When you think about cannabis marketing, your first thought bounces to B2C (business to customer) marketing. This is where the majority of products and services are sold. However, B2B (business to business) marketing can be thought of as the backbone of this industry.
Cannabis cultivation is a highly specific, scientific process. B2C businesses depend on B2B businesses like growers, equipment specialists, logistic suppliers, and more in order for cannabis to reach the hands of everyday consumers.
As you are aware, the markets between B2B and B2C are vastly different. Therefore, specific marketing strategies are slightly different in their substance and messaging. To give a baseline guide into B2B marketing within the cannabis industry, we’re going to break this into two parts:
- Part 1: Research & Analysis
- Part 2: Content Strategies
Research Within The B2B Market
The biggest issue facing B2B businesses is generating enough traffic and lead flow. This issue often stems from insufficient industry research. To most accurately understand your target market and potential buyers, you’re going to need to perform a great deal of in-depth research.
- Segment the market
- Build an ideal customer profile (ICP)
- Conduct a competitor analysis
- Sketch your sales funnel
Segment Your Market
This process starts by mapping out what products and services your company provides. What viable market groups would have regular or cyclical use for your goods? Define these groups from the largest buyer groups to the smallest.
Your Ideal Customer Profile
Now take your “X” number of market segments and do some digging into what type of individuals make up these groups. An ICP’s biggest use is discovering your most desired customer from that market segment. In doing so, you can better identify your high-quality leads from the lesser of the bunch. This allows you to better create marketing materials for these specific customers and helps better narrow the sales funnel and qualification process.
Conduct a Competitor Analysis
A competitor analysis is necessary for any business. This research examines who your competitors are targeting in their marketing efforts, how they are advertising, and what efforts are being successful and unsuccessful. This data provides a safe jumping-off point when you go to draft your marketing strategy. You don’t need to copy your competitor in audience or tactic, but it may help avoid potential landmines.
Sketch Your Sales Funnel
B2B customers behave differently compared to B2C customers. They are more concerned with the ROI and efficiency of a product or service, and therefore a B2B sales funnel needs to account for this — highlighting the benefits and savings. Today, consumers hardly ever follow a linear sales path through the sales funnel. Therefore, your sales funnel should feature a process that is not rigid, but flexible.
Developing a Marketing Strategy
The marketing regulations surrounding cannabis are a bit complicated at first, but once businesses become familiar with them, they are still left with several avenues in which to successfully run campaigns. Three areas we want to highlight for B2B advertising include:
- Content marketing
- Programmatic display ads
- Email marketing
Content Marketing is Key
The majority of commercial buyers start their process with search engine queries. Buyers are connected to a company’s products/services because of relevant content. The term “content marketing” is pretty vague as the internet is flooded with “content.” However, it essentially entails crafting information that is interesting and useful to a specific audience for the purpose of education or entertainment.
B2B businesses benefit from content marketing because over 80 percent of B2B buyers consume at least five pieces of content during the buying process. Drafting supplemental content that aids in all stages of the sales funnel is therefore crucial. Blogs, videos, infographics, etc. are all content pieces to build around when devising your marketing strategy.
Programmatic Display Ads
Programmatic advertising is on the rise and is quickly becoming a leading tactic for all players within the cannabis industry. The power to programmatic is that it allows the dollar to be put to work. Paid ads are now able to be placed on private domains that are okay with cannabis-related content being displayed to a webpage visitor or TV streamer (over the age of 21).
This allows you to display brand awareness videos and promotions to someone during their Hulu cast or an individual reading the news on an outlet like The New York Times. Programmatic has shown to be a useful tool for B2B advertisers because it delivers the high-level geo-targeting tools toward niche audiences and provides a workaround to the paid ad restrictions currently on platforms like Google and Facebook.
Email Marketing is Trustworthy
Email marketing might seem outdated when compared to the two previous strategies mentioned above. However, email marketing presents a lot of upside for B2B advertisers. First off, it is professional. B2B businesses operate with a certain level of decorum, versus businesses that are more public consumer-facing. Email also presents a low-barrier to entry for potential buyers to gather more information and is a cost-effective strategy. Time after time, email drip campaigns often result in some of the best campaign ROIs across the board. Running email marketing as one of your core tactics allows your business to quickly share content, funnel, leads, and remain in a buyer’s digital environment.
Need Help Marketing Your B2B Business?
Elevato Marketing is a full-service digital agency specializing in cannabis advertising. With a team of experienced professionals, we are ready to help connect your products and services with the right clients. Contact us to see how together we can benefit your business!