This week’s Trailblazer is Katie Pringle, Co-Founder of Marigold, an award-winning team of branding, social media & PR experts that have been heavily engaged and connected in the cannabis industry for close to 4 years.
Questions with a Cannabis Marketing Trailblazer
When did you first become involved in the cannabis industry and why?
Marigold entered the cannabis space in 2016. My partner Bridget Hoffer and I quickly realized the opportunity to leverage compliant branding and PR to build cannabis brands and businesses.
I have a passion for building cannabis brands that convey the depth and breadth of consumer and patient needs, consumption methods, and buying behaviour. Cannabis is such a personal experience, it is always about understanding your audience.
What has been the biggest marketing challenge you have faced when working with cannabis companies/brands?
Deep restrictions and limitations coming out of The Cannabis Act, along with the personal interpretation of the legal team, combined with the risk tolerance of the company involved can make it, well, complicated to build a notable brand. Our team at Marigold understands how to work within these restrictions to achieve business objectives.
Cannabis is a startup environment, and that has its own challenges. I like to say that the industry is moving at the speed of light. Keeping up and staying consistent can be challenging for companies expanding (and contracting) at warp speed.
If you could change one of the current Canadian or American marketing restrictions on cannabis, which would it be?
I feel that it is only fair that alcohol and recreational cannabis are treated equally. That being said, while I believe the marketing restrictions should open up for cannabis, I also believe there should be more restrictions in place for the alcohol industry. I believe marketing rules for both categories should promote responsible consumption and protect minors.
In your observation, what marketing techniques or channels have been most effective for cannabis companies looking to connect with consumers?
Great storytelling is key for cannabis brands. Education is still very important, as is understanding the needs of your core consumer. Marigold has seen success through a combination of traditional and digital PR, leading to great SEO, owned audiences, and compliant brand experiences. In an industry with such low brand awareness, authentic audience connection could not be more important.
Are there any other Trailblazers in the cannabis industry that you follow?
There are so many. Love watching Deepak Anand’s global success with Materia. Rosy Modin is someone I have always admired and followed. Gill Polard has been a supportive friend and fellow marketer. Plus, the advisory committee from WWC Conference.
What is one tip or piece of advice you would give to marketers looking to enter the cannabis industry?
I always tell people interested in our space about how much I love this industry because of the opportunities to be creative and impactful. Above everything, the people are what make cannabis an incredible industry. There are so many hardworking, and inspiring individuals.
Coming out of 2020, I think the cannabis industry needs to continue to show stability to attract more top talent.
A big thank you to Katie for participating as this week’s Trailblazer! Stay tuned for another interview with a cannabis marketing Trailblazer next Thursday in the ADCANN blog.
Interested in working with one of these talented cannabis marketers? Check out our Agency Directory for a list of all the agencies that specialize in working with cannabis companies.