Cannabis Marketing: Your Guide To Success In A Growing Industry

Last Updated on Sep 25, 2023

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    The cannabis industry has seen remarkable growth in the US and worldwide over the past decade and cannabis marketing is booming as a result.

    With an estimated market size of $82.3 billion by 2027, there’s no question that cannabis businesses need to be strategic with their cannabis marketing strategy if they are to succeed.

    But it isn’t just about clever ad campaigns—cannabis marketing requires a particular set of considerations and tactics to stay compliant with regulations, build brand awareness, and reach customers. 

    This blog post will dive into what it takes to market a successful cannabis business in today’s environment and tips for getting ahead of the competition. So grab your favorite snack, and let’s get started!

    Key Takeaways

    • Cannabis marketing requires a deep understanding of regulations: Due to varied legal status, marketers must stay updated on restrictions, particularly for cannabis related advertisements.
    • Branding is key to competitiveness: Establishing a strong cannabis brand identity can differentiate your product and build customer loyalty.
    • Targeting the right audience is crucial: Identify your target audience and tailor cannabis marketing strategy accordingly, such as specific demographics or product types.
    • Social media is important for cannabis marketing: Despite advertising restrictions, social media marketing can still be effective. Follow platform-specific rules and industry regulations.
    • Education and responsible messaging are essential: Focus on responsible messaging and education, including accurate information about potential benefits and risks, and promoting safe and responsible consumption practices.

    Market analysis and target market definition

    As the cannabis industry continues to grow, it’s more important for brands not to skip market research to have a solid cannabis marketing strategy. After all, with so many new brands and products entering the market, you must ensure that you can reach cannabis consumers easily.

    One way to do this is by conducting a market analysis and defining your target market. This will help you understand the current landscape of the cannabis industry, who your ideal customers are, and which cannabis marketing strategy are most likely to reach them.

    Here’s a closer look at how to conduct a market analysis and define your target market for cannabis marketing success:

    Conduct a market analysis

    When conducting a market analysis, there are a few key things to keep in mind:

    Know your audience 

    Understanding your audience is vital to creating a successful cannabis marketing strategy. Who is your target market? What do they want and need from a cannabis business?

    Understand the competition 

    What are other cannabis companies in the industry doing to reach their target markets? How can you stand out from the crowd?

    Keep up with industry trends 

    The cannabis industry is constantly evolving, so it’s crucial to stay up-to-date on the latest trends. This will help you create relevant and effective cannabis marketing campaigns that resonate with your audience.

    Define your target market

    As a cannabis business, it’s essential to identify and target your ideal customer. By doing so, you can create cannabis marketing campaigns more likely to resonate with your target market and result in conversions.

    To identify your target market, consider who your product or service would appeal to the most. Consider age, gender, location, interests, and needs. 

    Once you have a good understanding of who your target market is, you can begin creating cannabis marketing messages and campaigns that are tailored to them.

    Remember that your target market may change as the cannabis industry grows and evolves.

    As such, it is important to regularly reassess your target market and ensure that your cannabis marketing campaigns are still relevant.

    Examine user experience (UX)

    Just as important as knowing your target market, it’s necessary to ensure that your cannabis marketing efforts are focused on delivering a great user experience (UX). A few key things to remember when examining your UX:

    • Make sure your website is easy to navigate and informative. Users should be able to easily find what they’re looking for and understand what your business offers.
    • Ensure that your branding is consistent across all channels. This will help create a cohesive user experience and build trust with potential customers.
    • Pay attention to the overall tone and messaging of your cannabis marketing materials. It should be respectful and professional to appeal to a wide range of people.
    • Consider how your packaging and product labeling looks and feels. First impressions matter, so make sure that your products are presented in a way that is appealing and easy to understand.

    Conduct a competitor analysis

    It’s always important to stand out from the competition. Competitor analysis is a great way to understand what your competitors are doing well and where there’s room for improvement.

    Here’s what you should include in your competitor analysis:

    • An overview of the cannabis industry and your place in it
    • A description of your target market
    • A list of your competitors and their strengths and weaknesses
    • An analysis of your competitors’ cannabis marketing activities, including channels used, messaging, and creative approaches
    • Insights into how you can improve your cannabis marketing strategy

    Perform customer surveys

    As you learn how to market your cannabis business, you must stay ahead of the curve and understand what customers want. One way to do this is to conduct customer surveys.

