Editors’ Note: This is the transcript version of the podcast. Please note that due to time and audio constraints, transcription may not be perfect. We encourage you to listen to the podcast, embedded below if you need any clarification. We hope you enjoy!
How do cannabis companies build a brand? With a locked toolbox and platforms quick to shadowban, the challenges are endless.
Marketing in Cannabis requires creativity, budget consciousness, resourcefulness, and wearing multiple hats.
Almost no one understands these nuances better than Lisa Buffo, founder, and CEO of the Cannabis Marketing Association.
We sat down with Lisa to discuss.
- Discover the challenges and nuances of marketing in the cannabis industry.
- Insights on building brand personality and understanding your customers.
- Navigating the complexities of compliance regulations while marketing
- Building brand loyalty
- Exploring why the customer journey
Whether you’re a cannabis entrepreneur or simply curious about the industry, this episode offers a unique perspective on cannabis marketing.
About the Cannabis Marketing Association
Cannabis Marketing Association was founded in 2016 by cannabis marketing executive Lisa Buffo in response to the unprecedented challenges cannabis communications professionals were experiencing. Industry marketers were unable to use traditional marketing tactics and technology such as paid advertising, social media, or digital outlets. This reality, coupled with unclear regulations across fragmented markets and a pervasive perception problem, left cannabis marketers with the task of rebranding cannabis as the then-nascent industry was rapidly growing.Cannabis Marketing Association was established to bring the cannabis marketing community together so that best practices could be shared through our collective knowledge. Today, CMA seeks to formally establish these best practices and further elevate
CANNABIS MARKETING ASSOCIATION
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[00:00:00]Bryan Fields: What’s up guys? Welcome back to another episode of The Dime. I’m Brian Fields and with me, as always as killing Finney. This week we’ve got a very special guest, Lisa Buffet, c e o of Cannabis Marketing Association. Lisa, thanks for taking the time. How you doing
[00:00:14]Lisa Buffo: today? Thank you for having me. It’s great to speak with you.
[00:00:18] Love talking cannabis marketing on these
[00:00:19]Bryan Fields: shows. Yeah, really excited to talk about marketing today, Kelin. How are you? I’m doing
[00:00:23]Kellan Finney: really well, you know, excited to talk to Lisa, excited to learn about some marketing, um, and excited to, uh, determine Lisa’s
[00:00:33]Bryan Fields: loyalty over here. Yeah. So Lisa, we’re gonna have to just quickly put you on the record.
[00:00:38] If you had to choose a coast and one that you prefer at East Coast or West Coast, which one would you choose?
[00:00:43]Lisa Buffo: I would choose both and do six months in the West Coast in the winter, and six months on the East Coast in the. Team America. It’s very, very,
[00:00:54]Bryan Fields: I might have to cut the, the Web West Coast part out.
[00:00:56] So Lisa, for our listeners are un thrilling about you. [00:01:00] Can you give a little background about
[00:01:01]Lisa Buffo: yourself? Yes. So I am the founder and c e o of the Cannabis Marketing Association. I grew up outside of Cleveland, Ohio. Um, went to school on the East Coast University of Maryland. So definitely. That part of my life was very much so East Coast.
[00:01:16] Um, studied psychology in English, worked out there for a bit. My, uh, first job out of college, I worked for a nonprofit that connected, um, service dogs with, uh, veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. And I always knew in my career I wanted to do something entrepreneurial. That has been something that’s been clear to me from a young age.
[00:01:37] And so a lot of the work I did in, in high school in college was for startups, whether it was. Startup Nonprofits. Um, in high school I worked for a, a salon that was a startup they had just opened, um, and was in sort of these like junior operation roles where I would just help the proprietor out with whatever they needed.
[00:01:55] Um, but that first role at a school, at that nonprofit, it’s called Warrior [00:02:00] Canine Connection, um, really. Led me to the cannabis industry in a few ways. So one, I got into alternative medicine to some degree, um, particularly the intersection of, um, how, you know, in that case it was service animals, how they work with, um, Veterans who have physical mobilities.
[00:02:18] The, the model was actually having vets who had post-traumatic stress or traumatic brain injury, uh, do the training. So it, they, they served, uh, both mental impairments and physical impairments. Um, it was something that was worked so well, but was very underfunded, understudied, and sort of underutilized by the government to put it lightly at the time.
[00:02:38] Um, and then there was this great population that had a, a deep need so that, um, so you could see like some parallel to cannabis there. One of my roles was, so I graduated college 2012, so that was kind of like early Instagram days, early social media days. And as the, you know, 21 year old on the team, I started a Instagram account for [00:03:00] the, the service dogs.
