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On Marketing: Getting to Know Your Customers

Find out how best to serve customers using surveys, technology and market research.




IN TODAY’S HIGHLY competitive business landscape, knowing your customers is vital for success. This is particularly true for cannabis businesses, which require a deep understanding of their customer demographics to create effective marketing campaigns. Conducting demographic research is the first and most important step for these businesses, as failing to do so can result in wasted marketing budgets targeted at the wrong audience.

It’s essential to understand your customer demographics to maximize your marketing efforts. Without this information, businesses can waste time, money and resources on campaigns that won’t resonate with their target audience. For instance, imagine trying the same marketing strategy with the Super Bowl and Oscars audiences. While the football fans might appreciate a more blunt, “get it done” message, the movie fans may be more receptive to softer, emotionally driven appeals. In the cannabis industry, customer demographics can vary significantly based on factors like age, gender, education level and cannabis experience.

Understanding these demographics is key to crafting effective marketing strategies that will appeal to the right people and yield the best results.


Just Asking Questions

One effective way to gather customer data is through in-store surveys, which can be incentivized with free branded items like lighters or matchbooks. This method can be especially effective when customers are idle at checkout or waiting in line. However, there are some important rules to follow to have the most success with this:

  • Keep the survey short and simple.
  • Rotate to new questionnaires weekly.
  • Use multiple-choice questions.
  • Have a tablet at checkout so people can complete the survey while the budtender is ringing them up.
  • Title surveys as something that brings them value. Don’t say, “Help Us,” say, “Tell Us What Matters.”
  • Offer to donate to a good cause in exchange for their responses.
  • Have an optional comment box for additional feedback in case they are willing to offer it.
  • Avoid demanding their name, email or phone number to reduce friction. Instead, use the confirmation screen to request email, text and/or loyalty program as opt-ins.

Some good questions to ask include:

  • Why they shop with you
  • Their favorite brand and why
  • If they would be interested in referral discounts
  • How the store can improve
  • What typically motivates them to visit the store
  • Whether they prefer to stick with the same products they usually buy or explore new options

Questions such as these can provide valuable insights into your customers’ preferences and behaviors, allowing you to optimize your product offerings and marketing strategies. By combining inquiries about shopping frequency and spending with inquiries about customers’ motivations and preferences, you can identify the most important products and services to your most valuable customers. This information can help you expand your inventory, improve your upselling strategies, and ultimately drive greater customer satisfaction and loyalty.


Lead Them to Their Own Devices

Another effective method for collecting customer data is through device ID digital advertising, which enables businesses to create a virtual fence around their store and deliver targeted ads to those who visit. This approach helps to keep businesses top of mind with their customers while also providing valuable data on customer demographics, such as age and location.

There are different ad models including pay-per-click ads and pay-per-view ads which can be used to gather this data. Partner with a reputable ad agency such as Spokes Digital, which suggests a combination of branded, device ID targeting and competitor ads to better understand the customer demographic and tailor marketing campaigns to their needs.

For new businesses with limited customer traffic, gathering customer data through ads may not be feasible. Instead, they can turn to market research to gain insights into their target audience. Companies like BDSA provide valuable customer insights using point-of-sale data from national retailers. While these services come at a cost, they can be a valuable investment if used wisely.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with new strategies and technologies to stay ahead of the game.

Von Dellinger is director of innovation at The Hemp Collect, an Oregon-based manufacturer working with quality-focused brands, processors and retailers in cannabis and hemp. Want to be at the forefront of quality and innovation? Get in touch.



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