    Surveys can help you understand your customers’ buying habits, what they look for in a product and their overall satisfaction with your business.

    They can also provide valuable feedback that you can use to improve your cannabis marketing strategy.

    When conducting a survey, there are a few things to keep in mind:

    • Make sure your questions are clear and concise.
    • Avoid leading or biased questions.
    • Offer an incentive for completing the survey.
    • Keep the survey short – no more than 10 minutes.
    • Analyze the results and make changes based on your feedback.

    Customer surveys are a valuable tool that can help you stay ahead of the competition and ensure customer satisfaction. By following these tips, you can create a survey that will provide valuable insights into your business and help you improve your cannabis marketing strategy.

    Whiteboard covered in website creation notes. Tasks, designs, and navigation sketches suggest website planning in an office setting.

    Building a strong brand identity

    Building a solid brand identity is vital to success in the cannabis industry. Keep a few key points in mind when developing your cannabis brand identity:

    • Keep it simple. A strong cannabis brand identity should be easy to understand and remember. Avoid using complex logos or designs that are unclear to consumers.
    • Be unique. Stand out from the competition by creating a truly unique brand identity. This will help you attract attention and build customer loyalty.
    • Be consistent. Once you have developed your cannabis brand identity, use it consistently across all your cannabis marketing materials. This will help reinforce your message and build recognition for your brand.

    Although these are the basics, there’s more to it. These are steps you must take if you want your cannabis brand to have its own identity. 

    Emphasize credibility

    As a cannabis business, building credibility with your target audience is essential. There are a few key ways to do this:

    • Use third-party endorsements to show that others vouch for your products or services. This could be in the form of testimonials, reviews, or even media mentions.
    • Make sure your branding and cannabis marketing materials are professional and polished. This will help create a trustworthy first impression.
    • Be transparent about your business practices, such as where you source your product or how you price your offerings. This will help build customer confidence in your brand.

    These tips can build the credibility needed to succeed in the cannabis industry.

    Create a brand identity

    In the ever-expanding cannabis industry, building a solid brand identity is more important than ever. Your brand should be unique, memorable, and reflect the values of your business.

    To get started, consider your target audience and what they’re looking for in a cannabis brand. 

    Then, develop a creative and catchy name and logo representing your business well. You’ll also want to create a consistent look and feel across your cannabis marketing materials, from your website to your social media accounts.

    Finally, ensure you stay up-to-date with the latest trends in the cannabis industry. This will help you ensure that your brand is always fresh and relevant.

    Develop a cannabis marketing strategy

    The next step is developing a comprehensive cannabis marketing strategy for your newly created cannabis brand.

    Here are a few things to keep in mind as you craft your cannabis marketing strategy:

    Get to know your audience 

    It’s important to understand your target market and what your audience requires.

    Are you targeting medical marijuana patients? Recreational users? Dispensaries? Cultivators?

    Knowing your audience will help you create targeted content that resonates with them.

    Understand the legal landscape 

    Cannabis is still illegal at the federal level, so it’s essential to understand the advertising regulations in your state and local market before developing your cannabis marketing strategy. You want to avoid running afoul of the law!

    Be creative 

    Because of the stigma surrounding cannabis; you’ll need to get creative with your cannabis marketing approach. Think outside the box and stay within the bounds of what’s legal in your area.

    Have a plan B (and C) 

    The cannabis industry is constantly changing, so it’s important to have backup plans in place in case of sudden changes in legislation or other unforeseen circumstances. Be flexible and be prepared to pivot if necessary.

    Keep an eye on the competition 

    As more cannabis businesses enter the cannabis space, keeping an eye on your competitors’ actions is essential. Learn from their successes (and failures) and adjust your strategy accordingly.

