Shifting product – the potential of product marketing in the cannabis space


Shifting product – the potential of product marketing in the cannabis space

Product marketing is not usually an ongoing priority for small to medium businesses. Most of the time that’s because they’ve started with a product or big idea, then focused on the brand that will deliver it, and then tried tirelessly to build the brand into a recognizable name. 

But there are a lot of ways that product marketing could support brands in the cannabis space, because: 

  • The way people use cannabis is highly personal 
  • People are very particular about what and how they consume
  • There’s a lack of existing detailed consumer research
  • There are a lot of marketing restrictions (so being more targeted and focused can only be good.) 

What is product marketing? 

Product marketing is the connecting thread between the product and the market. And it’s a two-way street. It’s not about simply bringing a product to market, it’s about taking steps to understand the needs and trends of the market, identifying what’s missing, what could be better, and what only your brand could offer, and then shaping and introducing products to your customers in a captivating way. 

How is product marketing different from marketing? 

Although both roles deal with consumer research, detailed targeting, and content optimization, marketers work to meet customers’ needs at a company level. Product marketers focus on individual product features or functions, showing customers how their products could benefit them. 

How can product marketers shape a cannabis product? 

We could look at the cannabis space and try to understand what’s popular. We could identify that there’s growing interest in different types of cannabinoids and terpenes, that botanical pre rolls and beverages sales are on the rise, that people love having low-THC options, or that despite unique and daring types of edibles hitting the market each week, gummies still reign supreme. Product marketers will go a step further. They’ll try to understand why those things are popular, create detailed customer personas specific to your business to facilitate a deeper understanding about who they are and what they like, and unpick what your customers want that they haven’t been offered yet. All while keeping a broader eye on the market, working with product development, and building out go-to-market strategies.

Setting product marketers up for success

One of the biggest challenges for product marketers is that their roles are often ill-defined. They end up working in product management, marketing, or customer success, instead of holistically at the intersection of these roles. Chameleon spoke with product marketers at companies like Gusto, Zillow, Front, and Hotjar and one common complaint was: “Colleagues don’t know how to work with Product Marketers”. They need clear objectives, resources, and time with the executive suite. 

Invite more product marketing activities into your business

Devote more time to post-launch content marketing

Getting a product to market is no mean feat. It’s tempting to focus on the pre-launch and launch to start moving product and it’s hard to keep up momentum for learning and being iterative afterward. Take real time to evaluate the mood and feedback from your customers and use it to start building your phase two. 

Tell stories about your customers’ pain points

Show your customers that you deeply understand their experience with products like yours and how it can be improved with some creative storytelling. It doesn’t have to be complicated. A 30-second Reel or 1-minute teaser can show your audience that you’ve thought about the details.

Create in-depth customer personas that don’t just stay in the marketing team 

Understand your customer’s interests, where they spend time, and what they like and don’t like with some well-defined customer personas. Make sure that everyone who’s working on your brand knows what makes them tick. HubSpot has a free template.

Build in time to evaluate where your product sits in the market

Before you launch a product, you’ll know who your target audience is, who your competition is, and where you expect your product to sit in the market. When you’ve launched, take some time to objectively evaluate whether those assumptions were correct, and where you are now in the market. 

Build iteration into your product road map

We all know that perfect is the enemy of good, but few of us commit to shipping fast and getting feedback early. Have a strong vision for your product but stay open-minded on how it could evolve, and get as much feedback as you can as quickly as possible.