The Cowboy Cup is Oklahoma’s most honest cannabis championship. They double as an art and harvest festival with live music over the first Friday and Saturday in December every year. This wasn’t like any project, however, Daniel (THCeo) reached out to us under special circumstances.
They needed help promoting their cannabis event in the quickly developing Oklahoma Market. The problem was, they approached us during the height of the pandemic in early 2020. Governments were shutting down, music festivals were canceling, and celebrities were posting awkward covers of “Imagine” by John Lennon on Twitter.
There was no predicting what could happen over the next few months or if the event would even happen. We decided to help The Cowboy Cup create a website and promote the event online, taking the risk of knowing that the event may never happen.
The Cowboy Cup had two different audiences to focus on:
- Businesses to sponsor the event and compete in the championship
- Attendees interested in experiencing a midwestern cannabis event like no other
Oklahoma cannabis events are unique, and The Cowboy Cup is the king of them all. In Oklahoma, you can buy alcohol and beer at events. It’s completely legal. You won’t find that anywhere else in the entire world.
For this giant of a task, we needed an efficient strategy. We didn’t have much additional budget to spend on advertising, but we had tickets. We also had a base of emails from last year’s event and an OMMA list with over 7,000 businesses that could be interested in participating.
We decided to take a Guerilla approach to email and social media to keep our costs down and maximize our brand awareness.
The Cowboy Cup had a website, but they were overdue for an upgrade. They used Wix to create a basic drag and drop site. It was enough to give the public information for the first year, but they were ready for the next step. Their new website needed payment functionality, ticketing, and data capture.
We were able to give them everything they needed in a little over six weeks.
You can view the website here; please note, they’ve since taken control, so there may have been changes we are not responsible for.
Vendors & Entries
We dedicated our workforce to creating engaging content, announcing new sponsors to create some FOMO (fear of missing out), and directly outreaching potentially interested cannabis businesses.
This approach netted us sponsors and entries in every category offered. Two notable companies that sponsored and entered The Cowboy Cup are Cicada Labs and Red Sky. Cicada Labs entered the cup and won 4 awards, and Red Sky bought a Silver sponsorship and a booth for the event.
We sold out of vendor booths months before the event.
We ran simple MailChimp campaigns for the first year. Another prominent cannabis event in Oklahoma was gracious enough to give us their mailing list. We combined the two lists and started outreaching. From June to August, we outreached to sponsors. The website was still under construction, so online tracking wasn’t available. We quickly sold out of Presenting and Gold sponsorships.
From September to October, we marketed to brands to enter the competition. Across all categories, we had over 200 entrants, with indoor flower alone seeing over 70 entries.
From October to the event in December, we focused on ticket sales.
Our social media attack was our special sauce to doubling our audience. We took a guerrilla approach and used free tickets and discount codes to spread the word.
We ran weekly ticket giveaways during November and used the entrant and sponsoring brands to help spread the word. We used entry rules that created a SPIKE in traffic:
- Follow Cowboy Cup
- Tag 2 Friends
- Sharing The Post on Your Story and Tagging more friends earned extra entries
This helped us gain thousands of followers and tens of thousands of impressions.
We traded weekend tickets with influencers in the Oklahoma community to help promote the event.
We did this on Facebook and Instagram to maximize our results.
We also used Facebook groups to promote the giveaways and events further. The group admins were very excited to help.
Select influencers we deemed “Friends of The Cup” got their own 10% off coupon codes.
Results & Highlights
The Cowboy Cup was wildly successful. We doubled the event turnout, and we did it safely during the height of the pandemic. We put COVID safety precautions in place and monitored the new cases for the following two weeks. We avoided a major spike and had a ton of safe fun.
We had over 2,500 attendees show up. We netted the Cowboy Cup an 809.6%+ Return on Investment through certified website sales ALONE. That doesn’t include the thousands of day-of tickets we sold, easily breaking 2000% ROI on his project with us.
Here are some quick highlights of our results across each marketing channel:
Sales & Attendance:
Sales Generated Through Website
*Does not include sales made outside of the website
Return on Investment
Hosting an event during a pandemic is extremely difficult. We managed to have an attendance of over 2,500 in 2020 compared to the 1,200 attendees the year prior.
We managed to net a 108.3%+ growth in a pandemic.
A Return Of Investment of 809.6%.
During our project, we grew the Cowboy Cup Instagram by 91%.
We generated 16,387 Profile Views in the three months leading up to the event.
The Cowboy Cup website received 1,765 Website Visits through Instagram in the three months leading up to the event.
During the event weekend, the Cowboy Cup Instagram gained 539 new followers, a growth of 9.9%.
We generated 6,275 Profile Views and we had 393 website link clicks.
Growth in Followers
Our social media tactics netted the Cowboy Cup Facebook page a 4.7-star rating out of 5 stars.
We helped the Cowboy Cup Facebook page gain 1,528 Followers, a 158% growth.
During our project, we generated 978 page likes, a 106% growth.
Our emails directly generated a 100% Return on Investment, not including day-of-event sales and sponsors who purchased sponsorships through the phone or in person.
The Cowboy Cup email list grew from 3,200 to over 4,500 emails.