Archive for October, 2017
From start-up companies to big investors, there are things you need to know about this “budding” industry. It’s hard to get the metrics for funding and it’s difficult to grow and expand a business without available reports and statistics to help brand and market your product. Maybe this article will help.
A Short History of Legalized Cannabis in the United States
In 2012, legal medicinal cannabis was finally realized and it should be one step closer to mainstream in 2018 as adults in California, Massachusetts, and Maine marketplaces pick up the pace for normalization of recreational use in America.
More medical marijuana is sold in California than anywhere else in the United States and the addition of legal recreational use is expected to grow the state’s already exploding market to $7 billion a year, according to the Associated Press. They are followed by continually increasing consumer markets in both Colorado and Washington, according to a report from Boulder-based BDS Analytics.
Recreational customers in both Washington state and Colorado increased cannabis product spending a combined 66% since 2015 to reach over $1.5 billion in 2016, and early projections showed yet another huge increase for 2017.
Aside from revenue, legal cannabis will also bring millions of dollars in investments and thousands of new jobs to these states. More than 10,000 people have already been employed in Washington’s legal cannabis economy. 
Marketing and Advertising Technology Is Critical to Business
Unlike traditional businesses, legal cannabis faces a unique dilemma. In the last few years, entrepreneurs, executives, and investors had almost no solid information to base business decisions on and had to rely mostly on instinct. “They didn’t have the types of financial information, benchmark data and in-depth market insight necessary to assess the competition, target investments and tackle new opportunities.”  But now it’s possible to hire the right marketing and advertising expert to find and filter this data and design, brand, and provide content that is compliant.
This gets around the following issues:
- The federal government currently doesn’t track the industry and detailed demographic information on jobs, the number of companies or taxes paid is not readily available.
- Each state approaches the cannabis industry differently. Some provide in-depth data; tax revenue generated, the names of licensed companies, and monthly or annual retail sales, but most states don’t.
- Entrepreneurs and investors usually find information on their markets by searching for filings and financial statements of publicly-traded companies. The cannabis industry reports that are publicly available are generally unaudited and only represent a small portion of the marketplace.
- Medical dispensaries are required to operate as non-profit, but their tax returns are not formally recognized by the IRS and are not publicly available.
The Marijuana Business Daily Factbook 2017 conducted a survey showing “investors who have already pumped money into the cannabis industry are planning on putting capital into nearly as many marijuana businesses in 2017 as they have in all previous years combined,” and “investors plan to invest half a million dollars on average in marijuana businesses this year alone.”
A huge number of new businesses entering the cannabis space has raised the level of competition and start-up costs are rising making it even more important to know how to approach the industry, a specific niche or market segment.
Enter Tetrah Marketing
Despite challenges, the industry still requires many of the same goods and services as mainstream companies. A huge number of secondary companies – businesses like Tetra Marketing – have sprung up offering traditional services in line with federal and government regulations and guidelines. Some cater to the cannabis industry exclusively; some serve multiple markets. Tetrah has a separate company for its traditional customers that has served many businesses in both the private and public sectors, including government and military contracts, since 2010. They have access to in-depth information that some of their competitors don’t which gives their clients an edge in their marketplaces.
If you are one of the forward-thinking owners of a cannabis start-up or are an existing company looking to differentiate yourself as you expand locally or across state borders, you will need to navigate an industry that has complex rules to marketing and advertising as well as marketplace data that is hard to find. Investors want to back initiatives using solid financial numbers and information along with an analysis of existing competitors. An analysis of the competition is just one of Tetrah Marketing’s vast array of services for a non-traditional industry; a one-stop shop for all things marketing in the world of marijuana.
- Web Design
- Content Marketing
- Print Collateral
- Workforce Management
If you are serious about your cannabis business or just want to say hello and ask some questions, fill out a service questionnaire, call Don Klos at 704-491-9504, or email at him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Black, L., 2017. Next Year Will Be Huge for Legal Weed, http://www.thestranger.com/weed/2017/10/11/25458111/next-year-will-be-huge-for-legal-weed?utm_content=buffer9d111&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer
 Marijuana Business Factbook 2017: Executive Summary © Copyright 2017, Marijuana Business Daily, a division of Anne Holland Ventures Inc. Marijuana Business Daily, https://mjbizdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Factbook2017ExecutiveSummary.pdf
View this article on LinkedIn too.