[00:03:01] And, uh, it started to take off and get traction. So we started. You know, dressing them up and doing photo shoots and, um, building community around them. So we had Facebook groups and we created merch to fundraise and, um, we used them to tell the stories of the vets they were helping. So, In that role, I sort of immediately got to understand the power of like storytelling and marketing and how it can not only help an organization’s bottom line from a fundraising or customer perspective, um, but also how it can communicate something complex.
[00:03:33] And in that case it was the use of vets with, um, invisible injuries, we’ll call them training service dogs for vets with physical, um, issues. And so there was this education gap that needed to be explained that. Good visibility online. Um, I, I’ll call it marketing in the sense that like we were dressing them up and they had names and they were, you know, brand.
[00:03:54] The dogs were like, we gave them little branded vests and cute little hats and pa pair that with good [00:04:00] social media best practices. And, you know, the organization was able to grow exponentially and spread the word in, in a viral sense in a really short period of time. And, um, so that kind of scratched my itch for entrepreneurship, for marketing.
[00:04:14] This kind of doing good element, um, and helping underserved populations in this sort of al alternative medicine space, if you will. Um, and I did that for a few years and then it was. It, it was a stressful, you know, environment to be in, working with that population. And at the time there was a lot of, um, soldiers who were coming back who were, you know, our age and our, our cohort, um, who were really struggling.
[00:04:36] And so I needed a, a bit of a break and then that’s when I started, it was right when cannabis legalization happened, so I was paying attention to what was happening in Colorado, um, and said there’s a lot of parallels with everything I’ve just learned here as far as entrepreneurship, marketing, you know, a whole new, really exciting space.
[00:04:53] Having been a longtime cannabis user myself, more on the, in 2012 terms, we’ll call wellness, adult use [00:05:00] side. Um, but starting to explore it and, um, you know, just wanting to learn more. And I also, I, like I said, I grew up in Cleveland, so as a Midwesterner I loved working in the garden and being outside and growing up on the lake, I kind of had that green thumb.
[00:05:14] So I was like, oh, Candace, cannabis makes a lot of sense. And that, uh, really led me to. Moving to Colorado sort of site on scene, um, in 2014, so I could join the industry that first year. And then I just started working and kind of getting my hands dirty in various marketing and operations roles. Um, and before I go too far down the hole, but that’s, that’s kind of what got me to Colorado.
[00:05:36] That’s like what got me to cannabis. Um, and that track has, you know, however many years later, almost a decade, led me.
[00:05:45]Bryan Fields: I love it. That’s awesome. Problem solver. With an entrepreneurial journey, finding like a wellness, obviously the cute dogs doesn’t hurt also, so let’s kind of stay with the association and the summit.
[00:05:53] How, how did that origin come up and when did you start realizing that the need for marketing and for helping other marketers in [00:06:00] cannabis is, is one that needed to be sufficed?
[00:06:03]Lisa Buffo: So when I first moved to Colorado, my first, I didn’t know anybody, so my first job was trimming. I wanted to work in a grow, understand how it works.
[00:06:10] Like I really thought that in order to be successful in this space, you need to understand how any business works operationally. You need to go sort of like soup to nuts in that sense, um, before you can be good at any one niche to some degree. Um, so I started trimming and then I joined a business accelerator helping manage the program.
[00:06:29] So was a bunch of cannabis startups and I had. In a brief stint before, but helping manage their startups and getting them ready to launch and fundraise and go to market, which include. At that point is pretty heavy marketing arm. I mean, when you’re early stage like napkin idea startup, it’s just how quickly can you get traction?
[00:06:46] How well can you tell that story? So, um, in those first six months in Colorado, I was doing that for about a dozen different startups and I kind of. Was leaning into the marketing side of it as much as possible, um, based on my [00:07:00] more recent past experience with the dogs. Um, and then once that cohort wrapped, I joined one of their portfolio companies as their C M O and then for the next year Plus was just, and they had funding.
[00:07:10] Um, they were tech startup, just kind of off to the races marketing, so I. Basically in short order was able to translate well, thought I could translate my skills, and then I go into cannabis marketing thinking, okay, this is a playbook. I’ve done this, it’s worked before. Um, and I just kept hitting so many walls like, okay, can’t, like, 90% of what I know on social media doesn’t work.
