What to Expect from Oklahoma's Cannabis Market in 2021

Oklahoma’s market is developing faster than any state. The key stats coming out of the OMMA paint the picture.

  • Almost 1 in 10 Okies have a medical cannabis card
  • There are about 3x more actively licensed legal dispensaries in Oklahoma than in California
  • There are 9,500+ active cannabis business licenses in Oklahoma

We’ve seen industry leaders come and go, and consistent brands stay in shops over the past two years.

But what does 2021 hold for us?

2021 is about standing out. In a saturated market, companies with long-term potential will do whatever they can to stand-out now.

Here are 5 things you can expect from Oklahoma’s Cannabis Market in 2021.

Table of Contents

Rise of Brands

Oklahoma’s market is crowded.

The market is saturated, and the average mom-and-pop grower is having trouble standing out. The most effective way to stand-out is with a unique product.

But there are only so many unique products you can make in a saturated market. So how do you stand apart?

Branding.

There are plenty of companies, but there are few “brands.”

A brand is a combination of a Brand Strategy (defines your brand’s personality) and a Brand Identity (the look and feel of your brand.)

Branding helps you stand-out, sell your products for more, and make a name for yourself.

We all know a company pumping out mid-tier products but are known and loved by the masses. Their product isn’t the best, but their annual revenues are.

You might look at these companies and wonder: “What do they have that I don’t? My flower is better, my company is more genuine, and my motives are pure.”

The product is half the battle.

A company’s success depends on several factors.

If you do everything correctly, your product can slack on quality. We see this in the California market everyday.

With no story to tell, it’s hard to survive long-term.

Long-term success in cannabis relies on Brand Equity and Market Share.

Brand Equity and Market Share are the main priorities of every early cannabis business.

Market Share

This chart shows the Canadian Cannabis Market divided by company market share. Canopy Growth is on-top with 23.1% of the market.

This is a monumental market share.

A company’s Market Share is measured by their sales compared to the market total – meaning Canopy has 23.1% of Canada’s market sales.

On a deeper level, it means they connected with a major section of the cannabis market and accumulated more than 1/5th of the potential earnings.

Companies early in the cannabis market rush to get a slice of the pie and grow it every year.

 

Brand Equity

Brand equity is the value of your brand aside from your product.

Building brand equity is how you stand out in the saturated market, gain market share and survive long-term.

Oklahoma has 6,200+ growers but only so many patients. What are you doing to be different? What is your brand worth?

For a brand like Cookies, branding accounts for their high-price points, and worldwide anticipation of their dispensaries.

They built up brand equity over 10 years to create the giant they are today.

Companies are noticing this in 2021.

Brand Equity takes years to build properly. Starting in 2021 adds sustained growth and security for when recreational legalization comes.

How Branding Wins 2021

The end of 2020 saw companies focusing on branding and marketing to set themselves apart.

There are simply too many companies to not step-up your branding.

The people who are on-top at the end of 2021 will have at least 2 of the following 3:

  • Good Distribution
  • Great Branding
  • Quality Product
Oklahoma has a shortage of good brands. The brands who go above and beyond in their branding have an easier way to pass their competition.

Market Consolidation

 Cannabis is a state-by-state market that follows boom & bust cycles.

As companies start to differentiate themselves, patients start to pick their favorites. There’s a lot of room for success in Oklahoma, but not 9,500+ licensed businesses.

The number grows every day. Eventually, the number will shrink. It’ll start slowly, then take a big dive surrounding a big legislative change or OMMA report.

As this happens, the companies struggling to float will disband. The companies that are thriving will grow faster.

Eventually (and unfortunately), the OMMA will strengthen the enforcement of their compliance regulations. When that happens, we can expect recalls and shutdowns.

After the current period of patient growth, new patient growth will slow dramatically.

We don’t expect complete consolidation in 2021, but we do expect the process to start. It will take years after recreational legalization for the market to consolidate completely.

Cannabis won’t seem as big as it does now. The market will still grow, but dispensaries will spread out. Dispensaries will buy more product from fewer brands. Brands that seemed to be everywhere will be nowhere.

Even brands with massive success will fizzle out.

A company won an award at the 2020 Cowboy Cup but wasn’t around to pick up the award because they no longer exist.

