Welcome to WEEK NINE of the 10 week Marijuana Business Training Course!
This week’s course will cover: MARKETING AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
The goal of marketing and community outreach is to be praised for providing a needed community service, as opposed to the more commonly expected view as a low-life drug dealer. How your dispensary is perceived directly equates to whether you will be successful with it or not.
One of the most widely praised dispensaries is named Harborside Health Center in Oakland, California. It is clear to see even from their website that their mission is all about education on the value of Marijuana to society at large, and specifically to patients with certain chronic ailments. This is a prime example of how to be viewed as a great service. The focus of their outreach is not churning as much profit as possible, and it is this service oriented perspective that, in the end, contributes to their being one of the most profitable dispensaries in the nation.
The correct terminology is therefore WELLNESS CENTER – offering valuable services to the
community. In fact it is in your best interest to do outreach things like starting charities and being involved in the community. These efforts help you attain the bottom line of having your community and elected official see you as a place that is a positive element to the community, instead of one that “just sells Marijuana.” If you sidestep these precautions, you’re already off to a bad start, and putting your longeivity in question.
Go to city hall meetings, talk with the mayor, and bring in petitions from citizens in the city showing the
need for this service in your community.
Inevitably, the likliehood that you are the very first dispensary in your given community is very low, especially if it is your first venture, your market assessment that you developed in your business plan surely led you to make a safe investment in a market that will support your business. Quite often, other businesses with similar locations and missions to your own is a sign that you have done your homework correctly. There ar two mindsets in this world that people can ascribe to – either you view your world as a place of feast or as a place of famine. People who operate from the perspective of famine are often driven to despairing scenarios, and often will make choices and decisions that are to their detriment. Too much competition can foster negativity as opposed to ingenuity. On the flip side, the conceptualization that abundance is the prevailing atmosphere of society, it is easy for people to get complacent and lazy. However, those with the discipline to maintain productivity while maintaining the mindset of abundance will find themselves in the most productive perspective. Share and share alike. There is more than enough to go around, so share freely of your perspectives and skills. If you are good enough to maintain yourself, then healthy competition will only enhance your marketspace and show to your customers that they have choices and their decision to pursue your product is sound and wise. People with only one option will always be more skeptical, and they should be.
In the arena of abundance, the challenge is not to validate the existence of your business, but instead to push yourself to identify what makes your business a superior choice. Most often, these decisions will make your services the superior choice to some people and not others. Thus, your continued market research will lead you to the identification of demographics that are common enough that you will draw a desired audience of substantial size. Knowing that you will not be so unique as to draw every potential customer every time is a sign that you are realistic about your goals and the intentions of your business.
The first step is to get creative about your marketing scheme, and don’t be afraid to use the gray areas in the way that laws are written as something to your advantage. Quite often these gray areas are the future of progression for the industry – they represent the details that have not entirely been fleshed out, and are waiting for someone to push the envelope to present the opportunity for further definition of these factors. The obvious example is regarding smoking clubs. Laws specifically express that Mairjuana cannot be consumed in public spaces, but private clubs that afford people meeting locations for smoking can override this gray area.
Education and Awareness
Communicating the value of the medicine to patients is also important information that can and should be conveyed to the general public These efforts will not only bring new patients to your cooperative/collaborative, but will also help to educate the community at large.
Marketing also serves the purpose of growing the numbers of your collective/collaborative. While the inevitable result will be greater profits for the dispensary and those employed by it, the goal is also to provide better services to the patients in the collective/cooperative. Just as the capacity for the caregivers increases with the number of plants that can be grown, so to does our capacity to help people increase with a larger network. As mentioned before, many dispensaries will run programs providing medicine to low income and patients suffering from fatal illnesses. In addition, a well-run business that provides an upstanding service to the community stands to help shed light on the benefits of the industry.
To further this concept, start your own newsletter and distribute it electronically to the majority of your audience. Not only will this keep down the extremely high cost of print publications, but it will also allow you to build a repository of email addresses which will come in handy when you want to distribute coupons, mailers and get the word out about special events. There are a variety of companies available to assist in simplifying the distribution of your newsletter and maintaining your email lists, and the most popular of which is a company called Mail Chimp.
The most important rule of thumb with this type of marketing however is to ensure that you have education and helpfulness at the forefront of the materials you distribute. This means that 90% of your efforts should genuinely provide information that is useful and reliable. Showing to people that you are willing to give away valuable information for the purpose of bettering your industry and community will create a reputation that your advice is reliable and worthwhile. Only then will your 10% of effort in traditional marketing schemas like coupons or incentive deals be perceived as something other than junk mail. All too often, I read “informative” mailers that use the guise of helping others as a ploy to shamelessly plug their business. People do not want to feel like you think that they are mindless, and that they are not actually reading the information you are sending them. Regardless of the fact that most likely are not reading the information, those that do are also the most likely people to have a voice and you want their interpretation of your organization to be positive.
Helping people become new patients is the greatest opportunity for you to provide needed and valuable education. Provide freely the information that will help people legally acquire your product. Be transparent and reliable with this information. Having a kit available that will help people determine what type of consumer they will be can be a invaluable service, especially for those in recreational states. The taxes on recreational Marijuana are higher than on medicinal Marijuana – are your potential customers in need of medicinal care and/or below a certain income level? They are the highest likelihood of becoming patients and officially joining your network. Perhaps they are of a different income bracket, and are more leisurely users. Help them understand the laws and regulations regarding recreational use that will keep them safe. For your potential patients, provide not only the packet of information, but be willing to take the time to walk them through the process – make phone calls for them, walk them through what to expect when visiting the physician, and if they have questions you can’t answer take the time to find the answers for them. Like any business, going above and beyond for customer service will reap great rewards in your reputation and word of mouth in the growing of your clientele.
READ THE TWB GUIDE FOR MORE INFO ON– How Much Income Can Be Made in the Medical Marijuana Industry? ; Playing by the Book ; Dispensary Income ; Cash Only ; Gross Income: Dispensary
YOUR TENTH ASSIGNMENT
The ultimate in essential understanding of the benefits to recreational and medicinal mariuana use. Taxation allows the creation of validation. Your research should focus on regulations regarding specifics of:
We are here to help and want to see you succeed! If you have questions you can email The Weed Business directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Green Ninja, DANKO and the Weed Business Team
The Green Ninja has business experience from owning two companies, has operated The Weed Business since 2009, and follows news providers to stay as current on issues and business laws of Medicinal and Recreational Marijuana use in the United States. DANKO is from a Medical Marijuana state and has many card carrying friends providing first hand insights from patients and caregivers, in addition to researching and writing in-depth articles about the most current issues of the industry. Combined, we have spent hundreds of hours looking into different states’ medical Marijuana laws and the industry to make sure the information included is the most cutting-edge and up to date information there is. The Weed Business has a number of other contributors and a large support network, so if you have a question we can’t answer there’s a good chance we know someone who can.
Move On to WEEK TEN