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Set Your Goals High | 2022 Cannabis Marketing Trends

In the United States today, just under three-quarters of states have legalized marijuana in some fashion. As of April of 2022, 37 states have legalized the medical use of cannabis and 18 states have legalized the adult use of cannabis for recreational purposes (including medical use). Furthermore, recreational marijuana use is also legal in Washington, DC, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.


With increased legalization comes increased revenue. The recreational marijuana market reached $15 billion in sales in 2021 and is expected to reach upwards of $25 billion by 2025, according to Statista. The steady increase in sales revenue coincides with the steady increase in the number of cannabis consumers. By 2025, the United States is projected to have close to 50 million cannabis consumers.


As we find ourselves just a handful of days away from 4/20, the marijuana holiday, cannabis companies are no doubt ramping up for an extraordinary week of sales. Revenue associated with the day (or week, as organizations have come to find) almost doubled between 2018 and 2021, from $89.7 million in 2018 to more than $175 million last year. While New Jersey residents will have to wait until 4/21 to legally purchase recreational marijuana from select dispensaries, cannabis users residing in states that have legalized recreational cannabis use likely have a multitude of dispensaries to choose from.


While the cannabis industry has seen dramatic growth in recent years, the competition between dispensaries to maximize profits and market share has grown exponentially as well. As the market continues to change rapidly, organizations within the field will have to market effectively to the audiences most interested in the product. As cannabis customers are widely represented across different demographics, precisely targeting an audience that best aligns with your cannabis business will reap greater engagement, brand loyalty, and perhaps most importantly, revenue.


Cannabis Consumers


As alluded to above, the stereotype of the “typical cannabis user” no longer exists. While the cannabis user persona was largely viewed as a negative in years past, cannabis tech company Dutchie recently presented a great deal of data that aimed to put an end to the stereotype that was unfair to both the industry and users alike.


Dutchie found that of the 5,000 adult cannabis users surveyed in their study from both the United States and Canada, 54% are highly educated with a college degree or higher. Not only are they educated, but they are high-achieving members of society and the workforce. Many are doctors, lawyers, Olympic athletes and successful businessmen and businesswomen.

Cannabis users are also likely to be female. According to Dutchie’s study, female users between the age of 45 and 54 use marijuana the most. Furthermore, 58% of respondents reported that they are physically active and 57% consider themselves health conscious. Those surveyed also largely prefer to purchase their cannabis in a legal fashion through a “safe, transparent, and convenient shopping experience.”


For dispensaries, this is music to their ears. Not only do the majority of cannabis users want to purchase marijuana through such an outlet, Dutchie’s study painted the perfect persona picture (say that five times fast!). For marketers, guessing at who ideal consumers are and how they prefer to communicate and conduct business is an antiquated practice. As dispensaries can now deduce that their ideal consumer is female, between the age of 45 and 55, affluent and health-conscious, businesses and marketers alike must optimize their operational and marketing strategy to reach such an individual.



Hearst + Times Union Green State


As consumer targeting within the cannabis industry becomes more nuanced, so too must the way in which companies interact and engage with their desired audience. For many cannabis brands, focusing on educating their target audience through the creation of quality content can foster a great deal of brand recognition, trust and growth.


When it comes to distributing the quality content created by your cannabis brand, there are a multitude of ways and platforms on which to do so. We suggest using a combination of earned, owned and paid media to get your content and message out to new and returning customers alike. For example, companies can use their own website to publish and host content (owned), distribute content on authority sites or publications (earned), or distribute content through paid media outlets such as native ads, display ads, or paid social ads (paid media).


The Times Union newspaper has been redesigned to support a weekly Green State NY content page to help our cannabis partners reach consumers within a trusted, widely distributed medium. Green State is produced nationally by Hearst Newspapers and is featured weekly in the Thursday Times Union. Hearst believes that with clear market demand and more states approving legalization, it is important to invest in quality, reputable marketing tactics.


Exclusive Green State NY content will feature Green State columns from Dr. Leigh Vinocur, reporting on medical community perspectives, lifestyle tips from licensed therapist Stephanie Zhu, how-to recipes from an herbalist Kathryn Cannon, as well as a wide variety of stories on trends, news, culture and travel. Premium advertising positions are available to reach an engaged, affluent audience interested in the current state of affairs.


We encourage emerging cannabis organizations to advertise against beautiful, award-winning photography and highly useful reporting. The investment in reputable, original and quality content is invaluable in a world in which consumers are inundated with ads and content on numerous platforms.



Wrap Up


Capturing the attention of a highly engaged audience interested in the benefits of cannabis, CBD and the industry as a whole becomes increasingly important as the vertical continues grow. Becoming a storyteller or aligning your brand with expert storytellers can help your organization market more effectively on digital and traditional advertising platforms and mediums. While storytelling and creating quality content does not automatically generate revenue, it often piques the interest of a consumer and encourages continued interest in a good or service.


At the Times Union Media Group, we understand the challenge in marketing within an industry that is constantly evolving and growing. We too are evolving in the way in which we reach consumers through new products and services. Want to learn more about some of our cutting-edge cannabis product marketing offerings? Reach out to our expert marketing team today and jump start your cannabis marketing journey.




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