Marketing in the Cannabis Industry: Tips, Trends, and Guidelines for Success

Last Updated on Dec 29, 2023

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    It’s no secret that the cannabis industry is booming. For this reason, marketing efforts are more important than ever.

    With the legalization of recreational marijuana in many states, businesses are looking to capitalize on the newfound opportunity to make money, leading to an increase in competition.

    Whether you’re a dispensary owner or a startup looking to break into the market, the following article will provide helpful tips, trends, and guidelines for finding success in your cannabis marketing efforts.

    Key Takeaways

    • Stay up to date with regulations: The cannabis industry is heavily regulated, so it’s important to stay on top of changes to advertising rules and regulations to avoid legal troubles.
    • Build a strong brand: As more players enter the cannabis market, it’s essential to differentiate yourself with a strong brand that resonates with your target audience.
    • Leverage digital marketing: With restrictions on traditional advertising methods, tactics such as SEO, social media, and influencer marketing are critical for reaching your audience.
    • Emphasize education: As cannabis becomes more mainstream, consumers are seeking educational content to better understand the benefits and risks of using it. Providing valuable information can help build trust and loyalty with your audience.
    • Focus on community building: The cannabis industry is unique in that it’s built on a passionate and engaged community. Emphasizing community-building efforts such as events, social media engagement, and education can help you establish a strong following and brand reputation.

    The challenges of cannabis marketing

    The cannabis industry has several challenges associated with marketing. Firstly, the legal landscape presents uncertainty since cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. Cannabis companies are limited in the traditional and digital platforms used to reach their target audience.

    In addition to that, there is the stigma attached to cannabis which prevents people from changing their opposing views on it. 

    Finally, the lack of data on what works and doesn’t work regarding cannabis marketing in this space makes it hard for businesses to create profitable campaigns. As the industry progresses, more data will be available to help cannabis companies develop effective strategies.

    Shifting perceptions

    The industry is still in its early stages, and public perceptions need to be shifted. As a marketer, you must equip yourself and your team with knowledge about the plant and use respectful and positive language when talking about cannabis users. 

    Doing so will help to change people’s views on cannabis and make them more likely to buy your product.


    When marketing cannabis, it is essential to abide by certain restrictions. All your advertising must be directed towards adults aged 21 and over, with no false health claims made. Furthermore, language and imagery which could attract minors should be discouraged.

    Certain advertising aspects, such as billboards or certain words/images, may be prohibited depending on the jurisdiction. Always check local regulations before implementing any cannabis marketing initiative for complete compliance.

    Our client at came to us to overcome these challenges, and next, we will tell you how we did it.

    What does a successful cannabis marketing strategy look like?

    A successful cannabis marketing strategy will vary depending on the company’s products, services, and target market. However, there are some common elements that all successful cannabis marketing strategies share.

    First and foremost, a successful cannabis marketing strategy must be compliant with all state and federal laws. Cannabis companies must avoid illegal or unethical marketing practices, such as targeting minors or using false or misleading advertising.

    In addition, a successful cannabis marketing strategy must be carefully planned and executed. Cannabis companies should have specific goals and objectives and create detailed plans to reach their target audiences best. Additionally, it is crucial to track progress and measure results to adjust your strategy as needed.

    A successful cannabis marketing strategy must be flexible and adaptable. The industry is constantly evolving, so companies need to be able to change their approach as the landscape shifts. They also need to be prepared to take advantage of new opportunities. One of our cannabis clients did exactly that you can check out their site here.

    Goals and metrics

    Goals and metrics are important in cannabis marketing campaigns because they provide a way to measure the effectiveness and success of a campaign.

    Having clear, defined goals helps to focus the cannabis marketing efforts and ensures that resources are being used in a targeted and effective manner. 

    Hand holding pen points to chart analysis with data and graphs for business planning

    Metrics allow cannabis marketers to track progress toward these goals and make data-driven decisions on how to optimize their strategies. 

    By regularly measuring and analyzing key metrics, cannabis marketers can determine which tactics are working. It also assists in determining which ones need to be refined, and where to focus their efforts moving forward. 

    This helps to maximize the return on investment and make informed decisions about future cannabis marketing efforts. Additionally, tracking metrics can demonstrate the value of cannabis marketing efforts to stakeholders. It also secures continued investment in marketing initiatives.

    A multi-channel approach

    The cannabis industry is proliferating, and with that growth comes increased competition. You must take a multi-channel approach to the market to succeed in this competitive landscape. This means using a variety of channels to reach your target audience.

