Last updated on July 8th, 2020
With the current global legalization of cannabis for recreational and medicinal purposes, the cannabis industry seems to be an upcoming industry with huge potential for its steady growth. The global legal cannabis market is valued at USD 17.7 billion in 2019 which is projected at a significant increase in the coming years. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, every sector including the cannabis industry is facing unprecedented stress. Though, the ongoing COVID-19 crisis has further highlighted the significance of cannabis as a recreational medicine and other uses. But the cannabis industry can prosper only when new businesses entering this field adopt a focused approach and unique marketing strategies. The cannabis entrepreneurs need to come out with growth hacks. In this article, we’ve shared various growth hacking strategies for entrepreneurs of the cannabis industry during the COVID-19 crisis.
COVID-19 has made the entire world stay at home with markets closed, businesses at a standstill, and demand and supply positions worsening. In such a scenario, the cannabis industry is doing comparably well, say the experts. They are hopeful that due to the increasing demand for cannabis for its medicinal value, small cannabis businesses have a big chance to grow even during the crisis.
Note that cannabis is being used in multiple drugs such as Marinol (THC), Syndros (THC), Cesamet (nabilone), and Epidiolex (cannabidiol). In addition to that, the non-prescription use is also growing after the state governments in the US permitted the use of the derivatives from industrial hemp. As a result, cannabis sales have increased manifold, even during the coronavirus crisis. Some of the companies in this industry have registered a 500% growth in sales in these days of the virus pandemic.
However, the cannabis industry needs some growth strategies that are unique and deliver results fast. Designhill has been in the conversation with some of the industry experts who have proven worth in the cannabis industry. Recently, the leading creative marketplace invited three experts to discuss what needful should be done to take this industry forward.
The experts participating in the exciting and engaging discussion were Javier Hasse, the Managing Director at Benzinga Cannabis, Krista Whitley, the founder of CBD Caring, and Max Simon, the CEO at Green Flower. They covered almost all the major aspects of the cannabis business and industry and talked about the current challenges.
Here’s The Video Where The Experts Shared And Discussed The Challenges That Cannabis Entrepreneurs Are Facing And Strategies They Should Adopt To Overcome Them. Have A Look!
Going further this article is based on the marketing and growth hacks suggested by these three industry experts.
Here Is What Entrepreneurs Of The Cannabis Industry Should Be Doing For Steady Growth
01. Know Why The Cannabis Industry Is Flourishing
Before you proceed to make strategies, know The COVID-19 crisis has augured well for the sales of cannabis. Some reports say that the demand has increased by a whopping five times over the normal days. So, first, know about the main reason for this industry doing well even in the COVID-19 crisis.
For the industry, the coronavirus crisis has not come as a surprise. This is because this business and industry have been particularly under stress for a long time. Not only people had some kind of stigma towards weed consumption but the government also was not helpful. While some states have legalized cannabis to an extent, the federal govt has yet to make it legal.
During the discussion, Krista rightly said that “the cannabis industry has come out of the crisis as a winner due to its flexible nature. The demand from consumers continues to be for adult-use or medical use throughout the legal markets in the USA. Another reason for the cannabis industry surviving the crisis is that it was used to reacting quickly to the ever-changing and ever-evolving regulations, contexts, and legal frameworks”.
02. Promote Cannabis Education In Schools
Weed consumption is associated with some adversity, and that image still lingers on in the minds of people. This issue should be addressed effectively. But a new wave of change in the conventional perception also is taking place. Different sectors such as consumers, government, employers, and investors have renewed their interest in the cannabis industry thanks to the present crisis.
Max suggests that “to change people’s perception, we should work at the grass-root level. The awareness about the plus points of cannabis should start at the school level”. Max runs an educational company Green Flower. Taking the initiative, Max said that his company has recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic days, signed with three university partnerships to do their cannabis curriculums.
He further added, “This is because schools all of a sudden are saying cannabis is deemed an essential business by our governments. It was seen as a way to help people with anxiety and cope with this. It is generating a ton of tax revenue and job opportunities.”
03. Work For Legalizing Cannabis
In the US, the federal government has not legalized cannabis consumption yet, although many states have legalized it. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of cannabis as medical and other commercial use. The experts say that after the significance of cannabis is now well known, it would be shocking if the federal government does not get it legalized in the next term, regardless of who gets elected. So, the industry should make additional efforts to get cannabis legalized.
Javier opines, “I’m not sure if Trump will legalize it or whoever comes next will do it. It is a tough call. We thought that when we saw the first tax dollars in Colorado come in, it would be like a domino effect. But it wasn’t, and the same thing happened in Washington and Oregon and California, and Massachusetts and Illinois.”
04. Help People Working In This Industry
Many entrepreneurs have come out with generous help in getting families of employees in the cannabis industry. The experts have also acknowledged the encouraging role of this community and industry in cities like Seattle, Denver, and New York. The community leaders should continue to give back and feed the employees’ families.
05. Explore The Opportunities
The opportunities for cannabis business and industry have started to unfold. So, Krista says that “this is an ideal time to start your cannabis business. The CBD products have become kind of mainstream recently due to the crisis, and it is now well accepted in many states. Those people who were sitting on the sidelines should now come forward to cash in on the new opportunities in the market”.
The demand for cannabis products is huge, and it should be explored. Cannabis is a unique product that people of all ages find useful. Max added, “I have never seen a product that an 18-year-old kid can be just as enthusiastic about as an 80-year-old grandmother. It is a unique kind of offering.” So, cash in on these opportunities with the right strategies.
06. Focus On Your Target Audience
Because of medicinal and various other uses of cannabis, this has proved its potential across many industries. So, before you start your business, find out your niche market. This industry has many facets, such as cultivation, CBD retail, manufacturing, distribution, and ancillary services. Also, people call cannabis by names such as marijuana, weed, pot, etc. They are excited to enter this business and want to do a lot of things, which is a mistake. Therefore, Max advises first to learn the complexity of this industry.
Emphasizing on choosing a niche market and focusing on it, Max says,” The most important hack in cannabis is to get laser narrow with your focus….Find out what is your number one or number two sales channel. Also, know what is the strategy that you can focus on. In cannabis, you should narrow down that focus to get traction.”
For example, Max started his company Green Flower with its sole focus on targeting the higher education sector as one channel. The company worked on this niche for a year and a half. It ultimately was able to gain that traction. The company has signed with many schools to do their syllabus regarding cannabis.
07. Use Your Expertise
One of the best ways to enter the cannabis business is to start with what you already know. Do not try to do everything as that is not possible for everyone to accomplish. Many people do not succeed in each of the sub-sectors of this industry.
Therefore, Javier suggests that a better approach is to start by working in your field of expertise. He says, “I recommend you try and put some thought into what you know how to do already, and convert that skill into cannabis. So if you’re an accountant, maybe become a cannabis accountant, don’t become a designer. If you’re a designer, don’t try to extract oil because that’s probably in a chemical engineer’s job.”
In this regard, Max adds that “There is a huge demand for cannabis extraction talent while such the industry is lacking in such workers. Then, there are only very few knowledgeable cannabis salespersons. So, what can be done is that in whichever area of specialization you are working add to that your knowledge of cannabis. You are, then, a useful talent for this industry.” You can start a business based on your talent and expertise.
So, these are the strategies that experts advise the business owners to pursue. The potential of the cannabis industry is huge. Your business can surely grow steadily with the right marketing approach.
The experts believe that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the cannabis industry is growing due to the demand for medicinal and recreational use businesses. But they suggest that the businesses should focus on a niche market as this industry is huge and widely spread. A focused approach can help achieve business goals.