When it comes to customer engagement, a rising tide lifts all ships. For the US Cannabis Market, the growing climate towards inclusive legislation, open markets, and small-grower licenses has offered more opportunities than ever for leveraging innovation.
For those who have been a part of cannabis movements since the early days, these times are as exciting as they are terrifying—how will the market take the momentum of the past and carry it into the future without losing sight of progress? Put another way, how can legislation and company missions be harmonized without reducing the legalization process into a series of arbitrary tax grabs—the likes of which are already consuming the Californian market.
It’s not enough to be first in line to open anymore. Between multi-state operators scooping up licenses in new markets like Florida and the South, it is up to organizers and professionals on the ground floor to provide customers with experiences that don’t just get them what they need but elevate the process.
Who better to market this experience than those brands at the frontlines of retailing cannabis? There is no question about it—whether it’s repeat business, better public image, or pressuring lawmakers for a more inclusive industry, effective customer engagement in cannabis will be the future of the compliant market.
What Makes Cannabis Marketing Unique
Converting everyday consumers into passionate buyers has changed the video game industry, craft beer industry, and even at-home music producers. Each campaign began by challenging the public conception of the craft and replacing it with a thoughtful examination of the work and process that goes into every product.
Sadly, customer engagement for cannabis doesn’t look like a beer garden or a hands-on demo. Regulatory boundaries keep specific images and consumption acts from the public, even if the reasoning is vague. Putting aside the question of how we can drink all day at a beer festival far away from public transit but can’t sample edibles in a safe environment, the boundaries to general mass advertising are limited at best.
In many states, you can’t even advertise your store with lighted signs or promote on sites that cannot guarantee viewership is at least 90% above the legal age for consumption—working within boundaries that limit the audiences you reach and how well you can describe what you do. For marketers and brands in this space, you have to get creative in a few ways. We’ve put together a few tips to help anyone on the front lines of customer engagement in cannabis to get there.
Marketing Tips for Brands
Segmenting your market into clear groups helps you create multiple levels of branded content that can help elevate consumers from beginners to advanced users. Just like you wouldn’t start a music student off with a Bach piece, you shouldn’t try to sell dab rigs to someone just beginning to try cannabis or name-drop terpenes like they know what you’re talking about.
Consider these four possible “demographics” for optimal customer engagement in cannabis:
The everyday user—someone who sees cannabis as a means to unwind at the end of the day.
The connoisseur—an expert in luxury brands who is devoted to them.
The wild card—someone enjoys experimenting with different strains and products to learn.
The patient—a user who purchases cannabis for medical purposes and is primarily concerned with potency and dosage.
Even beginning with a subtle understanding of the brand engagement you are creating can transform the effectiveness of your materials. There is room for fun marketing in a compliant market. Still, you should also strive to dedicate at least a portion of your site to engaging cannabis content that shows you are committed to the movement, wellness, and fostering education.
The era of “stoner marketing” has long passed—how can you build a new generation of informed customers? Working with established and cannabis-fluent brand ambassadors, marketing managers, or content creators is a fantastic way to develop collaborative relationships that can improve your client engagement digitally while you train your staff in-house.
Don’t be like the jerk who says, “I liked this before it was cool.” More market demand means more pressure on legislators to open market channels to new, competitive, and innovative businesses. Higher competition means more inventive products, better processes, and the opportunity for both technical and biological revolutions.
To create better brands, we must focus on customer engagement in cannabis—not more laws, regulations, and taxes. Read more about the present market and new state legalizations under the news tab of our website.