Cannabis Industry Advertising – Direct vs. Print Marketing

Making an Impact without Breaking the Law

Print Marketing vs In-Store Marketing: Optimize Your Budget

Marketing in cannabis is tough. As many of us know, within the Colorado market there are many rules and regulations stopping brands, dispensaries and processors from advertising their products and educating their consumer.

The Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) defines “advertising” rather broadly, as “the act of providing consideration for the publication, dissemination, solicitation, or circulation, of visual, oral, or written communication, to induce directly or indirectly any Person to patronize a particular Retail Marijuana Establishment, or to purchase particular Retail Marijuana, Retail Marijuana Concentrate, or a Retail Marijuana Product.”

It also requires record keeping in terms of all records related to Advertising and marketing, including, but not limited to, audience composition data. (R 901)

According to MED rules R 1104-1115, these are the ways you can not advertise within the cannabis market without providing “reliable evidence that no more than 30 percent of the audience for the program is underage”:

Internet, print, radio or television advertisement

Outdoor advertising, excluding location signage, that is visible from any street, sidewalk, park or otherwise public space. This includes event sponsorship and charity events.

Licensees also must not:

Target an out of state audience

Include Deceptive, False or Misleading Statements as well as medical claims

Use unsolicited online “pop-ups”

Utilize location based advertising without clear opt in

As you can see, this leaves few conventional ways to advertise! However you may have noticed that cannabis print ads and events still happen across the state! The safe-space in marketing cannabis is all about the audience. Print, television, radio and internet advertisements are technically legal if “the Retail Marijuana Establishment has reliable evidence that no more than 30 percent of the [viewership] is reasonably expected to be under the age of 21.”

So how do we establish reasonable evidence? When it comes to television, internet, and radio advertising- this can be costly and hard to prove. Many cannabis companies have their website users provide a birth date to prove their age before providing promotional information, but as we know it can be difficult to get your target audience to use and find your website on their own!

This leaves print and in-person marketing as the last two major options.

With these two accessible options, which do you choose?

Many companies choose one route or another. Personally, we believe the best route to success is to utilize both. Print advertisements are great at creating and maintaining an image, while in-person marketing is great for building trust and a connection with your customer base. Both are amazing ways to share information, educate the consumer, and make sales! The most important things to consider are the message you’re conveying, your ideal audience, and the time-sensitivity.

Great uses for In-Store/Event and Print Advertising:

In Store Marketing

Building customer base

Selling a product brick-and-mortar

Conversing with the end consumer

Reaching a large audience

Returning your investment

Move the product on the spot

Giving back to your clients

Print Marketing

Building brand identity

Selling a product online

Promoting an event

Promoting sweepstakes/giveaway

Offering a coupon

Announcing new product

Announcing new hours or website

No matter which way you take your advertising efforts, be sure to keep your records easy to read and access! Keeping detailed records is not only required, but a great way to keep track of your marketing in general and evaluate best and most effective practices.

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