[00:07:32] I can’t even talk about it here. I can’t, I can’t do ads. I can’t, like, I can’t do merch. I can’t have a landing page with cannabis in it or our, our business name in it. Um, so I just kind of kept running into walls. I was like, okay. Even as an experience marketer, even though we’re a startup, and again, this is like year one of adult use, everyone, Ken started realizing everyone was in the same boat and started talking to my peers and colleagues in the industry.
[00:07:57] Those who had worked for more established brands, Hey, how [00:08:00] did you get around, you know, this problem? Or what does this regulation actually mean? Um, so c m A started very grassroots, really just having meetings and Boulder at the time of other marketers and entrepreneurs just talking about like whatever the issue of the day was.
[00:08:14] Um, But we had 80 people at our first meeting. And so I was like, okay, this, there’s something here, um, for the small community. And then we just kept doing it every month and six or so months into it, we started getting requests for, uh, membership for doing it in other cities. I called it Cannabis Marketing Association cuz I was like, that sounds professional and, uh, You know, like what these meetings should be called.
[00:08:37] But I really did not start it with the intention of this is a business model and this is what, like our benefits and this is what we’re gonna do. It was really kind of a side project to help me in my full-time role that took on a life of its own. And then I was able to see more of that. Um, this was a universal problem.
[00:08:54] It really didn’t matter. Those who had, you know, 20 years experience in whatever [00:09:00] industry, but they’re the C M O of like a, a top brand. You know how, no matter how long or new you had been in this space, people, this was also new and very confusing. So, um, that was kind of the genesis of it. And then we built out our membership and really have just sort of iterated and expanded over time based on what the industries needed, where we’ve been at.
[00:09:19] Um, very collaborative process. But, so that got us to. Uh, the summit, which is to say, Hey, instead of doing these meetings and this, this was a plan, but also covid, you know, changed some things. So we were doing local meetings, um, wanting to launch the summit in 2020. Couldn’t, we did it online that year. Uh, so we had a little bit of a, I don’t wanna say false start, but like, We were trying to do it before the pandemic.
[00:09:43] We weren’t able to actually do it in person until 20 last year, 2022. But we did do it online in those years in between, which did help us learn. But the point was, can we have a space where marketers from all over the industry and all over the country can come and learn and talk about best practices and really understand, [00:10:00] because marketing to some owners and CEOs is sort of like a nice to have or an afterthought, dare I say it, but.
[00:10:08] Obviously I’m highly biased as a former mar, you know, marketer, but also founder and myself. That to me, if done right is like the difference on whether it can be the difference on whether you need a fundraise or not. You know, it can be the difference on whether you, your brand has loyalty or whether your customer is like, perceived the value that you’re, you’re charging.
[00:10:25] Um, it, it has a lot of power and so I wanted to see it get a little bit more space, a little bit more credibility and a little bit. Um, marketers deserved a community because it’s, it’s really not easy and it, in cannabis, it just follows a different playbook to an extent.
[00:10:43]Kellan Finney: So in those early days when you were kind of balancing that full-time role with these little meetings, how were you kind of deploying your resources in terms of your time allocation?
[00:10:52]Bryan Fields: it interest based
[00:10:54]Kellan Finney: only or you just kind of meeting your responsibilities and then all your free time was over here now on the marketing side of it?
[00:10:59]Lisa Buffo:[00:11:00] What free time? What? Free time? Um, no, there was no balance at all. I was totally burning the candle of both end, like I’m gonna be honest. Um, working all the time.
[00:11:08] It sounds like a lot. It was a. But I liked it. Like I know it sounds kind of, you know, it’s like, okay, you should have a life. And I, a few years later I’m like, yeah, I really should have. But I was so excited. Like I had just moved to Colorado. I didn’t know anybody. I didn’t have friends. My friends were my community.
[00:11:25] And so I was just working to get as much, you know, experience as possible to learn as much as possible. I was really, really hungry and that kept me motivated and. I was able to build community from there between personal relationships and coworkers. So it was a little bit outta survival, but also I, I just wanted to do that.
[00:11:45] Um, and there was so much to learn, so I felt like a, uh, I don’t know, like a student who’s really excited about what they’re studying. Like I was just devouring as much as I could, and so I just kind of went wherever was necessary. But I mean, to answer your question about resource allocation, [00:12:00] because. In that job.
[00:12:02] Um, you know, we were early stage startup, but they had, the company had raised like a million dollars for their seed round, which is really not a lot of money for a tech company, um, at the time. Uh, and I didn’t have a, I frankly didn’t have a budget, like the budget was my salary. So it was like, what can you do for nothing?
