Data Can Play a Huge Role in Accelerating Your Cannabis Business' Growth

Some of the most iconic companies in the world develop their brands by applying research, data, and digital technologies that foster emotional consumer connections. Shouldn't yours?
Data Can Play a Huge Role in Accelerating Your Cannabis Business' Growth
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People often categorize particular talents or behaviors as "right-brain" or "left-brain" thinking. Individuals who are right-brained lead with intuition and creativity. People often describe them as free thinkers. On the other hand, left-brained people are thought to be more quantitative, analytical—the data heads. 

While there's some truth to where certain brain functions lie, scientists also know that reasoning and creativity are not mutually exclusive. As a person who has spent the last three decades in advertising, branding, entertainment, and the digital landscape, you might assume I lead with the right side of my brain. But creativity is often inspired by hard data rather than gut feelings. 

Some of the most iconic companies globally—Apple, IBM, HP, McDonald's, Rolls Royce, Volkswagen —develop their brands and their customer experiences by applying an amalgamation of proven methods, research, data, and digital technologies that foster emotional consumer connections. 

Increasingly sophisticated legal cannabis companies must also adopt this approach to compete with mainstream industries. Why are they doing this? Smart brands realize that they are experiences and not just created in a vacuum. 

Related: You Can't Succeed in the Cannabis Business Without Reliable Business Intelligence

Creativity without data is like a shot in the dark

Back when I first began my career in traditional advertising, creative directors and researchers were walled off and barely had reason to speak to one another. Creatives dreamed up fantastical campaigns, while researchers kept count of customers and eyeballs. But in today's data-driven world, that kind of attitude is simply out of the question—and with good reason. We no longer advertise products and brands to consumers. They call the shots. We need to provide them with both products and services that are easy to consume and spark delight.

The process starts with research. We live in a world of data sources and APIs that often live in silos. Our job is to connect those silos, but that is only possible if you extract, transform and load into an "ETL pipeline." This way, it can be analyzed and connected, and referenced in our "data warehouse." Learnings can then be applied cross-platform from retail to brands to driving efficiencies and operations, which results in better business.    

In a world of open APIs, the types of data are endless. Sales systems track popular items purchased by individual stores. With connected data sets, companies can reveal patterns, trends, and associations that aren't obvious to make smarter decisions across their businesses. 

Once a company has captured the data, it is essential to tune in then and listen. Our team examines how consumers behave and gain insights into how consumers interact with digital and analog touchpoints during their retail experiences.  

By doing so, we can uncover friction points in the customer journey. In a highly regulated industry such as cannabis, there is no shortage of friction points, but savvy companies view this as a critical opportunity to fine-tune their engagement strategy. Once we uncover these issues, we are no longer shooting in the dark. We have the insights we need to focus our creative energy and develop a data-driven innovative design for the issue.

Case study

A relationship with a brand is like any other. To make it work, you need an ongoing understanding of your customers' need to stay engaged and satisfied. That's what makes uncovering friction points so important.

For instance, take these examples of data-driven solutions in action: We believe personalized brand experiences will be the future of customer loyalty at our retail stores across the country. We looked at the data and created a new, personalized loyalty and cashback rewards program that gives our customers the ability to create a shopping experience that is individually customized and allows them to earn cashback rewards, special deals, and additional offers based on their personal preferences and purchase history. Our loyalty program uses data in a way that optimizes our in-person and online retail experiences so that we can stay ahead of consumer expectations.

With our new vertically integrated cultivation and processing facilities, we work closely with the head of cultivation and manufacturing, using the same data-gathering and predictive analysis techniques to ensure that not only are we bringing quality products and brands to market, but also ones that people may not even know they want yet.

By looking at our data, we know what products to develop in each region. This helps us drive down costs for our customers and introduce new products and innovate with ease across our product lines. 

Today, a brand's success is primarily determined by customer experiences, and companies that don't understand this principle or take the time to understand their customers' needs will be left behind. If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that listening, empathizing, and connecting with people and cultural trends are more important than ever. In this quickly evolving retail landscape, a company must be attuned to those shifts or risk becoming irrelevant. Data is the key to facilitating meaningful and lasting brand visibility and engagement which helps to not only strengthen our relationship with consumers but also open up new revenue streams.

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