Cannabis is big business
North American consumers spent $6.7B on legal cannabis products in 2016, up 34% from 2015. 2017 total spend should come in around $9.7B and the market is expected to reach between $15B by 2021 in North America (and $31B+ globally). 64% of Americans favor legalization, including 51% of Republicans. Colorado alone has brought in more than half a billion dollars in tax revenue since legalizing recreational cannabis sales, so despite AG Sessions picking fights with the legal cannabis industry, his own party will ensure that revenue keeps coming in.
But if the industry is this big, why does B2B content lag so far behind other industries?
No More Brownie Recipes
If I see one more pot brownie recipe included as "content" in a newsletter or website, I'll run screaming down the street. The cannabis industry must evolve past this reputation. So, let's have some real talk about your business.
Gartner reports that B2B buyers go through about 57% of the purchasing process before ever talking to sales. Business-to-business (B2B) companies tend to have longer buying cycles, often due to the cost and professional responsibility involved. There tend to be clear milestones as prospects work their way from awareness to engagement with your brand to conversion (sale) to advocacy or re-sale. Your prospects go through more than half of this process before talking to your sales team.
Content marketing influences and guides prospects before they reach out to sales. Content drives demand and qualifies leads as your prospects work their way down the funnel.
"The best marketers are pushing content deep into the customers buying process to shape decision making. Meanwhile, the best sales reps attempt to engage customers well before their needs are identified." (CEB Global)
Content is the life blood of a great sales & marketing team
Your content — information about your products and your advice/thoughts about the industry — builds trust and influences your B2B prospects' purchasing decisions. This is content that works for you on your website, via email, through your social channels like Twitter and LinkedIn, and communicated by your sales team. Your business needs smart content to generate demand for your product or services and then engage with that prospect through to sale.
It's time for cannabis to evolve. If you'd like to evolve your business with content marketing, please do get in touch. I can help you:
- Determine the messaging points that will resonate with your audience.
- Develop a content creation and channel distribution strategy.
- Manage vetted creative teams, ensuring that all creative cleaves closely to our strategic objectives.
- Create or manage content management systems (CMS) or marketing automation (MA) platforms.
- Align sales collateral needs with other content creation efforts.
The cannabis industry can learn from B2B best practices honed in similar industries. As cannabis adoption shows no sign of slowing, you need to determine whether you want to lead with content or get lost online.