A generic promotional ad targeted to a certain age group, gender, household income and location, has long been heralded as one of the cornerstones of successful local marketing. But as our recent study of 8,000+ consumers reveals, promoting a controversial and unique product like cannabis requires so much more. Detailed consumer personas that include interests, activities, attitudes and opinions, coupled with the right delivery mechanism that inspires and incentivizes is what’s required to understand how cannabis usage varies from consumer to consumer.

In other words, as our thousands of clients can attest to, delivering the right story, at the right moment of time, to the right audience and delivered via their preferred method is the new norm. Achieving such a lofty goal requires many moving parts including detailed demographic data, in-depth knowledge of cannabis usage drivers, compelling storytelling skills, digital marketing expertise and more. Let’s explore one of those key components to cannabis-marketing success: understanding cannabis usage motivators.

What Motivates Cannabis Usage

As we discovered in our recent cannabis study, age-related illnesses and the legalization of marijuana through medically approved methods is the likely reason Baby Boomers are adopting usage in groves. The majority (62%) of Baby Boomers (ages 55-64) surveyed use cannabis to treat chronic/recurring pain and 40% for temporary/minor pain. On the other hand, Frequent Users (mostly comprised of Millennials) use cannabis as a stress reliever, while Affluent Families (those with kids under the age of 18) attribute their usage to stress management (48%); and chronic/recurring pain (37%).

Thirty-eight percent of cannabis users across all sectors agree that medical cannabis improves quality of life. Overall, users consider cannabis to be a healthier alternative to alcohol, over the counter pain killers and prescription drugs.

Since starting cannabis:

  • 37% have reduced alcohol consumption.
  • 49% have reduced over the counter pain killers.
  • 52% have reduced prescription drug usage.

Another critical insight: 60% of those surveyed say a healthy lifestyle is important to them. All of this suggests that cannabis usage is associated with clean living.

Putting A Plan in Motion

Depending on our clients’ products and services, devising a winning marketing strategy requires a customized approach. We know first-hand that cookie-cutter plans are a big no-no. For instance, if our client has a product aimed squarely at chronic pain relief, we would recommend a marketing message that aligns with the persona of Baby Boomers and their specific cannabis usage drivers. If our client offers a stress relieving product, we would align messaging with the personas of Affluent Families or Millennials.

As part of our process, we would then work with clients to answer some key questions like:

  • What makes you different from other products?
  • 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?

Once we have the above foundational questions answered, we would then make sure to incorporate these elements into a unique story about our client’s business and then deliver that message to their target audience via their preferred and trusted source for cannabis information; which for Baby Boomers, for example, happens to be search engines, newspapers or online videos. In this example, since Baby Boomers turn to newspapers as a trusted source, we would likely create branded content (e.g. an advertorial that looks like a news article) on the benefits of cannabis for a common age-related ailment like arthritis.

At LOCALiQ, marketing experts and proprietary technology give our cannabis 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 cwill@localiq.com.

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