The demand for cannabis products has exploded in the past few years, with over 62% of U.S. citizens in support of the legalization of cannabis. Medical and recreational product sales continue to increase by more than 20% year over year, exceeding all organic produce revenue in the U.S. No longer driven by Millennials alone, Baby Boomers and parents are all potential customers.

With such a massive potential target audience, the cannabis market is now struggling with a new challenge: reaching their intended customer base. To help demystify the canna-consumer, we conducted a cannabis survey of over of 8,000+ consumers; covering key canna audiences and their demographics, shopping behaviors, and consumption motivation. In this blog, we will share some of our top actionable tips to help you reach those canna consumers.

Engage Consumers with Your Story

With virtually no market leaders, the cannabis market is a great opportunity, but it also comes with some challenges. Becoming a new leader in the emerging cannabis industry means not only educating consumers to help reverse negative perceptions, but also positioning your business as the brand of choice.

In order to attract consumers, you need to create a unique story that connects with your target audience and market segment. To& help you get started on this path, ask yourself these questions:

  • What makes you different?
  • How are you communicating that differentiation to your customers?
  • Does your staff reinforce that differentiation, in service or knowledge provided?
  • How do you help customers with their purchase selection?
  • Are you pulling all of these answers into a unique story about your business?

Use Consistency to Build Brand Trust

Acquiring new customers is a much more expensive and time intensive than keeping existing ones. For cannabis businesses, customer retention is even more challenging with 67% of those surveyed stating that they have shopped at two or more dispensaries in the past three months. In other words, customer or brand loyalty is practically non-existent in the emerging cannabis market. So, cannabis businesses should devise a marketing strategy that keeps this in mind. Based on over 80% of those surveyed who say a dispensary’s reputation is essential to their selection process, you want to make sure your brand’s reputation is in tip top shape (read more about how to build a trusted brand).

We have used a variety of strategies with our clients, but one word sums up the best way to build trust: consistency. Consistency breeds trust.

Ensuring your story is woven through every facet of your business, from your advertising and online presence to the messages touted at our store locations, to product packaging and even to how your staff engages with customers is an easy way to build a consistent and trusted brand.

Consistency should also be built into your online reviews program. Manage your local listings and monitor all your reviews and respond to them accordingly and consistently. When negative comments do arise, quickly address them and work to turn customer challenges into opportunities. This can help build loyalty with cannabis consumers.

Build Your Segment with Specific Strategies

According to our study, the cannabis market can be divided into four major segments: Baby Boomers, Frequent Shoppers, Affluent Families, and Acceptors. Acceptors are non-users that would consider using cannabis but aren’t currently, although we still consider them part of the market due to their openness around the subject and the opportunities they represent. Within the other three segments there are already regular users of canna products, whether it’s for medicinal or recreational purposes. As evident by our study, cannabis usage is going mainstream, making a wide swath of consumers potential customers.

This is good and bad news for cannabis businesses. The good news is that there are more potential customers than ever. The bad news is that you have to do some heavy-duty segmenting to reach your intended audience.

To secure your piece of the cannabis market pie, you will want to develop specific strategies around your targeted segment. This means you will need access to detailed demographic data, including shopping behaviors and consumption motivation. Once you have that data in hand, the next step is to plan your advertising and marketing strategies around those core consumer segments and share them across all the channels they trust for the most effective reach. This laser-focused and highly-targeted approach will keep your products relevant in the marketplace and should ultimately translate into increased sales.

As an example, consider the Affluent Family group who are wealthy, highly educated and spend over $623 million on cannabis-related products. This group is generally looking to cannabis to help manage stress (48%) and they gravitate towards content from local news sites. In contrast, Baby Boomers, with 38 percent living on a fixed income, use cannabis as a pain management solution, and access information via search engines, online videos or newspapers.

With this knowledge, we would likely counsel clients with stress management cannabis products to create educational articles on cannabis strains that reduce stress as part of an overall healthy lifestyle. We would further recommend that they place these articles in the places that Affluent Families rely on the most for cannabis information, which in this case is local news sites.

On the other hand, Baby Boomers would be most receptive to our clients with pain management products. As such, a robust video or newspaper series that provides tips on how to treat common age-related issue like arthritis is a sure-fire way to reach and connect with this canna-consumer segment.

At LOCALiQ, we give our cannabis clients the data, tools, and strategies they need to carve out a unique position in the market and build brand loyalty with their core customers. To find out more or to get more details on the USA TODAY NETWORK | LOCALiQ cannabis study, contact one of our experts, Claire Will, at cwill@localiq.com.

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