High! =) and welcome back to The Best Approach to Cannabis Marketing blog series. In our previous blog, we focused on cannabis retail marketing, specifically regarding the application process.
The next phase of this series will be executed in two parts and still dive into cannabis retail marketing, but specifically regarding the grand opening of a retail location. Read on as we explain your current situation and highlight some new partners to consider as you prepare for your Grand Opening.
Your Current Situation
If you’ve gotten to the point of planning for your Grand Opening — CONGRATULATIONS! This means your application has been approved and you’ve received your cannabis retail license.
Here’s a list of some other areas of your retail marketing platform that have been established during the application process:
- Whether you have one or multiple locations for your cannabis dispensary, location is critical to your community outreach, marketing, PR, ads, etc., throughout the remainder of your project life cycle.
- It’s a great feeling to know your location is approved so you can feel justified in your time and capital spent on the project moving forward.
- Your experienced marketing and tech partners are critical to your success, not only for the application process, but for the grand opening and on-going marketing campaigns.
- Here are the areas we suggested you cover during the application process so you can get ahead of the curve and competition:
- Marketing Partner
- Target Demographics
- Brand Identity & Messaging
- Name Selection, Trademark & Digital Assets Security
- Logo Design
- Retail Packaging & Swag Concepts
- Brand Book
- Tech Partners
- Ecomm and Online Ordering
- CRM & Customer Loyalty
- Data & Analytics
- Marketing Partner
It’s understandable if you weren’t able to execute all of this during the application process. You have enough on your hands as an applicant as it is, and we totally get it. That being said, read on as we explain how all of the items listed above can make a difference for the future success of your cannabis retail operation.
Now that there’s an understanding of where you’re at, the first step is identifying some additional partners that are going to help with your operation and marketing while creating an alignment between the two sectors.
We must never forget that marketing and operations are both more successful when they go hand-in-hand, in terms of strategy. Here’s a list of additional partners we suggest identifying prior to your Grand Opening:
- Considering its importance, this is an area I should have highlighted more in my previous blog in this series, so I definitely wanted to make sure I included it in this piece.
- If you haven’t identified community partners during your application process, doing it once you’re approved is a magnificent idea.
- Supporting local nonprofits, doing your part to help the local environment through sustainable practices, volunteering at local food kitchens, and anything else related to community, sustainability, social justice and giving back will help not only build trust of your brand, but will also help align your ethos and passion with your day-to-day operations.
- Here are a few community partners we love working with:
- Cannabis Impact Fund
- We’re so proud of what we’ve done with this organization. This is a nonprofit that we co-founded, currently focused on racial justice.
- The long-term mission is to not only promote racial justice, but also heal the planet and support local communities through a conscious cannabis community.
- We love the amazing nurses at Leaf411. This nonprofit is a 24/7 cannabis education-specific nurse hotline. What better way to get your questions answered at any time than by trained cannabis professionals?
- 40 Tons
- We’re always excited to collaborate with the 40 Tons family. This is a social impact brand with a mission to achieve restorative justice, reduced cannabis sentencing, cannabis legalization, rehabilitation, and so much more.
- Last Prisoner Project
- We’ve been collaborating on successful campaigns with this group for years, and we couldn’t be more proud of this work. The gracious humans at Last Prisoner Project will not rest until every cannabis prisoner is set free, and that’s exactly why we support them.
- Balanced Veterans Network
- What more can we say about the Balanced Veterans Network besides how amazing they are? They help connect veterans to life-saving alternative therapies like cannabinoids and fitness classes.
- We’re proud to be a partner of and work with this amazing business association dedicated to advancing diversity and equity in cannabis.
- Cannabis Impact Fund
- Budtenders have the opportunity to engage with your customers face-to-face. Even with the boom of online e-commerce sales, customers still need to go through the budtender to ask any final questions, add products to their order, and make the final sale.
- It’s smart to ensure that your budtenders are not only well educated about compliance and the specifics of your cannabis dispensary, but also about the products being sold.
- The reason I included this in the blog, is because: What’s the point of great branding, marketing, advertising and PR, if your budtenders are not educated in the products you carry?
- Here are a few of our favorite budtender training platforms:
- Learn Brands
- The legends over at Learn Brands provide a direct link between brands, dispensaries, and budtenders.
- Their budtender cannabis education platform is easy to use and extremely impactful, teaching budtenders the ins-and-outs of each product that is carried.
- We’re grateful to be actively working with them on projects throughout the U.S.
- Learn Brands
- Happy Cabbage
- Our friends over at Happy Cabbage help budtenders in a slightly different way.
- Their budtender platform, “Clair,” allows budtenders to learn about the customers who walk through your door and make suggestions based on the current inventory.
- This personalized experience helps with the flow of the dispensary as well as customer retention.
