Few things are more important than market research. Inside the competitive industry of cannabis, deep market analysis is necessary for business prosperity. Your end goal with all this work is to understand the pitfalls within the market, and also identify what is making similar companies successful.
It is worth noting that market research isn’t a one and done task that gets checked off the list in black Sharpie. Market research must be consistent and ongoing — doing it every four to 12 months. Consumer habits change and market patterns fluctuate — this translates to research being needed in order to keep your head above water, and business afloat.
So what are some of the things you’re looking for in your cannabis and cannabinoid research?
- Who are my potential customers?
- What are my customers’ shopping and buying habits?
- How large is my target market?
- How much are potential customers willing to pay?
- Who is my competition?
- What are my competitors’ strengths and weaknesses?
By being able to answer these questions, your business can help better improve your targeting, business model, and product/service. Market research provides hard data, which makes business decisions evidence-based, not experimental.
Start With The Outline
To begin with, market research requires pre-planning. You can’t find anything if you don’t have an idea of what you’re looking for. That starts with defining some questions that you believe would help your business, such as the questions listed above. Others might include:
- What reasons are people consuming cannabis and CBD?
- What key selling propositions might work in this market?
- How are people interacting with cannabis brands via social media?
- What type of marketing do consumers respond best to?
This outline will help guide your business as it begins to conduct research, and in the end, serve as a litmus test for your results.
Pick Out Competitors
Start with examining the playing field. Identify a handful of direct competitors that you feel align with your business. From there, put on your Sherlock Homles hat and start investigating. This process isn’t streamlined or necessarily clear. Dig through their website, make note of what type of content they have placed on their site, what type of messaging they use, and how the functionality of their site works. By examining aspects like these, you might be able to tell how they are marketing, and maybe who their ideal buyer looks like.
Dive Into Social Media
Today, nearly everyone puts everything on social media. The digital era has made it too easy to find out who someone is and what they like. By diving into social media you can accomplish two things. First, you can understand the cannabis and cannabinoid market better. You see first hand how people discuss and engage with the associated products and services. Secondly, you get a real sense of who is interacting and using these goods/services. By analyzing your competitor’s social media accounts, you are able to look through who follows and interacts with their content — helping build out buyer personas. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are full of cannabis-related communities and give a detailed description of the variety of groups that use cannabis and/or CBD.
Leverage Current/Potential Buyers
Surveys still have power. If your business is already up and running, don’t be afraid to ask your current customers to fill out a quick SurveyMonkey questionnaire. A lot won’t do it, but some will and that’s free data. With these surveys, you can help fill in the research you’ve been unable to find thus far. Another way to go about it is crafting lead magnet content that requires people to fill out a survey in order to download or view the whitepaper, blog, video, etc. This strategy might work better toward your potential buyer audience, versus current consumers. As old as surveys are, they still are able to yield important results that help businesses better understand their true market.