With 2 cultivation facilities and 7 retail locations in southern Colorado, Maggie’s Farm is the only cultivator and retailer of outdoor, organically grown cannabis. In addition, they hold Clean Green® certification. This certification is the closest you can get to organic in the cannabis industry (until cannabis becomes federally legal and thereby becomes eligible to be certified as organic by the USDA).
As a rapidly growing organization, Maggie’s Farm initially retained my services as a marketing consultant. Shortly thereafter I became the Director of Marketing and Operations. As an industry whose marketing and advertising capabilities are greatly limited by state (and federal) regulatory compliance, Maggie’s Farm’s greatest challenge was boosting brand awareness while adhering to regulatory guidelines. The goal was to market the superiority of their product while adhering to these guidelines.
Promoting Points of Difference
We could certainly promote the undeniable point of difference that Maggie’s was the only cultivator and retailer of outdoor, organic cannabis. This was the easy part. Most cannabis in Colorado is grown indoors under artificial light. Other outdoor grown products use synthetic pesticides. These cultivation methods adversely affect the quality of the product AND the environment. Maggie’s Farm stood apart from the competition in this regard. Delivering this message to audiences was an integral part of building brand recognition and loyalty.
However, the marketing and promotion of Maggie’s Farm had to be handled with kid gloves. As per state regulations, no advertising could mention the amplified effects of outdoor grown product. Rules varied depending upon the marketing channel. But we often could not mention price promotions. And forget about paid search advertising. Google will not allow paid advertising for cannabis due to its Class I controlled substance classification and federally prohibited status. So many regulations presented limitations. Therefore, a creative approach to generating a buzz around the brand and educating and delighting audiences was required.
Continued Growth and Consistently Delighted Customers
Navigating the regulatory maze of cannabis compliance, I implemented several initiatives that effectively promoted the brand, adhered to regulations and improved measurement of marketing endeavors. With the creation of print ads, an updated logo and marketing collateral, I was able to use my graphic design and copywriting skills. With no option for PPC, I conducted keyword research to create optimized website content (SEO strategy). Local search advertising (Leafly, Google My Business, Weedmaps) was also utilized to boost brand awareness. Designing branded merchandise and signage, social media, event planning and updating the website design were also included in my responsibilities. We developed two separate marketing approaches: one for retail/recreational customers and another for medical patients. The result? Continued growth, consistently delighted and loyal customers and patients, and boosted brand awareness.