How to Build a Strategic Marketing Plan...

and avoid wasting time and money on shiny object tactics

The Cannabis Marketing
Masters Resources

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Introduction

My name is Amy Larson, I am the Vice President of Marketing at Simplifya. Simplifya is an operational and regulatory compliance software platform. Our goal with Simplifya is to help all those hundreds and hundreds of state and local regulations that licensed operators have to deal with. 

I’ve been working in the cannabis industry for about five years now. And prior to joining Simplifya, I worked at an integrated marketing agency where I stood up and led our cannabis division. And during that time I got to work with some really, really cool brands and launch a couple of really cool brands into the industry both on the B2B side as well as the B2Cside. I’m thrilled to be here today to talk about building a strategic marketing plan, and how we can put some of that really fun foundational stuff in place to keep us to keep our efforts and our budget within the guardrails and not get distracted by those shiny objects and squirrels. There is a tendency to be running around out there, especially in this industry. So a quick overview of what we’re going to talk about today: 

  1. We are gonna talk a little bit about the importance of having a strong foundation in place. And that foundation consists of knowing what your brand is, knowing who your audience is, having a good handle on your budget, and knowing what your actual goals and objectives are. They’re two different things. They’re intertwined, but they’re two different things. 
  2. We will talk about laying that foundation, then we’re going to talk a little bit about activating. And with that foundation, what it looks like to put a smart strategy in place. And once you start putting the tactics, together with that strategy, how to approach your marketing from a very holistic perspective. At the end, we’re going to throw out a little creativity and some few tips for success. So let’s jump in.

Laying The Foundation

Know Your Brand

The most important thing that I tell every company that I speak to, whenever I speak at a conference about marketing is the critical importance of knowing your brand. And I want to be clear your brand is not your package. It’s not your logo, it’s not even your name. Your brand is what your company stands for. It’s not who your leadership team is. And it’s not the product that you deliver.Your brand is really your company ethos, it is your why you do what you do. And it is why customers choose your product over any other product. One company that I really like to hold up as someone who has done an incredible job of establishing and sticking to their brand is a company out of California called Papa and Barkley. I was lucky enough to help work with them when they launched back in 2016. And that brand was really founded on pain relief, and health and wellness and a very, very dedicated to the whole plant approach when it comes to their products. And over the years, knowing that brand and knowing what they stand for has really helped them market smartly, develop new products, and new branding. 

It’s driven by their educational content. It is driven thought leadership that they’ve done. They were also as far as I know, one of the first brands who really branched outside of cannabis, consumer trade shows and conferences. So rather than going to, you know, a high-times or an emerald cup, which they went to as well, but knowing that they were looking to reach their customers, and they were a health and wellness brand. They expanded into lifestyle and fitness shows. So that’s where their customer was in being a health and wellness brand. It made sense for them to go there. Even today, you know now five years later, Papa Barclays is still an incredibly strong brand, they’re still very much dedicated to the plant. And I think you can feel that in everything, every touchpoint that you have with their brand from their website to again, when you see their founders speak to the type of packaging that they have. They’ve just done a really good job of staying true to what that brand is. 

 

The other thing I want to make sure of is we will talk about when it comes to brands. And it is 

really to make sure that your brand is lived by everyone in your company.

Amy Larson

And again, I say this every time I speak at an event, you may have the most amazing brand on the market, but I, as a dispensary owner have very limited shelf space. And you may have an amazing brand, and it may sell really well. But if your salesperson is a jerk, or your salesperson doesn’t deliver, when I ask them to be or to be there, if they don’t show up, guess what that reflects very poorly on your brand. And there’s a lot of other brands that are, you know, waiting in line to take over that shelf space that you want. Think about, you know, the negative impact that Adam Bierman has had on the MedMen brand

So knowing what your brand is and what it stands for, you never know or more precisely, you don’t always know when someone is going to come in contact with it. So that’s why you have to make sure it’s true. And knowing what your brand is, can help you make decisions regarding your marketing

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In the ever changing world of cannabis marketing you need to set your foundations right in order to set your brand up for success! With this video and transcript you will hear what is a must have in your marketing plan and how to implement it!

Who is Amy Larson?

Amy Larson speaker cannabis marketing masters

Amy is the Vice President of Marketing & PR at Simplifya, the cannabis industry’s leading operational and regulatory compliance software platform.

Prior to joining Simplifya, Amy serve as the Vice President of Marketing for COHN, and led its dedicated, award-winning cannabis division, COHNNABIS, which she helped to launch in 2016. Prior to pivoting to the cannabis industry, Amy spent 15+ years working in marketing and PR for the consumer, tourism, restaurant, retail, and real estate industries.

A regular speaker on the topics of integrated marketing and branding for the cannabis industry, Amy currently serves as the Chair of the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Marketing & Advertising Committee, and in 2017 led the development of a crisis communications manual designed specifically for use by cannabis industry businesses.

Since 2013, Amy has also served on the advisory board and as PR Advisor for the Colorado Freedom Memorial in Aurora, Colorado. The CFM is the only memorial of its kind in the country, dedicated to the more than 6,000 fallen Coloradans killed or missing in action in all wars and from all branches of service.

Amy is a proud #cannamom to two teenagers, and is working to normalize and destigmatize the plant, and to help make cannabis more approachable and relatable for moms, both as medicineand as an acceptable “recreational” alternative.

Who is This Resource for?

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