Jan 7 2021
Hope Lowdermilk

How to Develop a Cannabis Marketing Plan


The cannabis landscape continues to grow (pun intended!) with more holding companies, growers, and dispensaries being created each month. While there is a lot of opportunity within this vertical, keeping up with the latest regulations (whether that be at the state/federal level or within the cannabis lumascape) can be a full-time job.

Read on for a deep dive into cannabis, CBD, and the channels that can be included in a paid cannabis marketing plan.

In order to know what channels to tap into, we first need to understand the differences between cannabis and CBD. While both come from the same plant, cannabis sativa, the key difference is that cannabis is allowed to have THC levels of 0.4% or higher, while CBD must have a THC level less than 0.3%.

This subtle difference is the reason why cannabis brands look to programmatic and site direct partners for paid media opportunities.

Programmatic Advertising

There are scale implications when running both age-gaited and geo-exclusive campaigns, but programmatic advertising allows brands to access multiple inventory sources, including:

  • Standard display
  • High impact units
  • Native
  • Audio
  • CTV
  • Pre-roll

It also allows brands to layer on custom behavior personas, top-performing site lists, prescriptive contextual segments, hyper-local targeting, and hand-raisers who have begun their exploratory research.

Site Direct Advertising

We recommend adding site direct partner(s) to a media mix if the brand needs unique data, inventory, or has found a publisher who doesn’t offer programmatic inventory.

Some examples include:

  • Leafly
  • Weedmaps
  • Influencer networks (i.e. Ripple Street Media and Influential)
  • Custom creative or editorial content (i.e. Buzzfeed, Mashable, and Tasty)
  • Digital out of home providers

The rest of the partners (local and premium sites, high impact creators, mobile-first partners, etc.) can be bought and accessed through a programmatic private marketplace deal (PMP). This allows cannabis brands access to premium inventory without having to pay a fixed CPM.

While there are other compliant inventory sources (ad networks and data providers, for example) there is more opportunity to create custom messaging and scale with programmatic and site direct partners.

As this the industry continues to expand, we expect other channels to pivot their restrictive guidelines in order to capture the growing ad revenue from holding companies and brands alike.

Want to know more about cannabis advertising? Check out Centro’s partnership with MyRemede and our performance with Pax Premium Vaporizers.

If you’re ready to start building your cannabis media mix, connect with us to learn more.