Cannabis Marketing Presents Unique Challenges


Marketers face a number of challenges. However, sometimes the greatest marketing challenges we face is determined by the industry itself. And, this is most easily exemplified by the challenges presented with cannabis marketing.

cannabis marketing

Cannabis Marketing Presents Legal Complications

There is no denying that cannabis is a hot topic. The extreme regulations are what make this industry such a challenge for marketers. Because, if you do work in cannabis marketing, you’re required to be well adversed with the law in order to properly and legally promote your brand.

Justin Walker, President at Full Scale Inc. elaborated on industry regulations, “As far as cannabis goes, there is still a disconnect between traditional marketing channels and what cannabis clients can accomplish due to regulations set forth by the individual state’s government.”

“…there is still a disconnect between traditional marketing channels and what cannabis clients can accomplish due to regulations set forth by the individual state’s government.”

    – Justin Walker, President, Full Scale Inc.

Social Media Challenges

cannabis marketing

For many industries, social media is a go-to marketing strategy. But for the cannabis industry, social networks are just another challenge they must overcome. Spontelli said, “Marketing using typical social media channels has been a big challenge for our entire industry.”

Brands and agencies in this industry live in constant fear of their Instagram page being removed. Spontelli even knows that in addition to the main page, brands will often be prepared with a backup page just in case they are shut down.

“Marketing using typical social media channels has been a big challenge for our entire industry.”

    – Frankie Spontelli, Photography & Social Media Management, Full Scale Inc.

However, one of the biggest social media challenges has to do with ads. When it comes to creating ads on Instagram and Facebook, brands need to be very cautious. These platforms are constantly scanning your content. Spontelli explained that even mentioning ‘cannabis packaging’ on an ad will flag your content. And, this can even lead to your account being closed.

CBD and hemp companies face the same complications. Spontelli stated that this is because CBD lies in a gray area. It’s regulated differently on the state level which can make creating ads on social media can be very complicated.

Spontelli said, “CBD is a grey area in this regard, as the overall marketing challenge is education.”

Overcoming The Challenges

Focus On Branding

cannabis marketing

You can’t change the laws surrounding this industry, but one thing you can control is the branding. Since consumer purchasing decisions are made primarily based on on-shelf appeal and brand recognition, creative agencies are going to great lengths to develop eye-catching designs. This is easily seen in Full Scale’s marketing strategy for many of their clients.

Walker recalled a challenge they faced with branding. With their recent client PotPies Gummies, the challenge was to make a fun brand.

He elaborated why this was a rather difficult task, “…the difficulties and restrictions in creating a “fun” brand without crossing a fine line in regulatory requirements regarding packaging and labeling (cannot show pictures on-pack, cannot use cartoons or any other message that might be viewed as appealing to children) made this project seem very difficult at first glance.”

Get Creative On Social

Despite all the restrictions on social media, with a little creativity, the cannabis and CBD industries can still advertise on social media platforms. Spontelli believes one of the best ways to do this is by developing an attractive brand and then producing and advertising custom merchandise.

“None of the marketing tactics in this industry are traditional, however cannabis and CBD brands must establish themselves on social media channels regardless of the current challenges.”

    – Frankie Spontelli, Photography & Social Media Management, Full Scale Inc.

Many brands are advertising products with a CBD logo on it. This can generate sales as the consumers will then go to your site. Spontelli concluded, “None of the marketing tactics in this industry are traditional, however cannabis and CBD brands must establish themselves on social media channels regardless of the current challenges.”

Need Help?

This industry is full of so many unique challenges. If you’re a brand and are in need of assistance I highly suggest finding an agency that specializes in cannabis. While there are so many creative agencies out there, an agency focusing on cannabis will have a deep understanding of the product. And, maybe, more importantly, the laws surrounding the industry itself.

Nicole Schuster

Marketing Specialist at Agency Spotter
Nicole is a Marketing Specialist at Agency Spotter. She graduated summa cum laude from The University of Georgia with a degree in Public Relations and is looking forward to diving deeper into the marketing and startup world. In her free time, Nicole enjoys cheering on the Georgia Bulldogs and cuddling with her dog.
Nicole Schuster