Turning Cannabis Event Marketing into Public Relations Opportunities
As of today, there are 108 cannabis tradeshows and expos around the world listed on our conference resource. It’s near impossible to go to them all and more importantly when you do choose one, how do you turn an event into a PR opportunity?
We’re coming up on the annual big daddy of cannabis conferences: MJ Biz. It’s easily the largest single show in North America. If you’re planning on exhibiting, you might be thinking about how you’ll stand out. Lean on your cannabis pr agency to turn your next conference into a cannabis event marketing opportunity. Since you’re spending significant time, energy and money to be at a tradeshow or conference, it’s really important that you maximize the investment. The very last thing you want to do is walk away from a tradeshow wondering if it will make any impact on your bottom line. There are multitudes of reasons to go to cannabis events and conferences, not the least of which is the networking (more on that later), but be clear on how why your strategies. Little known tip: I used to be an owner for an industry tradeshow, so I’ve seen how even small companies can become great with some elbow grease and creativity. I’ve seen brand leaders come out of nowhere and suddenly be the toast of the town, by simply being smart about how they leverage a tradeshow.
Let Cannabis PR and Cannabis Event Marketing Work Together:
It’s critical to collaborate with PR on cannabis event marketing. Whether you’re doing CBD marketing or THC marketing, each of these cannabis events has a marketing and PR role to play. Regardless of what size your booth is, think about how you can and will activate on and off the floor. The obvious answer is sponsorships, which you can approach from a brand goal perspective. If your goal is simply awareness and you can afford the branding dollars, a major sponsorship can offer many CBD marketing and THC marketing benefits including SEO, industry perception, and usually, some “insider and VIP” benefits. But even if you can’t afford one of the top-tier sponsorships, there are still a multitude of PR-worthy cannabis event marketing options available to you.
Consider sponsoring a notable speaker (besides yourself) for a session that will drive mentions and press for far less. Maybe sponsoring a section of the floor makes more sense or work with the conference organizers on an off-the-floor event value-add (who is paying for the champagne at the cocktail reception?). For cannabis event marketing to stand out, it’s not enough to sponsor, be thinking about the value of “word of mouth,” and activations which will be memorable and get people talking. This is where your PR agency can help you develop cannabis event marketing strategies that fit in well with your marketing and PR budget.
Employ Big Fish/Small Pond Cannabis PR & Cannabis Marketing Strategies
What if you need to hit one of the larger shows, but you feel overwhelmed by the multitude of choices that aren’t tier 1 tradeshow or conferences? This is a great time to dig deep and choose another tradeshow or expo which you’d like to own. Owning the conference at a regional conference may well provide more cannabis branding and marketing benefits than being in booth 2067 at the largest conference in the country. Don’t let your FOMO dictate your cannabis marketing and cannabis PR budgets – be strategic about what you’re planning on doing at each conference. Be clear on the objectives and stay laser-focused on supporting those strategies. Bring together your cannabis marketing and cannabis PR firms (if they’re different) to view each conference through an ROI, press, and word of mouth opportunity and stack rank your options.
Host Your Own Cannabis PR-Worthy Event
The cannabis industry loves to network. We’re tied to one another navigating this wild-wild west and we know: personal connections, trusted collaborators, friends, and partners make all the difference.
You don’t need a celebrity to earn media at your event (it doesn’t hurt though), but you do need to consider creative options. Gone are the days that simply providing THC and CBD samples are enough to pull together a crowd.
What can you do that’s on-brand to activate the space?
Is there a space that’s noteworthy in your area?
Can you partner with a nonprofit?
How can you create synergies between your brand and the press?
What access can you provide the press?
What insider opportunities can you give them and your most engaged customers and clients?
Shhhh…My Most Important Cannabis Marketing & PR Tip:
My most insider tip on how to turn your own cannabis event into a PR worthy opportunity? Take a look around at what everyone else is doing – and do something else. Be the first, the original, the most fun. Be something notable, and it will earn you press for days. PR agencies are usually particularly great at developing ideas that will capture the imagination of the “been-there-done-that press.” If your existing cannabis pr agency is anything like us – they have a few ideas they’ve been dying to deploy. Here’s a bonus tip: if you don’t have a big budget, don’t make your event do the heavy lifting during major seasonal or industry blow-outs. A great cannabis event marketing strategy is to hold an event during a “down time” in the industry, which will invigorate and inspire your stakeholders, press, and customers.