Traditional Marketing - Cannabis

Canna-Biz Marketing 101: Marketing Cannabis Businesses Through Traditional Channels

In advertising, Cannabis Marketing 101, marijuana marketing, Traditional Marketing by Nicole Flanigan

In our last post, we discussed a few do’s and don’ts for effectively setting your cannabis business up for marketing success in the current landscape of the cannabis industry. In this post, we will take a look at a few of the most effective ways you can market your business in a more traditional way.


Traditional marketing and advertising outlets include traditional media like radio, television, magazines, and newspapers. Since cannabis is still federally illegal, there are strict advertising restrictions in place that can limit what can and can’t be used. That doesn’t mean that you should stop using these methods altogether, though. These channels can be expensive and it can be tricky to effectively measure the results driven from each medium, but you will be able to get creative and find an opportunity that is appropriate for your brand and business. Here are a few basic ideas to help you get the ball rolling and stimulate the growth of your new business.

Look for advertising opportunities in industry-specific magazines.

There are several types of publications out there that cater to the target audience and demographic that you’re looking to bring into your business. These publications seem like a pretty obvious choice to use to advertise your business, but the problem is that your competitors can run ads in the same space, making it easy for your message to get lost among a sea of other cannabis materials.


However, there is a bonus for industry-specific trade magazines, since they are often available in dispensary waiting rooms. Think about THC or Culture magazine! You see those in just about every dispensary across Colorado. Magazines last longer than printed newspapers and can last months or longer versus a week before the content becomes stale, for one thing. For another, the pass-thru rate for a subscriber copy is much lower than a copy that is put in a waiting room. You have a greater potential for long-term pass thru in a magazine, but the tradeoff is that you could also be faced with more expensive ads.

Find different or new print outlets or newspapers in your market.

There are plenty of publications out there that aren’t in the mainstream media sector. These publications are more likely to not put the same anti-cannabis restrictions on their advertising partners as traditional outlets will. Take a look at your market and find a few that have advertising opportunities available. The mass majority of publishing sources list their readership per issue as far higher than the number of issues they have actually printed. The thinking behind this is that if more than one person reads the magazine, there’s a higher potential for your ad to be seen multiple times.


If you want to compare potential print sources, you should ask for a few physical copies of each issue and its pass-along rate so that you can compare the cost of advertising across several different publications.

Find complimentary magazines with a similar target audience.

You should take some time to do a bit of market research. You need to assess and learn about what your customers are interested in outside of cannabis and see if there’s a chance for you to advertise in those outlets, too. For example, a lot of people who use cannabis recreationally also enjoy activities, like hiking or biking. Publications in this industry could be viable for you to market in. Adult-lifestyle publications in the cigar or liquor industry could also be viable options for your business.

Utilize video advertising.

Cable channels, run mostly by corporate giant Comcast that wants to distance itself from cannabis, are unlikely to form strategic advertising partnerships with cannabis businesses. Television isn’t something cannabis will be a part of anytime soon. However, there are plenty of other options available for you to upload your own videos and advertisements. For example, Leafbuyer uses Youtube to assist its clients by creating video spreads on their dispensary partners. Smaller companies like Tincturebelle, an edible company, has started an edible cooking channel to attract foodies who are a huge part of their clientele. Running their YouTube channels through their social media outlets allows them to reach target demographics they may have missed without video.

Consider the option of advertising with radio.

Creating captivating and compelling radio content is a great way to introduce your brand to new audiences. However, radio ads are the hardest ads to measure success rates. If you’d like to avoid the high costs of production for conventional radio ads, you can look into things like podcasts and internet radio like Pandora that won’t have the awful, rigid structures that corporatized radio channels do. A good option is Cannabis Radio, where there are a variety of podcasts on a variety of different subjects in the cannabis industry and a lot of monthly listeners. 


Want to learn more about marketing your cannabis business? The cannabis marketing experts at Team Maryjane are just a phone call away. Be sure to check out part 3 next Monday where we discuss opportunities to advertise in the digital space!