Tag Archive for: cannabis marketing

Meet Jake Wall, his passion for innovation is apparent in his latest offering, Maison Bloom, a cannabis beverage brand. Jake’s innovations are fueled by his passion for human-centered design, which are apparent in his consulting firm, Playtpus and as Chief Innovation Officer at cannabis beverage brand Maison Bloom. Jake is well-known as a cannabis industry leader and his commitment to a “people-first” attitude is a white light of positivity for anyone who has the chance to work with him.

 

First, a little background about you:

I’m the Chief Innovation Officer and leading Design Thinker at MAISON BLOOM.
French Sensibilities. California Cool. We are cannabis with a twist.
We bottle the good life… and the good life is meant to be shared.

I also serve as the Chief Innovation Officer at PLATYPUS – an uncommon mix of different. PLATYPUS is a human-centered cooperative that takes the best practices of design thinking to unlock new marketplace opportunities. This unique and dynamic team of thought leaders steers their own destiny through designing, developing, and deploying products, services, and solutions. Taking my own 25+ years of expertise across multiple industries and combining that with my cohorts, we are driven by the simple premise that life cannot be lived to its fullest without vision, lifelong learning, and facing the challenges of our modern society head-on by endeavoring to serve others in new and innovative ways.

My unconventional exploits have been met with profiles in BizBash, Inc.com, San Francisco Chronicle, WWD, Marie Claire, and Huffington Post. Through my previous companies and roles, I have helmed award-winning innovation teams that have worked alongside Lincoln Motor Company to launch their Black Label special edition, famed Napa Valley vintner and entrepreneur Jean-Charles Boisset to bring Haute Couture French Bubbles to market, and collaborated with marquee philanthropic organizations like Walt Disney Family Museum and Human Rights Campaign for groundbreaking awareness and fundraising events and experiences.

Prior to Avec Bloom and PLATYPUS, I had the luxury of working with esteemed innovators like culinary leader Chef Michael Mina and social and content thought leaders, including Richard Rosenblatt and Orkut Buyukotten. My passion for design thinking and human-centered design has allowed me to work across technology, fashion, hospitality, consumer products, and services including the developed several startups including a market-leading luxury fashion design house and retailer which was featured on “Project Runway,”  and E! Entertainment’s “Fashion Police.” I volunteer with several local and national community and arts-focused opportunities, including the Human Rights Campaign and The Walt Disney Family Museum.

At MAISON BLOOM and PLATYPUS, we replace the ordinary with extraordinary alternatives that you never knew you always wanted.

 

When did you first start working in cannabis?

January 2020.

What were you doing prior to cannabis?

I was the Chief Marketing Officer for MINA Group and worked diligently to refresh celebrity Chef Michael Mina’s global empire for a greater audience, including Millennials and Xennials.

Do you sit on any industry boards or associations that you’d like to mention?

NCIA – Marketing and Advertising Committee 2020/2021 + 2021/2022; Trailblazers Presents DEI Advisory Board 2022

 

What lesson did you learn BEFORE cannabis that’s been most valuable in cannabis?

Of all the places and spaces I have operated in, one of the biggest lessons in life came from my experience on Project Runway and being in an environment and series of challenges where one cannot say no. One must just soldier on find inspiration, overcome the challenge of making, and execute… all under the watchful eye of rotating cameras and an attentive public eye in a tiny window for each challenge. This experience of “no” not being an option really galvanized my dedication that anything is possible if you simply put your mind to it and push forward.

 

Is there a particular cannabis project you’d like to highlight?

The work on beverage formulation and creation innovation that we do at MAISON BLOOM always brings a smile to my face because we do it with consumers at the center of all that we do. Human-Centered Design has empowered leading companies like Apple and Dyson where the consumer is at the center and they built the products around their use cases. But in cannabis… HCD is a bit more of a foreign language. We tend to build products for our own personal tastes and use cases and then hope to find a market after that.

At (cannabis beverage) MAISON BLOOM, we have worked hard in partnership with key powerhouses like our partners at Vertosa and Sonoma Hills Farm to lift as we climb together and create cannabis’s first true offering that is strain-specific, single barrel, and whole plant allowing us to treat cannabis more like a chef treats spices and herbs to create layered flavors and functional experiences.

What’s the biggest misconception cannabis companies have about cannabis branding, advertising, marketing, PR, and social media?

The industry often likes to highlight that they don’t think brands matter.

But we fail to keep in mind that the legal cannabis industry is still young and we are moving into the space where brands are more relevant when true experiential brand offerings are created and deployed.