[00:12:17] And anything I needed a, uh, to pay for, it was either a no or I had to like make a case. So I learned how to do these like small. Studies or these small little inexpensive tests where I could say, okay, I’m spending a hundred dollars on this, but I’m gonna do this. I learned that from the nonprofit because we, they were new and they had no money and no resources.
[00:12:36] So I had sort of learned, I only knew how to. Work without a budget. So I just took that and translated that and I leaned heavily into pr. Um, cannabis was, I mean, it was 20 14, 20 15, it was the hot thing in the news at the time. I learned how to pitch the media, reach out via Twitter, invite them to our events, throw events, partner with folks who had money or resources or space or time.
[00:12:58] Um, so I just kind of [00:13:00] did these bootstrap type tests and then saw what worked and then, you know, invest accordingly.
[00:13:07]Bryan Fields: And just to clarify, it’s not no budget. It’s without a budget, right. Because I think sometimes kind of misunderstand how those things are. You’re bootstrapping all those efforts. You’re, you are having to fight for a case to get all those things approved,
[00:13:18]Lisa Buffo: correct?
[00:13:19] Yes. If it was gonna cost something, yes. If it wasn’t, they’re basically like, do do whatever you want. Just make it, create sales. Make it work. So as long as I was producing, you know, and not completely screwing up my job, they just let. Do it. Um, but anything that would cost money, it was like almost not even worth the effort of like, let me explain this.
[00:13:40] Let me go down the rabbit hole. Let me do it. It was like, let me just do what I know. Um, but we grew really fast and we had a lot of early traction at the time, um, which was a combination of like marketing efforts, the timing of things, and the hype we were able to, to build. It’s, you know, with all startups there’s, there has to be a little bit of a perfect storm and some luck in there.
[00:13:59] It’s [00:14:00] not necessarily one thing, but the. To give myself credit, the scrappy marketing and, and moving quickly without any resources or budget, I think actually helped us. I,
[00:14:13]Bryan Fields: I, I agree. And I think one of the misunderstandings of marketing sometimes is how broad it actually is. I think founders sometimes have understandings of, oh, maybe it’s loyalty.
[00:14:21] Maybe it’s, it’s it’s advertising, maybe it’s content. But in actuality, it’s pretty much all those under a big umbrella. And I think one of my favorite aspects and one of the, the most challenging aspects of cannabis is how humbling it is for some of these executives that come from some of these bigger companies that come into cannabis.
[00:14:35] And they. Exactly like you said, Lisa. Oh, I’m just gonna run the plays I ran before that scaled my business beautifully. And then they get started and they’re like, can’t do X, can’t do Y, can’t do Z. Can’t do any of those things. So Lisa, for our listeners who are maybe unfamiliar about some of the marketing related challenges here in cannabis, can you kind of list off some of the differences on what makes uh, cannabis a little harder to do marketing?
[00:14:54]Lisa Buffo: Yeah, so first and foremost, it is still federally unlawful. So let’s just establish that precedent. Despite [00:15:00] where the stigma is and despite where the certain states are at the federal level, it is still unlawful. So that creates. Kind of your first barrier. Um, that means you can’t do ads on Instagram. On Google.
[00:15:13] Things are starting to crack a little bit, but I’m, I’m not gonna be too generous with that. Um, can’t really do paid ads on major sites for the most part. Um, and it’s still censored to a degree pretty heavily on social media. So just even the pure creation of content is not, um, protected as you might think.
[00:15:31] So federally unlawful, which means a lot of, some folks won’t work with you. Other folks, if they do, Weeks, if not months, of compliance and legal checks and legal fees. And can you say this, can you say that? And because there isn’t really much federal guidance at all, uh, it really comes down to that state and local level.
[00:15:48] Um, more people are risk averse than, than not, uh, especially when most of their business is coming from outside of the industry as far as publications and places to. Advertise [00:16:00] second, because it is state to state. You can’t just like come up with a national campaign and roll it out like you might, you know, your typical CPG product, you really have to do it on a state by state basis and the regs differ.
[00:16:10] So the regs in Massachusetts are going to be different than Colorado. Um, some states allow you to show certain imagery, others do not. Um, some allow you to print merch, others do not. Some allow you to have billboards, others do not. Um, sometimes even the requirement as far. Like basically 71 of the audience has to be over 21.
[00:16:30] That number even changes a little bit depending. So there’s a whole compliance aspect most marketers aren’t really familiar with because of the nature of cannabis. Um, and then second, because of the federal status, there’s a tax code, um, to a e, which basically says if. Distributing unlawful substances, you’re not a legitimate business, so therefore you don’t have legitimate business expenses.
