The CBD industry has no shortage of experts that know CBD inside and out. From distillate to terpenes and every single moving piece around the compounds of CBD. As much as I appreciate their expertise, I have found that the most difficult issue for experts is finding a way to communicate their expertise to the average person (consumer).
Marketing is communication and storytelling!
It is crucial to have a strong sense of the story in which you wish to tell, and, more importantly, how will you be telling it. This is where strategy comes in. A strategy is essential to your brand, or else you run the risk of losing sight of your story and overall mission. Putting it simply, there needs to be a direction in your marketing. Direction requires goals and metrics, and metrics are one of the main ingredients for brand success. The trick is determining which strategy works for you, and the best way to do that is to establish multiple strategies at scale.
Establish a strategy.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but one of the first steps that should be made is to develop a strategy. A solid strategy is important as it sets forth a road map of the direction you and your brand are looking to head. Of course, this does not mean that it can’t change along the way (it often does). It’s completely normal for direction to change after data has been collected, and it’s important to be flexible. At the end of the day, it is the data received which is most valuable and should be the deciding factor of any shifts in direction. Otherwise, you should always continue with your strategy in order to be able to analyze the highs and the lows. Both must be considered in order to create the best analysis possible.
Diving deeper into the bottomless pool of various available strategies may provide some insight, but due to the varying nature of each brand’s end-goals and how every company’s goals differ, I find value in providing light to some common concerns most marketers experience.
First, many novice marketers make decisions too quickly once they have started their strategy. They are unsure of their strategy and if they begin to see a small dip or variance they panic and in most cases attempt to abandon their campaign or walk backwards. This can be a problem because your strategy has not had enough time to completely flush itself out and mine the valuable data from consumers.
Conversely, some are being too stubborn about their strategy. Often I have interacted with marketers that are too insistent about who they believe their client is and, as a result, decide to pool all their resources catering to that demographic. Surprise! Now that group isn’t interested in your product and your organization’s narrow-sightedness and unwillingness to let data guide them will be detrimental. Always be flexible enough to pivot and adjust to small changes that can create incremental progress. Of course, the only way to learn is by doing. That said, remember that when implementing, mistakes will inevitably happen.
And it is ok to be wrong. I repeat--
IT IS OK TO BE WRONG!
Everyone in marketing has been wrong at some point. It happens. It is part of being a marketer, but what separates a good marketer from a great one will be defined by what happens after you figure out you are wrong. Follow your KPIs and continue to test to find the best formula for success.
“Wait a minute, but I sell CBD/Cannabis. I can’t market like everyone else!”
While it’s true that advertising in the Cannabis/CBD industry is currently met with difficulties (Facebook and Google do not allow for companies to monetize or sell Cannabis/CBD products), there does exist one excellent avenue. It may require a bit more diligence, but if you’re in Cannabis, you’re used to it. Platforms like Traffic Roots are helping brands reach a digital audience safely and at scale. With over 100k sites within a single network, brands can utilize Traffic Roots technology to advertise for their products and rest easy knowing they are in no danger of being shut down.
The best part? Traffic Roots offers plenty of data.
As stated, data is your friend and should always be the reasoning behind most decisions. Different campaigns and strategies have different goals. It is important to understand what metrics you will be monitoring from the beginning. For example, if you are running a campaign for leads, then your goal is to create a lead funnel that is effective. On the flip side, if you are running a sales campaign for a holiday weekend, then you have a quicker turnaround time that requires strong sales funnels and tracking. Tracking your results and creating strong funnels will set you up for long term success.
And now-- budgeting!
Having an effective budget in place is fundamental to managing a successful campaign, so make sure it is factored into your overall strategy. If there are no practical and well thought out budgets in place for marketing, then you may need to sit down with your team to pinpoint your goals. It is important to realize that there is no magic pill for instant success, and strategies, like all successful ventures, must be well-planned and long-term. Yes, short ad campaigns exist, but they are almost always part of a long term strategy. Don’t lose focus, just get organized. Take the time and run your numbers to make sure you are investing in marketing to stay ahead of the competition.
Unpopular opinion: Cannabis does not sell itself.
More unpopular opinion: You’re going to have to invest in brand awareness to build up a sustainable brand in the long-term.
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