Not since “Field of Dreams” has there been a better example of “If you build it, they will come,” than this current shift in consumer mindset and opportunity for companies to give consumers what they never knew they always wanted.

 

In your view, what are the biggest cannabis PR, branding/marketing/advertising challenges facing cannabis companies today?

Truly placing end consumers at the center of product development, branding, and related touchpoints. To supercharge great direct to consumer offerings that work symbiotically with established retail sales to increase consumer loyalty and maximum repeat purchasing so that the entire cannabis ecosystem of business partners wins versus being in a more combative/competitive ecosystem.

What will get easier in cannabis PR marketing/branding what will get harder?

It will get easier to tell authentic stories and maximize social media and digital channels when more cannabis offerings are true brand experiences because there is more to “advertise” and “promote” than just the cannabis-based products which are currently problematic in these spaces.

It will get harder to exist as a brand without greater collaboration with partners. It is important to treat all players in your ecosystem with respect, as this is a difficult industry to operate within. To race forward without trusted partners and a tight circle of mutually beneficial “lifting as we climb” in collaboration across all levels of the supply chain will only handcuff growth. Companies need to build trusted pathways with trusted partners that ensure reliable growth and acceleration for all parties. Doing so will continue to be even harder, but the payout for short to long-term growth is going to be the proverbial silver bullet.

What can companies do to alleviate their branding/marketing/PR/advertising challenges?

Move away from trying to be everywhere and instead designate some core channels and offerings that are most authentic to their brand, their offering, and their abilities and focus there. Only once you deliver a solid funnel and can clearly show your own ROI and understanding of the channel/offering will you be able to make it so that you aren’t just spending money, but you are making money.

In your view, what is the most under-rated tool in the cannabis branding/marketing/advertising/PR toolbox for cannabis companies?

A clear consumer-focused direct-to-consumer fulfillment channel executed by the company, including full suite communication support (email, text) to consumers.

In your view, what is the most over-rated tool in the branding/marketing/advertising/PR toolbox for cannabis companies?

Billboards. They are for wayfinding and beyond that one is just throwing money away. Brands try and treat billboards like they can be used for anything and the truth is, you can put anything on them but that doesn’t mean they will resonate or be effective.

What’s the BEST piece of advice you give everyone you work with?

This is cannabis. We are writing new rules as to what is possible each and every day. Push yourself to do your best work. Push the industry forward by doing your best work. Because if better exists, we always want to go with better.

What’s your advice for people who want to get into cannabis marketing/advertising/pr/branding?

As Dorothy might say… “You’re not in Kansas anymore.” This is a wacky and weird world that is often figuring itself out as it goes along. Rules and regulations can and do change just as you get used to them. Realize that in this world, you are going to need to embrace learning while doing and you will be constantly iterating towards greatness. In cannabis more than anywhere else, everything is a process and one that is evolving in real time.

 

Thank you for sharing these fantastic branding insights, innovation and leadership tips with us, Jake. How can others in the cannabis industry get in touch with you? 

Jake Wall Linkedin 

Jake Wall Instagram

Maison Bloom Instagram

Maison Bloom Website 

 

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?

 

www.cannabiscreativegroup.com

Meet Chris Shreeve, cannabis advertising expert for programmatic ad buys.

Based in Seattle, not only is Chris co-founder of PrograMetrix, a nationally recognized programmatic advertising agency for cannabis brands (not “just” CBD) he is also the co-owner of The Bakeree dispensary. 

 

First, a little background about you, Chris:

Digital advertising veteran, specifically in programmatic advertising technology and services. Started PrograMetrix in 2015. Co-owner of The Bakeree dispensaries in Seattle. That intersection between cannabis retail owner and agency co-founder is why our agency has seen success in the space.

What were you doing prior to cannabis?

While PrograMetrix highlights our work in the cannabis space, we also have incredible mainstream clients that we support outside of the space. I have always been in advertising, technology and marketing but we found white space in the cannabis industry and wanted to bring our expertise to the space.

When did you first start working in cannabis?

My brother started selling medical cannabis in Seattle, WA 8-9 years ago before the state went recreational. I always knew that there would be a time when the cannabis space would need mainstream marketing solutions but it was years before there was enough tech and data to dive into the space.

Do you sit on any industry boards or associations that you’d like to mention?

I always recommend Cannabis Marketing Association to new cannabis marketers!

What lesson did you learn BEFORE cannabis that’s been most valuable in cannabis?

