2020 has tested the creativity of cannabis industry marketers in America and beyond. With many of the traditional communication channels being shut down due to COVID-19 restrictions, brands and individuals have had to find new methods of connecting with consumers. 

We are now starting to see some US-based cannabis brands become household names, largely as a result of the work of their marketing teams. Cannabis continues to grow and turn more mainstream in legalized states as new product types and formats are launched. 

This year’s list of top five cannabis marketers in America includes industry leaders and several agency founders. Let’s take a look at the American cannabis marketer finalists as voted by you, the ADCANN community.

If you haven’t already, be sure to vote for your favorite American Cannabis Marketer in the 2020 ADCANN Awards.

Ericka Pittman

Earlier this year, Ericka was appointed as the Chief Marketing Officer of Viola, a cannabis company founded by NBA veteran Al Harrington. She’s been tasked with building Viola’s brand awareness amongst consumers and to help convey the company’s core values as they continue to give back to communities most affected by the war on drugs. Viola also believes in promoting social equity by increasing minority participation in the cannabis industry. Ericka brings more than 25 years of marketing experience within the CPG, beauty, luxury goods, wine & spirits, food & beverage, tech, and media industries to the Viola brand.

John Shute

A cannabis marketing Trailblazer, John is the founder and the CEO of PufCreativ, a full-service marijuana marketing company that creates strategies and advertising solutions for cannabis brands that are also nominated for Cannabis Marketing Agency of the Year. John has taken the American marketing industry by storm, originally starting out in hospitality and nightlife, and now specializing in cannabis. His forte is creative cannabis marketing strategy, B2B, B2C, and client communication in the marijuana industry, and he was also recently awarded 2020 Colorado CEO of the Year by CEO Magazine.

It means the world to us to have both our agency and CEO nominated this year. It's been a tough year for us, our team, families, friends, clients and network. We're beyond grateful that we've been able to continue to do our work while also helping those in need. Our mission at PufCreativ is to harness the power of creativity, to fuel the systems of humans who are making our world a better place. We're looking forward to this next year being a year we can do just that, with more and more organizations who see the future of cannabis as safe, sensible, equitable, environmentally conscious and responsible.

John Shute, CEO, PufCreativ

Olivia Mannix

Olivia founded the American cannabis marketing agency Cannabrand back in 2013 in Denver, Colorado. She has spearheaded advertising campaigns for high-profile cannabis brands that include Caliva and Papa & Barkley and picked up industry laurels from top trades PRWeek and AdWeek. Recently, Mannix set her sights on another emerging industry with the launch of Psilocybrand, a marketing and PR practice focused on psychedelics.

Ricardo Baca

Ricardo Baca is the first person to win Marketer Of The Year in the 2018 ADCANN Awards. He is the founder of Grasslands, a full-service, journalism-minded agency that has helped build several brands in the cannabis space. Prior to Grasslands, Ricardo founded and served as the original Editor-in-Chief for first-of-its-kind news site The Cannabist, a vertical of Colorado’s largest news organization, The Denver Post. Ricardo has been reporting on and setting trends within the cannabis industry for years now and continues to play an important role in its evolution.

Valda Coryat

Valda is the Chief Marketing Officer at Trulieve, an American brand of cannabis products and stores, which are nominated for American Storefront Brand of the Year. Through her U.S., global, and regional brand building experiences, she has delivered award-winning innovation and consumer inspired multi-media campaigns. Valda excels at driving brand growth and has done so for companies such as Colgate-Palmolive, Avon, and Heineken. Prior to joining Trulieve, she led the National Mango Board’s Marketing across the consumer, retail, and foodservice verticals.

I am excited to celebrate my one-year cannabis anniversary by being a finalist for Marketer of the Year. Cannabis marketing has been rewarding as I get to not only develop the brand and marketing strategy for one of the top performing multi-state operators (MSO), but extend our strong connection to the communities in which our customers live.

Valda Coryat, Chief Marketing Officer, Trulieve

American Cannabis Marketer Trends

This year’s top-five marketers is a representation of where the cannabis industry is headed in America. All five of these individuals have extensive experience in marketing and most of them have been in the cannabis industry for several years. 

We are seeing an increased need for cannabis-specific marketing agencies, who help brands navigate the confusing regulatory framework and provide creative concepts. Three out of five of this year’s finalists are founders or CEOs of agencies that specifically work with cannabis clients. Many of these agencies were established years ago and have an impressive amount of experience dealing with clients in the space. These agencies and their marketers are well-positioned to continue growing as more states legalize and more companies flock to the industry. 

Another trend is many brands and storefronts are expanding and turning into Multi-State Operators. Marketers like Ericka Pittman, whose brand is available in both California and Washington, and Valda Coryat, who operates storefronts in four different states – both need to take into consideration the different promotional laws and consumer mindsets in each jurisdiction. 

As the cannabis industry continues to grow in America and beyond, marketers and communicators will continue to have an exceedingly important job. Journalists and PR companies have the task of changing opinions and breaking stigma in areas where cannabis is restricted. Executives and their teams must build awareness from nothing in a brand new industry.

Which American cannabis marketer did the best work this year?

Vote for them in the ADCANN Awards 2020

Last Updated on December 30, 2020 by ADCANN



ADCANN is a digital publication and content creation team that showcases the most creative concepts in the cannabis space.