C3 Video No. 2: Brand Audience Building

Updated: Oct 9

Lieze Boshoff is a marketing expert from Amsterdam, North Holland who specializes in audience development and engagement for emerging cannabis and hemp brands. Her consulting firm, LBC3 Marketing, creates marketing content and develops copywriting strategies for small to medium sized startups in Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Lieze Boshoff of LBC3 Marketing

Boshoff labels herself a "data-driven marketing specialist and strategic thinker that likes to step out of the box to achieve authentic, measurable, and consistent business growth." As such, she develops, analyzes, and optimizes marketing strategies using a blend of established techniques, conversion-focused copywriting, and psychological profiling principles. She works within the context of what she labels the "Seven Ps of Modern Marketing": Product, price, promotion, place, people, process, and physical (evidence).

Boshoff's sometimes contrarian perspective and council have been leveraged by launch stage cannabis and CBD businesses throughout the world to successfully build and manage their communities. Higher Learning LV's founder, Curt Robbins, conducted the following exclusive interview with Boshoff in September 2021.

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Lieze Boshoff Interview

Higher Learning LV: "Thank you for taking the time to help educate our students and readers, Lieze. Increasingly, cannabis companies understand that they must develop and maintain a social media presence to succeed. There's plenty of social media activity among emerging brands. What are the biggest mistakes you have observed?"

Lieze Boshoff: "I see so many CBD and cannabis companies not properly leveraging social media to build a community around their brand. Building an engaged and loyal community around a brand—even if it's a small one—should be the number one priority of any hemp or cannabis company. Social media is a great way to do this. "I mean, the whole point of social media is to engage and connect with people. But more often than not, there is too much focus on pushing products and not enough on authentic, sincere interactions and education.

"Another mistake I see many CBD and cannabis companies make is focusing on quantity over quality and consistency. For many small brands, especially the self-reliant ones, frequent posting is simply not realistic. It can result in companies posting substandard content or becoming erratic in their post activity. This often leaves their audience feeling disappointed and risks them appearing to be amateur."

HLLV: "You teach companies how to build brands that resonate with audiences in emerging legal markets for cannabis and hemp, with sustainable engagement strategies. What are some of the basics that no company should violate in terms of building—and retaining—audience?"

LB: "For many businesses, the bottom line becomes the most important thing. This is understandable. No entrepreneur launches a business for fun and games. They want to make money. It is no different for a hemp or cannabis business.

"What I'm starting to see, more and more, is that companies focus on the bottom line to the detriment of their audience building effort. They lose sight of the needs of their audience. Unlike many other industries, ours is fraught with misconceptions, distortions, and inaccuracies borne from a long history of propaganda and shady business practices. Our industry is also relatively young. The legal side of it, at least. And we’re dealing with a clientele that is, more often than not, naive about cannabis and hemp, particular products, and how to use them responsibly.

"This means that audiences are looking toward hemp and cannabis brands for this information. Consumers trust some brands enough to gain their education from them, including the plant’s overall capabilities and which particular products are best for certain needs."

"For many businesses, the bottom line becomes the most important thing. This is understandable. No entrepreneur launches a business for fun and games. They want to make money. It is no different for a hemp or cannabis business."

HLLV: "What results after a violation or breach of this trust, Lieze?"

LB: "When a company violates this trust, there is typically no recovery. Examples of trust violation include poor marketing tactics like infiltrating Facebook groups to peddle products and spreading misinformation, typically in the form of fraudulent claims regarding medicinal efficacy, potency, or purity. Trust is also lost when brands show disregard for the warnings of scientists and medical professionals."

HLLV: "The value of unique content, such as blog articles and video podcasts, is preached by many marketing experts in the emerging industry. What are your thoughts regarding unique content and how much a company should invest in it? How does a brand determine depth, breadth, and publication/post frequency within their particular segment and niche?"

LB: "This is a big question that has no easy, one-size-fits-all answer. With that said, my advice to all of my clients is that unique content should be the cornerstone of any marketing strategy. They should invest as much as they can in these types of important public-facing assets.

"However, it is also important to remember that if content is king, consistency is queen. Companies should seriously consider what they can afford and commit to over a long period of time. All marketing, but especially content marketing, is a long game. There are no quick fixes.

"To illustrate this, let's consider an example. Say the main marketing goal of a hemp or cannabis company is to build a community by boosting customer engagement. Research has revealed that, in this instance, publishing/posting consistency and content quality are more important than mere frequency.

"This means that cannabis brands must produce really high quality and truly engaging content, usually in the form of blog articles that educate, inform, and are useful to a particular audience.

"Assume that this proverbial company can consistently produce only one in-depth high quality blog article each month. The brand’s capacity for consistent quality is what should determine the frequency with which it publishes or posts on social media. Committing to quality and consistency is a much better strategy than starting off with a grand launch and fizzling out after a couple of months—after realizing that the quality and frequency of assets at launch simply can't be sustained over the long run.

"Some primary considerations when developing a content strategy:

  • Cannabis and hemp companies should invest as much as they can afford in the development and promotion of unique, high quality content.

  • A company's marketing goals and the needs of its audience should be considered equally in the determination of the depth and breadth of content assets (including topics, themes, design, and format).

  • Publication/post frequency should be guided by what companies can sustainably commit to over a long period."

HLLV: "Thank you for your time and sharing your audience building expertise with our readers, Lieze. This is critically important information for any hemp or cannabis company in the hyper-competitive legal markets around the world."

Like what you just read? Check out our new Cannabis for Cancer Hub that features links to all of our articles about marijuana for cancer.

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