CANNABIS PRODUCT DESIGN / DEVELOPMENT
Perhaps you’re designing the next trendy vaporizer or maybe the next best Cannabis smartphone app. Whether you’re opening a new Marijuana collective or working on your next medicated munchies brand, product feature strategy is going to be crucial to your success. If you are opening a Cannabis retailer, just consider your “product” your store, and the features are all of the things you will offer/have available to your consumer. You can add or take away features at anytime, but this will always cost money, so it’s important to decide which features are most valuable to your customers and/or patients and which ones can you reasonably manage to produce?
HAVE A TARGET IN MIND?
In a perfect world, you would be able to sell your products to anyone. However, an effective Cannabis entrepreneur will narrow down who the most profitable customers will be. For example, there is a reason why Trader Joe’s harbors its South Pacific theme, coupled with low priced food – their target audience is an “under-paid college professor who drives a very, very used Volvo.” Now, you may not have come up with that description on your own, and that’s because you don’t work for Trader Joes, but after reading it, you surely understand the exact type of person being targeted here. And it’s effective!
Online Marijuana Design has put together a list
of other important calls that having a clear and specific target audience will benefit from:
1) Product Line Decisions- “What products does my target audience need?”
2) Product Feature Decisions- “What does my target customer want most?”
3) Location Decisions- “Where does my target customer shop?”
4) Pricing Decisions- “How much can my target customer afford to spend?”
5) Marketing Decisions- “What will persuade my target audience to try my products?”
If you continually have your customer’s wants and needs on your mind when developing new Cannabis products and product features, the result will be return business and a high profit…
CHOOSING PRODUCT FEATURES
Let’s pretend I am designing a new vape for middle-aged Glaucoma patients. I can brainstorm 101 features that can be added to my new Cannabis product, but how will I decide which ones to focus on? There are a ton of competitors at this point, but luckily, I only have two things to consider before making my move:
1. What features can separate my product from the competition? (In a way that won’t be immediately duplicated.)
2. What features are my customers willing to pay for? (Extra features are great, but if they won’t lead to higher sales, they are pointless.)
Number two can be a bit tricky because this would include features you can and cannot advertise. Features that your customers gab about (“looks almost like a USB drive, it’s super discreet”) are just as important as the more obvious ones, like the headline for your first ad (“Holds the Most Oil At a Time Compared to All Vape Pens on the Market”).
PRIORITIZING PRODUCT FEATURES
SUCCESSFUL STRATEGY= VALUED DIFFERENTIATION X EFFECTIVE EXECUTION
If you’ve already chosen products that make you different from the rest, then all you have left to do is decide which features you can effectively execute. In his book, Letters to a CEO, John Spence breaks it down:
• Highly differentiated but not valued by your target customer = bankruptcy
• Highly valued but easy to copy = price war (and there is always someone willing to drop their prices and go into bankruptcy faster than you)
• Highly valued and defensibly differentiated but not executable = bankruptcy
• Highly valued, defensibly differentiated, well executed = business success
If you have the ability to not only pick valuable features, but effectively produce them as well, then your Cannabis Company will soar. Coming up with the ideas and planning is always the easy part, actually seeing them through is where business’ can get caught up. As Spence would say, “Great creative ideas abound; flawless execution of those ideas is exceedingly rare.”