    Design your product packaging

    As cannabis becomes more mainstream, ensuring your product packaging is on point is crucial. Here are a few things to consider when designing your product packaging:

    1. Make sure it’s compliant with all state and local laws. This is the most important thing to remember when designing your packaging. Each state has different laws regarding cannabis packaging, so make sure you’re up to date on the latest regulations.
    2. Keep it simple and clean. You want your packaging to be manageable and straightforward. Stick to a simple design that conveys your product and what it does.
    3. Use high-quality materials. Your packaging should be made of high-quality materials that protect your product and look professional.
    4. Avoid using stoner stereotypes. As cannabis becomes more mainstream, you want to avoid using stereotypes that will turn off potential customers. So ditch the pot leaves and tie dye!
    Laptop, coffee, hand, and notebook on a table. Open laptop screen, with a hand typing on a keyboard beside is a coffee cup.

    Defining marketing channels

    Cannabis marketing can be tricky with legacy media. It’s a product that requires effective cannabis marketing strategies that go way beyond the usual means of promotion. 

    There are a variety of cannabis marketing channels available to cannabis businesses in the industry, each with its strengths and weaknesses.

    The most important thing is to choose a channel (or channels) that work best for your business and your target market.

    Digital marketing is one of the most critical aspects of marketing in the cannabis industry. You need a solid digital cannabis marketing strategy to succeed in this competitive industry.

    You can use several different channels for digital marketing in the cannabis industry.

    Some popular tools include search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, social media marketing, and email marketing.

    SEO is a process that helps improve a website’s visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). This is done by optimizing the website content for relevant keywords and phrases.

    PPC advertising is a form of paid advertising that allows cannabis businesses to bid on keywords and phrases pertinent to their products or services. 

    Using the right mix of digital marketing channels, you can reach your target audience, build relationships, and grow your business.

    Some of the most common cannabis marketing channels for cannabis businesses include:

    Print ads

    Print ads are one of the most productive cannabis marketing tools available to dispensaries, growers, and product manufacturers.

    By placing your ad in strategic locations, you can reach a broad audience of potential customers who may be interested in your products or services.

    When choosing a location for your print ad, it’s important to consider your target audience. Are you trying to reach cannabis consumers?

    If so, where do they typically look for information on new products and dispensaries? 

    Hand drops cannabis extract into juice. Glass sits on table. Refreshing drink with added benefits.

    Some popular options include magazines like Cannabis Now, High Times, and Dope; online directories like Weedmaps and Leafly; and newspapers with cannabis-related sections like the Seattle Times and the Denver Post.

    Once you’ve selected your placement, it’s time to design your ad.

    Be sure to include critical information like your dispensary’s name, address, and phone number; a list of the products you carry; and any special offers or discounts you’re currently running. 

    You might also want to include a call to action, such as “Stop by today!” or “Check out our website for more information.”

    If you need help getting started, plenty of resources are available online to help create an effective print ad.

    And if you need more help, consider working with a professional cannabis marketing agency that can assist you with all aspects of your advertising campaign.

    Radio ads (or podcast or app)

    Radio advertising, podcasting, and app development are all great ways to reach new customers and grow your cannabis business. But how do you know which one is right for you?

    Here are some things to consider when choosing a radio ad, podcast, or app:

    • Your budget: Radio ads can be expensive, but podcasts and apps are relatively affordable.
    • Your target audience: Who are you trying to reach? Make sure your chosen platform reaches them.
    • Your message: What do you want to say? Make sure your message is clear and compelling.

    If you’re unsure where to start, talk to a professional cannabis marketing agency specializing in the cannabis industry. They can help you develop a custom cannabis marketing plan that fits your needs and budget.

    Wooden plate displays cannabis leaves and bottle. Natural materials, with a focus on natural or holistic cannabis use.


    Blogging is a great way to connect with your audience and share your brand’s story. Before starting a blog, keep a few things in mind.

    • By understanding your target audience, you can customize content to appeal to them.
    • Decide what tone you want to set with your blog. Are you casual or formal? Funny or serious? The style of your blog should match the overall voice of your cannabis brand.
    • Finally, think about how often you want to post. A good rule of thumb is to aim for at least one weekly post. But, if that feels like too much, start with bi-weekly posts and work your way up from there.

    Now that you have a plan, it’s time to start writing! When creating blog posts, keep SEO in mind.

    Use keyword-rich titles and relevant keywords throughout your post to help improve your ranking in search engines. Promote your posts on social media!

    Infographics & educational materials

    One of the most effective ways to reach your target audience with marijuana marketing is through infographics and educational materials.