    Some of the most effective channels for marketing in the marijuana industry include:

    • Digital advertising: Cannabis businesses can use digital advertising to reach a broad audience of potential customers. Platforms like Google AdWords and Facebook Ads offer targeting options that allow you to target people who are interested in cannabis products specifically.
    • Content marketing: Creating informative and engaging content is a great way to attract attention from your target audience. Cannabis businesses can use blogs, articles, infographics, and even videos to educate potential customers about their products and services.
    • Social media: Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram provide an excellent way to connect with potential customers and create a strong brand presence. Cannabis businesses should regularly post engaging content and interact with users on social media platforms. This helps to build relationships and drive traffic to their websites or retail store.
    • Public relations: Getting coverage from news outlets and influencers can help build brand awareness for your cannabis business. Working with a PR agency or consultant who understands the marijuana industry can be beneficial in getting your business exposure through traditional media channels.

    Cannabis advertising trends for 2023

    As the industry continues to evolve, so does cannabis advertising. Here are some of the latest trends in cannabis advertising for 2023:

    • Increased use of video content: A video is a powerful tool for engaging potential customers and conveying information about your product or brand. As more cannabis brands enter the cannabis space, we expect to see an increase in the use of video content in cannabis advertising.
    • Greater focus on digital channels: With more people spending time online, digital channels are becoming increasingly crucial for reaching potential customers. Cannabis brands must invest more in developing their presence on digital channels such as social media platforms, search engines, and websites.
    • More personalized cannabis marketing: To stand out in a crowded marketplace, brands must focus on delivering customized messages to their target audiences. This could involve tailoring content and offers to specific demographics or targeting consumers based on their location or interests.
    • Greater use of influencers: Influencer marketing has become increasingly popular recently, and we expect this trend to continue in the cannabis space. Brands must identify relevant influencers who can reach their target audience and deliver authentic messages about their cannabis products or services.
    • Increased use of data-driven strategies: As the industry matures, we expect to see a greater focus on data-driven marketing strategies. This could involve using customer data to segment audiences, personalize messages, and track results.

    Changing consumer base

    As the marijuana industry expands, so does the consumer base. According to a report by Brightfield Group, the cannabis consumer base is expected to grow from 55 million in 2019 to 81 million in 2022. 

    This growth is driven by several factors, including the legalization of cannabis for adult use in more states, the increasing acceptance of cannabis as a medical treatment, and the growing number of baby boomers who are using cannabis for wellness purposes.

    Hand holding a banner displaying 'Where Customers Matter' on a yellow background.

    As the consumer base changes, so must the marketing strategies used to reach them. Here are some tips and trends to remember when your goal is to reach the cannabis consumer base:

    • Connect with your audience: Are you targeting medical patients? Recreational users? Baby boomers? Each group has different needs and concerns you need to address in your marketing strategy.
    • Ditch the stoner stereotypes: The modern cannabis consumer is diverse and sophisticated. Your marketing should reflect this.
    • Be aware of changing regulations: The landscape of cannabis advertising is constantly shifting. Stay up-to-date on the latest rules and regulations to avoid costly mistakes.
    • Get creative with your marketing channels: Traditional paid advertising channels like television and radio may not be available for cannabis businesses. However, many other creative ways to reach your target audience include online paid advertising, guerilla marketing, and event sponsorships.
    • Focus on Education: To be successful, it’s essential to focus on education. One of the best ways to stay educated in the cannabis industry is to attend conferences and events. You’ll be able to network with other professionals, learn about new cannabis products and services, and get up-to-date information on the industry. 

    New products/new consumers

    The industry is constantly evolving, and new cannabis products are continually being introduced. As a result, it can take time to keep up with the latest trends and find the right products for your customers. 

    Here are some tips to help you stay ahead of the curve and find the best cannabis products for your business:

    1. Stay up to date on industry news and trends. You can follow industry news sources, such as Cannabis Business Times, or attend trade shows and conferences. This will help you identify new products that could fit your business well.

    2. Talk to your customers to see what they’re looking for. They may be interested in trying new products you have yet to consider. Use surveys or other research methods to get feedback from your reach cannabis consumers.

    3. Work with manufacturers or distributors who offer new product previews or early access programs. This way, you can look at new products and decide if they suit your business.

    4. Be selective about the new products you bring in. Only some new products will be a hit with your customers. It’s important to carefully consider each option before making a decision. Pay attention to customer feedback and make sure the product is a good fit for your brand identity.

    By following these tips, you can stay ahead of the curve and ensure that you’re offering the best possible products to your customers.

