6 Ways Cannabis Marketers Can Grow Customers with AI

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Colorado Amendment 64, legalizing cannabis for recreational use. Since then, multiple other states have legalized or decriminalized the use of recreational cannabis, opening the market to new consumers and the introduction of new weed-derived products. By 2025, the total annual market for cannabis in the US is expected to balloon to $45.8 billion, according to cannabis research company Headset.

The opportunities for cannabis marketers are big as holidays like 4/20 attract new consumers. According to a separate Headset study of the 4/20 weed holiday in 2021, purchases by female customers increased by 140% over the four weeks leading up to the holiday, compared to 107% for male buyers. Meanwhile, sales to Gen Z buyers almost tripled 4/20 sales in 2020, growing by 168% in 2021. Sales to Millennials followed closely with a 125% sales growth. Headset notes that consumers are more likely to purchase beverages, concentrates, edibles, flower, and pre-rolls over the green holiday.

With Gen Z and Millennials being the most dominant cannabis customer groups, cannabis marketers have a huge opportunity to deliver the same level of effortless and highly personalized experiences and customer journeys that these digital-natives enjoy with other brands. The secret lies in using an AI-powered customer engagement platform to help you create a 360-degree view of every customer so you can design, automate, and deliver moments of joy, not only over the 4/20 holiday period but also throughout the year. Here are six key engagement campaigns to get you started.

Say Hello

1. Create Personalized Welcome Email Series

Once a customer has made their first interaction with you, send them a personalized welcome series to build a lasting relationship. Use it to introduce your brand, orient them around your offerings, and make a great first impression.

An AI-powered customer engagement platform helps you to personalize outreach to each customer based on their unique behaviors and transaction history on your site, channels, and in-store. That way, you’re making personalized recommendations to products or content that would most appeal to them. You can create the series so that it reaches each customer anywhere they are through email, in-store, push notifications on their devices, and SMS. The AI ensures that each interaction is connected across these touchpoints, so your customer has a consistent experience throughout.

Create Trust

2. Deliver Educational Campaigns

With the cannabis market changing so quickly, a great way to stand out from the competition is by creating educational campaigns about the industry and the way products are manufactured. Because an AI-powered engagement platform creates more intelligence about each customer as they interact with your brand, you can dynamically deliver educational campaigns that align with the customer’s level of cannabis knowledge. Use this opportunity to teach them about how your product is grown, show behind-the-scenes footage, teach them about the kinds of strains and the effects of each product, and help them explore new products.

Grow Loyalty

3. Reward Repeat Customers

It’s common knowledge that it costs 5x more to acquire a new customer than to keep an old one. Loyal customers are also your biggest brand advocates and influencers. Loyalty programs are a great way to reward repeat customers and you can use an AI-powered customer engagement platform to identify and segment valued customers and reward them with exclusive offers and early access to products and content. Use AI to help you recognize and reward milestones, achievements, and holidays, such as birthdays, anniversaries, and VIP access to 4/20 events. Tip: You can also use your customers’ loyalty status in segments to quickly determine a customer’s propensity to return.

Optimize Interactions

4. Deliver Personalized Product Recommendations

Consumers appreciate dynamic recommendations when making purchases, and AI makes this possible for marketers to deliver. Product suggestions can be tailored – automatically, on the fly – inspiring customers to make additional purchases. Whether on your website, in your app, or via email, you can introduce customers to new products that they otherwise would have never considered. This can be incredibly useful for cannabis brands that are beginning to sell directly to consumers.

As Kenny Morrison, president of the California Cannabis Manufacturers Association explained to MJBizDaily, the direct-to-consumer (DTC) model allows consumers to shop a manufacturer’s entire line of products instead of only what retailers choose to carry. An AI-powered engagement platform enables cannabis marketers to automate and tailor product recommendations from their expansive product catalogs to customers at scale. By curating the shopping experience to customers’ preferences, buying habits, and real-time behaviors, you show that you know and understand your customers well, further establishing loyalty and trust.

Celebrate Occasions

5. Deliver Promotional Campaigns

Everyone loves a great deal. Whether it’s a 4/20 or 7/10 promotion, an early access offer, or exclusive discounts for valued customers, marketers can strategically use promotions to both encourage transactions and provide a reason for customers to come back to your brand, browse your latest selection, and make additional (unplanned) purchases. You can deliver personalized campaigns to specific customer segments, use geo-targeting based on the nearest dispensary, and other important attributes.

Prevent Churn

6. Keep Customers Engaged

Customer churn rate in 2020 for general retail (24%) is just slightly lower than the rate in the leading industries for churn – cable and financial/credit industries (25%, respectively), according to data from Statista. This stark reality is a great reminder to quickly act to win back the attention of customers before they leave for good. AI-powered predictive models allow you to rank each customer based on their likelihood to perform an action — including churn. This means you can quickly prevent churn by sending the customer a series of messages to remind them about what had appealed to them about your product selection in the first place.

Entice customers to visit your brand by highlighting new, popular, or limited stock items. Add well-timed promotions to provide additional incentives. The more you can personalize the messages and products tailored to a customer’s preference, the more effective the campaign will be.

It’s an exciting time to be a marketer in the cannabis industry right now. AI is already being used to boost the output of production and processing of cannabis and its derivative products. It’s time for marketers to leverage AI to boost customer retention and keep them highly engaged.

The Blueshift intelligent customer engagement platform complies with industry standards, including HIPAA, and is used by retailers such as CarParts.com and Tuft & Needle, to create AI-powered cross-channel campaigns personalized to each customer in real-time. Connect with one of our experts to see how Blueshift can transform your customer experience.

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