Missouri cannabis dispensaries get creative to gain name recognition
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch recently interviewed Michael Mayes, founder of the cannabis consulting firm Quantum 9. The Post-Dispatch asked for his insight into why St. Louis cannabis dispensaries use live events to grow their customer base.
Missouri cannabis dispensaries are getting as creative as they need to be to gain name recognition and expand their customer base, explains Mayes. Dispensaries engage potential customers at the live events popular with various communities, such as music festivals, annual bike races, parades, concerts, pride events, and soccer and baseball games. Thus, they gain exposure and presence in the relatively new adult-use market.
Mayes elaborates upon why Missouri dispensaries are taking these crucial marketing steps. “They’re planting their flag to encourage brand recognition. With brand recognition, people will seek it out and we know that someone has to see something three to five times before it sinks in. The more you can hit people, the better it is.”
Marketing at Live Events
And it works! At public live events, Missouri cannabis dispensaries can set up booths, distribute free branded cannabis samples, company swag, and QR codes for discounts. Some will sponsor the events themselves or provide in-store specials for event participants. More importantly, the sales reps can engage with potential customers in person.
Potential customers remember both the generosity, the brand label, the fun of the event, and the product itself. Therefore, they more likely to look for that particular brand again, correlating the memorable experience of the event with the product itself.
Once upon a time, cannabis was illegal even behind closed doors, let alone out in the open in public spaces. However, Missouri voters approved marijuana for medical use in 2018. In late 2022, they approved recreational use. Legal sales began in February of this year.
Therefore, it is a relatively fresh market, but Missourians are encouraged by the legitimacy that legalization has given the plant. “There’s a subculture of people where it doesn’t get old.” Mayes adds, “It’s been black-market for so long. Brands are going to push it as far as it can go.”
With growing cultural acceptance, dispensaries can market to a wider variety of potential customers, such as to the cycling community, or stadium sports athletes. Sponsorship of athletic events provides the opportunity to share the benefits of cannabis products, such as tinctures and balms for muscle pain and recovery.
Live events provide the opportunity to change attitudes about cannabis use. Participation also drives traffic to the storefront and to the website. It increases awareness and builds presence for both the brand and the dispensary. This will greatly benefit them further down the road.