Taboo marketing is a controversial subject, simply because it is “taboo”. It is important to recognize that something taboo is not something illegal. You cannot market illegal products, after all. There are various perfectly legal products that cannot be advertised and marketed in traditional ways. An online headship is a good example of this.
Cannabis is becoming increasingly legalized across this country, so there is also an increased demand for smoking products and other products associated with this. Yet, these stores cannot simply use a traditional forms marketing. Instead, they have to think outside of the box, understand their particular situation, and completely meet all the necessary regulations.
Online Advertisement Restrictions
First of all, there are a number of products that are completely legal to sell, buy, and own, but that cannot be advertised online. This are:
- Smoke shops and head shops
- Adult and sexual content
- Online pharmacies
- Weight loss supplements
What You Are not Allowed to Do
If your product or store falls into one of the eight categories above, then there are a number of things you absolutely cannot do. Once you know those, you have a starting point to work on what you can do. Here is what you are not allowed to do:
- Advertise on social media sites, including Stumbleupon, Twitter, and Facebook.
- Advertise on search engines, including Bing, Google, and Yahoo!
- Advertise on websites that do not have an age screen page.
- Advertise to children.
- Design advertisements in which people use any of the taboo products.
- Ad retargeting.
What You Are Allowed to Do
Now that you know what you can’t do, you need to understand what you can do. You need to be creative, and you have to build a network of influences and individual websites. You CAN advertise to consumers, but you have to make sure that this advertisement is targeted. So some of the things you can – and should – do include:
- Website specific advertising, which means that you can go to individual websites and ask them to advertise your product. Make sure that you only use websites that have an age screening page in place, and that do not advertise to children themselves.
- Radio advertisements, which are completely legal. However, you may struggle to find a radio station that is willing to accept your advertisement. You need to make sure, therefore, that they have revenue to make.
- Outdoor advertising and billboards, which are often easier to use than digital marketing, because the digital world is so restricted. However, you do have to think outside of the box here, since you cannot use ads that show people using your products.
- Word of mouth and organic marketing, which will probably always be the strongest form of marketing. Essentially, this is where customers recommend you to others. Of course, you can encourage them to do this a little through special offers, or even simple statements such as “don’t forget to tell your friends!” on your website. Some organic tools available to you include social media marketing (but NOT of your product), search engine optimization, and content marketing.