Meet Dan Serard, Director of Business Development and Strategic Partnerships for Cannabis Creative Group, one of the most respected cannabis marketing agencies in the U.S., Dan has worked there since 2018 and has worked with an impressive 200 cannabis brands.
First, a little background about you:
I started working in the cannabis industry in 2018 and have worked with over 200 different brands! I live in Massachusetts and am originally from the Northeast. I spent some time traveling around the US and landed in Los Angeles for a little while, where I became ingrained in some of the legacy market up in Humboldt county.
When did you first start working in cannabis?
2018, when I started with Cannabis Creative Group.
What were you doing prior to cannabis?
I managed sales teams for health clubs and worked in enterprise sales for a genetic testing company.
Do you sit on any industry boards or associations that you’d like to mention?
I’m a member of Cannabis Marketing Association, Business Owners Hemp and Cannabis Association, and National Association of Cannabis Businesses. I’m also a committee member of the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Marketing and Advertising Committee and Co-Chair of the Education and Content Committee and a member of the Rolling Stone Cultural Council.
What lesson did you learn BEFORE cannabis that’s been most valuable in cannabis?
Sales is all about listening to the prospect and learning what really matters to them and how to assist them.
Is there a particular cannabis project you’d like to highlight?
There are many! We have an amazing portfolio [at Cannabis Creative Group].
What’s the biggest misconception cannabis companies have about cannabis branding, advertising, marketing, PR, social media?
Many people think that “if you build it, they will come”, especially dispensary owners.
In your view, what is the biggest cannabis branding/marketing/advertising challenge facing cannabis companies today?
Where and how to advertise!
What will get easier in cannabis PR/marketing/branding and what will get harder?
Easier – other media outlets opening up to cannabis. Television, radio, Google, social media channels, etc.
Harder- Competing on cannabis-specific platforms. If you’re a new business and competing against established businesses that spend much more money on apps like Weedmaps, your money is not spent appropriately.
What can companies do to ease their cannabis PR branding/marketing/advertising challenges?
Take the time, effort and energy to establish a TRUE brand foundation. Not just a logo, but think about your voice, position, messaging, etc. so you can scale that message across all platforms.
In your view, what is the most under-rated tool in the branding/marketing/advertising/PR toolbox for cannabis companies?
SEO!!!! The adult-use market is using search engines, just like any other industry, and if you can’t be found on Google, then you’re going to have a tough time!
In your view, what is the most over-rated tool in the cannabis branding/marketing/advertising/PR toolbox for cannabis companies?
Social media. It is very difficult to track direct ROI from social media. It is great to have but doesn’t correspond to many sales. Also, advertising on cannabis-specific platforms. It is tough to compete with many other cannabis businesses and many consumers in adult markets don’t even use these platforms compared to Google.
What’s the BEST piece of advice you give everyone you work with?
Start slow and grow! Find a niche market that really associates with your brand, grow within that market, then expand from there if needed.
What’s your advice for people who want to get into cannabis marketing/advertising/pr/branding?
NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK!!! Get yourself out there to meet people, join groups, and walk a tradeshow. The industry is open to many people, and it’s important to make connections.
Thanks for sharing your insights with us, Dan. How can people get in touch with you?