Getting High With Marketing

Last November California’s voters legalized recreational marijuana use. Whether or not you agree with the vote’s outcome, pot’s legally for sale statewide this January 1.

True, there’s debate over where you’ll be able to buy it. Yet I’m betting city councils statewide will all eventually pursue newly-generated tax revenues from the burgeoning marijuana industry.

After all, we’re not just talking about people buying marijuana. They’ll also buy edibles, accessories, clothing, and lots more IN-N-OUT burgers.

Which suggests the probability of widespread marijuana marketing in the not-too-distant future. With the new year a mere 81 days away, we can read the tea leaves of what’s to come by examining the medical marijuana community’s current outreach efforts.

Far from being a “Wild, Wild West” environment, the 40 dispensaries competing for attention in San Diego’s alternative media use many of the messaging tools successfully utilized for hawking toothpaste.

Indeed, K-Mart-worthy sales promotional tools are prominent in that community, including:

  • Branded apparel
  • Buy one, get one
  • Discount coupons
  • Early bird specials
  • Loyalty programs

These guys have obviously determined their customer’s profile and targeted their communications efforts.

From what I can see, they’re doing it fairly effectively: By my count at least 30 communications strategies are presently in play, and more can be expected soon.

After all, approaches like sampling, referral programs, and happy hours are used because they work. Regardless of the industry you’re in, you may also be facing a competitive environment, legal questions, or financing challenges. Despite these roadblocks, you must constantly grow sales. Obviously, just hoping customers will appear at your door never works.

The bottom line: We all need to always hustle for new clientele. And we can all learn some lessons from this budding business.

So as you’re strategizing for 2018 and beyond, seriously consider developing a two-pronged communications approach incorporating:

  • Branding to keep your name prominent. It’ll remind people who you are and why you’re a valuable partner that they always need to remember.
  • Promotions to help generate short-term interest in various products or messages and spur quick sales.

Properly planned, your business will stay visible and have a steady traffic flow.

And like our downtown friends, incorporating sampling, daily deals, and senior discounts will make your accountant mellow and leave your bottom line smoking.

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.


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