5 Misconceptions About Marketing in the Cannabis Industry

manila file folder with a label that reads MYTHS

If you’ve ever found yourself – or a potential customer – saying one of these five things, this article is for you. Read on to find out why these misconceptions are not-so-true and gain some myth-busting insights that will change the way you feel about marketing in the cannabis industry.

5 Misconceptions about Marketing in the Cannabis Industry

  1. You don’t need marketing. The product sells itself.
  2. Rules and regulations make it impossible to reach customers through marketing. 
  3. With the right marketing “hacks,” you can get major returns for little to no investment.
  4. All products and ingredients are equivalent. 
  5. Business is booming. Everyone in the industry is profitable.

Myth #1: “You don’t need marketing. The product sells itself.”

We hear this one a lot, and we’re betting you do too.

“It’s weed, it should sell itself.” Right? As most retailers in the industry will attest, this is unfortunately not the case. The truth is, there is a lot of competition in the market. And, as the industry continues to grow, so does the magnitude of competition. 

Your potential customers need to know why they should choose your product or company over other contenders. Is it the quality of your product? The level of customer service you offer? Your profound knowledge? 

Once you’ve established your X factor, you’ll want to get the word out. How do you share what makes your brand special? With a well-thought-out marketing strategy.

Start by taking a look at your existing messaging. Does it convey what differentiates you from your competitors? Does it show why customers should choose your brand? If not, you may want to take some time to consider your branding.

More than just looks, your brand is how you make people feel. Do you want your brand to incite feelings of peace and tranquil relaxation? Trustworthiness and esteemed credibility? Done effectively, branding does three main things. It sets companies apart from their competition, tells a relatable story, and inspires the culture of your whole organization.

With a strong brand, you’ll be able to circulate clearer messaging, justify higher prices, and build a loyal customer base. 

Related reading: The Key to Marketing in the Cannabis Industry

Myth #2: “Rules and regulations make it impossible to reach customers through marketing.”

It’s true – there are a lot of statutes surrounding how, when, and where cannabis companies can market their products. With so many limitations, it can certainly feel like there’s no way to get your brand in front of potential customers.

But it is by no means impossible – you just have to give it a little creative elbow grease!

While you can’t utilize the Google Ad Network to market cannabis products, there are other options like Fyllo and MANTIS.

Here are 6 digital marketing channels you can use to connect with your customers.

  1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  2. Instagram
  3. Podcasts
  4. Blogging
  5. Out-Of-Home (OOH)
  6. Influencer Marketing

Learn more about how these tactics can drive sales in 6 Marketing Channels Cannabis Businesses Should Explore in 2020.

Myth #3: “With the right marketing “hacks,” you can get major returns for little to no investment.”

Alas, as with most things in life, there is no “get rich quick” scheme when it comes to marketing.

Unfortunately, there are companies out there who tout these marketing “hacks” – ways to make big bucks with minimal effort. Keep this in mind: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Many businesses have been burned by vendors with attractively low prices who turn out to be little more than con artists. 

It’s the sad reality we face as an industry coming out of the shadows.

Marketing is about spending smart, rather than spending a small amount. We know marketing can be a tough investment to swallow, but if you spend effectively, you can stretch your dollar to the max. 

There are reasonably-priced marketing solutions for businesses of all sizes, many of which can scale with your business as it grows. If you aren’t sure where to get started, it’s best to hire a credible agency who can show you the ropes of value-conscious marketing. 

Related reading: Why You Need a Cannabis Marketing Agency

Myth #4: “All products and ingredients are equivalent.”

This one is less so a misconception about marketing, and more so a misconception resulting from a lack of marketing. 

While this may be obviously incorrect to those in the business, it isn’t as clear to potential consumers, who believe there is little difference in purchasing a CBD product from a gas station versus a dispensary.

Unfortunately, so far there are no listing or labeling requirements for cannabis products. Many companies choose to align with the labeling practices of the supplements industry, but the FDA isn’t yet regulating labels.

So what can you do about this? In addition to labeling your own products to the best of your ability, you can also educate your consumers. 

Be transparent about your product and its origins. Smart consumers are already asking about these things – they want to know they’re getting a quality product. Beyond thorough labeling, you can provide resources and additional educational information. Create smarter consumers, and they’ll be empowered to make better purchasing decisions. 

What’s more, by educating your customers in these gray areas, they’ll consider you a trustworthy source, cementing your brand as a credible authority in an industry that has historically hosted some pretty shady players. 

Myth #5: “Business is booming. Everyone in the cannabis industry is profitable.”

Much like thinking cannabis sells itself, there is a misconception that if you’re selling it, you must be rolling in cash.

If you are – that’s great! But frankly, most in the business are not. As Walt Rampata, Mindbuzz’s President puts it, “Everyone in the industry has been completely screwed at some point.” 

There are a lot of capital costs and up-front investments that go into starting a cannabis business. Once you are up and running, a hefty chunk of profits will go to the government. Plus, you can’t deduct all the items you would with a non-cannabis related business. Then you have to take into account the ever-changing regulatory environment, and how new statutes will impact your business model. 

So much is happening behind the scenes, and while some businesses are absolutely crushing it, the harsh reality is that most are struggling to get by.

It would be remiss to say marketing doesn’t play a role in this established misconception. However, marketing can – and should – be a part of it’s dissolution too. 

Investing your marketing dollars in educating consumers and entrepreneurs can help shift this perspective and altruistically help the industry as a whole. 


Counteract these common cannabis industry misconceptions with marketing. Try out these five tips for busting myths and help better the industry at large.

Tackling Misconceptions About Marketing in the Cannabis Industry

  1. Establish a strong brand.
  2. Find creative ways to leverage the marketing channels in your toolkit.
  3. Spend effectively on marketing. If you aren’t sure where to start, hire an agency.
  4. Educate your customers on your product and its origins.
  5. Be truthful in your messaging. Educate consumers and fellow entrepreneurs to help bring the industry out of the dark.

Interested in learning more about how effective marketing can take your business to the next level? Drop us a line today.