The race to become the cannabis brand of choice is on. So what kind of cannabis marketing approach does it take to attain this coveted position? Based on our proprietary research and our industry know-how, we have a pretty good clue. In our recent study of 8,000+ consumers, a whopping 80% of users stated that a dispensary’s reputation is extremely important in their selection process. We also know that acceptors (non-cannabis users that are open to using) are three times more likely to turn to news websites for cannabis education than their own doctors; and that most users are NOT loyal to a specific dispensary or brand.
So what does this all mean? How can a cannabis business translate these valuable insights into winning cannabis marketing strategies that in turn creates winning brands? Here's what we know works.
Consistency Builds Trust
Once you have your unique story down – whether you’re focusing on Baby Boomers, health and wellness, or stress relief – a critical next step is to get your target audience to trust your brand. The key to success is consistency. This means that your unique story must be woven into all facets of your business and customer experience. Essentially any platform used to communicate to customers – advertising, your online presence, your store locations, staff engagement, products, social media, and more – needs to tell a similar story. As each medium requires a slightly different format, consider writing out “scripts” for each communication platform to keep your cannabis marketing messaging on point. Once your story is solidified, the next step is to communicate it to your target audience.
Tell Your Story in the Right Places
Not surprisingly, telling your story in the wrong places equates to a waste of time, effort, and money. A shot-gun approach is no better. But businesses do it all the time. If you’re targeting Millennials that spend a huge chunk of time on social media sites, placing an ad in a print publication is probably not going to be as effective as other cannabis marketing tactics. But if you want to reach one of the fastest growing groups of canna-consumers in the market (acceptors), placing a well-crafted advertorial (also known as branded content) with a local news website just might do the trick. This is because we know that acceptors turn to news websites for cannabis information nearly three times more often than they consult with doctors. In fact, news sources in general are a top source of trusted information for every consumer segment. Local news sources in particular continue to be trusted, and many allow cannabis ads. Knowing which mediums consumers turn to for cannabis education (and which of those will allow you to advertise) is crucial when deciding where to spend your marketing dollars in the quest to build brand trust.
In addition to meaningful branded content, every strategy to build trust among canna-consumers should include online reviews management. When it comes to online reputation, you want to know what customers are saying about you. Are they touting your amazing service and cannabis offerings, or are they highlighting things you need to work on? When negative comments do arise, you should use it as an opportunity to engage with your customers. By understanding and addressing negative comments, you’re able to create long-lasting relationships, improve the way you’re serving your buyers, and in turn, build trust. Think of it as face-to-face cannabis marketing.
At LOCALiQ, cannabis marketing experts and advanced technology give our clients the tools and strategies they need to carve out a unique position in the market and truly connect with their intended audience. To find out more or to get more details on the USA TODAY NETWORK | LOCALiQ cannabis study, email one of our experts, Claire Will, at firstname.lastname@example.org.