Commentary

Advertising Signposts For The Cannabis Industry

The global legal cannabis market is projected to hit $166 billion by 2025, according to Euromonitor. It is the fastest-growing market in the world, according to MarketWatch. “Within 10 years, cannabis will be a regular part of daily routines,” said Zora Milenkovic, head of drinks and tobacco at Euromonitor International. “From a functional ingredient to an intoxicating buzz, cannabis will reshape fast-moving consumer goods, with food, beverages, beauty, health and tobacco having the most potential for disruption.”

We are witnessing history: The growth of a new industry in conjunction with rebuilding a reputation from the bottom up.

As the cloud of marijuana stigma lifts in the United States, states are scrambling to create laws that keep up with the growing industry while grappling with varying moral and regulatory opinions. In some states, all that is needed is a driver's license to enjoy marijuana recreationally. In others, consumers need to be vetted by a doctor, pay upwards of $250 for a medical card, then choose from highly regulated products for ailments, similar to a prescription. Laws can differ even by county.  

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In fact, the laws are confusing. Interested consumers are often left wondering where they can go and what they can buy. The answer to clarification: advertising. The current advertising initiatives? Equally as confusing as the laws limiting them. And half-hearted at best.  

Here’s the only advertising I’ve seen: side-of-the-road CBD sign-flipping in Florida (the guy was pretty good, I’ll give them that) and billboard advertising for weed delivery service Eaze in California.

Not that we can entirely blame the companies. Advertising is often restricted on social media, according to ETF Daily News.  For those venturing outside the walled gardens on programmatic ad platforms, targeting, measurement, and analytics are limited, especially for simple display ads, which often face roadblocks similar to social.

Turn to Content
If you’re a marijuana or CBD company, turn to your content. Chances are, you’ve got a ton of it: research articles, educational resources, tips, lists, recipes, and more.

Content is the chance to reeducate the masses on the positives of marijuana, but how it’s targeted to consumers matter. Consider: a mom is unlikely to start liking a social sponsored posts about weed on Instagram. She’s far more likely to read a sponsored article on the web about how medicinal marijuana helped another mom with epilepsy.

Do you see where I’m going with this? A native ad that leads a user to high-quality content aligns with the goal of re-education and reputation-building.

MJ Lovers: establish your company as a thought leader at the forefront of cutting edge health and wellness development. Create high quality content that lifts your reputation above marijuana’s seedy past. 

Context is also key: get it in front of users who are already interested. The right content and right distribution with be the key to re-energizing the state of cannabis advertising.

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