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In the Weeds: Marketing Cannabis

Earlier this year, BottomLine and LoKnow joined forces to present a webinar that tackled the Canadian cannabis industry, unearthing insights about the state of this relatively new legal market. 

 

If you missed the webinar (or your memory is a bit hazy), here are the top insights we discovered:

  • Government regulations is still the #1 concern in the cannabis industry, especially in regards to limitations to marketing the green goods. 
  • Rules and regulations surrounding cannabis have made it a very difficult product to advertise. Current laws are stricter than alcohol, and carry the ambiguous rule that ad content “cannot appeal to young people”.
  • The industry is estimated to be worth 5 Billion in 2021, with some forecasts seeing it valued at 9 billion by 2025.
  • The industry calls for change in advertising regulations and in the regulation of the black market. 

 

After the webinar, attendees reached out with their thoughts, sharing their own sticking points in the business of cannabis and suggesting new focuses for our research. Unsurprisingly, marketing cannabis to consumers in Canada continues to be no easy feat. Attendees were also interested in learning more about usage and effects, no doubt to inform business and marketing decisions in cannabis. 

 

Creativity in advertising isn’t just the icing on top of the cake – it’s the lifeblood to standing out in a very regulated, very saturated market. So what trends in cannabis use and marketing can inform our business decisions and drive business growth in legal cannabis? 

 

  • The search for the functional high. Microdosing is predicted to become a preferred performance, productivity and wellness tool across many lifestyles and professions, and will become a common method to combat triggers for stress and anxiety for many users. 
  • It’s not just about potency. As the legal market for cannabis continues to grow and users become more attuned to the nuances of the substance, more cannabis connoisseurs will emerge, developing an awareness of the benefits amongst all the variances in cannabinoids beyond that of just THC and CBD. 
  • Cross-promotion companions. Marketing cannabis is far from easy, but trends are beginning to indicate the value of cross-promotion between cannabis brands and companies from complementary industries like entertainment, video games and food (Example: White Castle’s 420 promotion). 

 

While we can’t necessarily do anything about the marketing regulations in Canada, more insights into cannabis usage and innovative marketing tactics can support the legal cannabis industry in Canada. 

 

We’re beginning to develop a deeper understanding of consumers’ preference for a more moderate or functional high that still provides a feeling of control and consistency. Knowing this allows cannabis retailers to create targeted campaigns to appeal to this particular penchant for a high that allows users to remain energized and social while feeling the stress-reducing effects that many cannabis users look for.

 

For our next webinar, we’re taking a step back to look at the effects on consumer behaviour in general as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Join us as we share research to help you make informed business decisions as we move through this new business environment.