The Basics of Cannabis Marketing

As with most businesses, marketing is central to the success of a Cannabis business. This article will highlight the basics of marketing a cannabis business and core principles that will set your business up for success.  If cannabis marketing seems complicated, you should consider hiring an agency like Spark Factory.

Marketing is no more complex than promoting, selling, or delivering goods or services. If you’re a business owner, you know that no business could exist without customers. However, the process of attracting new customers may be one of the most demanding marketing challenges you face. Marketing is all about continually attracting new customers to your business.

It encompasses all the activities involved in getting a product or service from concept to consumer.

Cannabis businesses have high levels of uncertainty and need marketers to help navigate those uncertainties.

Cannabis businesses need marketers who understand consumer needs, market segmentation, and consumer preferences.

Certain foundations apply to every business. There are standard ways to promote your business. The same principles apply to cannabis as to any other business.

Cannabis, being relatively new, is in some ways like a startup. But there are some subtler differences.

First, the economics are very different. You can give potential customers free samples of your product, but giving away pot is not such a good idea. And you can’t take the feedback you get from customers into account unless you ask permission.

Second, because no two customers have the exact needs, and because some people find pot more comfortable to use than others, cannabis businesses must engage in what marketers call “segmentation”: They find that people with similar needs and preferences respond better to a particular message.

Third, cannabis is regulated. The regulations are complicated and vary from state to state, but pot businesses are by definition tightly regulated. This restricts the kinds of advertising possible but also imposes costs. The customer must bear the costs of regulation.

So, although the basic rules of marketing apply to cannabis businesses, there are special rules.

In addition to these marketing rules, cannabis businesses also face unique marketing challenges.

The legalization of marijuana has created opportunities for medical and recreational businesses that did not exist before legalization. The industry has overgrown, with estimated annual revenues reaching $6.5 billion by 2020.

However, this rapid growth has also created challenges. The industry’s infancy means that regulations around advertising and marketing are primarily in place, but enforcement is inconsistent. Some jurisdictions, such as California, prohibit cannabis businesses from using traditional advertising channels, such as billboards and radio.

Most cannabis businesses also face the challenge of marketing to consumers and patients. The industry’s youth means that most consumers do not have much experience with cannabis. As a result, most cannabis consumers are not familiar with brands or products.

As a result, cannabis businesses must develop creative, nontraditional ways to reach consumers. For example, businesses may market products through art exhibits, social media, and billboards.

For cannabis businesses, marketing is much more than advertising, public relations, and selling. Marketing is about creating and sustaining relationships. It’s all about building relationships with customers and earning their trust.

Cannabis marketers also must understand the cannabis consumer. That’s particularly important when it comes to developing relationships with cannabis consumers.

Cannabis consumers are diverse. Some marijuana consumers want the experience, while others want more generalized health and wellness. Some consumers want specific strains, while others want general sativa or indica.

Consumers also are diverse in the types of retail outlets they frequent. Online cannabis retailers, for example, have far fewer barriers than brick-and-mortar stores when it comes to reaching cannabis consumers.


The marketing of cannabis is, at its core, the exchange of information. Cannabis marketing is, at its core, the exchange of information.

And cannabis marketing requires understanding legal regulations, cannabis culture and behaviors, and cannabis consumer preferences. These all play a role in how businesses advertise, design their marketing efforts, and interact with and understand their customers.

To be successful, you must know the basics of marketing. Put your efforts into identifying your target customers, building your brand, and partnering with other businesses. Next, learn how to reach your customers. Consider a marijuana dispensary, for example. The dispensary’s target market is adult medical marijuana users. The brand is their promise of quality and discounted prices and is strengthened by partnerships with other businesses, like dispensaries, testing labs, and app companies. Finally, the dispensary reaches its customers through advertising, social media, word of mouth, and SMS notifications.