Strategic Factory launches medical marijuana marketing agency

COURTESY OF THE STRATEGIC FACTORY: Marketing Director Jason Cohen will head the CannaBiz Creative team.

With Maryland’s medical marijuana program set to be up and running by the end of summer, dispensaries in the state are gearing up to get information about their products out to the more than 6,000 Marylanders who have registered to use medical marijuana.

Maryland’s startup dispensaries, growers and processors are all embarking on developing a brand and marketing strategy to make them competitive in the young market riddled with new and changing regulations.

That’s what CannaBiz Creative, a marketing and consulting arm launched by Owings Mills marketing agency, Strategic Factory, wants to capitalize on.

“We see it as a vertical [business] that is something completely different than what we’ve been in,” said Keith Miller, CEO of Strategic Factory.

Miller said the tight-knit market appeals to the company because of the just 102 companies pre-approved to dispense medical marijuana in Maryland. But jumping into the medical marijuana industry comes with the challenge of understanding the rules, regulations and legal mandates involved.

Miller said several of Strategic Factory’s subject matter experts are spending time learning about the legal side of the industry, as well as how to navigate the dos and the don’ts when it comes to medical marijuana branding and marketing.

“There’s a lot of questions out there and a lot of unknowns,” said Marketing Director Jason Cohen, who will lead a team of about a dozen Strategic Factory employees at CannaBiz Creative. “To conduct the research both in Maryland and nationally to familiarize ourselves with the regulations of the industry is a unique selling point.”

Cohen hopes to position the company as the cannabis marketing experts in the state.

“We recognized there was a vacuum of sorts in the medical marijuana marketing space that few other marketing agencies were filling,” he said.

But launching CannaBiz Creative wouldn’t have been possible without first acquiring Spokes Marketing, an Owings Mills marketing company. Strategic Factory purchased the company for an undisclosed amount last year, and Spokes Marketing employees, including former part-owner Cohen, were moved into Strategic Factory’s 40,000-square-foot facility in December.

The acquisition was intended to be the missing piece of the puzzle for Strategic Factory, which had not before formally offered digital services and marketing strategies. Previously, the company offered product-based services such as printing, mailing, packaging, graphic design, signage, promotional products and customized brand apparel, Cohen said.

Acquiring Spokes Marketing with its established social media knowledge, web design, email marketing and online advertising, allows Strategic Factory to offer more products to clients, and opens up Spokes Marketing to a larger customer base.

Now, Miller said, CannaBiz Creative can offer clients all services from creating a marketing strategy to both physical and digital products and services all under the Strategic Factory umbrella. And having a solid digital marketing offering will be critical in the medical marijuana industry, Miller added.

“At this time, we are fully dedicated to supporting Maryland’s medical marijuana industry,” said Cohen.