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Cannabis PR

Why Your B2B Cannabis PR and Marketing Strategy Should Include Educational Content

March 19, 2024

The value of consumer education and training for cannabis brands is an increasingly hot topic in the industry. But that doesn't mean that ancillary services should sleep on the power of teaching to move leads down your sales funnel.

Consumer education for B2B cannabis brands looks different than B2C consumer education, that’s for sure. You don’t have to explain the difference between live rosin, resin and distillate, or what terpenes help you recover from a gym sesh.

Customer Education for B2B Cannabis Brands

Instead, your owned, earned, paid and shared media strategy should articulate why a cash-strapped cannabis license applicant should add another line item to their budget for, say, legal services, accounting, enterprise resource planning tools, cannabis software, cultivation facility design or compliance consulting.

Any industry tends to beget specialization as it grows, and cannabis is no different. In the legacy market, growers and sellers relied on word of mouth. Cannabis marketing and PR looked like personal integrity, street cred, product quality and strain names—not thought leadership columns in national publications or automated email marketing.

The legal cannabis industry, in contrast, is so highly regulated that cannabis founders benefit from specialized services from the get-go. Established MSOs deploy boots on the ground to take the temperature on regulations before and during the application drafting process.

These brands frequently employ copywriters and legal and regulatory experts to ensure the application addresses all the nuance the advanced scout team gleaned as legislators and regulators were rolling out policy.

Why B2B Cannabis Brands Need Educational Earned, Owned and Paid Media

That’s just one example of why consumer education for B2B cannabis brands is so important. Many smaller license applicants simply aren’t aware of how invested their competitors might be in ancillary services.

Much of the industry still views direct competitors as, well, the competition at a moment when the cannabis sector is increasingly taking a collaborative approach to regulatory problems like high taxes and market expansion limitations.

B2B brands need a cannabis PR and marketing strategy that educates potential clients about the value of ancillary services at every stage of a cannabis brand’s development. Like B2C education, the goal is to reinforce your target audience’s perception of your brand’s expertise, trust and authority.

After all, the last thing most cannabis executives need is someone else trying to sell them something. What they really need is to know someone has their back.

Leveraging education in your brand’s PR and marketing channels (earned, owned, and paid media) is an essential place to start. Next, however, you need to echo that media far and wide. For instance, owned media can be amplified in learning management systems (LMS) like LearnBrands that are used to deliver workforce education and training.

The increasingly collaborative mood of the cannabis industry also points to another way to amplify your B2B education strategy. Strategic partnerships are a smart way to build credibility and share your value proposition through word of mouth. Joint webinars, PR activations, case studies, white papers and thought leadership speaking engagements are just a few of the ways that brands can create a rising tide to raise all boats.

Why B2I Education Is More Necessary Than Ever

You’ve heard of business-to-business, but what about business-to-industrial and vice versa? B2I is a niche that’s often left out of conversations about B2B communications. But it’s important to remember that the cannabis industry has a huge, crucial manufacturing component that’s increasingly specialized and technical.

Educating customers about production technology is naturally going to look different than marketing and PR of professional and commercial services. B2B cannabis brands that specialize in production technology like extractors, cultivation automation solutions, centrifuges, driers and other processing equipment need to educate plant-touching brand stakeholders about what their tools do to boost profits and reduce operating costs.

B2I Consumer Education Can Look Like:

  • One-sheeters and brochures for your sales team to distribute to potential leads
  • White papers and case studies that clearly illustrate the results your brand can produce
  • News releases and PR pitches that contextualize technical topics
  • Vendor training materials that help third-party suppliers evangelize your brand
  • Robust web copy FAQs and instructional materials that streamline onboarding
  • Strategic partnerships that pair behind-the-scenes brands with public-facing B2B and B2C brands

Marketing and PR for technical products and the brands that make them requires a distinctive approach. For one, you need to be able to break down the jargon and schematics in simple language that a layperson can understand. You also need to find a salable hook that will turn editors at trade publications on to your brand narrative and messaging without being overly self-promotional—which is a tricky tightrope to navigate.

Often, B2B consumer education is that hook. Does your cannabis production equipment improve worker safety? Does your vape hardware make for a cleaner cannabis consumption experience in line with public-health concerns?

Or perhaps there’s an angle that bridges the cannabis industry and other sectors in a timely way. For example, there are opportunities to utilize newsjacking tactics when there’s media coverage about federal rescheduling or 280E to explain how cannabis tech tools save producers from unnecessary audits or tax burdens.

That’s why having a PR partner that gets both cannabis and journalism is so important. After all, incorporating consumer education into your marketing and PR strategy requires more than just expertise in all things cannabis. It also requires insight into what your target audience knows—or doesn’t know—about the art and science of making cannabis products, and how to make your company’s value proposition a relevant, intriguing story.

Want to push consumer cannabis education further? The movement starts with vendor and budtender training like that provided by our friends at Learn Brands.

Ready to build your marketing and PR strategy around consumer education? We’re always ready to talk through your brand’s unique needs and pain points to find a custom solution. But if you aren’t ready to start that conversation yet, check out our cannabis public relations services and cannabis marketing services to learn more about how we transform brands like yours with our proven process.