Marketing Cannabis – The Challenges & Potential Pitfalls


Marketing Cannabis – The Challenges & Potential Pitfalls

September 25, 2023 | Industry, Research

In the previous article posted this month, we reviewed three key pillars to develop a marketing strategy for the cannabis industry. It is important to connect to your target audience, but it is essential to also understand the challenges and potential pitfalls your business may face. The biggest challenge of marketing cannabis lies in navigating the complex and ever-changing regulations.

Here are some key points to consider:

Legal Restrictions: Cannabis marketing is subject to stringent regulations that vary across jurisdictions. Marketing efforts must comply with strict guidelines regarding advertising, packaging, labeling, and age restrictions. Staying up-to-date with evolving laws and regulations is essential to avoid compliance issues.

Limited Advertising Opportunities: Many traditional advertising channels, such as television, radio, and print media, have restrictions on cannabis advertising. This limitation requires marketers to explore alternative channels such as digital marketing, social media, influencer partnerships, and event sponsorships. Even when using alternative channels the individual platforms have their own rules and regulations around communications about cannabis. In many cases, this handcuffs brands that operate in multiple markets as they are relegated to watered-down/lowest common denominator messaging which makes building brand and community extremely challenging.

Banking and Financial Constraints: Cannabis businesses often face challenges with banking and financial services due to federal restrictions. This can impact marketing budgets, making it necessary to be resourceful and creative in finding cost-effective marketing strategies. While seemingly an obvious challenge, it is far deeper than the ability to run standard business communications, working with agencies, making donations, hiring and all aspects of financially running a business makes for a lot of friction when making moves, so agility is coveted and hard to find.

When marketing cannabis, there are certain pitfalls to avoid:

Overpromising: It’s crucial to be transparent about the benefits and limitations of cannabis products. Avoid making exaggerated health claims or misleading statements that could erode trust with consumers. Provide accurate information and set realistic expectations.

Targeting Minors: Strict age restrictions apply to cannabis consumption. Ensure that your marketing efforts are targeted exclusively to legal age groups and comply with the regulations in your jurisdiction. Implement robust age verification measures to prevent underage access.

Ignoring Compliance: Compliance with advertising regulations is paramount. Failure to comply with packaging, labeling, and advertising restrictions can result in penalties, damage to your brand reputation, and even legal consequences. Prioritize compliance to maintain a strong and reputable presence in the market.

Cannabis brands should not overlook these challenges when coming up with a marketing strategy. It is important to not only follow and understand the rules and regulations of the industry but to follow all industry compliances regarding the product, follow product age restrictions, and provide accurate information about what you are selling. The industry is ever-changing, and brands must ensure they keep their customer relationships by continuing to be ethical in their marketing.

Enthuse Marketing works with industry experts, master educators, and creative entrepreneurs to help solve business challenges. If you would like to learn more about our training and education-led marketing solutions, contact us today.


Sign Up For Our Newsletter