The consolidation will be slow and brutal, but the survivors will be rewarded for their perseverance.

Effect-Based Brands

Effective branding and marketing is just good communication.

Cannabis is a difficult product to communicate. Some companies focus their products on medicine, while others focus on the lifestyle of their brands.

Effect based brands are the hybrid of medicine and lifestyle.

An effect-based brand classifies its products by their effect, not the strain or type.

One company might sell a distillate vape as indica GDP, while another company sells the same distillate as “sleep.”

Effect Based Branding turns a 5-minute dispensary conversation into a simple question: “How Do You Want to Feel?”

An inexperienced patient will have so many questions about the cannabis they’re about to buy.

“What does it do?” “How will I feel?” “Is it good for sleep?” “Will it make me anxious?”

Effect based branding answers all of those questions with the product name.

If the product is called “sleep,” you instantly believe that it’s intended for bedtime.

It effectively communicates the complex experience cannabis gives you in easy-to-understand terminology.

Some effect-based brands already exist in Oklahoma. The main one being 1906. Their success is getting everyone’s attention.

Expect to see many more effect-based brands start to hit-the-scene in 2021.

 

Start of Digital Marketing

The main way to increase sales for a cannabis brand is through their dispensary relationships.

After getting the product into the shop, it needs to sell. The faster your products sell at a shop, the more units dispensaries want. They increase their order amounts and order frequencies when products sell fast.

Digital Marketing helps drive traffic to dispensaries to buy your product.

Digital Marketing is a complex topic that requires a full series to cover (hint, hint.)

However, all of digital marketing follows the following process.

 

This is the modern consumer journey. All marketing follows this chart. If you understand this chart, you understand how to turn strangers into customers.

It’s broken down into 5 stages:

  1. Awareness
  2. Search
  3. Research
  4. Purchase
  5. Advocacy

Today’s purchase process is very digital. Most cannabis brands don’t understand this yet.

If you’re marketing to Millenials and Gen Z patients (which everyone is) you need to cater to their buying habits.

By going online, you unlock new sections of your target market.

First, a potential customer needs to learn of your existence.

If they’re intrigued by what they see, potentials buyers want to know more about you. They’ll research your products, read reviews, and decide if your products are right for them.

Next, they go to the dispensary to make a purchase.

If they had a good experience, they’ll buy again, and eventually tell their friends about your brand.

Digital Marketing facilitates and speeds up this process.

Each impression you make on someone is a chance they remember your brand.

If someone sees your brand online 15 times, when they see it in person they’ll recognize it.

You can do this at scale with digital marketing. All of the following are great ways to increase your sales with digital marketing:

  • Social Media
  • Email
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Paid Ads
  •  Guerilla Marketing
These are the best places to start. In 2021, brands with long-term potential will pick-up their digital marketing to exceed the rest of the market.

Alternative Products

In 2021, brands will get more adventurous in an effort to stand-out.

Everyone is selling “premium cannabis.” Everyone has a distillate sprayed gummy.

But not everyone has a 9:1 CBD:THC disposable vaporizer branded for moms on the go.

Brands that have found success in the market will start expanding to more niche alternative products.

The pictured products are THCV-focused vapes from California. THCV helps suppress appetite, boost energy, and enhance focus.

While everyone aims to grow the loudest indoor flower or the cheapest 10mg gummy, smart companies will snatch up these niches wherever possible.

You can expect larger processing companies to use their capabilities to lead this charge. Once the floodgates have opened, more companies will flock to this idea.

How to Survive 2021

2021 is trending towards market consolidation. Companies that spend 2021 differentiating and pushing the limits of the current market will be rewarded with long-term success.

Companies that don’t evolve to meet the market demands will fall faster than they’ve risen.

To survive 2021, focus on branding. Your brand is more than just a logo. Your brand is the personality, look, and feel of your company.

Focus on communicating your company and your products concisely to your ideal customer.

How do you do that?

Picture your perfect customer walking into a dispensary to buy cannabis. What can the budtender tell them to buy your product instead of your competitor’s?

Answer that question and you’re on the right path to building a complete brand.

If you need help answering this question we can help. Set-up a meeting with us here to discuss further.

 

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