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8 Tips for Cannabis Businesses to Know Your Consumer

KYC is a financial term for “Know Your Customer,” a set of standards that bankers use to verify their clients’ identities and securely open their accounts. Since we provide banking solutions for the cannabis industry and next Thursday is Get to Know Your Customers Day, we want to discuss another kind of KYC–getting to know your consumer.

Understanding your audience is the baseline for any successful marketing campaign, including dispensary marketing. These tips don’t just apply to retail. They apply to anyone along the seed-to-sale supply chain. Getting your product out there increases brand awareness, leading to more significant wholesale purchases, wider consumer exposure, and even brand or manufacturer collaborations.

Now that we’ve covered why you should make an effort to get to know your consumer, here are some creative tactics for how you can better understand your customer:

1. Look for demographic trends.

With 19 adult-use states selling legal cannabis in the US, retail buyers’ and consumers’ audiences have grown. The days of selling medical-grade cannabis exclusively to patients struggling with specific ailments are over. Instead, younger consumers focus on high THC lab results, and older consumers tend to be less interested in top-shelf craft cannabis. What you sell to a dispensary or what they sell to their customers should be curated to their largest demographic. Your POS software’s customer profiles or wholesale sales records should help you discover your key audience demographic.

2. Track purchasing habits.

All successful cannabis POS systems offer built-in sales analytics that helps you track which product categories, brands, and price tiers are selling the fastest. This can help you merchandise your store and inform what inventory your purchasing team stocks.

3. Don’t assume consumers are like you.

If a top-shelf strain left you feeling elated the night before, feel free to mention that to a customer, but don’t push it on them. Product sales work best when you actively listen to a consumer’s needs. Dispensary staff should consider their customer’s desired effects, favored consumption method, and budget when guiding them towards a purchase. The same advice applies to cultivators: leave your personal preference at the door. Of course, you love the cannabis you harvest, so drop strategic samples you think would sell well at a particular dispensary based on the other lines they carry.

4. Think about what motivates your customers.

Are they bargain flower shoppers, or do they want the new line of rosin? Curate your marketing campaigns to what they like. Drop hints at sales on social media (but be careful to avoid price tags, or the content may get flagged) or highlight images of new products with terpene-rich captions. Don’t be afraid to publish surveys or have your customers answer polls so you can better know your consumer and cater to them.

5. Consider what marketing channels are available to you.

Paid social ads can be expensive and complicated to get approved in this industry. Customers may be reluctant to join your SMS loyalty program. And, brand giveaways have flooded the market. Never fret! New Frontier Data’s 2022 Cannabis Digital Marketing Survey offered some crucial findings:

“Cannabis marketers currently focus a lot of their limited resources on social media and other top-of-funnel brand awareness campaigns. Cannabis marketers are misusing or underusing channels that perform well, presenting strategic opportunities to improve results from bottom-of-funnel efforts like email marketing and programmatic advertising campaigns.”

While brand awareness plays are essential, they don’t always directly convert consumers. The study indicated that 80% of cannabis marketers found difficulty in targeting customers with the right channel. One solution is to use programmatic ads that can help drive pay-per-click conversions, site traffic, and overall sales.

Crafting your email marketing strategy is important too, and it’s a more affordable tactic for small businesses. Consider what information you want to share (product updates, newsletters, educational “how-to” content, etc.) and how often. Start building your email list and decide how you should segment it for the best results.

6. Hold an educational event.

The most prominent and stigma-reversing cannabis marketing involves education about the plant. Customers want to know more than just indica, sativa, hybrid –  they want to understand why cannabis isn’t a one-strain-fits-all product.

Interact directly with the customers at your event. Find out what they want to know and how to describe terpenes and their effects. You could offer games, vendor meet-n-greets, and even a terpene-smelling contest.

For web-based cannabis businesses, try hosting a webinar event. You could have a cultivator as the guest speaker and collectively gather customer data and feedback. Afterward, share images on your social channels of your local community interacting. Cannabis marketers have found that educational material provides the best customer experience and helps navigate compliant advertising issues around cannabis.

7. Ask for customer reviews.

This tactic is vital for manufacturers and cultivators because it informs their future practices. For example, if dispensaries reject cartridges because they’ve leaked in the past, this would be an excellent time for the brand to reassess their cartridge components. Dispensary clients can tell you why a product isn’t selling well and help the wholesale brands improve.

8. Research SEO keywords.

Sourcing keywords through Google’s keyword planning tool can help with more than just Search Engine Optimization (SEO); it can provide insight into a customer’s purchasing journey from surfing the web to adding to an e-commerce basket. Since cannabis sales boomed online during COVID-19, don’t forget that the web is an excellent source for understanding shopping personas and providing a customer’s desired product. If your brand is present across cannabis e-commerce websites, reach out to that platform for additional analytics to get to know your consumer better.


New Frontier Data’s report revealed that cannabis companies typically have a marketing team smaller than five employees – meaning small businesses will have to get scrappy. Digital and partnership marketing are still essential channels to continue to utilize, but email marketing shouldn’t be overlooked.

Whether you’re marketing to seasoned cannabis sommeliers or trending with Gen Z, these tips can help bring your cannabusiness ambitions to life. We encourage you to always learn from your customer base every day, not just on Get to Know Your Customers Day.

Ready, set, sell!

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