Anyone who has ever walked the expansive floors of an exhibit hall at a cannabis conference knows to expect two things by the end of it: Your feet will be tired and you’ll likely have a bag full of branded items picked up along the way. Let’s get real: Most of the items people grab at conferences have an expiration date shorter than the registration line. Nobody needs a stack of flimsy paper, cheap plastic keychains, or tacky accessories some trend-loving intern came up with—fanny packs, anyone?
So, what kind of event collateral will actually provide ROI at a cannabis conference? Below, I’ve compiled some tips and tricks for creating collateral specifically for cannabis events that won’t end up ignored and tossed in the trash. Keep these in mind as you plan your cannabis marketing and collateral for cannabis events in 2019.
Make it eye-catching and also useful
Good collateral serves two purposes: It looks good and it works. Pretty simple. Make it look appealing and consistent with your branding. You don’t suddenly have to give out lighters if your company sells CBD gummies. Speaking of edibles: If your company makes them, bring non-infused samples so people can try your product first hand. People want something they can use, whether it’s a bottle opener or pen, but it doesn’t have to look throwaway like motel stationary or tacky like a branded koozie.
Utilize digital swag
An easy, cheap, and more environmentally friendly way to connect with your audience at the conference is to make digital swag. Follow and use the conference-specific hashtags on your social media platforms to connect with those in attendance, and come up with some of your own. Consider making a Spotify playlist to accompany the conference and show others online how you’re feeling about it.
If you collect names and email addresses at your table, send those people a follow-up e-newsletter with highlights from the conference, pictures, and ways for you to connect in the future. A conference is a way to annually connect in person with other businesses and consumers, but online is how you continue to build your relationship with them the rest of the year. If you use a service like Mailchimp, you can create a list that’s segmented by only people you connected with at the conference, so when next year’s event rolls around, you can reach out to make sure you meet up in person. Digital and in-person connections keep engagement up and your brand on customers’ minds.
Design it like it matters—because it does
The best freebie I’ve picked up from a cannabis event was an ashtray with a marble and wood finishing by BRNT. It was so beautifully crafted that I couldn’t dare toss it. Plus, as a small box shape, it served purposes beyond an ashtray. I use it as a jewelry box. It has the small logo of the cannabis accessory company adorning the top of it, but no name. Because of the lack of words and simple but elegant logo that looks like a geometric fire, I don’t feel tacky setting it on my bedside table. If you want people to pick up your collateral and keep it, put effort into the way it looks. Swap a half dozen cheap and disposable items for one signature piece, and you’ll have a lot higher chances of people remember your company—and for the right reasons.
Give people incentives to remember your brand
If you want people to look up your brand after the conference, consider giving them a coupon code to use on your site. They’ll want to use the discount for future shopping, and now there’s a reason for them to visit your website and learn more about your company. Consider creating a special landing page only for folks who pick up the code at the conference, with special information and bonus content. It will make them feel like they’re accessing something exclusive, which makes them both happy to have connected with you at the conference and interested in learning more about your company.
Remember, everyone at a cannabis conference is there because they are passionate about the business of cannabis. Whether it’s creating a line of CBD products to address chronic pain or reforming the criminal justice system or simply wanting to share their love of the plant, people join this industry because they believe in the many possibilities of cannabis. Conferences are a good way to meet like-minded people who are just as excited about the many opportunities this industry presents as you—and collateral is one way they will remember you. Now, go forth and network.
You can find more tips like these in the free guide, “How to Maximize ROI from a Cannabis Event”.
Kait Heacock is a content writer for Wick & Mortar, a cannabis branding and marketing agency.