The marketing and promotion of legal cannabis are quickly matching the scope and sophistication of the most hyped consumer products. Cannabis brands are putting some traditional marketing best practices to good use, including the launch of some top-notch events aimed at influencing a bunch of key audiences: from consumers to media to investors. So far, what we are seeing and hearing about cannabis influencer events is that it’s the consumers that are usually the last to know about the when/where/why.
Obviously, that’s less than ideal for a consumer-oriented showcase, but with decent planning and marketing strategy, an influencer event can have a major impact on a brand’s reputation and revenue potential.
On-site/On-Line or Both?
The majority of cannabis influencer events are hosted at medical or recreational dispensaries. Clearly these are safe and legal spaces and well-trafficked by the cannabis consuming public. To gather the widest audience, however, and to ensure that medical patients who are not otherwise able to attend an on-site event, an online event may be more cost-effective and inclusive. The event can be simulcast live or rebroadcast; recommend platforms include WebEx or, for smaller audiences, Zoom. WebEx is more expensive but it has all the bells and whistles you need to create an awesome online experience.
The Marketing Checklist
- Timing: Bottom line on event timing: you’ll need at least a month’s notice to put on the best possible event and gather an audience. What makes the influencer event an awesome concept is that in the lead-up to the event you can easily be in front of consumers with consistent reminders about the event date, site, and agenda, offering different information and messaging to draw them to your website and potentially spend more time with you and your brand. This can be done via social media channels and email mailing lists.
- Event website: You’ll want to create a separate event page either where you can have all the info about the event and can also handle pre-registration. Most events will attract both registered and non-registered attendees, but having a pre-registration page will enable you to get an approximate sense of how many people to expect. Two very easy and inexpensive event sites with registration are EventHi, a marketplace catering to cannabis-related events which provide a safe hosting platform for the cannabis industry or Eventbrite.
- Agenda: Have your agenda listed on your event page as well as your website and social media channels. This allows everyone to know exactly how the event will progress. Typical agenda items for an influencer event include product presentations (a brief video makes for better visuals than a Powerpoint!), evangelist presentations from “power users” or patients, legal/advocacy discussions, and investment or partnership opportunities.
- Email/Social Promotion: Promotional emails must include:
- On-site: Directions on how to get to the event and methods for bookmarking that information on calendars and on phones.
- Online: Directions on how to connect to the event online must be clear. Offer people the opportunity to come online ten minutes prior to test their connection. Make sure that you have one person available to answer any technicals questions that may arise either live via the link or Q&A Chat. This will allow the presenters to focus on what they need to do!
- PROMOTE…PROMOTE…with proper hashtags. Create a specific hashtag for the event so you can use it live and for post-event. Facebook and Twitter, but especially Instagram are the most likely to attract an audience for a cannabis influencer event. Make sure you put any links to your event in your personal Instagram bio – this is free, but you can also create a business account and pay for that link. Just know that a business Instagram account is going to get more scrutiny than a personal one.
The Day Of…
- Performance: Any sound checks, stage set-up, etc. needs to be done at least two hours prior. If there’s missing equipment, Best Buy and Walmart are all close at hand.
- Signage: Make sure you have proper signage for the day of the event. Are you upstairs or at the exit? Make sure everyone knows how to find you.
- Stay on-point and on-message: Make sure your team looks professional and are speaking the same language about your company, mission, and products. Keep your event hashtag trending throughout the day and through the event itself.
- Consider crowdsourcing: Bonfyre and Kindling are both exciting apps that enable you to crowdsource content about your product and ask influencers before, during and after an event all of the questions you want. Although these apps are for employees, there is a way to adapt these services for your experience.
If you’re hosting your event online or streaming it:
- TEST AND RETEST SPEAKERS CONNECTIONS. HARDWIRE YOURSELVES INTO YOUR MODEMS. You should make sure that you have had a full run of the online event at least two times without any issues before you get to the big day!
At Resinate, we hope this awesome tips can help you save some money on your marketing plans. When you are ready to move to the next level, make sure to reach out.