Julia Manoukian

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June 18, 2018

Cannabis Brand-Building — How Does Experiential Marketing Fit In?

Julia Manoukian

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Cannabis marketing is now a thing, and for brands, it's seriously dope. As states like California approve legal adult marijuana use, marketers have high hopes for the future: Experts predict that America's legal cannabis market — the new "green economy" — will be worth $24.1 billion by the year 2025, with recreational cannabis users spending $10.9 billion on the drug.

Cannabrand, a cannabis marketing agency, has been creating successful campaigns since 2014, and now more marketers are getting in on the action. Most of these so-called "ganjapreneuers," however, don't measure the effectiveness of their activations or track ROI. They can't personalize data and drive sales.

If you, too, are new to cannabis marketing, you should start thinking about measuring your campaigns. If you don't, you could be missing out on massive opportunities to capture valuable customer data and use this data to lift sales.

Don't let people blow smoke on your marketing. Here's how to execute cannabis campaigns properly.

Invest in Experiential

Experiential marketing is a marketing strategy that lets you connect with consumers face-to-face. You can create one-of-a-kind experiences that resonate with legal marijuana users and encourage them to engage with your brand. Seventy-nine percent of marketers already generate sales using event marketing, and 93 percent of consumers say that live events have a bigger influence on them than television ads.

As the U.S. legal marijuana industry grows, there are more opportunities than ever to promote your products, whether that's traditional cannabis or edibles like cookies. Trade shows like the NCIA Cannabis Business Summit & Expo and California Cannabis Business Conference already attract thousands of people every year, and you can expect more cannabis-related events to spring up in the next few years.

Increasing brand visibility at these events could prove beneficial. Traditional marketing methods like newspaper ads often provide obstacles for cannabis brands. Even in legal markets, some publications are wary to print ads about cannabis-related products. "Meanwhile, many cannabis entrepreneurs see print ads as costly, compared to the number of people who see them," says MarketPlace.

Collecting Data at Live Events

Just how can you collect data from customers at live events?

Research shows that people are willing to exchange their personal details — names, phone numbers, email addresses, etc. — for personalized communications. Moreover, 58 percent of them believe a personalized experience is important when making a purchase from a company.

Alternatively, you can encourage customers to hand over their data in exchange for a gift or promotional item. Or invite event attendees to fill out a questionnaire where they provide you with more information about their marijuana consumption habits — ask them about their favorite cannabis strains, for example. Customers are more likely to give you this information if you enter them into a contest or sweepstakes where they can win a prize.

Invest in Good Software

Just like with any vertical, good software makes data collection so much easier. Without it, your cannabis marketing campaigns will go up in smoke. Experiential marketing tools let you track customers before, during and after a live event so you can find out what they really think about your brand. Plus, you can collect valuable insights into their behaviors and actions and use these insights to finetune your future marketing campaigns.

The latest software also automates many of the marketing tasks that you don't have time to complete. It's no wonder, then, that so many marketers love it. Sixty-four percent of them said marketing automation software generated better-quality leads, 48 percent said it improved marketing productivity and 29.3 percent said it shortened sales cycles.

Choose the Right Metrics

Experiential software is only as good as the information you feed it. Bad data — information that provides you with little value — won't let you measure the success of your live events and could cost your business money in the long run.

"Dirty data wreaks havoc on the entire revenue cycle of an organization, and in a need to fill the funnel, bad data is creeping into our marketing automation and CRM systems," says Business2Community. "The impacts can range from a transaction level loss to catastrophic effect for an enterprise."
There are two main metrics you need to consider when tracking your campaigns:

  • Quantitative metrics provide you with numeric values that pertain to your live events — the number of people who walked up to your trade show booth, for example.
  • Qualitative metrics, on the other hand, provide you with deeper insights into what your customers are thinking and feeling. Use these metrics to discover customer behavior and actions as you move them through your sales pipeline.

Using a combination of these metrics will provide you with valuable intelligence about your customers at live events. You can increase sales and get to know more about the consumers interested in your products and services.

Building a cannabis brand is tough. The legal marijuana industry is still in its infancy, and it's unclear whether more states will authorize marijuana use in the future. Investing in experiential marketing, however, will increase your chances of success. You can engage with customers at live events and measure your campaigns with the right software and metrics.

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