Solve a problem, don’t just sell a product/service. Everyone wants to create a cannabis or CBD product but many don’t have a unique selling proposition that resonates with a specific audience. Build a brand and product/service line to solve a need for a specific audience and be the best solution for your target market.

What’s the biggest misconception cannabis companies have about cannabis advertising?

That because Google and Facebook regulate cannabis and CBD brands on their platforms, you can’t advertise your product online. There are thousands of sites, apps, and platforms that allow cannabis advertising and that can be accessed through programmatic advertising. Retarget your current customers online, reach new consumers on channels like video, audio, or streaming tv services.

In your view, what is the biggest cannabis marketing & branding challenge facing cannabis companies today?

Many brands are looking for the silver bullet and believe that paid advertising is it. It’s not. It is one channel that can support a broader marketing initiative but it can’t be the only focus. You need to build a brand and that doesn’t always require an ROI for every dollar you spend on marketing.

What will get easier in cannabis marketing & branding? What will get harder?

We will gain more access to mainstream advertising channels. More sites, apps, and platforms are going to accept cannabis but it might be too late. Instead of waiting for Google or Facebook to change their ad guidelines, optimize your current marketing mix to the best of your ability. Go digital before your competitors and find new technologies and channels that differentiate your brand online.

What will get harder… competition. More mainstream brands are coming into the space and there will continue to be consolidation, making the larger brands even bigger and taking market share from the smaller companies. Don’t get left behind, build your brand NOW.

What can cannabis companies do to alleviate their cannabis PR and branding challenges?

It is incredibly important to hire an internal marketer to lead the communication of the business to the market. Many smaller brands still haven’t fully invested in a marketing professional and you can tell. Let that marketing professional figure out what can be accomplished internally, then fill the gaps with experienced agency professionals for the more complicated and time consumer channels.

In your view, what is the most under-rated tool in the brand marketing toolbox for cannabis companies?

Website development.

Too many cannabis companies don’t invest enough in their website. Especially cannabis brands that don’t sell products directly from their site (DTC).

You might have one opportunity to catch the eye of a consumer online and if your website doesn’t tell the store of your brand in a compelling visual fashion, you might lose that customer forever.

In your view, what is the most over-rated tool in the branding toolbox for cannabis companies?

SEO. Now this might get me in trouble… BUT… everyone is trying to rank for “cannabis dispensary near me” or some generic keywords on their website. Many don’t leverage blog content enough but those that focus solely on SEO will miss out on many other marketing opportunities that can help differentiate your marketing mix.

What’s the BEST piece of advice you give everyone you work with?

Set realistic expectations. Don’t over-promise and under-deliver.

What’s your advice for people who want to get into cannabis marketing?

Show that you have a vested interest in the industry and not just marketing/advertising expertise. This industry is unique. Its products and services are still evolving but having an interest in the plant or industry at larger is incredibly valuable.

How can someone contact you, Chris?

https://programetrix.com/
Twitter @PrograMetrix
LinkedIn @ChrisShreeve

Thanks for sharing your cannabis advertising and branding insights with us today, Chris, you rock!

Meet Melinda Adamec, SVP at Gabriel Marketing, an agency specializing in cannabis industry marketing strategy consulting, digital marketing and advertising, SEO, marketing automation, and content development.

First, a little background about Melinda Adamec:

 

Over 20 years of experience in advertising, marketing, and public relations. Recently joined the GMG team to lead GMG’s delivery of client services in marketing strategy. Prior to GMG, I lead OMI Industries’ cannabis market business including serving as brand manager for Cannabolish plant-based smoke odor removers. Before OMI Industries, I held various executive and leadership roles at PR/marketing firm GolinHarris and DBC PR + New Media. Some of my clients included Ace Hardware, AT&T, Blackboard, Hair Cuttery, IAC, Mars, McDonalds, Microsoft, Reuters, Rosetta Stone, U.S. Mint, and U.S. Postal Service. And I am a very proud member of the NCIA’s Marketing & Advertising Committee!

When did you first start working in cannabis?

5 years ago. My first event attended was the WomenGrow conference in Denver. I fell in love with the industry and the people and knew it was a very special opportunity to be part of this community.

Do you sit on any industry boards or associations that you’d like to mention?

NCIA Marketing Committee

What lesson did you learn BEFORE cannabis that’s been most valuable in cannabis?

Relationships are everything. Strong relationships (with co-workers, peers, and customers) can truly make your business. I have stayed connected with so many people I’ve worked for and with over the years, which has resulted in the learning of new opportunities, growing skillsets, support in new endeavors, and help in connecting with others in the industry. Cannabis just reinforced this by 100%.

