The marijuana-related businesses that provide professional services to companies operating within the legal cannabis industry can gain a significant competitive advantage in today’s market when they position their employees and their brands as relevant visible experts according to new research from Hinge Research Institute.
As competition among ancillary service providers in the cannabis industry increases in the near future, the need to prove your brand’s relevancy to solve clients’ problems and help them overcome challenges will become increasingly important.
Hinge Research Institute’s study discovered that only 39.7% of clients believe the services provided by their current provider address their challenges. That means nearly 60% don’t think their current service providers are helping them overcome the obstacles their businesses face.
This piece of data should jump out at you and tell you that you need to ensure current and prospective clients fully understand exactly how your services can help them. Don’t assume they know, because the data shows that they clearly don’t.
Relevancy is key here, and leveraging content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and sales nurturing can help you prove your brand is relevant to their needs and problems throughout the buyer’s journey.
Keep in mind, relevancy matters not just for lead generation and winning new clients but also for retaining existing clients. Transparent communication that adds value is crucial to building and maintaining brand relevancy.
In addition, relevancy directly affects a client’s willingness to recommend a service provider and brand loyalty. Hinge Marketing Institute found in its research that clients who believe their current service provider is highly relevant to their current challenges and needs are 69% more likely to highly recommend the provider than clients who believe their current service provider has low relevance to their challenges and needs.
Similarly, clients who believe their current service provider is highly relevant to their current issues are 62% more likely to be loyal to the provider than clients who believe the provider isn’t relevant to their issues.
The data should tell you that service providers need to invest time and money into understanding customers’ needs and delivering on them. With that said, having a mechanism in place to monitor client satisfaction is critical, and building relationships with clients that encourages them to become reliant on your expertise should be a top priority.
Hinge Research Institute defines a visible expert as a respected subject matter expert and trusted advisor. The organization’s study revealed that not only are current clients more likely to recommend a service provider to others when the provider’s brand is positioned as a visible expert, but companies that aren’t currently using the provider’s services are more likely to recommend the provider as well.
This is a significant finding for multiple reasons. First, in the cannabis industry where direct advertising and promotion is unavailable in many popular digital channels, word-of-mouth marketing is more important than ever.
Second, the study also found that clients are less willing to recommend service providers today than they were in the past (5% less likely than in 2018), which means staying relevant and maintaining a reputation as a visible expert is essential to ensure your business is top-of-mind when the time does come to make a purchase or recommend your brand to others.
Furthermore, the study found that just over two in three clients (68.2%) are likely to recommend their current service provider, which should tell you one in every three clients isn’t happy with your service. Not only could they leave in search of another provider who fits their needs, but they may also tell other cannabis businesses not to work with your company.
In fact, the data shows only about one in two clients (56.3%) are likely to stay with the same service provider in two to three years. That is a significant decline from 2013 nearly three out of four clients (71.4%) claimed they planned to stay with the same service provider in two to three years.
While the Hinge Research Institute research studied professional service providers in a variety of industries, the lessons apply directly to service providers working with the cannabis industry. Relevancy and expertise are crucial to gaining a competitive advantage, attracting new clients, increasing brand loyalty, and improving client retention.
The key is to be visible, stay focused on your brand promise and area of expertise, and be useful and relevant rather than entirely self-promotional. These are the fundamentals of content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing, so it makes sense that all three marketing opportunities are recommended to position your brand as a relevant visible expert. Fortunately, all three opportunities are available to businesses operating in the cannabis industry as long as you understand and follow the rules.
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