It’s no secret that brands must find a way to differentiate themselves and create a reason for their customers to keep coming back for more, and the emerging cannabis industry is no exception. With the amount of active cannabis business licenses reaching 17,350 in late 2018 and with a market cap expected to reach $20 billion next year, the cannabis market is booming with no slowdown in site. But, with so many brands, large and small, to choose from, how can you stand out among the competition and create a loyal customer base?

While price is important to some canna-consumers (e.g. those that use cannabis), according to our recent USA TODAY NETWORK | LOCALiQ study of 8,000+ consumers, it’s not the only consideration influencing which brands consumers pick. The study revealed that of the canna-consumer groups actively using cannabis products, Affluent Families, Baby Boomers, and Frequent Shoppers, all have differing reasons why they select certain cannabis brands over others.

What Matters Most to Canna-Consumers

Extensive competition means brands need to be more diligent than ever about truly understanding what motivates their target customers, and more importantly, what drives their brand selection. Let’s examine what our recent study revealed.

For the Affluent Family group, who are highly educated and spend over $623 million on cannabis-related products, an expansive selection of products and strains followed by price and convenience are the top motivators for selecting a particular brand. This group is generally looking to cannabis to help manage stress. On the other hand, Baby Boomers, that primarily use cannabis as a pain management solution, are most motivated by price, followed by friendliness of staff, and product selection.

For the Frequent Shoppers, or those that are regular users for a variety of reasons ranging from health and wellness to stress management, price and product selection are equally valued; followed by staff friendliness and recommendations for treating specific ailments.

As exemplified above, variations in brand selection drivers within each canna-consumer group means that you need to be in tune with your target customers’ needs and then align your offerings and marketing efforts accordingly.

Create a Reason for Your Brand to Be Selected

You can’t be everything to everyone. While you may offer consumers many, if not all, of the brand selection drivers mentioned — good pricing, friendly and educated staff, a wide variety of selections and strains, and more — you have to Identify the canna-consumer group(s) that you want to connect with the most. Then, make sure you tout your offerings using the right marketing techniques, such as branded content, that is strategically placed in the channels that matter to your customers.

For example, beyond selection drivers, our survey also revealed that Frequent Shoppers and Affluent Families want to consume content related to living a healthier lifestyle, and they look to news sites like USA Today for information. Taking this valuable insight into account, coupled with our knowledge that Frequent Shoppers and Affluent Families want a wide selection of cannabis products and strains, we might recommend that our cannabis clients targeting these groups create an advertorial series on different cannabis strains and their health and wellness benefits.

In contrast, when it comes to Baby Boomers, we know price is their main brand selection driver. We also know that they rely on search engines, newspapers, or online videos to gather information on chronic pain management. Knowing this, a video guide on the most cost-effective cannabis products for age-related issues like arthritis is one recommendation we would suggest to our clients that want to connect with the Baby Boomer consumer.

You don’t have to go at it alone. 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 for more information.

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