Capitalize on Terpenes: Working It into Your Marketing Strategy
It pays to offer smell and touch jars at the dispensary counter for both the consumer and the retailer. Smelling and touching the flower before purchase not only helps customers determine bud quality, but it also helps predict effects. In turn, this creates a more personalized shopping experience, curated products, and ultimately higher sales for the retailer.
While the science behind terpenes is in its infancy, the market is already seeing terpene profiles drive consumer purchasing decisions. As a result, the smell of a bud is a critical marketing strategy, both online and off.
Terpenes are natural aromatic chemicals produced by plants to attract pollinators, repel pests, and create evolutionary benefits. Lemons contain a terpene called limonene; pine trees contain pinene; and mangoes contain myrcene.
Cannabis is no different. This plant produces hundreds of different terpenes, with each chemovar expressing a specific terpenoid bouquet. It's why Sunset Sherbet smells like sweet berries, while Sour Diesel smells like gasoline.
Terpenes are responsible for the myriad aromas we all associate with our favorite strains. But, a growing body of research tells us that terpenes offer much more than just a nice scent.
Ethan B. Russo and other leading experts believe that terpenes contribute to cannabis’ effects. Different combinations of terpenes and cannabinoids produce unique experiential and medicinal outcomes, often referred to as synergistic effects or The Entourage Effect.
As the cannabis marketplace matures past its historical focus on potency, terpenes now play a significant role in purchasing decisions. Leading brands across the industry are building terpenes into their branding, product development, and consumer experience. And while dispensaries and retailers have typically always offered a smell jar, there is now a renewed focus at the consumer level to further highlight the aromatic profile. This means better tools and targeted advertising.
Enhancing the Customer Experience with Smell
Smell has long been a useful marketing tool. It's why realtors recommend baking bread before an open house, and many people find shopping at Whole Foods just so alluring. A smell can make or break a shopping experience.
There are marketing firms dedicated to developing a smell strategy usually focused on representing brands with a specific ambient scent. Although cannabis retailers can (and do) deploy this technique, businesses in the cannabis space have a world of aroma at their disposal: the flower itself.
Every cannabis chemovar produces a distinct aromatic profile. What's more, the smell of a specific strain often varies from one grower to the next. A sun-grown OG Kush versus a hydroponic version could have very different chemical makeups.
Allowing the consumer to smell the flower before the purchase can help ensure they get the aroma, taste, and effects they are expecting — not just what the OG Kush label represents or what they remember.
Speaking of effects, smell helps the customer choose their own adventure. The role terpenes have on effects is an ongoing area of study, but some brands are already working with innovative chemical analysis to better inform consumers.
California-based SC Labs is only one example of a company working with terpenes to inform consumer purchasing decisions.
SC Labs has a test menu that targets 39 terpenoids and displays these results through visual guides designed for consumers and cultivators. The report, called PhytoFacts, connects specific terpene profiles to aromas, flavors, and suggested effects based on the scientific literature.
Focusing on Terpenes: Online and Off
Budtenders are already working with customers at the dispensary level to curate their purchases with tools like the traditional smell jar and highly detailed lab reports, like those used by SC Labs.
With these tools, budtenders guide customers who are looking for a specific experience by connecting the dots to associated terpenes. Or, they may offer suggestions for add-ons or new products based on old favorites.
But, can this new focus on terpenes help dispensaries in the online space? For starters, it can drive how an online shop is organized. Many retailers are sorting their online shops by expected experience, which is based on terpene profile. Instead of the outdated indica, sativa, and hybrid categories, consumers are now shopping for calm, energetic, or creative.
With a smart paid search and SEO plan, dispensaries can also work terpenes and their many different effects into an effective online marketing strategy. Targeting what customers are already looking for (for example, specific chemovars and experiences) makes it possible to bring terpenes into the online space.
In one of our most recent case studies, we worked with a Northern Californian dispensary to improve their marketing efforts with a Paid Search Ad Campaign. Within 30 days, our efforts resulted in an 802 percent return on investment.
With customers already searching for specific cultivars and targeted effects, why not work these trends into paid search, SEO, and content development to see substantial returns on ad spend?
Terpenes Driving Innovation
Big names in cannabis have already turned their focus toward an aromatic and, therefore, experiential approach to product development. Aurora in Canada and Origins in Washington are only a few examples.
So, why not capitalize on this growing demand for tasty terpenes? When executed intelligently and correctly, rolling terpenes in advertising works both online and off.
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