What is experiential marketing, and how does it apply to the cannabis industry?
Cannabis companies can employ various marketing channels to increase brand awareness and visibility. Although traditional and online channels should always be at the forefront, there are other ways cannabis companies can increase customer loyalty while differentiating themselves from the competition.
This guide discusses experiential marketing in the cannabis industry, what it is, why it’s effective, and how to implement it. Because laws and regulations limit how cannabis companies can advertise themselves, it’s essential for brands to use as many channels as possible to ensure their spreading their message without tripping over legal hurdles.
See below for more information about experiential marketing for cannabis companies.
Experiential marketing is perhaps the fastest way to build brand awareness. As its name suggests, experiential marketing is a trend that focuses on creating a user experience based on the brand, not just the product. Experiences vary by brand, but corporate events, webinars, and contests are some of the most common examples of experiential marketing.
It involves face-to-face marketing that engages the five senses for a truly memorable experience with a brand. Experiential marketing can involve digital aspects like advertising for the event, but it mainly focuses on in-person events that engage consumers in a unique way while increasing their knowledge of who you are and what you offer.
Experiential marketing has a long list of benefits. It’s incredibly effective due to its in-person nature that involves the consumer’s complete undivided attention, in which you can introduce them to your brand and what it represents. See more benefits of experiential marketing below:
Connects Consumers To Your Brand And Products: Experiential marketing is an excellent way to showcase your brand’s products and make a lasting impact on consumers who can try your products in a unique environment without knowing much about you beforehand. It’s the most direct way to introduce potential customers and leads to who you are and what you offer.
Direct Feedback: The great thing about experiential marketing is the instant feedback provided by guests. While not all of them will be customers, this gives your brand an advantage by listening to any critiques or feedback about what you’re offering. Think of it as a test run, if you will. You will instantly see which products and services are working and which aren’t.
Boosts Word-Of-Mouth: The first conversation your guests will have after the event almost always involves what they just experienced. You’re guaranteed to spread the word of your brand through word-of-mouth by engaging guests with unique experiences who will be eager to share details about your event with friends, family, and co-workers.
Increases Customer Loyalty: It’s one thing to sell great products and have returning customers, but it’s a whole other ball game when you make an effort to keep your customers for the long haul through engaging events. Whether the event focuses on your brand or products, advertising it to your target audience will make them feel special, thus, increasing their loyalty to you.
Creative Control: Brands have complete creative control to make the entire event about their company and what it represents. If your brand sells wellness products, consider a spa day involving your products or a mindful meditation session in a zen outdoor area. The options are endless.
Rolling out an experiential marketing campaign in the cannabis industry isn’t too different from any other industry, just as long as you stay compliant with local and federal laws.
See below for some tips on how to implement an experiential marketing campaign in the cannabis industry.
Represent Your Brand Well: Now is the time to dive deep into what your brand represents and stands for. In order to persuade consumers to love your brand, you must love it too. Emphasize the human touch of your brand and why you’re in business to begin with. From the moment potential consumers walk in the door, they should know exactly who’s hosting the event based on its relevance and connection to your brand.
Make Memorable Experiences: The best experiential marketing goes above and beyond traditional advertising. It’s all about the consumer’s experience. Create an event that’s on-brand with your company and emphasizes what you represent, whether that’s daily wellness or a commitment to providing consumers with the most potent cannabis on the market.
Track The Event’s Success: The post-event is just as important as the event itself. Make sure to implement strategies that let you easily track and measure the event’s success, like hiring someone to do a head count, rolling out surveys for feedback, and promoting a certain hashtag related to the event where users can post about their experience.
Again, creating the type of experience for your event is in your brand’s complete creative control. As mentioned, it’s essential that your event is ultra-relevant to your brand, mission, and products.
Below, we’ve included a few ideas for cannabis companies looking to launch experiential marketing campaigns:
Pop-Up Stores: Perhaps the most effective type of experiential marketing is launching a limited-time pop-up store in a region with ample (legal) recreational cannabis consumption. Showcase the best of your products and hire your best budtenders—it helps if they’re suave talkers.
Niche Events: Invite your audience to take a break from the world’s chaos and unwind at a wellness event featuring your products. You could have various stations like massages, meditation, therapeutic coloring, and other wellness-oriented activities while showing consumers the benefits of your products firsthand.
Dinner Parties: Looking to launch a new product and want your audience to know about it ASAP? Host a dinner party and invite the first 50-100 people who sign up. Have speakers from your company talk about your latest offerings and prepare goody bags as parting gifts.
Interactive Installations: If you really want to give back to the community, team up with local artists and create an interactive art installation. Showcase your brand’s products prior to the event and give guests a 10-minute period to try them out, then head into the exhibit.
There are endless possibilities for cannabis brands to launch an experiential marketing campaign. The key takeaway is the user’s experience. From what we’ve learned, successful experiential marketing campaigns are:
Launching in-person events for consumers to better understand your brand is one of the fastest ways to increase brand visibility and generate loyal consumers. It’s also the quickest way to introduce new, familiar, and potential customers to your offerings.
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