    Cannabis marketing channels

    Digital marketing is one of the most efficient and effective ways to reach your target market in the marijuana industry. By definition, it’s “the use of the internet, mobile devices, social media, search engines, and direct mail to reach customers.” To succeed, it is crucial to understand how to utilize each platform to its fullest potential.

    Hand holding a banner displaying 'let's get social' on a light brown background.

    How to market cannabis on social media

    When marketing cannabis on social media, there are a few key things to remember. First and foremost, it’s essential to be aware of the ever-changing landscape of social media and the various available platforms. 

    In recent years, platforms like Snapchat and Instagram have become increasingly popular, while others like Facebook and Twitter have maintained their status as go-to social media sites. 

    It’s important to know where your target audience is spending their time online so that you can tailor your content accordingly.

    Another critical thing to remember when marketing cannabis on social media is to be mindful of your language. Due to the stigma surrounding cannabis, it’s important to avoid using language that could turn off potential customers or make them uncomfortable. 

    Instead, focus on using inclusive language that communicates your brand’s values and mission.

    Finally, don’t forget to take advantage of visual content when marketing cannabis on social media. Photos and videos are excellent ways to grab attention and show off your products in a positive light. 

    Due to restrictions on advertising, you may need to get creative with your visuals to avoid problems with platform policies.

    Paid vs. organic

    Organic and paid marketing are viable strategies for businesses to use in the expanding industry. 

    Organic methods are cost-effective, can boost trust and credibility, and potentially lead to long-term results; however, they may take longer to deliver tangible results and be challenging to succeed in a competitive market. 

    Paid campaigns can generate quick results and target specific audiences, but they can become expensive and have no guarantee of success. Ultimately cannabis brands must weigh their options carefully when deciding which approach is best for them.

    Email marketing

    Email marketing is a great way to stay connected with your target audience and share updates on new products, services, and promotions. 

    When creating email marketing matrial, try crafting short, sweet subject lines that won’t get cut off in an inbox, and think outside the box regarding visuals and copy. 

    Segment your list by preferences or past purchase history so you can send relevant content to each customer. 

    Lastly, consider when you’re sending out direct mails, as timing is critical; don’t email during the late evening or early morning. Utilizing these strategies will help ensure successful campaigns that connect with your cannabis customers.

    Video marketing

    When producing videos for your cannabis business, it’s essential to consider the needs and wants of your target market. 

    You should create engaging and entertaining visuals that look professional and build trust with viewers. 

    Plan and invest in quality production to create high-quality videos that drive results. And remember to include clear calls to action throughout your videos so viewers know what to do next.

    Podcast marketing

    Podcasting is a great way to market your cannabis business and engage with potential customers. To maximize the impact of your podcast, define your target audience, create compelling content, distribute widely, and build relationships with listeners. 

    Your podcast should be full of interesting, informative, and entertaining content that will keep listeners coming back for more. Make sure each episode has a solid hook to keep people engaged. 

    Doing so will help you reach even more people and make a real impact with your podcast.

    SEO marketing 

    Search engine optimization (SEO) is optimizing a website for Google search to earn higher web traffic levels and improve organic visibility. Cannabis businesses can use SEO to ensure their website appears as the top result for relevant keywords.

    PPC advertising 

    Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a type of online advertising where businesses pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. PPC advertising can be an effective way for cannabis businesses to reach their target.

    Engage cannabis customers with your brand story

    The industry is booming, and with that comes intense competition. To engage customers and stand out from the crowd, it’s crucial to have a strong brand story. Your brand story will make you unique and memorable, so take the time to craft one that speaks to your audience.

    Use geo targeting to attract nearby cannabis customers

    If you want to attract nearby cannabis customers; geotargeting is a great way to do it. By targeting ads and content to users in specific geographic areas, you can ensure that your message reaches the most likely to be interested in what you have to say.

    Geotargeting can be done in several ways, but one of the most effective is through Google AdWords. By targeting your ad campaigns to specific regions, you can ensure that people near your business see your ads.

    Another great way to use geotargeting is through social media. Facebook, for example, allows you to target your posts and ads to specific geographic areas. 

    This means you can reach people who are more likely to be interested in what you have to say, and it also allows you to save money on advertising costs.

    Focus on great customer service

    To deliver excellent customer service; you must understand what your customers want and need. Take the time to get to know them and their preferences. This will allow you to tailor your customer service approach to each individual.

    Woman wearing headset while working on computer for remote customer service job.