[00:16:54] So from the I R S perspective, you actually can’t. B, licensed cannabis businesses [00:17:00] cannot write off their marketing and advertising costs. So for larger companies, They’re used to spending all this money in advertising because it, it’s sort of win-win. They get to write it off and it helps them grow. For cannabis companies, they don’t.
[00:17:12] Um, so they’re paying really high tax rates and there’s a lot of pressure on marketers to show that return because that spend isn’t, it doesn’t have the same kind of financial implication as any other business. Um, and then Leslie, depending on where you are, and this is just like the top of the surface, there’s a lot of competition.
[00:17:35] Some markets are incredibly saturated. California is one, uh, Oregon, Colorado too. Like a lot of these states that legalize first either had unlimited licenses or they just have a lot of licenses. So it’s not, oh, if you build it, they will come. It’s, there’s really intense competition. Um, and in some places a kind of a race to the bottom as far as just prices, uh, in which you can put all the marketing.
[00:17:59][00:18:00] Premium branding on it that you want, and there’s still space for that, but it is just a different consumer, uh, and, and a whole different strategy. Um, and there’s one other thing I was gonna mention that was on the tip of my tongue, uh, competition. We’ll go with those for now. But those are the kind of big ones that I, I think if you aren’t from within the industry, might Oh, education, of course.
[00:18:22] So it’s not like a oh, single. Product, right? People think, oh, cannabis, you smoke it. Yes. But also there’s different strain types. There’s different form factors. There’s inhalable, there’s uh, uh, consumables, edibles, patches, tinctures, all these things. And then they all can have different effects based on their chemical makeup.
[00:18:42] So there is a steeper educational learning curve that isn’t as straightforward as. Hey, look at this box of Kleenex. You use it to blow your nose and it is more absorbent than the next brand, and it’s softer, and that’s the whole pitch. Um, there’s way more to cannabis than that, so there’s a lot of education [00:19:00] that kind of crosses over with this science part.
[00:19:03] Which we’re still learning in developing. Um, so marketers, they have to be legal experts. They have to be compliance experts, they have to be good copywriters, they have to be good educators, and education in the sense that they need to understand some of the science and cultural issues behind cannabis to help, uh, reduce the stigma.
[00:19:21] So it, it is a tall order.
[00:19:24]Kellan Finney: So, so with all of these obstacles and the fact that, uh, a lot of these companies are essentially growing almost identical, Products, if you will. Right. Um, how do marketers kind of plant their flag in the, on the, in the sand and be like, this is our product. This is different about it.
[00:19:41] While navigating all of those o obstacles you just mentioned.
[00:19:45]Lisa Buffo: I really say it’s about knowing who you are as the brand. Um, like if you think about other brands that have been successful, whether it’s, uh, like a Tom’s Shoes or a Apple, um, there’s a degree of [00:20:00] innovation. Um, but there’s also like the brand.
[00:20:03] They built the brand. You know who they are, you know what their values are. You know what it’s about. You can see it, you can almost like feel it and taste it. Like when you’re like, oh, apple computers, they’re slicking, they’re smooth, and they’re, you know, like they’re fast. Like you know what the value is that you’re getting and they’ve taken the time to build that one-on-one relationship.
[00:20:22] So really, You know, whatever you’re selling, whether it’s cannabis or any other product, you need to have that brand personality and understand your values. Understand your, which is a product of who are your customers and how are you selling to them? What do they care about? Are you listening to them? Are you marketing to them where they are?
[00:20:41] Um, You know, like some people will call me and be like, I can’t run Facebook ads. I’m like, well who’s your audience and where are they? You know, like if they’re not on Facebook, does it matter if you’re, if you know, if your demographic is maybe Gen Z, um, where are they? So it’s kind of at its core, I think, unders understanding who [00:21:00] you are as a company and the brand and the story and the values behind it.
[00:21:03] And I will say this, assuming you have a quality product and you’ve done that research, you can’t. Um, lipstick on a pig, so to speak. Like all the marketing and budget on the in the world isn’t gonna change a terrible product. Like consumers aren’t, aren’t stupid, they know that. But if you’ve done that res, if you’ve done that and you have that component, marketing can be that element that will, um, really take it to the next level and keep folks loyal.
[00:21:28] I a hundred
[00:21:28]Bryan Fields: percent agree. I think it, it helps to separate the, the peers from the packs, because when you walk into dispensary, there are endless amounts of choices. But most consumers, they make that choice there, but they really start the process earlier on when they’re seeing things on Instagram or their friends talk about those things.