The average business owner has a lot on their plate from developing a business plan, putting together a team of advisors, preparing for transitions, leveraging technology, emergency and safety procedures, and establishing a presence in the marketplace. You need to focus on those areas that will have the most impact on your business’ success and growth.
When it comes to marketing and advertising online, many understand the concepts involved, but don’t have time to research or implement it properly. Digital marketing and advertising technology are extremely hard to keep up with for 3 main reasons:
- Ever changing search algorithms – Are your onsite SEO algorithms compliant? How does Google see you?
- User psychology – What does your target audience need from you? How can you deliver it effectively? Distinctively?
- Software tools – Is your site healthy? Is it loading quickly, functioning properly?
Every business owner should consider their online presence when doing strategic planning since it has become the most visible location for advertising today. We are still using traditional forms of advertising, but they must be combined with digital marketing as newer generations don’t recognize businesses without it. Most millennials are using the Internet exclusively to find services. Some businesses remain very relationship and referral driven, but the digital audience is a huge segment of the population and neglecting them is costly.
Get educated on your options or be prepared to partner with the professionals who can help you put your processes in place.
Begin by evaluating the successes and shortcomings from the past year, future business goals, and plans in other key areas. What are your strategic objectives for branding and promotion across one calendar year or longer? Are you actively making decisions about new projects throughout the year requiring a preplanned timeline?
A combination of three things will support your objectives for digital marketing, allowing you to succeed at capturing the attention of your target audience.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Local Citation Building and Optimization
Citations are core industry platforms that Google deems necessary for a strong foundation in SEO and local brand awareness. They function like microsites on each major platform.
Can You Do It Yourself?
Sure, but it’s time-consuming, complex, and kills your profit margin. You might want to differentiate your agency from your competitors without burning valuable staff time.
When it comes to software and/or professional expertise, do you really know what you’re buying? Or are you gambling with your money? Most business decisions are made based on metrics and knowledge as opposed to chance, and this is no different.
I’ve found a company that impresses me with their willingness to help educate small business owners to a point of making these critical decisions. Some of these small businesses are other digital marketing companies needing a competitive boost. There is no cost to find out whether you need their services or require a better fit elsewhere. This is the new way of doing business and they are on the “bleeding edge”. Here’s what they do:
Taking your anticipated investment amount, they multiply it through online and digital platforms to create a customized competitive analysis that maps everything out for you. Then they let you know what your financial investment will be and the return you can expect in your specific competitive space.
Once informed about whether the money is worth investing in their services, it’s up to you to decide when or if you want to partner with them.
Partnering with Nuclear Networking
Nuclear Networking is an online marketing and marketing technology company with locations in Atlanta, GA and Denver, CO. They boost marketing ROI up to 300% faster than their competitors to deliver over 4-5 times in returns. The company provides technical marketing services to B2B and B2C companies and marketing agencies. Nuclear Networking began in the government sector where many new technology advancements start, then branched out to work with large, high-profile business clients nationwide. Having felt strongly about the small business segment having the biggest need of the newest digital marketing services from the beginning, they are now reaching out.
The team includes highly-trained individuals with backgrounds that include:
- Top-MBA business insight and market analyst with almost 10-years in market and competitive intelligence leadership for global corporations
- S. government and military intelligence contributing to “bleeding edge” technology
- Secure coding and database management
- Engineers who design code and Google algorithms along with analysis
Nuclear Networking supports companies ranging from startups to large enterprises and is an approved Google Partner, keeping you Google compliant and search-engine optimized. They provide unique performance analytics, competition analysis, paid ad campaigns and conversion marketing as an extended offering to their normal web-based services. They take you to the next level in digital marketing areas you may not have been able to cover in-house by:
- Looking for the soft spot in your market and competitive advantage to find new opportunities to market to your target audience
- Deconstructing your primary competitors’ SEO campaign to build a precise keyword strategy that drives your entire digital marketing plan
- Searching for any SEO weaknesses, ensuring your site is up to Google’s algorithmic specs while determining your exposure goals and formulating a custom SEO strategy
- Applying keyword research and optimization, content generation, and a multitude of front-end SEO methodologies that tie into your overall SEO execution
They have a proprietary methodology that drives your site to the top of search engines and stabilizes SERP rankings, using Google Smart Services™ and best practices. Their in-house software developed in 2010 is constantly updated and enhances Google Analytics and other data sources by about 3 times. This includes unique on-site behavioral analytics developed in-house, analytics implementations (usually the missing piece), in-depth competitor deconstructs and custom solutions for e-commerce sites.
