Legal Cannabis is Powering Forward: How do you Prepare?

Bethany Gomez

12/12/17

Cannabis legalization is powering forward, with California opening recreational markets January 1 and Canada's recreational markets opening by the middle of next year.  This means that by Q3 of next year, nearly 100 million North Americans will be living in areas with easy access to recreational marijuana, compared with just over 20 million today.  Do you understand how your products will be impacted?

The reverberations of legalization will be felt across many industries, including packaged foods and drinks, alcoholic beverages, tobacco, healthcare and pharmaceuticals and even beauty and personal care.  Cannabis serves as a substitute for many products, particularly alcohol, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, though the impacts vary quite dramatically by consumer segment and product type.  Others, including packaged foods and drinks and consumer foodservice, may be complements if marketed appropriately to receptive segments of cannabis consumers.

Stoner Stereotypes vs. Customer Segmentation

A nuanced understanding of the cannabis industry is required to understand these effects - not only the product landscape and market drivers but most notably the modern cannabis consumer.  With the rise of legalization, it is quickly becoming clear that stoner stereotypes no longer apply and clear segments of cannabis consumers are materializing.  They have very distinct product preferences, consumption methods and usage patterns.  With a plethora of options now available to them, they are increasingly demanding and sophisticated in the products and brands they select.  Understanding the overlap of your brand's core consumer groups and the segments of cannabis consumers will be crucial to your strategic planning and marketing strategies moving forward.

Are your core consumers Yogis who use cannabis as part of a wellness lifestyle? Are they Partiers or Radical Millennials who use in social situations or to help with sleep or anxiety?  Other key segments include Boomerangs, who are returning to cannabis for their health afflictions in retirement, Techies or White Collar Professionals with high stress jobs who use in private to get them through a long day and High Income Liberals who are bringing infused chocolates to a dinner party instead of a bottle of wine.  The occasions of use differ for each group, and thus the substitution and complementary effects vary for each persona as well. For Boomerangs using medicinally, cannabis is most often a substitute for OTC painkillers or pharmaceuticals; for Radical Millennials and Partiers it is most commonly a substitute for craft or economy brand beers; for Yogis herbal supplements and natural medicines.

Predictive Analytics for the Cannabis Industry

Brightfield Group has developed its predictive marketing and analytics portfolio to understand the ever-evolving modern cannabis consumer. Our proprietary technology uses machine-learning algorithms to analyze in real-time all aspects of cannabis consumers to predict usage behavior and provide dynamic personas that go beyond simple demographics and purchasing patterns. We provide detailed insights into consumer psychographics, preferred language, top issues and concerns, lifestyle, hobbies and activities, brand sentiment across cannabis and non-cannabis brands, core influencers and much more. This enables clients to identify customers and provide cost-effective, microtargeted advertisements that speak to their core issues in language that moves them.

Want to see how cannabis legalization will affect your company?  Want to find a strategy to effectively market your products to cannabis consumers? Reach out today to see how you can leverage Brightfield Group's expertise and vast ecosystem of cannabis consumer and market data to find a winning strategy in the face of cannabis legalization.

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