    It is also important to be responsive to customer inquiries and feedback. Be sure to address any concerns or issues promptly and effectively. You will build trust and loyalty with your customers by providing excellent customer service, which is essential for success in the cannabis industry.

    Invest in a solid website

    The internet is a powerful tool that can level the playing field for small businesses in this industry. A well-designed website can help you compete with larger cannabis companies, reach new customers, and build your brand. Here are a few things to keep in mind when investing in a solid website for your cannabis business:

    1. Make sure your website is compliant with state and federal laws. The cannabis industry is highly regulated, so ensuring your website complies with all relevant laws and regulations is vital.

    2. Keep your content fresh. Your website should be a reflection of your brand, so make sure to keep your content fresh and up-to-date. Regular updates will also help improve your search engine ranking.

    3. Use strong calls to action. Use strong calls to action on key pages, such as your home page, product page, and contact page. Your website should be designed to convert visitors into customers or patients.

    4. Invest in SEO. Search engine optimization can be complex, but it’s worth investing in if you want people to find your site when they search for keywords related to your business or products.

    5. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly. More and more people are using their phones and tablets to browse the web, so it’s important to ensure your site looks great and works well on mobile devices.

    Make sure your dispensary is listed on local sites

    Make sure to list your dispensary on local sites so people in your area can easily find you. Use Google My Business to manage your online presence, as it’s a free service across Maps and Search. 

    Hand holding tablet displays digital map for navigation, travel, and exploration.

    It’s also possible to list on online directories, such as Weedmaps and Leafly, for a fee. 

    Lastly, set up a page or profile on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter – include your location in the profile info and post regular updates! It’s an effective way to attract new customers with promotions or giveaways.

    Important considerations for cannabis marketing and advertising campaigns

    Regarding marketing and advertising campaigns for cannabis products, there are a few essential things to remember. First and foremost, all marketing and advertising must comply with state and local laws. 

    This includes restrictions on where ads can be placed and what language can be used. Additionally, it’s important to consider cannabis users when crafting your marketing and advertising strategy. What appeals to one group of cannabis consumers may not appeal to another. 

    And finally, don’t forget that the marijuana industry is still relatively new, so there is always room for innovation in marketing and advertising campaigns.

    Federal legal status

    It’s essential to stay informed on the ever-changing legal landscape of the industry. Cannabis is still illegal under federal regulation, so understanding the risks and opportunities associated with this industry is vital. 

    Companies must be creative with their cannabis content and their strategies to market successfully and use channels such as social media, guerrilla marketing, or word-of-mouth. 

    Strict adherence to relevant laws and regulations will ensure compliance and help ensure your business’ success in the cannabis industry.

    Platform rules and guidelines in social media

    As the cannabis industry grows, social media is increasingly becoming a vital tool for marketing and advertising. 

    However, in light of the illegal status of cannabis under federal law, it is essential to abide by the various rules and restrictions related to promoting a cannabis business on these platforms.

    Old-fashioned typewriter showcasing terms of service agreement for website users.

    Ensure all content meets existing laws and regulations; account for age limitations within each social media platform; avoid making medical claims; and stay away from language affiliated with illicit behavior. 

    Taking these considerations into account will help keep your business safe while utilizing social media to spread its message.

    Content liability

    In the ever-expanding cannabis industry lies a significant potential for legal liability. Cannabis businesses need to be aware of their unique risks and take steps to protect themselves.

    There are a few key areas where content liability poses a risk for cannabis businesses:

    1. Cannabis businesses must be careful about advertising and marketing their products. The rules around advertising and marketing are still evolving, and there is a risk of facing regulators if you are not mindful of your posts.

    2. Social media is a great way to connect with customers and promote your business. However, it also comes with its own set of risks. For example, if you make a claim about your product on social media that turns out to be false, you could be held liable for misleading or false advertising.

    3. Your website needs to be accurate and up-to-date. If you make claims about your products or services that turn out to be false, you could again be held liable for misleading or false advertising.

    4. It is crucial to ensure that your labeling and packaging accurately reflect the contents of your product. If you mislabel or mispackage your product, you could face legal liability.

    5. Health claims: Be very careful about making health claims about your products. These claims are highly regulated, and if you make a false or misleading claim, you may leave yourself open for civil action.

    Final thoughts

    When it comes to marketing in the cannabis industry, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First and foremost, you must be aware of the restrictions on marketing by state and federal law. 

    Additionally, you need to understand your audience and what they are looking for in a cannabis product. Finally, you need to have a clear plan for how you will market your product or service. Following these tips can set you up for success in the cannabis industry.