They also have some tools and tactics to make sites perform extremely well organically, aided by SEO, paid ads and re-marketing, and inbound marketing deliverables.
They monitor Google’s search algorithms for your site’s performance and content for algorithm-related risks, which keeps you in good standing, maintains your SEO performance and ranks you for the highest search terms.
Pick Your Solution
Nuclear Networking also works with the clients you refer and customizes offerings to complement the sites you build and services you offer.
- You can stay involved or outsource your internet marketing services to them.
- Use them as an extension of your company and instantly provide your agency with a full-service internet marketing department.
- Have them work behind the scenes as an invisible extension of your company, delivering white-labeled service with no client interface, allowing your customer service team to handle client relationships.
It’s hard not to think about the recent weather-related events without feeling frustrated. The first storm of the season to hit the U.S. this year, Irma, was hyped so much that people 3 and 4 hours inland were preparing for shelter. Luckily, that one only injured the Florida coast and it was damage they were familiar with handling. I am not minimizing the damage done in the Caribbean, just focusing on the states.
But Texas is another story, they don’t have that level of disaster preparedness and the damage has exceeded the infamous Katrina in New Orleans. Ironically, many of the people of New Orleans relocated to Texas only to get hit again, only harder. Now, I’m reading that due to a shortage of manufactured housing, it will cost 140,000 for the displaced people of Houston to obtain a 430-square foot replacement home that is basically a reinforced garage and it could take from seven months to two-and-a-half years to get everyone permanently settled again – according to George P. Bush at a hearing at the University of Houston.
Other costs of having 27 trillion gallons of rain and category 4 winds ravage a major city and surrounding area:
- Hauling away debris from thousands of destroyed homes and businesses is approximately $260 million.
- Rebuilding government-owned buildings is estimated at about $175 million – Houston is insured up to $100 million.
- The cost to widen bayous to contain future flooding, purchasing disaster-related equipment, manpower and readiness training is not currently known.
What a relief that the federal government will pick up 90 percent of the tab …
Now, due to a glancing blow from hurricane Irma and a direct hit by Maria, Puerto Rico is described by the FEMA Director Brock Long as “the most logistically challenging (recovery effort) the United States has ever seen.” Between trying to get supply planes and boats into damaged ports and navigating down trees, power lines, and obstructed bridges – all with no telecommunications – getting food and water to the population is next to impossible. A story in USA Today states, “Only 45% of Puerto Rico customers had access to drinking water, according to the White House.” It could take years to rebuild what was already a poor infrastructure and population. It is a shame that our government has let this beautiful island fall into disrepair.
No doubt, many people unaffected by these storms will have friends or families in these areas telling them horror stories about their personal devastation and receiving dysfunctional government aid over incomprehensible time periods. I have friends in Puerto Rico and know a nurse who was recruited to help in a Houston area hospital.
Luckily my friends in Rincon, Puerto Rico could get food, water, and gas, and are currently waiting in line for a plane to take them back to family in New York. However, they decided to leave their restaurant business behind since they are unsure how long it will take the island to get back up and running, if ever. They do not plan on returning and are starting over.
A friend and nurse who helped in Houston is disgusted that she was paid top dollar to be flown and bused in from Colorado to an emergency area that was on the outskirts of the city and not in need of any real FEMA support. It was not flooded. The hospital had changed management companies and lost nursing staff as a result. Timing allowed them to use FEMA funds to rectify the staffing issue since they were near the disaster area. The emergency nursing staff was to be flown by helicopter to the hospital even though there was nothing wrong with the roadways in the area. After paying nurses to wait two days in their hotel for this expensive and unneeded transportation expense, it was determined that the helicopters were too busy transporting people in desperate need. Administrative staff then used their personal vehicles to drive the nurses to the location without incident. This particular nurse really wanted to give needed support during a crisis but experienced what she felt was diverted government funding instead.
Feel free to share your personal experiences during this tumultuous time. Maybe you have heard some positive stories. Regardless, I felt a need to share and some of you might too.
Sources and links:
Moritz, J.C., USA Today, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/10/02/cost-hurricane-harvey-recovery/725473001/
USA Today, Trump heads to Puerto Rico, on the defensive over Hurricane Maria response, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/10/02/trump-puerto-rico-defensive-over-hurricane-maria-response/722510001/
Photo Credit: Weatherbug.com