5 Trends In Cannabis Marketing That Will Light Up Within 2023 – The Drum
From celebrity endorsements to wellness-focused messaging, industry insiders outline the marketing movements defining the future of cannabis.
An increasing rate of legalization across the globe is ushering in a boom for the cannabis category. The global legal marijuana market was valued at $17. 8bn last year and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of more than 25% between now and 2030.
As players in the category enjoy greater market opportunities, they’re investing more money in advertising and marketing in efforts to combat stigmas, expand brand awareness and attract sales.
At Advertising Week New York today, cannabis industry leaders gathered to discuss how they’re approaching the challenges plus opportunities of marketing today.
Here are five trends they highlighted:
1. Weed marketing meets entertainment
Outside associated with the regulatory and compliance challenges regarding marketing cannabis and hemp products, brands in the particular space often have to contend with strict platform rules. Spaces like Facebook and Instagram, which could in theory help brands reach target audiences effectively, are not friendly to the industry. Due to these and other challenges, many cannabis brands are finding value in teaming along with celebrities in addition to leaning into the entertainment and music spaces instead.
Weedmaps, an app that helps users discover dispensaries and even delivery options near them in states where cannabis is legal, this past year approached Wheelhouse Labs, an amusement company created in partnership with Jimmy Kimmel that works like an agency. “They came to us because they were frustrated with traditional advertising not taking their content, ” said Wheelhouse Labs’ managing director Patrick Schmidt.
The organizations worked together to develop a television show that tells the story of marijuana, featuring rapper Killer Mike and hip-hop duo Run The Jewels. “We were able to tell some of the stories that will Weedmaps was trying in order to get out there – like equal access to licenses and how cannabis has been important in certain markets, ” said Schmidt. “The point of typically the whole entire endeavor had been to normalize cannabis together with show a few of the other stories that are available – versus just what you might see inside a comedy or in conventional cannabis-type marketing. ” The program debuted on Vice as part of a 4/20 campaign.
Curaleaf, a leading provider involving consumer hashish products serving consumers across 21 US states, has also prioritized entertainment and additionally celebrity partnerships to get its message across. “We’re looking for creative ways to connect cannabis together with communities through relevant topics. Whether it’s music, whether it’s art – those are ways that are really relatable for cannabis consumers or weed prospects, ” said Kate Lynch, Curaleaf’s executive vice-president of marketing.
The company recently collaborated with California-based muralist James Haunt to be able to launch a new strain not to mention promotional items. More recently, Curaleaf and also its brand Grassroots established a multiyear partnership using Chicago songs venue The Salt Shed to spread brand consciousness.
Celebrity endorsements : and even celebrity-headed manufacturers – are also gaining steam in the cannabis space. Everyone from actress Gwyneth Paltrow as well as musician Willie Nelson for you to boxing legend Mike Tyson and ex-NFL player Rob Gronkowski have invested within or started their own CBD and cannabis ventures.
For a brand, gaining celebrity buy-in can be a game-changer ~ because it lends legitimacy and inspires trust from customers. “When the celebrity gets involved inside a project, these people have a new [personal] brand name and they will want to protect that company, ” said Diana Eberlein, vice-president connected with sales plus marketing at Sorse Technology, a CBD and hemp supplier to help food and beverage companies. “Celebrities are going to safeguard their manufacturer, and they are going to dig into [the details of the product and the brand]. We work with a number of celeb partners – and they are at every tasting, that they know all the testing, they’ve evaluated their own Certificates with Analysis. That’s why a lot of consumers end up trusting brands that celebrities get involved with. ”
2 . Tasty product innovation upends stigmas
Hemp in addition to cannabis manufacturers are reaching more buyers by trading in item innovation and even moving beyond flower.
About some sort of decade ago, approximately 80% of all merchandise sales were attributed to flower; now, that number is 47%. Increasingly, consumers are attracted in order to edibles, infused products and other manufactured marijuana goods.
Lynch believes this shift is helping to destigmatize the business and enabling brands inside the area to build more consumer trust. “Bringing products that are more familiar and a little less scary towards the industry has helped, ” she said. For example, when Curaleaf debuted an infused seltzer in Massachusetts recently, 50% of product or service sales came from consumers who were totally new to hashish. “Launching products … that will are lower-dose, tasty [and that] you don’t have to be able to smoke … are methods in with regard to us for you to bring new consumers found in. ”
Seltzers along with other beverages, in particular, are having a moment. “Beverage is going to see a big growth spurt in this next couple of years. It’s currently the smallest segment within consumption, but it has the fastest growth rate over the last couple of years, ” stated Sorse Technology’s Eberlein.
