Brand activations are everywhere; from being offered a chance to spin a wheel and win a free product to bigger events like  IKEA’s warehouse overnight sleepover.

Event marketing is one of the most powerful experiential marketing tools to build awareness and affinity for your brand. It is a direct way to connect and engage with your audience and an opportunity to build brand loyalty. A well-orchestrated brand experience meets customers’ brand expectations and aligns accordingly with the company’s brand values. 

With event marketing, companies can elicit positive consumer behaviour (e.g., purchases or brand referrals), attract media attention and increase their brand exposure in the marketplace. Whether its a networking session, trade show, conference or party, the event has to be attractive to your target audience.

In such a highly regulated market, Canadian cannabis brands must be creative, compliant and strategic to cut through the noise and find effective ways to spread the word about their brand. With event marketing, cannabis brands can do precisely this. 

Here are 10 things to consider before you plan your cannabis marketing event:

Make sure it’s compliant: Familiarize yourself with the Cannabis Act before planning your marketing event. Ensure your event is age-gated and promote your brand by focusing on informational and brand-preference promotion. Take for example Tokyo Smoke’s Trivia Night held at Love Child Social House in Toronto which invites the public to learn more about cannabis in an engaging way.

Develop clear and measurable objectives: A good event marketing campaign begins by identifying clear-cut objectives to inform your strategy. Is your objective to build brand awareness? Build customer loyalty? Sell products? Whatever it is, make sure they’re well defined by following the S.M.A.R.T principle

Integrate social media as part of your strategy: Leverage your owned media channels by promoting your event before it begins, during the event and even after the event is over across all of your social media platforms using quality content. Encourage your attendees to join in on the conversation by using branded hashtags and having picturesque props for them to take photos with and share on their social media. Instagramable activations such as 7ACRES #SessionGarden are always a compliant experience that generates a lot of positive social media engagement.

7 acres session garden event marketing for cannabis brands7ACRES #SessionGarden consumption lounge at the Toronto Cannabis Living Expo

Swag, swag, swag: Who doesn’t love free stuff? Develop branded items such as tote bags, water bottles, or open up an on-site screen print t-shirt shop so attendees can wear your branded merchandise. Consider sustainable items that are fair-trade, organic, and ethically sourced such as hemp totes or locally sourced hemp candles. A 2019 study shows 58% of Canadian consumers have a more favourable opinion of a brand if the product they received is environmentally friendly? Items designed with the conscious consumer in mind will set you apart from competitors and demonstrate your brand values to your audience.


detonate swag event marketing for cannabis brandsBranded water bottles from Detonate

tweed branded swag event marketing for cannabis brandsTweed branded swag

Make it interactive: Offer a truly memorable event experience your attendees will rave about by making it informative and interactive. How about a cannabis cooking workshop or cannabis paint night? Be creative and think outside the box about the different ways you can engage with your audience. 

spinach giant battle ship event marketing for cannabis brandsGiant-sized Battleship board brought by Spinach at Lift&Co 2019

Get influencers involved: Incorporating influencers into your event strategy is a smart way to reach a wider audience and increase attendance at your event. You can leverage their audience reach by presenting opportunities for them to post photos and write social media and blog content to spread the word about your awesome cannabis event. Influencers are more than a megaphone to get your message out, they may be a part of your target audience, partnering with them can provide you with valuable ideas and insight you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Weed week at canndoraconnect event marketing for cannabis brandsJesse Staniforth; Editor of WeedWeek Canada & reporter for Leafly, & Nation mag (Cree Nation) with Erin Gratton; Founder of High Values HR at #CanndoraConnect

Journalists and media: Editorial content is a great tactic to generate awareness about your event. Send out pitches and invite journalists and bloggers to participate in your event. You can also offer opportunities for the media to interview special guests or take a tour around your curated event space.

Spread the word through e-mail: There are over 4 billion e-mail users globally. Leverage the power of e-mail marketing by notifying your past customers about your upcoming event or offer an early-bird rate or a special ticket price if they refer a friend to attend. E-mail marketing helps to increase participation and spread the word about your event.

Create a website for your event: Create a landing page on your company website dedicated to the event so attendees can easily find event and registration information. Have a list of FAQs and an overview of the event so attendees know what to expect.

Evaluate your event: Take a step back after your event is over and evaluate how it went. Was it an overall success? Did you hit your objectives? There is always room for improvement. Recognizing what worked and what didn’t can help ensure you have an even better event the next time around.

So the next time you’re thinking about effective ways to generate brand awareness, develop brand loyalty, and expand your consumer base, bear in mind these 10 essential tips and consider integrating event marketing as part of your strategy. 

Need a hand planning or executing your next event? Connect with Marigold PR to discuss your goals today.