    You can build trust and credibility by providing your audience with valuable information about your product or service.

    Not to mention, infographics are highly shareable, which means they have the potential to reach a large number of people.

    When creating infographics and educational materials, keep your target audience in mind.

    What type of information are they looking for?

    How can you make your content engaging and easy to understand? 

    Answering these questions will help you create content that resonates with your audience and drives results.

    Email campaigns

    Email campaigns are a great way to connect with your customers and keep them updated on your latest products and offerings. Here are a few tips to ensure your email campaigns are successful:

    Keep your emails short, and to the point 

    Your customers are busy and don’t have time to read long emails.

    Include a Call-to-Action (CTA) in every email 

    This could be “Click here to learn more” or “Visit our website to shop now.”

    Use engaging images and videos in your emails 

    People are more likely to remember an email that includes visuals.

    Segment your list so that you can send targeted emails to different groups of people 

    For example, you might have a list of people who have purchased from you before and another list of people who have signed up for your newsletter but haven’t bought anything yet.

    Test every angle to get what works

    Try different subject lines, send times, and email content to see what works best for your business.

    Pay attention to metrics like open and click-through rates to see what’s working and what has to be discarded.

    Outdoor ads

    Outdoor advertising is one of the most effective ways to reach potential customers in any roadmap detailing how to market your cannabis business. It can be a great way to stand out from the competition.

    Here are a few tips for creating successful outdoor ads for your cannabis business:

    • Keep it simple. Use clear imagery and concise text to convey your message quickly and effectively. Outdoor ads should be easy to understand at a glance.
    • Make it relevant. Your ad should target the audience you’re trying to reach. Consider using local landmarks or iconic imagery that will resonate with your target market.
    • Use strong visuals. Outdoor ads are about catching people’s attention, so make sure your ad is visually appealing. Bright colors and bold fonts can help make your ad pop, but don’t go overboard – you don’t want your ad to be too busy or difficult to read.
    • Be creative. With outdoor advertising, you can let your creativity shine. Think outside the box and create an ad that grabs attention and gets people talking.
    • Plan for success. Before you launch your outdoor advertising campaign, take some time to plan it out carefully. Map out where you want to place your ads, set a budget, and create timelines for each campaign stage so you can measure its success.

    Influencer marketing

    Influencer marketing uses key opinion leaders to drive your brand’s message. These opinion leaders are typically people who have a large following on social media or other online platforms.

    A girl inspects cannabis buds in a jar, admiring their colors and trichomes. Quality cannabis for personal use.

    A few things to remember regarding influencer marketing in the cannabis industry:

    • Ensuring that you find an influencer who is a good fit for your brand and aligns with your values is vital.
    • You want to ensure that you’re providing the influencer with quality content that their followers will be interested in.
    • You want to ensure that you’re tracking your results to see what’s working and what isn’t.

    If you keep these things in mind, influencer marketing can be a great way to reach a new audience and promote your brand in the ever-growing cannabis industry.

    Cannabis trade show booths

    As you research how to market cannabis, you’ll find cannabis trade show booths offer a unique opportunity to reach a large audience of potential customers in one place.

    When planning your cannabis trade show booth, remember a few things:

    • First, you want to make sure your booth is eye-catching and inviting. Bright colors and exciting graphics are always attention-grabbers. 
    • Secondly, you’ll want plenty of informative materials, such as brochures, business cards, and product samples. 
    • Finally, staff your booth with knowledgeable and friendly employees who can answer prospective customers’ questions.

    By following these tips, you can ensure that your cannabis trade show booth will succeed!


    For cannabis businesses, sponsorships can be a great way to get your brand in front of a new audience and build goodwill within the community.

    But with the industry still in its infancy, finding the right sponsorship opportunities can be challenging.

    Cannabis product for medicinal or recreational use in jars and capsules on a black background.

    Here are a few things to remember when searching for potential sponsorships:

    • Remember your audience. Make sure the event or organization you’re considering sponsoring is one that your target customer would be interested in.
    • Do your research. Read up on the event or organization before committing to anything. You want to make sure it’s a good fit for your brand.
    • Have a plan. Before approaching potential sponsors, clearly define what you want to achieve with the sponsorship and how you’ll promote your involvement.
    • Be flexible. Be prepared to negotiate terms and conditions, such as financial contribution, branding rights, etc.
    • Be professional. Whether dealing with a small local event or a major national conference, remember that first impressions count!


