Not Everyone is Your Customer

Posted on February 27th, 2023 to Branding

Ok, so you’ve got a great service/product, but who’s buying it?

Entrepreneurs often think about every single thing when it comes to getting their cannabis business started except who their customer is.  You may have a great product or service, but who is going to buy it?

Building a company is crazy-difficult, so it’s an understandable thing to get lost in the process. There’s a never ending list of to-do’s that one must complete before opening the doors to customers.  Understanding your mission as it relates to the products or services you offer is a big step to understanding what your brand will stand for.

When we’re building out new cannabis brands, we ask TONS of questions.  We want to understand the “why” so we can successfully get to the “how”.  One question that never fails to cause confusion despite seeming like the simplest: “who is your customer?”.

Not everyone who enjoys cannabis is your customer

Usually the answer here is something like “everyone”, or “anyone who enjoys cannabis”.  This is NEVER an accurate answer.   Sure, any company would love to have loyalty from 100% of its potential customers, but this is a pipe-dream.  Different people search out products for different reasons. Some people want “A”, while others may relate to “B.”  Even if you have the very best products, competition still exists and some people will prefer other brands. There are far more reasons why a person may not be your customer than there are reasons why they would be.  Part of our job is to figure out who that customer base is.

Make up personas

I’ll use CannaPlanners as an example.  When first starting out, we didn’t really know who our customer persona was.  Who should we sell to?  We didn’t know.  Eventually, given the state of the CBD industry we narrowed it down to “CBD companies”, and although that still was far too broad, it was a good starting point.  From there it evolved to “Vermont Hemp Farmers”, which allowed us to focus our messaging to that type of persona.

Over the last few years, we have developed it even further:

  1. Dispensary Dan
  2. Marketing Mary
  3. CEO Sam
  4. Producer Paul
  5. Farmer Frank

It may look silly, but assigning proper names to your buyer personas will … help personify the sale.  By understanding the basic traits and buying habits of each of these personas, we can better tailor our pitch to fit their needs.

Creating a buyer persona means understanding your competition as equally as you do your customers.  By researching the approach of your competitors you’ll be better suited to determine what your audience needs are, how to assess your products impact on those needs, and how to create messaging to back it all up.  Here’s what you do:

  1. Know your audience.  Beyond testing, your pre-market strategy should include gathering as much information about your customers as possible.  Social media and Google Analytics are great tools to help figure out how people search out different types of products and services.
  2. Know your competitors.  You can use similar search methods to understand the positioning of your competitors as you do your customers.  Understanding the way your competitors align with their customers will help you find what differentiators will set you apart.
  3. Get Feedback! What people on your team are actually talking with customers?  Your sales and customer service teams will have specific insights delivered directly from clients that can help you pivot, change your value proposition, or update your messaging.
  4. What’s your Value Prop?  Ask yourself how your product/service is going to help your proposed customer.  What are you doing that provides benefits that your customers can’t find from your competitors?  This can be simplified down to a single idea.
  5. Build a persona! Now that you understand who your audience is, what your competitors are doing, received feedback and determined your value proposition, you can now create a persona.  Be as general as you are specific; where does your customer live?  What gender (mostly) are they? Do they use cannabis? Etc, etc.  Asking these kinds of questions will help you distill down exactly who these potential customers are and how you should speak to them.

Build your canna-brand!

Knowing your audience and marketing to them aren’t the same thing, but they can and should happen together. That’s where CannaPlanners can help. By being a one-stop shop for your branding and marketing, we help to define your audience, build a message that resonates with them, and then continually refine your buyer personas and strategies to get in front of them.

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