Cannabis: A growing OOH vertical in the US and why companies need to make room in 2020 budgets

In a newfound, nascent industry that has proved instant appeal, it is not uncommon to see mainstream businesses struggling to effectively advertise. For Out of Home, Talon is the shoulder you can lean on. 

The U.S. cannabis industry has exploded over the last decade. But with the rapid growth and opportunity, some cannabis brands are finding it difficult to keep up. The category is fraught with complex, intricate state and federal legalities, and brands simply don’t know how to legally market themselves. Developing an effective brand exposure plan is by far one of the industry’s biggest challenges.

Just how can players in the cannabis and CBD game legally market themselves? It’s clear: brands need help navigating the “buddy” waters of how to establish themselves… effectively and legally.

Since marketing tactics are not one-size-fits-all, strategies must be effective enough to compete against other brands vying for their share of the market. They also must target the right audience. For cannabis brands, this can be difficult, because they aren’t like other products. Figuring out how to find that audience is the real challenge. Enter Out of Home (OOH) marketing. 

For regulated products like cannabis and CBD, understanding where, when and how you can advertise is the first step. Because the truth is, you can’t advertise everywhere. But OOH is one of the leading ways to market a cannabis brand, because it’s one of the only ways to do so!

It’s not quite that simple, though. You still have to know, understand and comply with all those laws and regulations. So how do you stay on the right side of the legal cannabis marketing path? By working with OOH agencies who understand where you want to go and who can help you get there legally and effectively.

Cannabis brands need a marketing partner who understand:

  • State and federal laws
  • How to stand out against the competition
  • The most effective and innovative tactics available

Why should cannabis brands partner with Talon?

Specializing in OOH marketing strategies that are engaging, effective and impactful, we also understand the legalities involved with marketing cannabis-based businesses.

In fact, we’ve partnered with five of the biggest players in the industry and we’re just getting started. We’ve provided each with solid, measurable, concrete strategies through our innovative, award-winning OOH marketing options like billboards, car wraps and other traditional (yet wildly effective) methods.

We’re so confident in the industry, we’ve allocated a team dedicated to ensuring our cannabis clients succeed. Our clients are fully confident that their Out of Home marketing campaigns will be well-within the legal constraints that are placed on this new, booming industry.

We’ve taken the time to really wrap our arms around what you can and can’t do when it comes to promoting your cannabis brand via OOH. We know:

  • Regulations will vary state to state – so we stay up-to-date with restrictions in all 50 states
  • Cannabis and CBD marketing is similar to other highly-regulated industries, such as alcohol and tobacco
  • Some states mandate disclaimers, while others restrict advertising on public transportation
  • There may be an age requirement related to your ads – like a certain percentage of your expected audience must be of a specific age
  • The National Association of Cannabis Businesses (NACB) is a proponent of self-regulation
  • There may be distance requirements for billboard placement – such as how far from a school or place of worship an ad must be
  • What the 2018 Farm Bill really says and how it can impact you and your marketing

Like any new industry, law makers, consumers and brands are all forging their way together. And when you add in the complexities of this particular industry, such as:

  • Cannabis and CBD are not yet legal in all 50 states
  • There are federal and state mandates and compliance-related issues that make the nuances of national advertising (on TV and radio) difficult
  • Web-based digital media platforms and FCC-regulated broadcasters (think: Google, Facebook and major television networks and radio) don’t allow cannabis ads

…it’s easy to see how tricky effective marketing can be! Especially when you don’t have an experienced partner on your side.

Simply put, OOH is one of the most traditional forms of advertising and a proven marketing tactic, especially for emerging brands in the cannabis and CBD industries.

The Benefits of OOH Marketing

OOH can even be for brands working with strict budgets. Its return on investment (ROI) is virtually unparalleled. The Outdoor Advertising Association of America (OAAA) recently studied ROI for OOH and found that the average return is nearly $6.00 for every dollar spent. That’s higher than print, radio and digital!

OOH marketing works because it targets a captive audience. Consumers can’t click away (like an online ad). They can’t throw it out or put it down (like a direct mailer or print ad). When you add OOH to your media mix, brand awareness and exposure will grow.

With expansive legalization continuing across the country (Illinois is just a few short months from recreational cannabis legislation taking effect), now is the time to prepare your OOH strategy.

Written by Tawnie Moore, Director, Client Services Talon US