    As a cannabis marketer, one of your main goals is to reach as many potential customers as possible.

    However, getting a large audience is not enough – you also need to ensure that your message goes to the right people.

    One way to do this is through retargeting, a form of online advertising that allows you to target potential customers who have already shown an interest in your product or service.

    For example, let’s say that someone visits your website but doesn’t make a purchase. With retargeting, you can show them ads for your product as they browse other websites. 

    This ensures that they see your ad even if they don’t come back to your site, increasing the chances that they’ll make a purchase.

    Retargeting is an effective way to reach potential customers interested in your product or service. If you’re not already using retargeting as part of your cannabis marketing strategy, now is the time to start!

    Guerrilla marketing

    Guerrilla marketing is a term used to describe creative, unconventional marketing techniques designed to generate maximum exposure for a product or service. 

    In the cannabis industry, where some of the most traditional advertising channels are often unavailable, guerrilla marketing can effectively reach potential customers and create buzz around a brand.

    Some common guerrilla marketing tactics in the cannabis industry include bus shelter ads, street art, graffiti, and sticker bombing.

    Guerrilla marketers also often use social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat to reach their target audience.

    While guerrilla marketing can effectively get noticed in a crowded marketplace, ensuring that your campaigns are legal and comply with all relevant regulations is essential.

    Street team marketing

    Street team marketing is a great way to get the word out about your cannabis business and build up a base of loyal customers.

    By hiring a group of people to promote your products or services in their local communities, you can reach a wide variety of potential customers who may need to be aware of your business.

    Here are some tips for successful street team marketing:

    • Define your target market. Who are you trying to reach with your street team marketing? Be as specific as possible so that you can tailor your marketing materials and messaging to appeal to them.
    • Create catchy promotional materials. Your street team should have plenty of flyers, posters, and other materials to pique people’s interest and make them want to learn more about your cannabis business.
    • Train your street team members well. They should be knowledgeable about your products or services and be able to answer questions from potential customers. Make sure they’re also friendly and approachable to put people at ease about trying something new.
    • Set up an attractive display. If you’re setting up a table or booth at an event, make sure it looks professional and inviting. This will help draw people in and make them more likely to stop and talk to your street team members.
    • Offer incentives for people to learn more about your cannabis business, whether it’s discounts on products or services, freebies, or entry into a contest.

    Affiliate marketing

    Affiliate marketing is performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s cannabis marketing strategies.

    Cannabis companies can use affiliate marketing to reach new customers and grow their businesses.

    To be successful at affiliate marketing, cannabis companies need to find the right affiliates, build strong relationships with them, and offer them attractive commissions. 

    They also need a well-designed website and online store that makes it easy for visitors to find the products they’re looking for and make a purchase.

    With the right approach, affiliate marketing can be a great way to attract new customers and grow your cannabis business.

    Product placement

    Product placement is a crucial marketing strategy for cannabis businesses. You can increase brand awareness and drive sales by placing your products in front of potential customers. 

    However, product placement can be a challenge in the cannabis industry due to strict regulations.

    To successfully implement product placement, you must first understand the rules and regulations surrounding cannabis advertising.

    Once you know what you can and cannot do, you can develop a product placement strategy that works for your business.

    Some tips for effective product placement include:

    • Utilize social media platforms to reach a wider audience.
    • Attend trade shows and events to showcase products. 
    • Partner with other cannabis businesses in the cannabis industry to cross-promote products.

    Cannabis PR

    Cannabis PR is a burgeoning industry with immense potential.

    By staying up to date on the latest industry news and keeping an eye on key players, you can position your company for success in this rapidly growing field.

    Hands hold charts, phones, and laptop. Business or financial data displayed on phone and laptop screens, implying analysis.

    To stay ahead of the curve, you have to understand the basic rules of cannabis PR. Here are a few key things to keep in mind:

    Know your reach

    Before crafting a successful cannabis PR strategy, you must understand your reach for your target audience.