Cannabis-infused drinks fit naturally in to broader customer interest in brand new types of beverages as well as health-conscious consumption. “We are seeing all these ready-to-drink, at-home mocktail kits, ” Eberlein mentioned. “We’re going to continue to see shoppers seek out [cannabis-infused] drinks because that they are socially acceptable; they can replace your glass of wine at night or even your beer and they eliminate hangovers. ”
3. Out-of-home ads offer opportunities together with challenges
Although out-of-home (OOH) advertising is a more traditional channel, cannabis brands are still dedicating ad spend to help billboards and additionally signage.
“For this category, ” explained Wheelhouse Labs’ Schmidt, “out-of-home is one for the few things of which brands know they could do. It’s antiquated … but it’s an important part of this group because it is the one of the few channels that [brands can invest in] and not have to worry about people taking down their ads or questioning it. ”
Lynch joked that simple, straightforward billboards that read, “Cannabis this particular way” are often the most effective.
Even so, while OOH eats up a significant portion of marketing budgets inside cannabis advertising, there are usually limitations to the channel. Performance measurement is a good key concern. Lynch explained that Curaleaf’s approaches to measuring OOH impact are “pretty traditional, ” primarily consisting of lead source tracking through often the company’s website. When an user visits Curaleaf’s site, they’re asked how many people heard about Curaleaf; they may indicate that they have seen your brand’s OOH activations. “It’s not a perfect science, ” said Lynch, “and out-of-home is the first to go out of our budget. ”
Even so, lead source tracking about the kind Curaleaf practices is your valuable mode of first-party data collection – some growing priority for brands of all kinds who are facing new buyer privacy hurdles and limitations to digital user tracking.
4. CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT will be the Trojan horse regarding wellness messaging
As consumers’ desire for health and wellness grows, weed brands are usually seeing lucrative opportunities to position themselves within the wellbeing space.
Curaleaf, like many other consumer-facing cannabis brands, began as a fabulous strictly medical marijuana business. And Lynch says the exact brand remains “very committed to identifying ways inside of which marijuana is an important wellness solution. ” For example, the company is working with researchers at major universities in order to conduct studies on the efficacy of marijuana for various medical treatments.
Its advertising, too, frequently seeks to be able to position the brand’s items as tools for improving health not to mention wellbeing. Although the brand cannot make any un-evidenced healthcare claims, it has used fans’ firsthand accounts of their particular experiences having cannabis at its messages to convey the product’s relaxation and also wellness benefits.
As people always spend on goods they perceive to support their wellness and health and fitness goals, experts predict hashish brands will have a lot more opportunities than ever.
“You’re going for you to carry on and observe this trending towards well being and low-dose [cannabis products], just like you’re seeing present in alcohol : whether it be talking about sobriety or low-alc beverages, ” said Schmidt. “From a product innovation perspective and then also through a marketing perspective, [we’re going to see] low-dose THC products that are easily integrated into everyday life. That’s what is going to be a key thing to not really only obtain people directly into the class, but also normalize this. ”
CBD, too, which has already found a place in health and wellness aisles across the globe, will help advance client trust as well as perception in the weed category at large, experts believe. “The fact that [consumers are] willing to entertain hemp products and minor cannabinoids which are non-psychoactive is very helpful since it introduces people to the particular plant plus gets all of them more comfortable, ” Lynch said. “And if these are prepared to consider CBD, these might be interested to help try a low dose THC product. So we look in CBD as a Trojan horse to build advertising in addition to messaging around THC. It all comes coming from the same plant. ”
The particular sentiment seemed to be echoed by Eberlein, who said, “CBD may be the gateway into the THC world ~ when people realize that this is a safe, standardized product, they’re going to be more comfy making the fact that transition straight into THC and even other health and wellness-added adaptogens that usually are emerging. ”
5. Activating learnings from the alcohol industry
The cannabis industry offers plenty in order to learn from your alcohol market and some other ‘vice’ products sectors.
Schmidt implied that alcoholic beverages largely paved the way for that marijuana marketing from tomorrow. “A lot of people probably do not know that until the late 90s, you couldn’t actually run advertising and marketing for hard alcohol upon national television, ” he said. “We’ve all grown accustomed to be able to seeing ale and spirits on TV, yet for a long time, that wasn’t something that happened. ”
One thing typically the alcohol type mastered, Schmidt suggested, was initially developing a “marketing code that all this parent companies would agree to” that will set guardrails around the types of promoting that was permissible. Typically the move indicated to platforms and media networks of which alcohol brand names would be responsible and follow a set of predetermined rules. And it worked.
In the similar calculation, alcohol manufacturers – eager to signal to both consumers together with advertising partners that their products were safe here in moderation – built campaigns focused about responsible drinking.
Cannabis companies, Schmidt explained, should take a page from alcohol’s playbook “so there’s not necessarily this idea of, like, ‘reefer madness, ’ and the fact that we’re trying to perpetuate a national level of ‘cannabis addiction’ or something like that. ” Brands like Curaleaf and Weedmaps, he claimed, “are positioning themselves as industry leaders and assisting lift often the category up out associated with some of the stereotypes that could potentially bring it down. ”
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