As the alternative products marketplace continues to grow and offer opportunities to a vast audience, it’s imperative that companies consider a proactive public relations and marketing strategy. Simply deciding to become involved in the industry is not an instant ticket for success. And while psychedelics, cannabis, nutraceuticals, and other alternative products may appear lucrative, the marketplace is crowded with competition and plenty of bad actors. Rising above these challenges requires a vision supported by tangible goals and clear action items.

For the best possible outcome, whether global or hyperlocal, implementing the following tactics can contribute to the overall success of a campaign.

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1. Educate consumers: From cannabis to psychedelics and supplements to nutraceuticals, the single most important aspect to any marketing campaign is education. Cannabis and psychedelics marketing, for example, has the potential to reach an enormous customer base that ranges greatly in its familiarity, education, and usage/habits. Effectively reaching consumers, no matter where they’re at in their journey, can separate a good marketing campaign from a poor one. Sweeping generalizations, heavy industry jargon, and lifestyle assumptions can distance consumers.

2. Understand product history and create marketing messaging: When marketing to a global audience, different parts of the world have different histories with products such as cannabis and psychedelics. This may be cultural, political, or economic in nature. Understanding the “backstory” in a particular area will impact marketing messages and how people view products and services. There are many differences in perception when it comes to medical versus recreational cannabis, as there are with different compounds and types of psychedelic therapies. As marketing relies heavily on storytelling, making your company or brand not only relevant but appealing to a given audience will impact a company’s overall success in a global market.

3. Determine target audience and the best marketing channels: As the use of alternative products continues to increase globally, it’s important for companies and brands to not only understand their audiences but the marketing channels that reach them. Whether it’s social media, paid advertising, trade shows, direct mail, or other methods, the effectiveness in reaching consumers directly impacts a marketing budget. Furthermore, not all channels or methods are even available or legal in every market. Making informed, cost-effective, and audience-relevant decisions can maximize even the most limited budgets, especially when being carefully measured by predetermined key performance indicators (KPIs).

4. Navigate crises: Alternative products are especially susceptible to crises due to the very nature of their evolving industries. From supply chain issues to quality control to testing, packaging, and labeling, it’s important to understand risks at every level and have a crisis communication plan that is adaptable to many scenarios. Having a working outline of what to do in a crisis ensures that swift action can be taken in the event of a negative situation. From there, the plan can be customized to the needs of a particular situation. Even if a crisis never unfolds, having written statements, disclaimers, and any other consumer-facing language in place can help in responding to potentially negative situations.

5. Understand the roles of these products in the marketplace and their limitations with legislation: As the alternative products marketplace is constantly evolving, a vigilant watch on industry news and developments, including legislation at the local, state, federal, and international levels, is critical, so that messaging is accurate, timely and relevant for consumers. Due to the nature of the business, there are always challenges with legality, financing, insurance, real estate, advertising, and marketing. As laws can vary from state to state and country to country, it’s important to recognize there is no one-size-fits-all solution for alternative products. Staying ahead of this information can help shape marketing campaigns that are timely, informed, and on point

About

Durée & Company, Inc. is an award-winning, full-service public relations, marketing, and special events firm founded in 1999. The firm has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Aspen, Colorado. Durée & Company serves the corporate, agency, and nonprofit arenas for local, national, and international clients.

Founder Durée Ross is a pioneer in her adaption of emerging industries, including hemp, cannabis, and psychedelics. Her work in the space has resulted in a growing list of clients, from processing facilities to consumer products sold in big-box retailers. Through a watchful eye on local and federal legislation, a strong pulse on key expos and leadership conferences, and proven relationships with influencers and thought leaders, Durée understands how to navigate these rapidly growing industries to achieve client goals. She is a Marijuana Moment member, a corporate partner to Cannabis LAB, and a board member of The Florida Hemp Council.

She was named one of 12 extraordinary women chosen for the Florida Women In Cannabis 2020 award by HIGHLIFE Magazine for her exemplary work in the cannabis space. In addition, she is an honoree of Ragan’s 2020 Top Women in Communications Visionary award and also received PR News’ 2020 Agency Elite Top 100 Award and Bulldog Reporter’s 2018 PR Professional Who Makes a Difference award.

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