In late 2014 The Matter Group, then going by Canna Ventures, released groundbreaking research on the motivations of cannabis consumers in seeking out brands. Mind you, there were no brands at the time as Colorado and Washington State had just gone legal. Since then we've released 3 national research studies and conducted dozens of proprietary research for clients. From boutique brands to public MSOs, we've examined the market and provided strategic direction for these emerging organizations.
Research is one of the cornerstones of marketing. Unfortunately many newer marketers, particularly in cannabis, feel it's a luxury or not necessary. Nothing could be further from the truth. Entry into a new market or launching a brand is fraught with opportunity to make company or career-killing mistakes. Quality market research by experts is an essential tool to mitigate risks and maximize your opportunity for success. Ask any CPG (consumer packaged goods) marketer worth their salt and they'll tell you there is no substitute for market insights that drive strategic positioning and guide tactical execution.
The emerging legal cannabis market is uncharted territory (hence the need for research!). There are no established norms, playbooks or blueprints. Those entering the market need an experienced guide like the Matters Group. We know the cannabis consumer and B2B environment like few others. From research to brand development to market entry and campaign execution we are your trusted guide to success.
If you've entered this market and attempted to launch a go-to-market campaign you've no doubt encountered trouble. From Google and Facebook to traditional advertising channels, often cannabis brands are left with few options if they don't know where to look. That said, things are changing. Google and Facebook are still as frustrating as ever in terms of running standard paid media on those platforms. Yet even within Google and Facebook there are options emerging. Instagram is a viable option for many cannabis brands and the visual aspect of the platform can be well suited to showcase your product. Multiple display networks can deliver exposure on many mainstream sites but be mindful of the creative used. While many a media rep will tell you anything to try to win your business, be suspect. Advertising cannabis is the wild west: unpredictable, under developed and always changing.
There isn't an industry that should not have content marketing at the core of it's Go-To-Market planning and cannabis is no different. Developing genuine content that informs, educates or entertains an audience is essential. Nothing conveys the experience brands and products deliver like quality content. Dozens of formats encourage creativity from the written word to short and long-form video. Quality content as your nucleus will drive search engine optimization, social media, influencer marketing, sponsored content, newsletters, and communicate your brand story to those seeking experiences and a relationship with a brand. The days of blasting out untargeted messages en mass to whomever will listen are over. Perhaps more than any other consumer market brand builders in cannabis need to connect with audiences authentically and avoid the hyperbole.
CBD and Hemp Marketing
Though related to the cannabis market, CBD and hemp markets carry their own unique challenges. The legalization of CBD and hemp with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill opened the gates to CBD brands. Not unlike the cannabis market, consumer confusion and restrictions on what claims can be made requires a deep understanding of consumer needs and motivations. The environment CBD and hemp products operate in necessitates a clear and understandable brand story to convey benefits and speak to your audience. As with research, this is not the time to cut corners. Some of your competitors will and they'll succumb. Those that don't will become leaders in a space that holds tremendous promise to shake up the alternative health and wellness markets.