[00:21:42] So there are creative aspects that people can use, but extremely, extremely challenging. And I think one that’s kind of underappreciated. One of my favorite things to ask newer consumers when they walk into Spencer first time is like, why did you choose that product? And a lot of times their responses are, I liked the packaging, so I’m [00:22:00] asking, Lisa, do you think packaging is the most important component in a dispensary for brands that kind of separate themselves?
[00:22:05] Or do you think it’s a combination of effects and packaging is just kind of the central, the thought process when making that selection?
[00:22:11]Lisa Buffo: Um, it’s always a combination. If it was as simple as one thing, I would not have a job. Um, so it’s definitely a combination. But if you think about packaging, it is like your kind of recency bias, like what’s top of mind.
[00:22:25] Like if you’re sitting there and you’re looking at your options and you’re evaluating a few, you, you might be more inclined towards the one that’s more visually appealing. Um, but you also go in knowing, Hey, I know things about these brands. You know, when I shop for any products, whether it’s cannabis or outside, I’ll go, oh, I’ve heard stories about that company.
[00:22:44] They’re doing something great. Or like Tom’s shoes, for example, right? They’re, I need shoes. They’re donating a pair to somebody. Um, that’s gonna make me consider it more, even if they’re not like the cutest shoes on earth. So it’s like, it’s a combination of knowing who’s the brand, what do they stand for, and how have they [00:23:00] communicated those values?
[00:23:01] Like, did you see a, um, a like a. This doesn’t apply to Canvas necessarily, but like did you see a cool commercial on tv? And then did you read something in a magazine? And then did you, um, Something on social media and then you go and the packaging is nice, and the combination of those things is like, yep, that that’s the decision I’m gonna make.
[00:23:20] So there’s that old adage that in marketing you need seven touchpoints. And like some people love and hate that number, but I agree it’s more than one. You know, you don’t go in and be like that package. Some people yes, but you can’t hang your marketing hat on it. Um, it’s the combination of all the different touchpoints and I, I refer to.
[00:23:40] HubSpot’s flywheel. So the old kind of marketing, uh, wisdom was the funnel. You’ve got the tap of funnel, middle funnel, bottom of funnel. The newer model is the flywheel where the funnel sort of comes around to itself, where you, it doesn’t just stop and end at that purchase. You want them to keep coming back and keep being loyal, so you need to keep them happy [00:24:00] over time.
[00:24:00] So I actually even consider like customer service, a part of marketing, like any touchpoint someone has with your brand, whether it’s the, um, through an Instagram DM or a phone call or an email for customer service. Hey, I, I. You know, I picked this up. Do you guys have other flavors? Um, did you get a nice email back?
[00:24:18] Did they respond in time? Like they might already be a customer, they already went through the funnel, but depending on how that interaction goes, can determine whether they come back or not. Or did it get left on red? So it’s all the touchpoints anyone has with your brand, so you don’t wanna drop them.
[00:24:33] Some, I think, have more importance than others, depending on the target customer and depending on your product. But I don’t think you. To get to your original point, I don’t think you can miss packaging, like you can’t drop the ball on packaging and expect to remain competitive because a lot of people do make split second decisions based on what they’re seeing or what the Bud Tenderer says at that point of sale.
[00:24:55] Yeah, the
[00:24:55]Bryan Fields: bud tenders are really the key to that whole kind of puzzle because they are so influential in kind of making [00:25:00] those recommended decisions, whether or not they’re being influenced by brands to help make personal recommending, or they’re actually just hearing back what the customer says and say, Hey, this is what I think is good.
[00:25:08] So brand loyalty, is that something that you think currently exists today, and do you think it has staying power as the game continues to evolve and let’s say we get interstate commerce sooner rather than later?
[00:25:19]Lisa Buffo: Yes. So brand loyalty. There’s been research on this. Um, Brightfield group has done some great research on brand loyalty that I’ve presented at a few different conferences.
[00:25:28] Um, they did studies in Colorado and California that show brand loyalty is actually exceptionally high in cannabis. Um, again, those are two mature markets, so. There’s something to be said about that, but yes, and people will actually go out of their way and instead of just going to the closest dispensary near them, those who know what they want will go out of their way to find, um, a retailer that carries the brands that they.
[00:25:52] Like in wanna buy. So there’s something deeper even to explore there. As far as the relationships between brands and retailers, where are, [00:26:00] are customers shopping retail first or are they shopping brand first? And you know, that’s not a black and white answer, but yes, there is brand loyalty in cannabis. I think there will continue to be, one of the big things particularly, I mean I, I, I think to some degree for all consumers is, are you getting the desired.