Is there a particular cannabis project you’d like to highlight?

YES! The NCIA’s Best of 420 Awards, which was produced and launched during the middle of the pandemic. Not only I was so proud to be part of this team that put together a fantastic program within weeks – but so impressed with the brands that brought forth incredibly creative campaigns that highlighted their cannabis businesses using a variety of methods. And I could not be more thrilled to co-chair this subcommittee again this year. Stay tuned for more details about this exciting opportunity to shine a spotlight on some fantastic cannabis businesses!

What’s the biggest misconception cannabis companies have about marketing?

In my opinion – budget. You can do a lot with a small budget. It’s not how much you spend, but how you spend it. The first step is setting specific marketing goals that align with your business goals. Once you have those goals in place, with some creativity and using a customized approach you’d be amazed at the results that can be achieved. It’s not a one-size-fits all solution either. Understanding your market, customer, and how to drive real value takes a creative, omnichannel approach before you’ll see real results.

What were you doing prior to cannabis?

I was focused on increasing brand awareness and sales for a company that made all plant-based odor-removing solutions. 12 years ago natural products were viewed as “not as effective”, so it took a tremendous amount of work to educate consumers and B2B customers about the effectiveness of our products, the health risks of toxic products, and the lack of regulation around these. I like to say we were green before green was cool. So coming from that space into cannabis, educating and amplifying messages was the foundation for everything we did to grow the Cannabolish brand.

In your view, what is the biggest cannabis marketing challenge facing cannabis companies today?

One of the biggest challenges hands down is the restrictions on advertising and promotions. But even more importantly, the gray areas – in particular with consumer goods and social media. Until there are clear regulations and advertising guidelines in place it will continue to be a space that must be navigated carefully and with a team experienced in this space.

What will get easier in cannabis marketing? What will get harder?

In my opinion, once there are Federal regulations in place the marketing world of cannabis will become easier in terms of the navigation. However, more difficult for brands to compete – in particular smaller brands with smaller budgets. But I think that’s where you’ll see some incredibly creative teams rise to the occasion.

What can companies do to ease their digital marketing challenges?

You really need to find someone you trust to help guide you through the ins and outs of branding and marketing in cannabis. It’s not only about understanding the rules and regs, but also what is trusted and valued by consumers in this community. Authenticity and transparency is crucial to earning the trust of your customers.

In your view, what is the most under-rated tool in the digital marketing toolbox for cannabis companies?

Authentic content – social media content, blog content – it’s the best way to communicate with your customers, and share what makes your brand unique.

In your view, what is the most over-rated digital marketing toolbox for cannabis companies?

Big event sponsorships. You don’t need to spend a fortune to be seen and heard.

What’s the BEST piece of advice you give everyone you work with?Listen.

Listen to your customers – even when they are sharing information you may not want to hear. It’s the only way you learn and improve.

What’s your advice for people who want to get into cannabis digital marketing?

Connect with people who have experience in this space. It’s the quickest way to learn about the industry, get advice and understand the nuances. You can really avoid some big mistakes early on by hearing from people who have some level of expertise within the industry.

How can someone contact you, Melinda?

Gabriel Marketing

Thanks for sharing your marketing insights with us today, Melinda.

 

Meet Laura Wilkinson Sinton, Cannabis Dispensary Exert, and Consultant for legal dispensary applicants. Founder of Caligrown.

First, a little background about Laura Wilkinson Sinton:

I live in San Diego with 4 kids and 5 grandkids. My husband is a cancer survivor that honed my cannabis chops, and I am a master composter and sea swimmer.

 

When did you first start working in cannabis?

2015. I got involved in several dispensaries’ marketing operations, as my brother and I owned an alternative rock radio station in Bend, Oregon. Apparently, no one would sell radio advertising to cannabis businesses, and we thought hey, it’s a state-legal business, of course, we can (and we were right). So, that’s how I got started, learning their business model and helping them grow the customer base and promote 4/20 events.

Do you sit on any industry boards or associations that you’d like to mention?

Yes. I am active in the NCIA and serve on the MAC (Marketing and Advertising Committee) and on the NCIA Sustainability Committee. Both are really great groups of professionals, and serving the nascent industry in this capacity has been really rewarding and great networking.

