The Cannabis Industry Isn’t Fully Prospering Yet but It’s on the Precipice

Though social channels aren’t helping, influencers are picking up the slack

A large graph made out of cannabis leaves
The industry is finding ways to persist despite limitations on social media. Getty Images

I often imagine what it was like to be the team that created Apple during the time when they were working out of a garage. There was a point in time when only they could visualize the technology that would one day change numerous lives through consumer product inventions. Most consumers had no idea what was coming.

We look at the cannabis and hemp industry in a very similar way. It’s not a computer technology, but it is a molecular, human, physiological technology. Between the estimated 80 to 160 cannabinoid molecules these plants produce, the unlimited number of terpenes that exist and the diverse delivery methods for human use, there are a multifold of combinations to use when creating products. Whether it be to aid the debilitation from epilepsy, migraines or using hemp-fiber to create fabrics in an environmentally conscious and cost-efficient way, there are a plethora of opportunities for products resulting in human benefit.

With this in mind, we currently live in a world where Google, Facebook and television networks will not work with a cannabis or hemp company to the degree businesses deserve. We believe that thriving and expanding in this industry at this moment in time is parallel to exploring the uncharted territory of a new frontier. Marketing efforts need to be innovative, effective and organic.

Cannabis and hemp brands should look to quietly infiltrate day-to-day life in an organic way.

There are a number of important topics to consider when aiming to understand how to market within the cannabis industry. Brands should be less concerned with selling themselves and more concerned with educating consumers. They should focus on building a product and making sure consumers understand and identify with the product, as this is a first to market type of opportunity. Education might be the single most important factor contributing to continued growth as this industry rapidly expands across the globe.

In a world where traditional marketing has seen a takeover via the influencer world, the cannabis industry finds benefit through these marketing channels. Because cannabis companies do not have access to traditional channels for marketing and advertising, social media and its personalities have become a natural partnership. Finally, numerous companies have taken the approach of launching their own events and mobile stores to increase their brands’ visibility and enhance user experience. Whether it be a pop-up event at a music festival, a conference where companies and investors gather or simply a clean, attractive display at a storefront in a local neighborhood, cannabis and hemp brands should look to quietly infiltrate day-to-day life in an organic way. In today’s world, it is imperative for companies to be intentional and proactive in their marketing endeavors to ensure their brands are visible and attractive amongst the competitiveness of the industry.

Marketing efforts in the cannabis industry today can certainly prove challenging. That being said, opportunity is created where there is difficulty. For instance, the recent acquisition of lifestyle cannabis brand Beboe exemplifies that when crafted correctly, even early in the movement, cannabis brands can build very large companies.

With time, it is inevitable these barriers to market will fall down. As regulations are cemented, cannabis will decrease in cost and will become increasingly available to the consumer. Both online and real-world marketing efforts will find a way to partner with the consumer desire for cannabis and hemp-branded products. There will be numerous winners in terms of branded product due to the fact that nearly every product in the grocery store is a potential target for infused cannabinoids. This is also applicable to nearly everything behind the counter and in front of the counter at pharmacies.

The opportunity to invest or get involved is certainly now. There is always an advantage when being first to a market. However, the opportunity is not only now, but will expand as time goes on exponentially. The potential combinations of products and delivery methods for consumers is limitless, and it feels like we are just scratching the surface. We strongly believe the cannabis and hemp industries have the capability to help reconnect and heal the planet.

Matthew Nordgren is CEO and founder of Arcadian Fund and Arcadian Capital Management, a venture fund/private equity strategy focused on the ancillary service providing companies in and around the cannabis and hemp industries.