Whether you’re a small business owner or a bona fide marketing guru, it pays to know how the biggest trends in cannabis marketing work. Marketing in the cannabis industry presents unique challenges where trying to tell your brand story and flesh out your identity in the space can be an uphill battle— especially without access to traditional advertising techniques and the constant social algorithm changes that make posting on social media a daunting task.
One thing that cannabis brands have started integrating into their marketing strategies is product drops. A product drop is when a company releases a limited edition product or line of products for a short period of time, and it comes with a lot of benefits. Odds are, you’ve already seen product drops out there from non-cannabis brands. Nike, for example, releases limited edition shoes from collaborations with artists, sports players and musicians, which encourages consumers to rush in and complete their collections.
Product drops in the cannabis industry have a lot of the same benefits as they do in other sectors, including cosmetics, music, video games and more. This effective strategy is psychological in nature and plays on the natural fear of missing out (FOMO), which generates a natural hype or excitement for exclusive, limited edition products. It also taps into the competitive nature of consumers who are willing to pay a premium for an exclusive collection.
Offering a successful product drop takes a lot more than just having great products ready to go, especially in the cannabis industry, which relies more heavily on word-of-mouth marketing and products that are consistent and high quality. The cannabis industry is flooded with inferior products, so the best thing a brand can do is carve out its identity and story and bring that to the masses.
In a world where traditional marketing methods are downplayed, and guerrilla marketing tactics are the bread and butter, cannabis brands can gain a lot of clout by partnering up with other brands in adjacent industries with similar stories to tell. Space Coyote, for example, an infused pre-roll brand based in the San Francisco Bay Area, has collaborated successfully with cannabis flower and concentrate companies as well as music artists, which allowed their brand to tap into different demographics. It generates a sense of brand recognition and awareness and also builds a buzz around their products and overall quality. Hype and awareness are the recipes for success.
To generate that hype and awareness, cannabis brands often turn to social media. An effective social media strategy in the cannabis industry is less about showing people your products and more about telling your brand’s story and creating a sense of feeling about your story that resonates with your ideal customer. Product drops are typically announced on Facebook or Instagram live, though spreading the word about upcoming drops and collaborations can begin as soon as it’s a sure thing. The idea is to pique interest and create an impression that resonates both with your audience and the audience of your partner or collaborator instead of just posting a picture of the new thing and hoping for the best.
Hype and awareness can also be secured with text and email marketing campaigns. A quick update to your following to tell them a limited edition product just dropped creates a sense of urgency and taps into that FOMO. Done correctly, it can have customers rushing into the store to get whatever it is while it’s hot. Text message marketing in the cannabis industry is the number one way to spread the word about a new product or drop.
Between social media and text messaging, product drops ultimately drive sales and encourage customers to head into the store with an urgency. Add unique collaborations into the mix, and you’ve also earned more brand awareness and piqued the interests of a different but related demographic of people you can sell your products to. The tactic can make your social media strategies more effective and help nurture current and future customers to stay in the loop about exclusive products and specials with text messages.
But there’s more to it than the customer-facing side, too. On the backend of the business side, brands themselves benefit from product drops for tracking performance. For example, generating interest in certain products can help research and develop new products based on what customers ended up being the most interested in. Product drops and other marketing tactics also offer more measurable success metrics that can help brands continually scale their brand and products, encouraging more interest and brand awareness.
Drops can also help brands test products. Sending out a limited release of new product types can help you determine if a product should make it onto your full-time menu. If a product flies off the shelf during a product drop, there’s a good chance it would be a good choice to continue refining and offering after the fact. Product drops allow for more in-depth in-house market research and the opportunity to thoroughly vet a product before adding it to a product line, which helps give cannabis brands more authenticity instead of hype that will inevitably wear off after a run of inferior products.
At the end of the day, product drops are all-around excellent for cannabis brands and businesses. They help support and scale the business while creating awareness and a sense of urgency in consumers, assisting the companies in earning more and becoming a more respected figure in the saturated cannabis industry.