broken billboard ad

The Cannabis Marketing Ecosystem is Unique

As the cannabis industry has evolved with time, so have the laws and regulations that restrict it. These laws and regulations are anything but simple and easy to understand, as they differ from state to state and can even differ depending on what city you are in. This makes things especially hard for those in the cannabis industry who operate in more than one state.

On top of different state regulations, Cannabis brands are also barred from most search-engine advertisements on platforms like Google Ads, along with advertising on popular social media platforms like, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. This doesn’t make things any easier for those in the cannabis industry.

Regardless, the cannabis industry is a resilient one and many have found ways to abide by the laws and regulations while also effectively advertising their cannabis products and services. Or have they? While many may think they are taking advantage of all of the different channels in which they can advertise, they may not be. Could this be you and your cannabis business?

In this article, we will be taking a look at some of the most common forms of advertising in the cannabis industry such as billboard advertisements and newspaper ads. Here, we’ll be discussing how while your options may appear to be limited to these, there are actually other avenues open to CBD and cannabis businesses that are much more effective. In this, we’ll be looking at how those in the CBD and cannabis industry can leverage digital ads to drive sales.

We’ll also look at how springbig’s different platforms can help you market to your customers effectively without having to worry about laws and restrictions. Whether you are a cannabis brand wondering how to push your cannabis brand, or a cannabis dispensary looking for different cannabis product marketing ideas, you will find what you are looking for here.

To start, let’s talk about some of the marketing avenues popular in the cannabis industry today that may not be getting you the ROI you want.

Because of the many restrictions in the industry, many cannabis marketers have fallen back to the basics of advertising such as billboard ads, newspaper ads, and native-advertising on websites that only reach a niche audience. But who can blame them? At first glance, marketing in the cannabis industry effectively seems almost helpless.

Take Washington State for example. Laws in Washington, According to the Washington State Legislature, don’t seem to give those in the cannabis industry many options for advertising. For example, cannabis advertisements couldn’t be…

“within one thousand feet of the perimeter of a school grounds, playground, recreation center or facility, child care center, public park, library, or a game arcade admission to which it is not restricted to persons aged twenty-one years or older; on or in a public transit vehicle or public transit shelter; or on or in a publicly owned or operated property.

Given this and other options regarding signage, merchandising, and giveaways among other things, not many options seem to present themselves besides billboards, newspaper ads, and native ads on small sites that generally fail to reach a larger target audience.

These tacts unfortunately tend to fall short of the ROIs that are generally seen as effective and worthwhile. According to data from the Kantar Group, cannabis businesses spend $719.4 million on newspaper and magazine ads in 2019. Unfortunately, these types of ads yield considerably low ROIs, largely because many cannabis sales are driven by millenials who generally aren’t reading the newspaper. In fact, only a third of millennials have an active newspaper or magazine subscription. On top of this, it is especially to track the effectiveness of billboard ads, making them virtually hail mary advertising tactics.

Luckily, if you do some digging you’ll find you don’t have to settle for these lackluster marketing channels.

Effective and compliant advertising in the Cannabis industry

Digital Advertising

While as a cannabis marketer, you and many others in the industry may have cast this popular advertising tactic out due to the plethora of restrictions, digital advertising is actually an extremely open and beneficial channel of advertisement that cannabis marketers should be taking advantage of. In fact, according to recent studies, by 2020 businesses will have spent 110 billion on digital advertising in the US, which is more than TV and print ads combined. Clearly, this is something that you won’t want to miss out on.

When it comes to digital advertising, general display ads on Google and Facebook are off limits like we said, but they aren’t off limits everywhere. In fact, if you look at the other parts of the digital ad pool, there are tons of options in which to place your digital ads that are CBD and cannabis friendly including Huffington Post, Newsweek, Barstool Sports, the Chive, ESPN, Politico, Complex, and USA Today.

There are many other avenues of digital advertising such as organic social media marketing and content marketing that can also drive sales and increase brand awareness.

Digital advertising is ideal for cannabis marketers in 2020 (we’ve published an updated marketing guide for 2021) because not only is it less restricted than it seems at face value, but it also allows you to target specific demographics and track the effectiveness of each ad campaign with data.

While legal restrictions will undoubtedly present challenges still, it is clear to see that in this example alone, not everything is as restricted as it may seem.

Marketing with springbig

While digital marketing is a great way for cannabis marketers to market their products, springbig has a number of other great ways to market to and retain customers. From loyalty and referral platforms to compliance solutions, springbig has a whole suite of tools tailored specifically to the cannabis industry. One of these tools that is unique to springbig is Brands by springbig.

Brands by springbig

Brands by springbig is a one-of-a-kind platform that allows cannabis brands to take advantage of direct-to-consumer marketing, while also allowing dispensaries to leverage their customer base to receive paid-for text message marketing campaigns via sponsored campaigns by the cannabis brands they already carry in store. Not only is this a win-win for both sides, but it is also a completely compliant channel of cannabis advertisement and one of the only cannabis brand marketing tools on the market.

Looking for cannabis brand marketing ideas? Wondering how to get your cannabis brand off the shelf? Creating a cannabis brand marketing strategy can be difficult, but with Brands by springbig you can give your brand a voice and increase your brand-awareness by marketing directly to the customer purchasing your brand’s products. Brands by springbig works by connecting brands to springbig’s network of over 20,000,000 dispensary customers who shop at the many dispensaries using springbig’s marketing platform. Simply decide on an area or dispensary to advertise through, decide which customers segments you want the ad to target, create a graphic for the dispensary to send out, negotiate the terms of the deal with the dispensary, and execute. In doing this, your brand could go from one of the many brands in the dispensary that customers have to choose from, to the brand that they came into the dispensary looking for.

Interested in learning more about marijuana brand marketing with Brands by springbig? Click here.

Other cannabis product promotion tools

Along with brands, there are a number of other powerful tools in springbig’s arsenal that you’ll want to leverage if you want to maximize your ROI and drive sales. The first of those being our loyalty program platform that has proven itself to be extremely effective in attracting customers especially in retaining customers. This is extremely important, as recent studies have shown that increasing retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by upwards of 95%!

Along with our loyalty program software, utilizing our complete compliance suite can help you avoid any nasty legal issues and help you rest assured that your cannabis dispensary is completely compliant. Our text message marketing platform, which allows you to target specific demographics, view real-time data, and automate your messages will also be important in driving sales and loyalty redemptions. That is not to mention our referral program platform and countless integrations that go the extra mile to help you reach your business goals.

With the marketing tools discussed above paired with a digital marketing strategy tailored for the cannabis industry, your dispensary is bound to soar to new heights.


While at first marketing in the cannabis industry seemed hopeless, we hope after reading this article that you feel a bit better about the state of advertising the cannabis industry. The main takeaway: marketing isn’t hopeless, you just have to know where to look.

You don’t have to settle for advertising campaigns that are hard to track and have low ROIs like billboard advertisements and newspaper ads. If you know where to look, you can take advantage of effective digital advertisements that reach a wide audience.

On top of this, springbig’s suite of marketing and compliance tools are also here to help you reach your business goals. With text message marketing, loyalty programs, referral programs, compliance solutions, and more, springbig could help set your business apart from the rest.

That being said, it is important to note that these marketing tactics are only part of what should be a comprehensive marketing plan. From social media advertising, to print advertising, to developing a comprehensive content marketing plan, you’ll need to pull out all the stops on the marketing side to truly realize your business goals.

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