[00:26:18] Um, and it’s easy to, like, I get asked a lot of questions, uh, that sort of try to pinpoint the consumer as like, oh, the, the adult use consumer, or, oh, the medical consumer. I’m like, I personally am like six different consumers in one. I’m a, I’m a Saturday hiking consumer. I’m a Tuesday night after work consumer.
[00:26:35] I’m a. Um, sleeping, edibles, consumer like I have different use cases, just me personally. And so you, that those could be six different brands that could market to me in those different ways. And I’m buying based on this product is in the form factor and gives me the intended effect I need in this use case, even though I’m one person and one wallet.
[00:26:54] Um, so I think again, that kind of gets back to my point about are you. [00:27:00] Building that relationship and is the product creating the desired outcome? And I know if I’ve had a product where, okay, this told me I was gonna sleep better and I didn’t, I don’t buy it again, period. Like you get one shot, um, you know, so like a great packaging, cool, maybe I heard a good story, but if it doesn’t do its job, then like, that’s it.
[00:27:17] The one that does is the one I buy. So that, that trust is really e.
[00:27:24]Bryan Fields: What about cross ca category loyalty? For example, if I like edibles from Chiba, choose and they come out with a pre-roll, maybe Eric, uh, do you think that there’s cross category loyalty or do you think that it kind of ends with the form factor that I first found that loyalty towards?
[00:27:38]Lisa Buffo: I think there is. Um, I can’t speak to any like, research off the top of my mind, but yeah, just thinking about how I consume and my friends and other folks I know, like whatever, everyone has different use cases and. You know, how cannabis impacts their body, what they need. Um, and what makes it so interesting is that the line between medical wellness and [00:28:00] adult use, I think continues to get a, a bit blurrier, but it, it again really depends on the person.
[00:28:05] Um, some people are really, you know, one side of the spectrum and others are. Are on the other. Um, but I think if it works and you like it, you’re gonna come back to it. Like with any product, it’s kind of as simple as that. It, it, we can make it a little more complicated, but if it, if it works for you, hits the right price point, you know, people will continue to buy.
[00:28:27] Um, but there is that education curve where maybe I was a, um, ed, like I know some of my parents, my parents, For example, like they were gummies only people and it was like gummies only in certain scenarios, right? Like when I really can’t sleep or I’m really in pain. And then over time it’s like, oh, now just whenever, or here’s a little flower on the weekends.
[00:28:50] Or you know, oh, this tincture is a cool new product. Let me try that. Like as they get more comfortable, they’re getting, becoming more and more open to different form factors and trying new things. And that’s [00:29:00] an aspect of them liking it and integrating it into their lifestyle. So, Who the consumer is, or where anyone may be at in their journey today will likely change over time.
[00:29:11] And that’s something marketers always need to keep in mind and why they need to continue to build that relationship and have that communication is because the reason I bought your brand last year might um, be an opportunity for me to buy a new product for you this year cuz you already got my trust on the gummies and now I’m excited about your pre-rolls.
[00:29:29] Do we have any national brands? I think we do. I think we have a few. I, and I say this within context to the cannabis industry, if you were to say this within context to like, do we have Coke and Pepsi yet? No, but within the cannabis industry, given where we came from about a decade ago, yes. But very at its infancy, like I would say baby national brands, but I, I think it would, um, it would be a misnomer to say we don’t.
[00:29:59] At the [00:30:00] earliest stages. Yeah. Any
[00:30:01]Bryan Fields: anyone that come to mind?
[00:30:03]Lisa Buffo: Um, Warner Brands, I think for sure. I mean, I think who could survey people and that probably they would come to mind. I mean, they’re, they were Colorado, our Colorado base, so they’re very top of mind, um, for the community here. But they’ve also been one of the few that’s had a massive exit.
[00:30:18] And, uh, every place I’ve traveled, I’ve seen them for the most. Um, and I travel to a lot of places and go to dispensaries and have conversations and, you know, it’s few and far between. I don’t see, wanna gummy somewhere, so, um, I know things are changing. There’s some big brands that have pulled out of California because they’re just like, Hey, it’s too competitive and things are, it’s just not worth it for us.
[00:30:40] Um, but yeah, that would be one I would mention. Kelly, do
[00:30:45]Bryan Fields: you think that
[00:30:46]Kellan Finney: it, do you think I was gonna, uh, do you think that it’s gonna be around in five years? Wa
[00:30:51]Bryan Fields: Yeah.
[00:30:54]Lisa Buffo: I mean, if past performances of an indicator of future performance, they’ve, they’ve really, I mean, weathered the last [00:31:00] decade quite well. Um, but, you know, things change so much, so quickly all the time.
