Cannabis advertising is tricky. First off, the market is highly competitive — every day, more and more dispensaries and auxiliary companies launch within the cannabis industry. Secondly, having effective marketing that falls within the legal guidelines is both confusing and hard to achieve.
Maybe you’re talented enough to accomplish this on your own, or your in-house marketing team is killing it in regards to strategy and implementation. However, maybe you’re feeling like something is missing. That your growth is slowed and you’re leaving revenue on the table. Hiring a cannabis marketing agency can be the link between a plateaued business and unlocking a new degree of expansion.
So what are some signs that you might need the help of a professional cannabis marketing agency?
- You’ve outgrown your marketing skillset
- You can no longer juggle all the aspects to your business
- Your business is struggling to see sales growth
- You need help navigating the marketing restrictions
- You can’t reach your target market
- You are can’t keep up with your competitor’s online growth
These are just a few glaring issues that might give you pause to consider hiring a cannabis marketing agency. For argument’s sake, let’s say you pull the trigger and decide you need a full-time agency to help improve your current marketing status quo. How do you know which agency to go with? Well, it’s kind of like marriage: when you know, you know.
That being said, here are things to look for in your potential suitors.
Cannabis Specific? Yes.
To start, if you’re going to hire a marketing agency, they need to specialize in cannabis advertising. Meaning they only handle the campaigns of dispensaries and other cannabis-related auxiliary companies (Elevato is a cannabis only agency). This is critical due to the high degree of complexity and the rapidly evolving nature of the industry. Hiring an agency not specifically designed to serve the industry can lead to a greater risk in error and reduced results.
Mission & Personality Alignment
You might not consider this off the bat, but the marketing agency you hire is the same as your in-house employees — you are paying them. You wouldn’t hire someone who doesn’t align with your company’s belief system or lacks the right personality. This is one of the biggest elements to look for in your potential marketing agency… do you like them? Do their values and personalities mesh with yours? If not, it probably won’t be the best fit.
Solutions & Services
You’re most likely going to go into this search with an idea of what forms of marketing you’d like to start (or better run). It is important to look for agencies that are multi-faceted and are able to offer a variety of services in order to stimulate results, but also meet your needs. Therefore, it makes sense to hire a full-service agency that is capable of running SEO, video, programmatic, paid media, influencer marketing, organic social media, and more — all under the same roof. You want an agency that is willing to give you options and is able to shift strategy if one marketing channel isn’t working for your business.
Past History & Success
Just like hiring a new employee, you want to see their track record. What experience does this agency have, who have they worked with, and what results have they produced? Ask for case studies, previous asset creations, etc. to understand the level of work they produce. An important note here is that going with the “most successful” agency might not be the best choice for your business. You should weigh:
- How many clients are they working for?
- How big are their current clients?
- Why types of businesses have they worked with?
- What is their client retention rate?
Asking questions like this can help identify if their agency works best for your unique business.
What Are Your Goals?
When hiring a cannabis marketing agency, you need to examine your business — thoroughly. Before you sign on to that retainer, what are your goals and expectations? You should interview these potential agencies with your goals laid out on the table. Be transparent with them about where you are and where you’re trying to go. This will help you get a sense of the honesty and integrity of the agency.
For example, say you’re just starting your business and you have zero social media presence, but you want to gain an Instagram following of 50,000 within six months. If an agency tells you that is realistic and they can get it done, you should be hesitant — actually just walk away. You need to discuss your goals with these agencies and understand their initial perspective on a timeline and possible goal achievement. This information will help you weed out the good candidates from the bad.