The pot industry is altering advertising strategies due to COVID-19

Published Aug 18, 2020 11:00 a.m. ET
iStock / Blue Planet Studio

Essential service was the classification given to cannabis during the COVID-19 shutdown. The cannabis industry has made many adjustments to its marketing strategies to deliver products to the consumer. Online platforms have become the norm for advertising, and cannabis advertising has become more challenging than ever. Let’s see how the cannabis industry is facing the barriers that the pandemic has delivered to us.

Big players

Two cannabis industry pioneers in this new advertising space today are:

  1. Mattio Communications

Many cannabis brands are represented by Rosie Mattio and her company, Mattio Communications. Mattio knew how to navigate the marketing obstacles that faced the cannabis advertising space. Her company was doing more than just keeping their heads above water. They were hitting the marketing campaigns and plans they had envisioned for 2020. Then COVID hit, and the cannabis industry, along with everyone else, changed dramatically.

Mattio and her visions had to pivot quickly as many of her clients were not ready for the new reality that was presented to them. Quickly Mattio recognized and acknowledged the new challenges presented and assured her clients that she would be there to help them through this trying time. Mattio could see that her clients needed to come up with new plans.

Missing in many of the cannabis companies she represented was a crisis communications plan. At any time, funding is not easy for cannabis companies to access, and this time during the pandemic has been no different. Mattio is guiding her clients through ways to come up with various plans to market during these times when meetings are conducted over platforms like Zoom. Virtual networking has become the norm, and she has shifted her advertising to the digital mode. Marketers now realize that they need to reach consumers in their homes, virtually.

  1. Canndescent

Canndescent has identified a new operating procedure thanks to the Chief Marketing Officer Sam Arellano. He believes that his plan will benefit his marketing team. His workforce has been scattered, with many employees working from home, and physical distancing is a new reality. Sam thinks that philosophically the pandemic has helped us to reevaluate our core values. His team lists the core values as:

  • Gratitude
  • Character
  • Excellence
  • Boldness
  • Ownership

Arellano acknowledges that the changes in the cannabis industry are facing have made the tight-knit marketing team stronger than ever before. The new structure that the company has adopted is working. While some companies are facing hardships and have trouble staying float, this is not the case for Canndescent. Amazingly the new strategies that this company is using have promoted the birth of a new brand—Baker's Cannabis Co.

The launching last month of pre-rolls at a realistic price of $6 will be the key to maintaining a profitable business. The action the company has chosen will hopefully discourage the illicit market by keeping the prices in check. Arellano has a mission for his company, and the new strategy involves maintaining low-cost ingredients, honesty, and a high-quality product for the everyday Californian who enjoys cannabis.

Parting thoughts

Cannabis marketers are being tested. 2020 has come in like a lion, and many cannabis companies are scrambling to stay afloat. Changing habits in the manner that business is being conducted going forward will be a decisive means of ensuring that the cannabis industry stays afloat. Online platforms have become a means for companies to maintain a marketing profile during this time of changes that 2020 has delivered to us. Spreading brand awareness has become a new challenge for the cannabis industry. Let's hope that the new cannabis industry's way of advertising will help to keep it afloat and in the public eye.

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