Mainstream Marketers Should Count on Cannabis Customers

CBD insights can be overlaid on traditional marketing segments

Mainstream companies must leverage the power of cannabis data now or risk being left behind in the new era of commerce. Getty Images
Headshot of Rosie Mattio

The modern day cannabis consumer has emerged as one of the most dynamic demographics defying archaic stereotypes. People of all backgrounds, no matter their life stage, are now consuming it. Once considered a fringe category, cannabis in all of its forms is now a household essential, especially in the time of the coronavirus. There are currently more than 40.3 million cannabis consumers in the U.S., according to Statista, and that number is expected to increase to 46.6 million by 2025. 

It’s no wonder ambitious marketers are starting to look at cannabis data to determine the future of mainstream marketing and growth strategies. In the decade since the national legalization movement began, legal companies have collected a gold mine of valuable consumer insights. Federal and local regulations often required legal companies to keep meticulous records on every step of the cannabis supply chain for compliance purposes. Over the past few years, dispensaries and brands amassed purchasing and loyalty data through their point-of-sales systems in order to better inform their inventory, marketing and R&D decisions.

In recent weeks, millions of cannabis consumer data points have come online through mainstream channels, and this proliferation of information could redefine conventional marketing practices. With this new trove of consumer data, mainstream marketers have the opportunity to reach untapped markets with increased accuracy and even utilize this information to fine-tune corporate growth strategies. 

Cannabis consumer data has recently become more readily available due to sweeping legalization and the proliferation of CBD products in the mainstream market. Thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill that legalized hemp-derived CBD, CPG products ranging from tinctures and infused beverages to pet supplements can be found in most national retailers. CBD’s impact on the consumer market has been so commanding that Nielsen struck a partnership with cannabis analytics provider Headset last year to study the industry’s market potential and consumer demands. As CBD has exploded in popularity among mainstream consumers, mainstream brands have embraced this new demographic and are eager to gather more data on this growing and eclectic audience. 

With this new trove of consumer data, mainstream marketers have the opportunity to reach untapped markets with increased accuracy and even utilize this information to fine-tune corporate growth strategies. 

With cannabis now legal in some capacity in 33 states, brands and retailers in the industry possess valuable data on consumers in nearly three-quarters of the country. This year, cannabis CRM and loyalty provider springbig reported 19 million active customers through its dispensary network. Each of these customers possess specific preferences, habits and idiosyncrasies that can be leveraged by marketers in countless applications. As cannabis becomes increasingly mainstream and sheds its outdated stigmas, companies are now more willing than ever to share its datasets with the public. Acquiring cannabis consumer data will only become more advantageous to cannabis and mainstream companies as more states legalize the plant in the next few years. 

In recent weeks, cannabis data and solutions platforms including New Frontier Data and Fyllo announced partnerships with mainstream data providers including Lotame to bring industry-specific data to more conventional sectors. Both companies have collectively amassed over 100 million unique profiles on cannabis and CBD consumers that can be overlaid on traditional marketing segments. For example, fast food companies can filter through cannabis-derived datasets to target cannabis customers in certain zip codes who purchase high-dose products that induce the munchies. Fitness companies can identify potential new clients by searching for consumers who purchase recovery topicals, and beauty companies can market natural skincare products to demographics that have a penchant for CBD-infused creams.

Rosie Mattio is founder of RMPR.