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How to Promote Your Cannabis Brand

Marketing and advertising for cannabis brands can be an arduous task and businesses sometimes have to rely on alternative forms of promotion. This week, Miggy and Tom were joined by Lisa Buffo, Founder and CEO of the Cannabis Marketing Association, to discuss marketing challenges and opportunities cannabis brands face.

Marketing Cannabis Rules and Regulations

Marketing options for cannabis businesses are limited and regulations differ from state to state. In Colorado, the first state to legalize recreational cannabis, billboards and location-based advertising are prohibited. In Washington State, wrapped advertising on cars and sign spinners are prohibited. In California, TV, digital, print and radio ads are permitted, but only if 71.6% of the audience is 21+.

“Some states even restrict having a green cross or green leaf in their logo because they’ve decided that’s not the brand they want to put out there. Say you have a business in Colorado and that has a green cross or green leaf in your logo and you want to expand to one of the states that has a rule like that, that’s something you really want to consider when it comes to maintaining your brand consistency.” – Lisa Buffo

Do Ancillary Cannabis Businesses Have the Same Marketing Regulations as Dispensaries?

“The restrictions and regulations are really towards those who “touch-the-plant”, those who grow, sell, produce, or package cannabis. While ancillary service providers like Cannabis Industry Lawyer or Cannabis Marketing Association need to be conscious and aware of those regulations we are not selling cannabis directly. Most of those rules apply to licensed brands.” – Lisa Buffo

Cannabis Marketing Association – Marketing Cannabis 101

“I think one thing cannabis companies have done right is really focusing in on their differentiator. With any product, you don’t want to be everything to everybody but in the cannabis industry that’s really important – what makes you different? Those that focus on what makes them different and are also able to translate that into ‘who is my target customer’ are really doing their marketing homework. Understanding who you are as a brand and who you are as a company not only resonates with consumers but also internally with your team and your employees.” – Lisa Buffo

Green Wednesday and Black Friday

Green Wednesday is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. It is the second biggest day in terms of sales for cannabis businesses (after 4/20 of course). It’s no mystery as to why it’s a big sales day – it’s the day before a four day celebration that usually involves food, family, and socialization. Green Wednesday is also usually accompanied with huge discounts and many consumers are purchasing gifts for their friends and family.

Green Wednesday Statistics (2018 Numbers in Recreational States)

  • Cannabis sales increased 63%
  • Cannabis-infused beverages increased by 101%
  • Edible sales increased by 85%
  • Extract and concentrate sales increased by 159% in California and Washington

What is the Cannabis Marketing Association (CMA)?

  • An industry trade group
  • Provides career resources
  • Hosts networking event
  • Founded by Lisa Buffo in 2016
  • Headquarters in Denver, CO
  • After Lisa took a job as Chief Marketing Officer for a cannabis brand in Colorado she realized most of her traditional marketing knowledge and experience doesn’t apply to this new industry
  • Lisa started asking her colleagues and peers at more established cannabis brands if they could meet after work to discuss their experience promoting cannabis
  • They had 80 people attend their first meeting and it’s been growing steadily ever since

Who is a CMA membership for?

  • Entrepreneurs
  • Marketers of all experience levels
  • Cannabis businesses and brands
  • Marketing and advertising agencies
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