The coronavirus pandemic forced marijuana companies to be creative in getting the word out during this year’s 4/20 sales event.
With limited to no in-store sales capabilities, businesses leaned on web-based solutions, including social media, videoconferencing and email marketing to reach consumers about the unofficial April 20 cannabis holiday.
Marijuana Business Daily surveyed several cannabis businesses to find out what they have learned about marketing during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Here’s a sampling of their answers:
Harry Kazazian, CEO, 22Red, Los Angeles
Even before the pandemic, we relied heavily on social media for brand awareness and engagement.
The long-term plan is to increase our efforts online and continue to find new and interesting ways to communicate to our followers.
While we are very much proponents of traditional in-store events, we are finding that live virtual events can be very effective as well.
Email marketing is one hell of a drug. We have an amazing email list from our four years in business across cannabis and hemp.
We also realized the power of working with actual celebrities and athletes. We kicked off a quit-tobacco-dip campaign with comedian Bob Menery, and it has been huge.
Sam Boyer, co-founder, 99 High Tide, Malibu, California
We learned that we definitely want to do more online digital marketing.
We put our energies toward doing more online digital marketing, and it definitely seemed to make a big difference.
Tracey Mason, co-founder and CEO of House of Saka, Napa Valley, California
Social media and content marketing are critical.
Having clear, concise and compelling messaging across those channels helps to create demand, educate and inform and remove barriers to access to our products.
Matthew Singer, co-founder & CEO, Tökr, Venice, California
Collaboration, partnerships and community really help bring people together during trying times.
We featured a stay-safe, stay-at-home 420 essentials kit that let customers try all breadths of cannabis and Tökr’s top sellers at a 25% discount and free delivery.
Alexis Mora, head of marketing, Harborside, Oakland, California
Streaming events and digital advertising are going to become more prevalent in the future.
A huge part of engaging with the community has been in person – through vendor days, festivals and in-person events.
It will challenge marketers, particularly brands, to think about new and unique ways to get the product and brand education out there, as it has the potential to get your message to either a wider audience or drill down to specific demographics.
Nancy Whiteman, CEO, Wana Brands, Boulder, Colorado
The big takeaway for both brands and dispensaries is the importance of being able to directly reach consumers in an environment where going into the store is much more difficult.
That means putting a bigger emphasis on consumer-facing marketing and less emphasis on POS initiatives. I think that will be a permanent shift.
It also means having a robust digital strategy. Wana, for example, recently announced its partnership with I Heart Jane, which enables our website visitors to order online and pick up their purchase from the dispensary of their choice.
Robbie Wroblewski, director of community outreach, Seed & Smith, Denver
We are always looking to expand our marketing strategy.
During this time, we have made great strides to become a responsible presence within the cannabis community. Moving forward, we want to continue using our voice and our platforms to be more connected with the tight-knit community of Denver.
Katie Mattox, director of marketing, Spherex, Denver
We’ve witnessed the impact of communication platforms such as Zoom and online chat rooms like those featured in the Virtual 420 Party. These digital event platforms provide convenience for the end user where they can connect with brands from the comfort of their homes.
In the past, we directed our focus toward live events, but now we’re seeing that online spaces can be equally interactive and engaging.
We plan to implement both event formats to better reach all consumers in the future.
Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.
Bart Schaneman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
For an overview of how 4/20 played out for marijuana businesses across the U.S., click here.
For more of Marijuana Business Daily’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the cannabis industry, click here.