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Guide to Advertising on Marijuana Doctors: Intro/Chapter 1

Intro: How to Market Medical Marijuana

If you work in the legal marijuana industry, you know this is an exciting time. The cannabis industry is booming in the United States, and it’s expected to keep growing. Analysts predict recreational and medical marijuana sales will hit $11.7 billion in 2018, increase by 25 percent in 2019 and reach $25 billion in seven years. Currently, a majority of Americans — over 60 percent — believe marijuana should be legal.

With such a positive outlook for the industry, one would think that marijuana dispensaries, producers, retailers and all entrepreneurs in the business would have it made. However, despite the industry’s success and hopeful future, marijuana businesses face significant challenges when it comes to cannabis advertising and reaching a wider audience.

Businesses cannot advertise their marijuana products however they wish. Many rules and regulations apply, preventing dispensaries and other establishments from developing effective marijuana marketing plans. Business owners wonder how to market cannabis when many of the marijuana advertising laws are confusing. Similarly, some of the most popular marketing and social media platforms do not provide clear advertising rules to guide marijuana companies.

Advertising is critical to all businesses. Through advertising, businesses communicate messages about their products or services to existing and potential customers. In general, advertising enables companies to:

  • Promote a product or service
  • Educate consumers about the benefits of a product
  • Target a demographic
  • Stand up to competitors
  • Remind existing customers of their value
  • Be active in their community

Because marijuana is still illegal on a federal level, many media sources are hesitant to allow dispensary advertising and promote marijuana products and brands. But when cannabis cannot be advertised, it cannot reach consumers. Advertising is especially important in the cannabis industry because it can be used to educate consumers about the benefits of marijuana. Many people have a lot of questions about cannabis and its use, and there is so much for consumers to learn about the marijuana plant.

Despite the challenges, marijuana businesses can find ways to promote their products and make an impact legally. In this guide, we’ll explore your advertising options as a cannabis establishment, with the goal to help you boost your brand. We’ll cover:

  • How to legally market cannabis
  • Why marketing is essential for the marijuana industry
  • The laws and regulations of marijuana advertising
  • Why choose MarijuanaDoctors.com as your marijuana marketing network

At MarijuanaDoctors.com (MD), we are proud to help businesses succeed in this thriving industry. Many studies prove that marijuana offers a host of health benefits, from reducing inflammation to treating chronic pain. We are excited to help your company grow and spread the word through advertising.

Chapter 1: Advertising in the Marijuana Industry

Humans have consumed marijuana for thousands of years for a variety of reasons, including medicinal purposes. Cannabis was not prohibited in the United States until the 20th century. Thanks to many recent changes in marijuana laws, cannabis is making a huge comeback in new and exciting ways.

How the Marijuana Industry Is Growing

Cannabis is more prominent in communities around the country. Americans are recognizing and beginning to value marijuana as a medicine and as a recreational alternative to alcohol or tobacco products. Recreational marijuana is now legal in nine states, and medical marijuana is legal in 37 states to date.

Views have evolved and continue to change since Richard Nixon signed the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 and listed marijuana as a Schedule I drug. To prove this point, consider these statistics:

A deepened appreciation and demand for cannabis products have created the perfect environment for marijuana company growth. For example:

  • As of 2018, there are 9,397 active licenses for marijuana businesses which include cultivators, manufacturers, retailers, dispensaries, distributors, deliverers and labs.
  • The industry employed 121,000 people in 2017, and, if it continues to grow, will employ an estimated 292,000 by 2021 according to BDS Analytics.
  • Sales will rise to $21 billion in 2021.

Also, companies are not planning to settle on common products. Marijuana businesses are welcoming fresh product ideas which will keep the market stable. Companies will expand as they develop new cannabis products such as skin and beauty care products, marijuana-infused beverages, refined cannabis chocolates and cannabidiol (CBD) dog treats.

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Why Advertising Is Important in the Marijuana Industry

Advertising is critical for any business. Effective advertising helps companies grow and sell their products. When it comes to products customers can consume, advertisements are crucial.

For example, as a consumer, would you prefer to take medical marijuana from a company you’ve never heard of before or from the one you recognize from ads you’ve seen online? Most people want to know their medicine is safe and from a reputable source, which advertising helps establish.

Also, advertisements are not just meant to captivate consumers and win their loyalty. Business owners attract valuable employees through advertising as well, which in turn, helps a company flourish.

There are plenty of reasons advertising is essential for a company’s success regardless of their product, such as:

  • Changes negative or outdated perceptions about products
  • Increases brand awareness
  • Helps introduce new products
  • Targets an audience
  • Explains product benefits and improvements
  • Brings traffic to the company website to convert visitors into customers
  • Spreads the news about a sale or promotion
  • Provides basic contact information
  • Helps beat competition
  • Prompts action
  • Reminds existing customers about a product
  • Helps recruit staff

Nixon’s War on Drugs has cast a shadow over cannabis consumption for most of the 20th century. However, in the 21st century, marijuana business owners have endless opportunities to change old views. As you will see in the next chapter, it may not be easy, but marijuana advertising is a necessity nonetheless.

Reasons Growth Through Advertising Is Important

Companies cannot grow without consumers. To reach consumers, you must communicate with them. While word of mouth may be enough to sustain a very small business, it’s not the best marijuana marketing strategy for companies who want to expand in significant ways.

Also, if you were the only cannabis company in the country, you probably wouldn’t need to advertise. However, as the market grows, it will also become more competitive. To stay ahead of the competition, you need to connect with your consumers. To connect with your consumers, you need to advertise.

The truth is, most consumer decisions are memory-based. Advertisements that speak to a consumer’s identity will stick in their mind. Consumers are more likely to purchase a product that fits their social identity.

For example, imagine a 32-year-old woman is interested in purchasing a cannabis product. She sees two different marijuana ads — one of a male senior using a cannabis product, and another of a 30-something female using a cannabis product. Which company would this consumer most likely prefer? It’s likely she’ll choose the company she identifies with most. Here are a few more reasons to grow through advertising:

  • Advertisements can prove you are an expert in your industry.
  • Advertisements help build trust and customer loyalty as well as a stronger sense of pride among workers.
  • You can sell products in a new way through advertising.
  • Advertising gives you the chance to connect emotionally with your audience.

If consumers feel that your products represent who they are and what they believe in, they are far more likely to not only remember your product but also choose you over a competitor.

Cannabis entrepreneurs agree that image, marketing and reaching out to the community matter a lot. According to successful cannabis entrepreneurs, businesses need to be compliant with marijuana advertising laws and regulations. They should also support community activities, stay focused and hire a great team to be successful.

Perhaps most importantly, advertising allows you to educate consumers about a new product and eliminate negative beliefs about marijuana. Consumers have a lot of questions and concerns about cannabis products, especially those who are unfamiliar with marijuana benefits. If you want to reach a wide audience, consumers need to understand your product and feel comfortable making a purchase.

Questions Companies Might Have About Advertising Marijuana

As a cannabis business owner, you probably have tons of questions about marijuana advertising regulations. The cannabis industry is relatively uncharted territory in the United States, at least in a modern context. Some of your questions might include:

  • Where am I able to advertise marijuana and where is it prohibited?
  • Can ads only be viewed by adults?
  • What exactly can advertisements promote?
  • Must ads contain warnings?
  • What digital platforms can I use?
  • How much should I spend on advertising?
  • What are the laws and regulations in my state?
  • Is educating the customer considered advertising?

Although most of the answers to these questions vary depending on your state, we strive to give you an idea of what to expect in the next chapter.

Chapter 2: Marijuana Advertising Laws and Regulations
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