Despite some studies showing us that THC is actually bad for those fighting off COVID-19, during this great American lock-down cannabis sales are thriving, providing an opportunity for the industry as many states have deemed marijuana essential, just like grocery stores and gas stations.
This has been a boon for retailers and also an uptick for the brands they carry, but also gives the cannabis industry a window to gain larger acceptance with the consumer public.
Cannabis Deemed Essential
Millions of Americans are looking for something today to provide some mental relief, and meanwhile, medical marijuana can be used to help ease anxiety and help manage an uncertain world.
“What’s important is that cannabis is considered medicine, and people need access to medicine during this time,” said Chanda Macias, of the Washington, D.C. based National Holistic Healing Center, and a board member of the National Cannabis Roundtable advocacy group.
Hopefully this message sends a signal to Washington that this plant they call a Schedule I drug is actually essential medicine.
As social distancing and safety precautions have taken priority across the country, many cannabis-related companies including both recreational and medicinal dispensaries are turning to technology to get through these times.
Modern Marijuana Marketing
From bolstering e-commerce platforms to setting up online ordering for curbside pickup or delivery, this pandemic may change the way people buy pot for the foreseeable future.
With so many consumers and patients forced to pick out strains online, place orders online, and more, these cannabis-related companies are being forced to rethink their direct-to-consumer strategies from all angles including marketing and more.
Isolation has turned places like Las Vegas and Los Angeles into ghost towns in terms of foot traffic, commuters, and tourists, and cannabis-related companies are being forced pivot from their billboards and cab topper ads to online advertising.
While major advertising platforms like Facebook are still banning marijuana-related advertising, cannabis-focused digital media and advertising platforms like The Fresh Toast, LeafBuyer, and Surfside are all open for business, allowing businesses to leverage all angles of their online advertising strategy.
In addition to reaching millions of recreational cannabis consumers as well as the canna-curious, The Fresh Toast also provides educational cannabis content to approximately 1.7 million healthcare professionals including 800,000 physicians and 900,000 nurse practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, and medical directors through an exclusive partnership. With a proven track record with companies like Pfizer and Merck, The Fresh Toast helps companies in the industry engage with no less than 50,000 healthcare professionals in a month.
LeafBuyer on the other hand is working with cannabis companies to leverage more traditional communication tools like SMS text messaging and loyalty programs to build long-term customer relationships.
In addition to the actual advertising, many companies seeking to optimize their online advertising strategy focus on analytics as well. With so many different people browsing the web, it goes without saying that some of those people are just not interested in cannabis. Some of those people browsing also may not be old enough to legally consume cannabis. This is why some cannabis companies turn to data-driven cannabis consumer analytics company Surfside to help decipher which customers are actually a part of your target audience and optimizing the eyeballs that actually matter.
Cannabis sales are up big during this pandemic. Unfortunately, with the bearish backdrop of the broader markets at play this underlying uptick has yet to calm most cannabis investors’ fears. Up just slightly on Friday, March 27th, 2020 the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE:MJ) which tracks a basket of major publicly-traded cannabis stocks, still has a year-to-date total return of -35.11%.
That being said, the silver lining is that this is a major opportunity for the cannabis industry to prove itself and to show the federal government why so many states are deeming marijuana-related businesses essential. Furthermore, canna-companies’ focus on employee and customer safety is driving real innovation in the industry.
That doesn’t sound too bad, after all.