Millennial Marketing – The New Culture of Cannabis

The Do’s and Don’ts to Next Generation Marketing

The medical Cannabis industry grew 74% from 2013 to 2014 and shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, recent government voting shows an increased support for the industry. What that means for the business owner or future entrepreneur is that, sooner or later, you will find yourself needing to adapt to an ever-changing marketplace. Furthermore, the longer you stay in business, the more you will see a new generation of consumer enter the market. This new generation has been coined as the ‘Millennial’, born in or after 1985, and they are primed to be a consumer unlike any the market has ever seen. Armed with an infinite amount of information and an abundance of social media platforms at their fingertips, the millennial is changing everything as it relates to business and marketing strategy. Check out these important ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ that every business should consider when trying to capture this next generation consumer.

Product Development     

Build a product that is part of a bigger solution, such as global health, and you will be embraced by the millennial community.

DON’TAssume you know what a Millennial wants.

When building a product or service, avoid exclusivity at all costs. The millennial supports positivity and equality more than previous generations and will certainly support a company that continues to push people up rather than put people down. You can directly see this trend as it pertains to the rise in gender equality as well as sexual equality among the millennial generation. Whereas older generations may lean heavily towards conformity, the millennial celebrates and embraces the unique. So much so that the more accepting and progressive the company, the more willing the millennial will be to support it whole heartedly. The name of the game is inclusivity. Build a product that transcends demographics and is applicable to all walks of life and you will have people lining up at your door to support it.

DOCreate a product that serves a larger cause.

Identify a cause or problem and tailor your product as a solution. This sounds like a pretty simple idea, but it’s one that gets overlooked constantly by inexperienced entrepreneurs and is especially relevant when it pertains to the millennial. They are very health conscious and will trend towards quality over quantity. A direct example would be the rise of ‘healthy alternatives’ within the fast food industry (Chipotle-Craft Pizza). Businesses offering quality ingredients at a slightly higher price point are taking over the market because the millennial sees the perceived value behind a healthier lifestyle. In their eyes, they are supporting a business that is contributing to the larger goal of a healthy planet. Build a product that is part of a bigger solution, such as global health, and you will be embraced by the millennial community.

Product Marketing

Make US want to be YOU

DON’TTell a Millennial what to buy.

While past generations may have been more willing to accept the social norm, the millennial has become the most progressive generation to date. The main reason being that information is more accessible and abundant than ever before. What this means is that the millennial consumer will be a very informed and opinionated consumer. Simply put, the “Buy this because we said so” (Quote: Molly Behunin, Arizona Western College, Class of 2016) mentality will never work on the millennial demographic. Transparency and positivity are important for the millennial, so refrain from tearing down other products or businesses. Instead, focus on what makes you a unique product in the marketplace. The millennial is constantly asking why and continually questioning motives behind advertising and branding. Make your message positive and keep it clear from ulterior motives and you will set yourself up to make a big splash in your industry.

DOCreate a Lifestyle around your brand.

Lululemon, Toms and GoPro are just a couple of brands that have excelled at creating a lifestyle to go along with their product. Building a community of users who can interact with the business as well as other consumers will cause the millennial to embrace the product. They want evolution and growth in the world and support companies that offer a global vision of change. Perhaps more importantly, experience is replacing presumptions for this next generation of consumers. This “Make US want to be YOU” (Quote: Molly Behunin, Arizona Western College, Class of 2016) style of branding cultivates the millennial’s desire to gain knowledge firsthand, rather than by word of mouth. For example, a snowboarder may see a friend’s YouTube video featuring footage shot with the newest GoPro technology. Rather than watching more videos, he or she wants to create their own video. So the consumer goes out to purchase the product because it adds value to their lifestyle. The experience becomes achievable because GoPro has created an inclusive lifestyle in which anyone can become involved. Boom, the product has just sold itself without any advertising or spending. By creating a product that contributes to an overall experience a business can entrench itself in the user’s daily life, setting themselves up for long-term success.

Social Media

Build a relationship with the millennial and they will become a consumer when they need your product.

DON’TOversell yourself or your product.

     Selling your product should never be the main focus when it comes to social media. The millennial uses social media for community interaction and social networking, not to scroll through advertising and sales pitches. In fact, the more advertising a millennial sees the more likely they are to perceive the product as ‘big business’ and rebel in favor of a smaller company. Furthermore, with multiple social platforms at their fingertips they can easily negotiate themselves away from product placement. In effect, trying to use social platforms to directly build sales of your product could provide the opposite result. Instead use social media to drive awareness of your product. Let the consumer know what you are doing as a company. Post fun pictures or thoughts on an important topic in your industry. Build a relationship with the millennial and they will become a consumer when they need your product.

DOQuality over Quantity

Sure, brand awareness is important; however, you want to make sure people are aware of your brand for the right reason. Blowing up your followers social media feeds with advertisements will only act as a catalyst for them to un-follow you and stay away from your product. Pay attention to the quality of each post rather than simply posting content for content sake. Develop a formula that works for your business as to the timing and style of social media posting. A formula that allows you to not only engage your following frequently and in different ways, but prevents you from looking desperate for the sales and attention. As mentioned previously, the millennial is constantly asking ‘why’ and will see right through your intentions most of the time. By making your business intentions positive and transparent over your social media outlets, you allow the millennial to build trust with the product. Trust and transparency are two of the biggest buzzwords to the millennial. Using your social media to build both simultaneously will allow your company to be seen as a friend, not just another business.

What do you think is most important when marketing to a younger demographic? What more would you like to know about the millennial generation? Throw your questions and answers in the comment section below!

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Photo Credit: Thomas Brault