I am also active in the ArcView Women’s Inclusion Network, which has incredible benefits (access to lawyers and accountants and really smart people with experience and business intelligence). The ArcView group is geared towards helping you become successful, which is why the WIN is such a great group full of women with generous spirits. Several small cannabis organizations have cropped up locally, but it’s pretty fragmented and their missions may differ from each other. I am a board member of the local South County Economic Development Council. They promote economic development, and cannabis businesses present that very economic opportunity. It has been very influential in informing elected officials in adopting and allowing commercial cannabis. In California, it’s the individual cities that determine whether or not to allow them. And that last mile” has been really hard to push through in California, as we know.

 

What lesson did you learn BEFORE cannabis that’s been most valuable in cannabis?

In radio, in information security, and in other start-ups I have done, it’s to roll with the punches, plan for the long game, and bring your best self every day. And there are a lot of punches. Anybody who thinks cannabis is a “get rich quick” scheme is [off] the mark.

Is there a particular cannabis project you’d like to highlight?

Yes, a pending application for a micro-business in National City, CA (San Diego). Our location is actually ON a transit stop, 3 stops from the San Diego Convention Center (think Comic-Con!), has 65 parking spaces, and is actually on the Interstate 5 exit (with on AND off-ramps). San Diego area dispensaries have been relegated to industrial areas, car-dependent and tough parking because of overly restrictive land-use policy. You can’t suspend the rules of retail just for cannabis. It has to be accessible, and San Diego county is way behind the rest of California in permitting. There’s a dearth of dispensaries (50, where the economy can support over 570). So cross your fingers for us. We’ll be the first qualified social equity candidates 100% woman-owned entity (majority women of color) in San Diego.

What’s the biggest misconception cannabis companies have about cannabis marketing?

That big social media will come around (Facebook, Instagram, Google). Go elsewhere and stop spinning your wheels and raging against the machine. Not gonna happen.

What were you doing prior to cannabis?

I’ve been an entrepreneur in many places – information security start-ups, precious metals recycling, owning and operating radio stations and media of several types. I’m an entrepreneur at heart, and my husband is a cancer survivor; my mom died from Multiple Sclerosis. Cannabis has been a part of medicine in my family for a while.

In your view, what is the biggest digital marketing challenge facing cannabis companies today?

Misinformation, illicit marketers, breaking out.

What will get easier in cannabis marketing? What will get harder?

Easier? Public awareness of consumption methods. Harder? Nothing. It’s not an easy business now. Too many over-promised and disappointing results. It was oversold by public Canadian companies and private investors. Big plans, delayed delivery. Cannabis was to be legal nationwide by now in every prospectus I reviewed. Like a vacation- bring twice the money and half the clothes.

What can companies do to ease their marketing challenges?

Be patient. Results take time in marketing. Use a mix of media – digital alone will never get it done.

In your view, what is the most under-rated tool in the digital marketing toolbox for cannabis companies?

Creative. It matters more than anything to breakthrough. What do you have today that applies to your audience? Not relevant to YOU – relevant to your customer.

In your view, what is the most over-rated marketing toolbox for cannabis companies?

Digital reliance. It’s really fragmented at this point. And your share of voice matters.

What’s the BEST piece of advice you give everyone you work with?

Meditate daily and enjoy the impermanence in this life. Enjoy every day.

What’s your advice for people who want to get into cannabis marketing?

Be flexible. Leave toxic bosses quickly. Embrace the women in this industry, and lift them up.

How can someone contact you, Laura?

Twitter @laurawilkinsonsinton

Instagram @laurawilkinsonsinton

Thanks for sharing your digital marketing insights with us today, Laura.

 

Meet Michele Ringelberg, CEO of ThrivePop, a digital marketing firm specializing in cannabis. Fast-growing and ambitious brands in cannabis industry work with Michelle and her team to create digital marketing strategies and digital marketing implementation.

First, a little background about Michele Ringelberg:


I have been in the marketing industry since 2000. I have seen a lot of changes in the digital marketing space and the evolution of cannabis marketing has been exciting to watch. Cannabis marketing is challenging and innovative. We have definitely made our mistakes, but have learned from them and are here to teach you what NOT to do! Let me just say, Facebook and Instagram can be unpredictable and difficult when marketing cannabis-related products.

Our team enjoys what we do and has been known to push our clients out of their comfort zone. When we are allowed to try new creative tactics, we can show our clients astounding results!

If your business is ready to grow fast and is seeking help implementing digital marketing strategies that will increase visibility, generate leads, and grow revenue, then we can help.

Let us teach you what we know and create something fabulous together!

 

When did you first start working in cannabis?

