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Cannabis Marketing

Why Marketing Automation is A Win for Cannabis Companies

June 21, 2022
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Updated March 11, 2024

In 2023, artificial intelligence absolutely stole the show. AI is already changing the way we approach creative work from copywriting to graphics and video production—both in the cannabis space and other industries. But the initial buzz around AI doesn’t mean you should pull a Distracted Boyfriend Meme and leave all the other tried, true and new marketing automation tactics in the dust.

Marketing automation is still a fairly young field compared to other marketing and public relations approaches. Like the rest of tech, however, advances in the field can feel seismic. A new tool like JASPER or DALL·E drops and suddenly early adopters are scrambling to figure out how the latest developments impact their strategy and SOPs—and how to pull ahead of the Joneses.

The same thing happened twenty years ago when Salesforce and Siebel Sales Handheld changed the way sales teams approached their lead funnels. In 2024, the evolution of customer relationship management (CRM) tools like Mailchimp, Constant Contact and Hubspot continues to empower marketers at small, medium and large-scale enterprises in exciting new ways.

Have you noticed your competitors upping their game on marketing automation over the past few years? Maybe you’ve seen a targeted ad that’s started following you around the web. Perhaps the last e-blast that landed in your inbox was tailored to your unique interests or geographic location. Did your SEO consultant start recommending long-tail keywords in a question format like “what is cannabis marketing automation?” instead of just “cannabis marketing automation?”

These are all examples of advances in marketing automation that are changing the way brands build awareness, transform leads into loyal customers and build compelling omnichannel marketing campaigns. How can cannabis business leaders and marketers like you make the most of marketing automation and stay at the front of the pack? Here’s what you need to know:

What Is Marketing Automation?

It’s hard to believe now, as professionals slip smartphones into their pockets and laptops into their messenger bags, but merely four decades ago, typing was still considered a laborious chore akin to manual labor. White-collar workers didn’t interface with early computers—that was the responsibility of the secretarial pool and technical specialists. 

This paradigm started to change as personal computers became more powerful, convenient and affordable, and tools like keyboards and mice made computing more accessible. Soon, the widespread adoption of email and other technological advances made it possible for brands to improve their data collection and automate repetitive tasks. Eventually, marketing automation became widespread—and a professional specialty in its own right.

Marketing automation tactics and technologies these days might include:

Chatbots Product launch e-blasts
Welcome email upon subscription Shopping cart reminders
Birthday discounts or email acknowledgments Event communications
Purchase cadence reinforcement Price drop announcements
VIP offers and loyalty rewards Lead prioritization, scoring and management
Re-engagement offers triggered after a period of inaction Inbound marketing support
Surveys and feedback requests AI copy and graphics generation
Back-in-stock announcements Predictive marketing automation
Review and testimonial requests Workflow automation

Today, cannabis businesses of any scale use automation to efficiently amplify their B2B and / or B2C outreach. In fact, the simplest automated marketing efforts often have the biggest impact, especially in highly regulated industries like cannabis.

Marketing automation also allows brands to control the way they show up in front of customers. While PR is an incredibly powerful tool for crafting brand awareness, building media relationships, broadcasting brand stories and even changing the way the professionalism of the cannabis industry as a whole is perceived, public relations does not operate in a vacuum. 

Metrics Tracking for Cannabis Brands

In an industry filled with fluctuating costs and unpredictable margins, pinpointing returns on marketing expenditures is especially important. Despite recent changes to digital tracking tools like third-party cookies, marketing efforts aimed at turning leads into customers can still be largely measured by tracking automated, digital and in-person marketing campaigns.

Big tech’s move away from cookies and other digital tracking tools has already lead Google to make major changes to its analytics tools, replacing Universal Analytics with Google Analytics 4 (GA4) in 2023. That means it’s all the more important for brands to find other ways to monitor the progress of their marketing efforts and reach. 

While it will temporarily be harder to chart the success of, say, programmatic ad buys, metrics tracking is still going strong. From hosting an event to sending out drip campaigns or distributing samples to high-scoring leads, brands today can monitor progress from start to finish with a dollar amount guiding future marketing efforts. 

Using analytics tools like GA4, Looker Studio, SEO tools like MOZ, SEMRush, social media platforms like Meta Business Suite or LinkedIn’s analytics and customer relationship management platforms like Constant Contact and MailChimp, it’s easy to parse what of your marketing tactics are more or less effective over time.

Marketing and PR efforts work best when combined with automation and metrics tracking to create a more integrated, holistic approach that generates big results. If you’re ready to discuss the possibilities and dig into how marketing automation can not only maximize the utility of your team’s time, treasure and talent, but also expand your lead funnel and the community around your brand, get in touch today. 

At Grasslands: A Journalism-Minded Agency™, we know that we’re not the perfect fit for everyone, and that’s OK. But, for a lot of cannabis companies, we’re The One. Reach out today and find out how we can help you achieve your marketing goals.