The cannabis industry has made significant strides in the past few years. Stigmas have been removed and restrictions lifted with the legalization of the products. More individuals are talking about cannabis and including it in their daily lives.
However, there is still so much to learn about the cannabis industry. Many cannabis-based businesses are still trying to understand who their target audience is and how much bigger it could be.
We sat down with Chris Dolge, Senior Account Manager at AdCellerant, to discuss best practices for advertising within the cannabis space, the future of the industry, and his approach to partnership in our “Ask an Expert” series.
What are some trends you are seeing within the cannabis industry?
Cannabis is an ever-changing industry. Recently, it’s been difficult because organizations are trying to figure out how to put their budgets to best use and attribute success with the various restrictions and limitations the industry faces.
- Alt Network. Our team has done great work by shifting to the Alt Network, and we are providing products that the cannabis industry typically hasn’t been able to dabble into yet like Streaming TV and Pre-Roll Video.
- Focus on lifestyle. There isn’t a defined way to target cannabis users or cannabis interest specifically, so we like to target and test different audiences based on lifestyle (e.g. music lovers, at-home chefs, pet owners, outdoor enthusiasts, and more). From here, we can compare performance by the audience and let the data tell us where to make optimizations and eliminate waste.
- Content creation. Creating short or long-form content is a trend in this space for educating consumers. Whether it’s a series on particular strands that are good for relaxing or focusing, or if you ask an expert about how the strand was sourced and where it’s coming from.
- Looking ahead. There are a lot of cannabis-specific e-commerce platforms out there, and as they evolve, we’ll be able to create strong relationships with them to set up revenue tracking and online order generation. There is still a lot of value in driving people into stores, and we can gather that information through the Device ID product.
Are there any pain points you’re hearing from clients you work with?
First-party data is becoming more and more valuable. Cannabis brands and companies can collect customer contact information, but activating it can be challenging. Device ID (DID) is a great way to leverage this data. We can take current, past or prospective customer lists to build DID campaigns and target those audiences with unique creatives and ad messaging based on their purchase history.
What products are you recommending in this space, and why?
The cannabis industry is no different than any other because you still want the full-funnel approach where you create brand or product awareness, educate the consumer and push them down the sales funnel until they ultimately make a purchase and become a lifelong customer. No path to purchase is going to be the same so it’s important to have a presence at every stage of the sales cycle, including the bottom of the funnel tactics such as site retargeting and Local SEO.
A few great products for the cannabis industry that I recommend are:
- Local SEO because it’s a great way to build a foundation. For example, if someone searches, “Dispensaries near me,” the client we’re working with pulls to the top.
- Streaming TV or video will help increase your relevant searches on your product and brand. Also, you can’t fake video, so this, in particular, needs to be professionally done.
- Device ID is great for historical Geo-Fencing, targeting competitors, or Geo-Fencing different locations where your customers are going. It’s also the best way to leverage 1st party data in order to create customer loyalty campaigns or promote new products.
- Dominant Display is great for targeting different demos, interests and behaviors. It also includes site retargeting so we can stay top of mind and follow that user around on their digital commute.
Explain your approach to working with an individual client?
To start, I like to ask a lot of questions upfront when first working with a client. I want to learn about their business and what challenges they’re having that I could potentially help solve. What are their best leads (e.g. do they want phone calls, in-store visits, website traffic, online orders, etc)? Who is their target audience, what is their average sale and what is the value of a lifetime customer? Ultimately, what is keeping that marketer or business owner up at night?
From there, I work on developing a strategy and plan to solve those problems and accomplish their sales goals. Once we get buy-in, then it’s building and monitoring the campaign from the start. I’ll look for ways to optimize the campaign, eliminate waste and maximize ROI while giving them feedback on what’s working and where we can improve or do additional testing to maximize success.
I want to be an extension of their business to provide recommendations, a consultative approach, industry best practices, and trends to keep them at the forefront of their industry.
When it comes to optimizations and upsells, what are you looking for?
Here, I want to cast a broader net at the beginning of the campaign so we have tons of data to measure. Testing different audience segments, creatives and geographies will ensure no stone is left unturned. We can get tunnel vision when it comes to what we think our ideal customer looks like, but there are untapped markets just waiting to be uncovered.
The more data we have, the more educated decisions we can make about what works and, maybe most importantly, what we should avoid in the future.
Why choose AdCellerant as a partner?
Between cutting-edge technology and award-winning professional services – AdCellerant is a clear choice to take your digital marketing under one roof. We share campaign successes across our team of product experts and take a unified approach to full-funnel strategy.
We’re with you every step of the way and have the resources you need to close more sales, run more successful campaigns, and renew more clients.
Last but not least, our AdCellerant team isn’t only siloed to the cannabis industry – we also have experience across multiple verticals including automotive, retail, healthcare, education, travel, and much more. This wide range of experience gives us different perspectives and outside-the-box ideas that can boost your campaigns to new heights.