    What are their needs and wants?

    What do they care about?

    Once you have a good grasp of your audience, you can begin developing messaging that resonates with them.

    Keep it professional

    While the cannabis industry is often associated with relaxed attitudes and informal language, it’s important to remember that this is still a professional setting.

    When crafting your PR materials, use respectful and appropriate language for a business setting. This will help ensure that your company is taken seriously by both media outlets and consumers.

    Be newsworthy

    For your company to garner media attention, you must share something newsworthy. This could be anything from a new product launch to an innovative marketing campaign.

    Whatever it is, make sure it’s exciting and unique enough to capture the attention of reporters and editors.

    Additional resources

    The cannabis industry has been booming as deregulation advances in most states. As a result, there is an increasing demand for cannabis marketing services. The industry is expected to continue to grow.

    Several excellent resources are available to help you successfully market your cannabis business, including:

    • Cannabis Marketing Association: The CMA is the leading trade association for the cannabis marketing industry. They offer educational resources, networking opportunities, and advocacy support.
    • Marijuana Business Association: The MJBA is another valuable resource for cannabis marketers. They provide industry news, business resources, and access to a professional network of marijuana businesses.
    • Cannabis Marketing Institute: CMI is an excellent source of information for anyone looking to learn more about effective cannabis marketing strategies and techniques. They offer online courses, webinars, and other educational resources.

    How to get the right cannabis licenses for your business

    There are a few different types of cannabis licenses that businesses can apply for, depending on the type of business they want.

    For example, there are licenses for selling cannabis products, cultivating cannabis, manufacturing cannabis products, and testing cannabis.

    The first step in getting a cannabis license is to figure out which type of license you need. Once you know your license, you can start the application process. The application process varies from state to state. 

    Still, you will need to fill out an application form and submit it to the state regulatory agency responsible for issuing cannabis licenses.

    Be sure to include all required documentation with your application form. Incomplete applications or those missing required documentation will likely be rejected outright by regulators. 

    If your application is approved, you will be issued a license and can start operating your cannabis business.

    Managing your contact information

    Assuming you have a business or are thinking of starting one in the cannabis industry, you will need to consider how you manage your contact information.

    There are a few different ways to do this, and each has its pros and cons.

    One option is to use a dedicated contact management system. This can be either an online service or software installed on your computer.

    The advantage of using a reliable system is that it gives you complete control over your data. 

    You can decide who has access to it and what information they can see.

    Additionally, these systems typically have features designed explicitly for managing customer contact information, such as easily creating and tracking customer interactions.

    The downside of using a dedicated contact management system is that it can be expensive in terms of the initial cost of the software or service and the ongoing costs associated with maintaining it. 

    Additionally, if you’re not careful, it can be easy to let your data become out-of-date or lost entirely if the system crashes.

    Another option is using a spreadsheet application like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to manage your contact information. 

    The advantage of using a spreadsheet is that it’s usually cheaper than a dedicated system since you already have the software installed on your computer.

    Additionally, spreadsheets are relatively easy to use, and most people are already familiar with them.

    VCs & partnerships

    To be successful in the cannabis industry, your brand needs strong relationships with other businesses and organizations. 

    Two individuals shake hands in a friendly and professional greeting. Gesture could signify a deal or agreement.

    You can accomplish this through partnerships and by participating in events and tradeshows. Additionally, it is essential to have a robust online presence. 

    You can achieve this by creating a website and utilizing social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. 

    Security inquiries

    As the cannabis industry grows, so does the need for reliable and secure marketing platforms.

    With the ever-changing landscape of cannabis legislation, brands need to stay up-to-date with the latest news and developments to remain compliant.

    All security inquiries related to your brand need to be detailed in a blog that provides your readers with the latest information on cannabis security.

    Here they’ll find articles on topics such as how to secure your cannabis business, what type of insurance you need, and more.


    Cannabis marketing has multiple vectors, especially if you’re starting from scratch. Following the tips outlined in this article, you can position your business for success in this rapidly growing industry. 

    Keep your branding consistent across all channels, create compelling content that educates and informs your target audience, and stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends to stay ahead of the competition. 

    With a well-executed marketing strategy, you can tap into the immense potential of the cannabis market and build a successful business.