In the cannabis industry, honing in on specific audience segment or niche plays an important role in the success of your cannabis product or service. While all men and women over the age of 21 are potential customers for cannabis-centric companies, that doesn't mean your product will succeed if it is marketed towards "everyone."
In our last edition of Cannabis Generational Marketing, we focused on buying trends and habits of Millennials and their importance as a cannabusiness target audience. During Chuck Underwood's presentation at the Marijuana Business Conference in May, he described how each generation has their own experiences and perceptions of cannabis use. Therefore they should be targeted in unique ways. Next up on our list: Generation X.
Also known as the "Forgotten Generation" or the "Middle Child" between Millennials and Boomers, the Gen Xers are often left on the back-burner while companies rush to reach the very impressionable Millennials and money-spending Baby Boomers. However, as these 35-49 year olds now control the highest spending power, it's wise to think about their buying habits and behavior to most efficiently market your brand.
1) They Love To Try New PRODUCTS
If you think brand loyalty for Generation X is a given, think again. Xers are extremely willing to try and buy new products from brands they're unfamiliar with. And, positive or negative, Gen Xers are more likely to share their experiences with their peers by word of mouth, social media or online reviews. Does your business pay regular attention to recent reviews and interact with past customers? Do you respond to both the positive and negative? Do you have outstanding customer service and offer discounts to returning customers? By showing Xers that you truly care about their experience, you're more likely to earn their trust and create brand loyalty.
As more states legalize cannabis, the list of new products including extracts, edibles and topicals keeps growing. There may be some edible companies that have been the "top dogs" for the last few years, but brands can not rely on recognition and past successes forever. A brand is not a static thing. Your brand needs regular attention and upkeep to ensure it is being properly perceived. Much like craft beer, logo and package design is influential in purchasing decisions, before even tasting the product. It may be time to invest in a logo update, or at the very least a refresh to strengthen your brand identity.
2) They Do Their Research
According to Underwood, Generational Xers are individualistic, skeptical, distrustful, and peer-focused. “These core values bode well for [the cannabis] industry,” Underwood said. But he added:
Underwood makes a great point, especially when it comes to honesty and authenticity in cannabis branding. Those included in Generation X grew up in the "information era" and are are well-educated. Before making purchasing decisions, they'll be sure to learn everything they can. The internet serves as the preferred research method and it's no surprise. Everything about a company, the products and services offered, competitors, pricing and reviews are just a Google search away.
It's integral to invest in a well-designed, user-friendly website, so your potential customers are able to easily access your information. Additionally, your product’s packaging should act as your salesman when you’re not around to give them the honest ins and outs of you brand. Make the important information readily available on your product packaging. It's okay to brag if you make your edibles out of local, organic chocolate! However, if your chocolate comes from a generic factory in China, don't pass it off as top quality. Generation X will do their research and find out if your brand is being dishonest!
3) They Live Stressful Lives
Generation X once rebelled against typical "adulthood," but in their eyes, they've become ordinary, average adults. In fact, only 49% of Xers believe their generation is unique. They're balancing a hectic work and home life, dealing with frustrations from an overwhelming amount of responsibility. Finances, running their own business, college funds, social life, marriage, coaching middle school basketball teams — Xers are feeling stressed! According to a 2012 American Psychology Association study, Generation X reports the highest stress levels in the Stress America national survey. What can your cannabusiness do to make their lives more simple, convenient and less stressful?
It's important to empathize with your customers and recognize their pain points. Since they often feel overworked and short on time and energy, perhaps your products can be pre-ordered online for fast and convenient in-store pickup. With the weight of the world on their shoulders, it's likely Xers long for peace and quiet. Does your brand's messaging promote relaxation and well-being? Topicals and infused teas are excellent products to create a spa-like experience.
It's easy for cannabis companies and marketers in general to overlook Generation X. However, this under-targeted market is currently the biggest spender in the United States, which bodes well for the cannabis industry. To appeal to Generation X, your cannabis brand should provide personalized customer service, well-designed, quality products and a brand experience that caters to the daily stresses of 35-49 year olds.