EXCLUSIVE: 4 Experts Reveal How To Pinpoint A Cannabis Buyer Persona

The ideal way to identify how and why consumers buy cannabis is through market research, several marketing experts said during a panel discussion hosted by Progress Partners EIR Director Jessica Straw at the 2023 Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Miami.

Trulieve Cannabis Corp.'s TRUL TCNNF CMO Gina Collins identified data as a foundation for building an ideal cannabis consumer or a buyer persona. Data are "the key" as they will "tell you the story…you just have to listen," she added.

Even in the current consolidation across the cannabis industry and changing macro environment, the core of a buyer persona remains the same, she explained.

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Alongside Collins, the three other panelists — Gary Allen, CEO of New Frontier Data; Robert Hoban, co-chair of Clark Hill's Cannabis Industry Group; and Tahira Rehmatullah, a partner at Highlands Venture Partners and co-founder and CEO of Commons — gave some valuable insights on the topic.

Cannabis Consumer Base Is Diverse

Rehmatullah argues that consumers are "not in [a] box," suggesting that teens and seniors alike use cannabis for a similar reason, despite age differences.

"The link is that everybody was trying to address something with their health… something very specific like sleep pain and anxiety," she said.

To that end, Rehmatullah said that it's important to adapt the messaging in terms of a product's advertising, making it "a little more universal."

Hoban highlighted the several types of cannabis consumers, including medical users, parents, professionals, creatives, and experts — with all the subcategories like edibles. athletes and prudent parents — to name a few.

To get all these personas to buy a cannabis product, retailers can learn lessons from other industries like health and wellness, as well as alcohol, Hoban said. On the opposite ends of the spectrum, both industries "take care of the [human] body."

"You mix those two things... shake it up a little bit, and that's how you have your cannabis consumer," he explained.

But in terms of creating a fictional character that represents the target market for a product, Hoban said that with cannabis, that's a little bit harder to do.

"The fictitious element of defining something that creates a character" can be misleading, he said, because it's yet unclear if that character "really follows the characteristics that we give to that person."

Allen said they used empirical data from the consumers themselves to create a buyer persona. However, he identified an industrywide problem with the top of the funnel.

To address the issue, Allen suggests turning to other CPG industries, like health and wellness, considering that 71% of all cannabis consumers rely on THC and CBD for health and wellness purposes.

"Those [health and wellness] retail locations are going to be a really good way for us to understand what the consumer good is for this [cannabis] industry," Allen said.

Photo: Courtesy of bulkbuddy, PublicDomainPictures by Pixabay

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Posted In: CannabisNewsPoliticsRetail SalesTopicsSmall CapEventsTop StoriesExclusivesMarketsGeneralBenzinga Cannabis Capital ConferenceCCCClark HillCommonsGary AllenGina CollinsHighlands Venture PartnersJessica Strawmarijuana salesmarketingNew Frontier DataProgress PartnersRobert HobanTahira Rehmatullah
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