Digital marketing for cannabis brands – what you can and can’t do

Even though cannabis is legal in several states throughout the U.S., this does not mean cannabis companies can freely advertise. Ask any up-and-coming cannabis brand what their number one marketing challenge is, and they will likely say advertising.

Cannabis businesses are heavily restricted in promoting their products and services, even more so than tobacco and alcohol companies. Under federal law, cannabis is viewed as a Schedule 1 narcotic. However, in recent months some GOP leaders have considered taking it off the controlled substances list. But until that happens, what is a company to do?

Today many companies are doing online and digital advertising. Not so for cannabis brands. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Google will not allow cannabis brands to run advertising, even in states where it’s legal. These operators are constantly monitoring and pulling accounts down, which has led companies to become increasingly marketing savvy and more creative than ever before.

What hasn’t gone away is traditional print ads, predominately in trade publications BUT for a startup this can be quite costly. What has helped on the dispensary side is capturing customer information by using in-store iPads, which will ask for cellphone number, contact info and product preferences. Also, sales associates, or budtenders, help by not only educating customers but promoting products.

However, if you are a distributor, manufacturer or service provider how can you reach your customers? At Oster and Associates we’re able to offer our cannabis clients, like Therapy Tonics & Provisions, a cannabis-infused coffee and tea company, the opportunity to reach its customer base through targeted geo-fencing, ad network targeting, behavioral targeting and display retargeting. We have found that key influencer campaigns are very effective from a products promotional level. Sponsoring industry events are also a great way to market your brand.

Bottomline is there are creative ways to market your cannabis company and Oster and Associates is here to help you achieve your marketing needs. Please feel free to contact us for a no obligation consultation.