphy QR codes on your label, delivery box, display, digital sign, business card, or marketing asset. Use Digiphy for digital touchpoints in social bios or advertising.

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Opportunity: Cultivate community on nonrestrictive platforms.

Digiphy enables brands to collect valuable zero-party data and consumer insights by communicating directly with consumers. Email capture modules make it easy to gather addresses from consumers. Now cannabis brands can share a monthly newsletter or blog that keeps customers up-to-date on relevant information. They can even do "drops" or time-based content, swapping out the content on Digiphy and promoting offers or product launches at specific moments to increase engagement. Curaleaf has captured a 10% conversion rate and a 15% CTR to Curaleaf's store locator and website.

Opportunity: Set up a direct path to your online content.

Digiphy’s QR + Storylines are alternatives to traditional link-in-bio options for social media platforms like Instagram. Instead of relying on a generic landing page of links, utilize highly relevant and engaging Digiphy Storyline pages to connect consumers directly to your brand’s digital content. Foster education, instill trust and promote transparency in one place. Additionally, Digiphy's age-gating module ensures that your Storylines are compliant.

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Opportunity: Utilize QR-smart packaging to share product information easily.

QR-enabled packaging and activating e-commerce inserts help cannabis brands curate powerful physical-to-digital experiences and continue consumer education even after a sale. QR codes on packaging inform budtenders and consumers about the product's ingredients and origin, how to consume the product, and where to reorder.

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In 2023, cannabis brands will face many challenges, but they'll also have the opportunity to capture more customers. To succeed in the next year, cannabis brands need to get ahead of these marketing opportunities. Digiphy empowers cannabis brands to stay ahead of the curve by bridging physical to digital and creating unique and dynamic experiences for all products and customer touchpoints. 


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