Since the medical marijuana movement began in the late 1960s, the plant has been slowly gaining acceptance as a legal form of pain relief. Last year, cannabis was legalized in 10 states, with another eight potential states likely to follow suit in 2018. In April, Canada legalized the plant nationally, while in the UK it is widely available legally under a medical marijuana program which is in place for a limited number of conditions.
Purchasing an ounce of pot from a local dealer is a time-honored tradition, but how much cannabis is there on the market? Is there a better way to find quality marijuana, and is it even possible to find a better dealer?
The original Jimi Hendrix song, Purple Haze, was a warning about the dangers of psychedelic drug use and the consequences of social alienation. The song’s chorus, which introduced a psychedelic guitar riff, asked, “Are you sure you wanna die?” The song, of course, made no mention of Cannabis, but it has been reported that Hendrix was an avid smoker.. Read more about cannabis industry sales 2020 and let us know what you think.Cannabis has always had a hard time marketing. This is partly a matter of logistics. A DTC book that relies heavily on growing the brand’s audience and getting people to buy products through digital marketing is impossible for them. Despite its widespread application, most major ad platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, are reluctant to touch it because of its questionable legality. Banner ads don’t convert and only go to certain platforms like Pornhub or Weedmaps anyway.
PlugPlay, the California-based cannabis brand, stays relevant with creative posts like this one on Instagram.
And because legal status varies from state to state, it is extremely difficult for a brand to cover multiple markets. Think about it: Why would someone living in Florida be interested in a cool cannabis brand in Detroit if they don’t work in the industry or have a connection to the state? It also makes influencer marketing difficult because people can’t find the coolest people in their state to follow. They just find people who find them interesting.
That leaves the badtenders – the point-of-sale specialists who play an important role in training and selecting products. Most people are new to cannabis, or cannabis has changed a lot since they last came into contact with it. Budtenders offer an informative and hyper-local solution with extremely limited coverage of a narrow market.
But the future looks bright. A new wave of platform marketing has emerged, with new formats and more room for cannabis brands to develop and grow. By understanding a bit about what makes newcomers to social media and the emerging mainstream successful, cannabis companies can find new ways to market and promote themselves.
Becoming an Aboriginal
Large cannabis retail and ordering apps – such as Weedmaps, Leafly and others – with high visibility in the cannabis community and a growing number of social media-like features, offer great opportunities today. These are places that are already segmented by market, with integrated and educated audiences, open to creative approaches to branding and marketing.
Such applications are also becoming the norm. Especially after the pandemic, pharmacies make most of their sales through online ordering and pickup. Therefore, it is extremely important that you present yourself on these platforms with a good appearance and propagate your unique position.
Listening and learning
Whether it’s Clubhouse or other emerging competitors on the horizon, audio platforms are great because they can serve as vehicles for honest, direct and enlightening conversations about cannabis. This is great news for badtenders, who can help a brand expand its reach by cultivating this conversational relationship with consumers. As the cannabis market develops rapidly, people will need a safe space to normalize consumption, talk about dosage, or how normal users (not just stereotypical addicts, but everyday, constructive members of society) can use cannabis effectively in their daily lives.
Many other visual platforms focus more on curating or presenting an ideal life than learning or sharing – an area where audio platforms can excel.
From old to new
In some cases, it’s not just about using new platforms, but also about finding better ways to use old platforms. Whether it’s legal or not, many people are wary of cannabis, for example. They want answers to their questions and information about brands and products from their peers and experts, but they don’t want their bosses and grandparents to know they’re taking up the pen between meetings or for brunch.
Therefore, time-based content platforms – Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp and others – that offer individuals and brands a degree of safety and controlled messaging will help to further normalize cannabis.
Another non-cannabic example worth emulating is Psilodelic, a brand of psilocybin gum that is extremely low-dose and a solid brand that uses Instagram in creative ways. By intentionally making their accounts private and not having a public hub, the only way to buy the product is to follow them and use the DM. Getting on the platform this way requires constantly closing and opening new accounts, but they’ve done a remarkable job of offering a product that, like cannabis, is sometimes unavailable, and doing it in a simple, elite way. This is creative entrepreneurship.
Ultimately, using these evolving platforms means seeing them as tools to build better relationships with people. Successful brands will have very simple guides and information that really help people look at cannabis differently. Then, when we finally get to legalization, these brands will be better prepared to enter the mainstream, confident in the meaningful relationships they’ve already built.
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