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Truth or Perception? Dissecting Advertising, Consumer Behaviour, Regulatory and Research Tech in Legal Cannabis

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What does the Cannabis economy teach us about how to research consumer behaviour as it evolves and break into new markets? The fast-growing global cannabis trade has not been without its share of paradoxes, outliers and dichotomies. From an illegal drug to essential service industry in a quick sweep of time since legalization, the cannabis industry remains hotly debated with competing marketing research stats, and perceptions of limited data skewing the image of a “boom or bust”, niche, exclusivist, or even artificial industry. In North America, legal cannabis research remains central to understanding how to navigate a fast-growing industry where lines are often blurred between: current market size and projected market size (not all markets have equal data or access to data, so how are researchers calculating the market size of an industry where the demand and supply are often mismatched?); online consumption and offline consumption (with legal electronic retail still not being able to catch up with the illegal online retail market); information versus promotion (regulatory hurdles, the distinction between marketing activities from research, low product or category knowledge and high levels of misinformation ); technologies versus data management platforms (does research tech enabled cannabis truly translate to better data governance and profitability?) In a major pandemic, the complexities of this category are harder to crack, but the projected impact of this industry cannot be ignored by researchers and decision-makers for the jobs it creates and the entrepreneurship and innovation it spawns as new legal products enter the market to attempt to displace the looming illicit market. Attendees of this seminar will come away with insights about how researchers can break into new markets using learnings from this fast-paced, culturally-divergent industry.



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