There has never been a more exciting time to launch a cannabis retail business.
While explosive growth of the industry continues to motivate many entrepreneurs to enter the retail cannabis space, owners must be prepared to fulfill licensing requirements, find property, seek investment, recruit talent, and address the daily needs of the business.
Here’s how you can write a cannabis retail business plan, which can help you achieve cannabis business funding as well as navigate the long-term strategy and daily operations for your retail businesses. But the business plan must also answer an essential question: how will you get customers in the door?
It all comes down to marketing strategy.
How can a marketing strategy help you grow?
Let’s say you’ve decided to attract customers using social media posts and in-store events. What are the specific goals you’re trying to accomplish with these activities, and once they’re done, how you will gauge their success? These questions mark the difference between a marketing plan and a marketing strategy: a marketing plan outlines tactics and a marketing strategy explains the “why” behind them.
Marketing strategy is about setting clear goals. Is your retail business looking to attract more female consumers, increase revenue by 50%, or register 100 new customers for its delivery service? A marketing strategy clarifies your objectives while providing a roadmap for all of your efforts (and money), which is why every successful cannabis retail business plan checklist should include one.
If you’re new to developing a marketing strategy, we’ve outlined two areas that should be reflected in any successful marketing plan for retail cannabis owners:
How to Create an Effective Cannabis Retail Marketing Strategy
Define your target customer.
Understanding your customer is an important initial step for any business. With most markets currently serving medical patients, adults over the age of 21 or a combination of both, defining your customer is the only way to know whom to reach, where to find them, and how to get their attention.
An effective way to approach this is to create buyer personas, or profiles of each target consumer segment served by your cannabis retail business. Marketing to a Millennial is strategically different from appealing to the Baby Boomer consumer, and creating a persona to represent each of these segments makes it easier to decide which marketing activities will most likely resonate with each demographic.
Define each persona to represent your actual consumers: age, profession, income, whether they live in a house or apartment, what types of cannabis products they enjoy. The more detailed the persona is, the better you know your customer and the easier it is to determine which channels and messaging to use to attract them.
Identify your competition.
Another crucial component of a marketing strategy is your company’s position in the marketplace, and that means understanding your competition.
How does your cannabis retail business stack up against others in your area? Are your prices lower or higher? Are you offering unique or exclusive products, or providing services that other retailers aren’t, like delivery? Or does your business look like every other retailer in the vicinity?
A deep assessment of your competition doesn’t just mean determining how to stand out; it also tells the cannabis retail business owner what the market may or may not need.
A marketing strategy sets the framework for all of the activities you conduct to promote your retail cannabis business, which is why it’s important to develop one early, while you’re digging into the marketing section of your business plan.