- Happy Cabbage
Quality Product Inventory
- At the end of the day, folks are using cannabis for a number of different reasons. It’d be smart to not only carry quality products, but also have a streamlined system to how you acquire that inventory.
- (Why pay for marketing and an educated staff if the products you’re selling are not good, and are a headache to acquire?)
- First, we suggest making friends with your favorite brands who truly care about their end product and the best interests of the consumer.
- The better the relationship, the better the deals, flexibility, and on-going marketing campaigns.
- If you want more organization and data around your inventory program, here are a few wholesale tech partners we’ve worked with in the past:
- Leaflink connects retailers to brands in states all over the country. They allow you to send and receive orders, track your order status, and streamline your communication with partners – all in their dashboard.
- Sometimes clients like to use state-specific wholesale platforms (like Nabis in California). Not only do they connect cannabis retailers to cannabis brands, but they also offer distribution and financing for growing cannabis companies.
- Whether you’re in a highly competitive cannabis retail environment, or in the middle of absolutely nowhere – direct targeted advertising can be a great tool to utilize leading up to a grand opening, and also month-to-month once you’re open.
- We live and breathe organic SEO, but it does take time. Also, ads can help your SEO from a full spectrum perspective.
- Although some would say you’re limited on advertising as a cannabis retailer, here are some targeted cannabis advertising firms we’ve had success with over the years:
- We love working with the legends over at Surfside. They offer an agile omni-channel advertising solution that integrates with all the major tech platforms, allowing for seamless influence over current and future customers.
- Our friends at Safereach absolutely crush it when it comes to expert media delivery. They offer proprietary analytics tools that help cannabis retailers grow their business sales online and in-store.
- Unlike some of our advertising partners, the creative humans over at Telladigital offer physical digital point-of-sale experiences for brands and retailers, all trackable though smart data analytics.
- The good people over at CannaVu offer a self-serve, targeted, and mainstream cannabis advertising solution that has been around for years. They work with some of the largest cannabis organizations in the world.
- It’s possible you may have had some PR or advertising hits on some larger cannabis specific media outlets already, but we think it’s a good idea to develop relationships with cannabis media outlets that fit your cannabis retail location, target demographics, and ethos.
- Some of the most successful campaigns we’ve done with clients are a full spectrum targeted campaign. This includes a mix of email, social media, advertising, articles, and reviews.
- Here are a few cannabis-friendly media outlets we love working with:
- The absolutely delightful humans over at Broccoli Mag are a pleasure to work with.
- If you’re looking for a national presence and to connect with a female-centric cannacurious audience – we suggest a print, social, and podcast campaign.
- Sweet Jane
- We love the humans over at Sweet Jane Mag! Their mission is to empower all women through cannabis education and resources.
- I suggest a full spectrum campaign with them if you’re looking to connect with a national and local female audience.
- Sweet Jane
- Respect My Region (RMR)
- Our good friends over at RMR have a great west coast and national presence.
- They offer media, ad solutions, and a variety of other services.
- If you’re looking to connect with an authentic music/cannabis culture, we suggest doing a campaign with them.
- The name speaks for itself: Leafly is one of the most known cannabis education hubs and media platforms.
- They have a huge global and national presence, but also can execute effective targeted campaigns depending on the state.
- On top of ads, articles, emails, and socials – their locations maps for retailers can be effective depending on your area.
- The Bluntness
- We love the kind folks over at The Bluntness! They are one of the fastest growing cannabis culture media outlets. They offer great media, email, and social campaigns to their clients.
- If you’re looking for a national or east coast-specific campaign, we suggest these folks.
- We adore the awesome folks over at Skunk Magazine. They have an amazing national presence that’s trusted by OG cannabis enthusiasts.
- If your clientele are interested in growing, specific product niches, and cannabis culture – we suggest a campaign with this great media outlet.
- Respect My Region (RMR)
Now that you’ve explored and identified some additional partnerships to add to your ecosystem, it’s time for the real fun to begin! You’ll want to strategically plan for the future (the Grand Opening and days to follow) – kickstart your strategy, execute a soft opening, have a successful grand opening, and be ready to execute 7 days a week.
Some people say: “money doesn’t sleep,” but, neither does the tech or marketing which generate that revenue.
PufCreativ: Join Our Family & Spark Your Vision
Always keep in mind: these strategies are subject to change from state-to-state and county-to-country, depending on rules, regulations, and compliance guidelines.
Working in over 20 states and now 4 countries, PufCreativ puts on the white gloves when it comes to our clients marketing, assets, and campaigns. Our clients’ success and making the world a better place throughout that process are our passions.
I hope you find this blog helpful, and be sure to follow along with our blog series!
If you have any questions – always feel free to reach out to us at hello@Pufcreativ.com – or we can Get Started on a project right away!