Are You Attending a Cannabis Expo in 2021?
It’s no secret that 2020’s global pandemic took a toll on … well, almost everything. Within the cannabis world, although spending on cannabis products steadily increased, industry events suffered dramatically when conferences and events were effectively shut down. This put a halt to the multi-billion dollar event industry and eliminated face-to-face networking for thousands of businesses and entrepreneurs in the space that would regularly attend B2B cannabis expos and CBD industry trade shows.
As we make our way through Q1 of 2021, we have a new opportunity to use lessons learned in 2020 to enter into a new era of gatherings with a focus on health and safety.
Why are in-person events more important than ever?
One of the top ways new relationships are formed within the cannabis industry is by meeting potential customers and representatives in person. In an increasingly digital world, it’s no wonder that 93% of respondents of a Bizzabo survey agreed that in-person events provide attendees with valuable opportunities to form real connections, and 61% of marketers believe that in-person events are the most critical marketing channel.
At a time when the red tape around advertising and marketing cannabis businesses is seemingly growing every day, opportunities to meet potential new clients in-person has become even more valuable. In November 2020 a San Luis Obispo County Superior Court judge ruled that under Prop 64, billboard advertising should still be illegal, stating the California Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) overstepped its authority in 2019 by allowing cannabis advertising on billboards along some high-traffic California freeways. Each year, thousands of Facebook and Instagram accounts associated with cannabis businesses are shut down whether or not they have violated the terms and services. Not to mention, the world’s largest search platform, Google, lists cannabis under their “Dangerous Products and Services” category, and violating their advertising terms and services by mentioning it will land you a warning and possible suspension from the platform.
While online advertising opportunities remain low, many cannabis brands rely heavily on hemp conferences, cannabis conventions, CBD industry trade shows and B2B cannabis expos to expose their brand to new potential partners and customers. As in-person gatherings were being shut down last year, digital events took their place to keep networking events alive, and although online events made it possible for more attendees to tune-in, it added additional challenges in making valuable connections. Businesses now struggle with how to keep attendees engaged and have to navigate how to truly connect with other attendees. When polled in 2020, almost all (96%) event professionals said they do not believe virtual events will replace in-person events.
Of those in leadership roles such as senior managers, board members and managers, 85% believe in-person events are essential to their company’s success. Co-founder of Cannabis Creative, Josefine Nowitz agreed: “As the co-founder of a cannabis business that generated the majority of its revenue from attending in person cannabis events in 2019, having to shift gears in 2020 due to Covid was a challenge.” She continued, “Events and in-person networking are definitely one of the best ways to network and develop strong relationships. This is especially true for B2B businesses like ours, as we are an agency that strategizes and executes digital marketing campaigns for dispensaries, CBD companies and other ancillary companies in the cannabis space, and so we need to be where the business owners are.” When it comes down to it, cannabis businesses will struggle if they’re left to rely only on online platforms to advertise. “Ultimately, I believe a balance between digital and in-person networking is the best way to get in front of your target audience, because a strong handshake and eye contact can sometimes seal the deal.”
Is it safe to attend in-person events?
As more events and gatherings open up to the public, extra measures will be taken to limit risk and keep conference attendees safe. At the Lucky Leaf Expo, we are committed to the highest standard of safety at all events. As per the general rules from the CDC, social distancing is suggested and utilizing masks will be required. Extra sanitation stations will be set up throughout the events and surfaces will be frequently disinfected. Of course, it’s also important to listen to the relevant public health authorities on the local, state and national level about matters related to COVID-19, and use this knowledge to inform your decisions.
What topics will be covered at the Lucky Leaf Expo?
The Lucky Leaf Expo is the perfect opportunity to dip your toe back into the in-person events at a B2B cannabis expo. With topics on CBD, hemp and cannabis, expert speakers (and a full showroom of exhibitors) cover everything from science, health and wellness, hemp cultivation, business strategies, new opportunities, legal, branding, start-ups, growth, policy reform and more.