2017

 

Do you sit on any industry boards or associations that you’d like to mention?

NCIA Marketing Committee

What lesson did you learn BEFORE cannabis that’s been most valuable in cannabis?

Do what you love and what you are naturally good at and stop trying to please every client request. When I first started we were doing a lot of online applications systems and complex web development programs for companies. My brain just doesn’t work that way. I was trying to do something that I didn’t like and it stressed me out. I am not a developer and don’t pretend to be. I am creative and love marketing, not backend web development. I had a complex project that my developers could not produce, they continued to tell me that they were almost done, but as a non-developer I couldn’t look at the code and tell if they were actually telling me the truth. I had to go to the client and let them know we just don’t have the team to complete this project and I refunded them all of their money. I felt this huge weight lifted once I told the client they would need to find another web company to perform this project. It was very difficult to do and they were not happy, however; it was the right thing to do. It was then that I focused on what I love to do and that is marketing. We chose to not take on any more complex web projects and now we focus on marketing, since doing that our company is growing significantly and I do what I love, helping companies make more money and thrive.

Is there a particular cannabis project you’d like to highlight?

The majority of our clients are B2B. Fohse lighting is one of our clients that I would like to highlight. They came to us with unrealistic goals. They wanted to double their conversions and revenue in one year. I kind of laughed and said, ok, we need to set realistic goals. our contact said, no we are serious, these are realistic goals. They were ready and motivated to grow. They said, let’s do this! They listened to us and for every new opportunity or creative idea we had; they were up for it. We doubled their monthly leads and increased their revenue by 2,332% in two years! It makes a huge difference when you have a client that actually listens to your recommendations and is open to new marketing tactics, and the entire team is on board. They have an amazing sales team that actually uses the tools we have implemented and has done an excellent job converting the leads we have been providing them. Other people in the industry see Fohse marketing and they ask them who does it, and they very willingly tell them ThrivePOP, in fact, I just recently had a prospect call me and they told me that Fohse told them we kick ass! I said, ok, great that is awesome to hear. 

What’s the biggest misconception cannabis companies have about digital marketing?

That it is easy, or that it [includes only] being on social media. That is part of it, but not the whole picture.

What were you doing prior to cannabis?

We fell into cannabis. I have been doing marketing since 2000, was a marketing director at a healthcare facility and they merged with another health organization and they eliminated my job. I worked at an IT managed service company, managing the web team and doing marketing for the IT company. I started ThrivePOP in 2017. One of our clients that also serves other industries said they wanted to push their product into the cannabis industry, so that is how we started. I sent one of my employees to MJBizCon to help them with their booth, and learn. Since then, we have just been growing like crazy.

In your view, what is the biggest digital marketing challenge facing cannabis companies today?

The biggest issue regarding marketing for cannabis is social media. You spend all this time growing social profiles and FB, Instagram, etc. can take down your profile with no notification and you can’t ever talk to someone at FB or Insta to see why or get it back. So many clients come to us trying to get their accounts back and it is very difficult.

What will get easier in cannabis digital marketing? What will get harder?

I have noticed more and more competition. Everyone thinks it is an easy thing, and it is not. Just because you are in the cannabis industry doesn’t mean you are stashing money in a safe. It is tough. In our town, there are so many dispensaries popping up and I think people don’t understand how difficult it is to run a company.

Trust me, running a company is HARD, especially in the cannabis industry.

What can companies do to ease their digital marketing challenges?

Be consistent and track your results. If you don’t have time to do it yourself, which most people don’t-outsource it to someone that knows what they are doing and are an expert.

In your view, what is the most under-rated tool in the digital marketing toolbox for cannabis companies?

Industry associations. I try to get my clients to join different cannabis associations and I don’t think they really value that. I have joined a few, and it has really set us apart.

In your view, what is the most over-rated digital marketing toolbox for cannabis companies?

I don’t really think of anything that is over-rated.

What’s the BEST piece of advice you give everyone you work with?

Be consistent and listen to the data. Track your results and be open to changing your plan based on what the data is telling you. Data doesn’t lie, and you don’t want to waste your money on something that isn’t effective.

What’s your advice for people who want to get into cannabis digital marketing?

Join associations to learn about cannabis, join associations, follow people that are knowledgeable, and absorb as much knowledge as possible. Don’t just tell people you understand cannabis marketing if you don’t yet.

How can someone contact you, Michele?

www.thrivepop.com

Facebook/thrivepop

Instagram/thrivepop

 

Thanks for sharing your digital marketing insights with us today, Michele.