[00:31:05] But they’ve, I think they’ve done a really good job of staying on top, top of, um, all the trends. The trends. Yeah. They, at one point they, um, made their packaging smaller and more sustainable. They, they, I’m always seeing new products come out with them that are pretty, Um, nuanced as far as like, what, what’s the intended effect and what are they trying to do?
[00:31:26] And I think that level of innovation in any company and that ability to sort of rapidly respond to what the market is asking for is a good sign that you have staying power.
[00:31:36]Kellan Finney: I only asked because, uh, the dispensary I go to in Colorado, quick carrying them, and they carried ’em forever and they started carrying a, a new brand and that was just something that I’ve seen consistently across California and, and Colorado.
[00:31:48] So I just, you know, it’s, it’s tough to, for me, not a marketer, right. Uh, to truly. Like understand if like what it takes for a brand to last [00:32:00] 20, 30, 40 years, you know, especially in an industry that’s so volatile and you, I mean, you look at other industries too, right? Like there’s a lot of other big brands that have fallen, right?
[00:32:08] Like GE and these other big brands have had their heyday and then they kind of dis uh, dissipate. So I was just curious your opinion on, on the longevity of that kind of a brand. Right.
[00:32:17]Lisa Buffo: I mean, it, it’s, yeah, it’s, it’s, I’ll say this, I’ve been asked for years. What do you think federal legalization is gonna happen?
[00:32:24] And if you let sick, if you, if I had it, uh, right. And every time I’m like, literally no idea. We, we’ve, we’ve been making predictions. We keep saying, if you would asked me in 2014, if in 2023 we wouldn’t have seen any progress, I would, I would be shocked. Um, but here we are. So, you know, it’s really hard to say and make these predictions, um, because it is so volatile and.
[00:32:47] They just change and, but that’s what makes it so hard and to some degree rewarding, but I would say more days than not, more ch more challenging and frustrating. What’s your
[00:32:56]Bryan Fields: perspective on positioning effects on the, on the packaging [00:33:00] in order to try to entice the customer, move forward? Maybe doesn’t have the type of research necessary to communicate some of the specifics like recovery or relaxing.
[00:33:08] I, I know that’s a common technique that’s used in order to elicit kind of normal feelings, but as a marketer, do you have skew one way towards another? On, on using that information on found the packaging.
[00:33:18]Lisa Buffo: So you, there’s a line to walk when it comes to health claims. Um, so there’s effects and there’s health claims and, um, there, there’s a line there.
[00:33:29] So one of the, you know, big red flag, no, no marketing rules is you cannot make health claims. You cannot say this cures anything or this heals anything. You, you can’t do that. That falls into. You just, you can’t do that. So effects based marketing, first and foremost, you have to be careful of making sure you’re not making health claims.
[00:33:50] Um, so there’s sort of softer ways to say like, this is a sleep aid or, or, uh, will promote relaxation, but you can’t necessarily say this is gonna like, stop your [00:34:00] anxiety or, um, you know, cure your depression. Like you can’t do that. So, um, is it important? Have clarity around that. Yes. Um, one of the things that I think is interesting about effects based marketing is, I mean, that’s sort of the end of the science part and the science and what we know and has been talked about has changed over the years.
[00:34:23] It was, you know, in the early days of the industry, it was like indicus sativa, right? Sativa’s more of an upper indica in the couch. It was sort of a simple way. Create delineating between the two. Almost too simple. And now the wisdom is, hey, it’s less about, um, inva and more about the terpene profile and the, the full cannabinoid profile.
[00:34:42] What other cannabinoids are in there? How, how do the terpenes and the flavonoids like work together to create a desired effect? So, There’s still much to be understood and to tease out about that, we’re also seeing more, uh, products and more marketing around more minor cannabinoids like [00:35:00] CBN and C B G and the effects that they have.
[00:35:03] So there is a lot more research to be done for I think marketers to have better. Content, for lack of a better word, to be able to say some of these things in a more informed way where they can say, okay, the reason this is a sleep aid is because it contains X, Y, and Z. Um, maybe it’s got some Lena, Lena Lule in it.
[00:35:28] I struggle saying some of those uh, names. Um, But you’ll notice some of these products also have like lavender and they’ll have melatonin and they’ll have like the things you see in other sleep products, cannabis aside, that just generally promote relaxation. So, um, like I said, it’s important to have transparency and build the trust and that the product is gonna do what it says it does.
[00:35:48] But there’s also that level of understanding where, where, okay, if you’re making this, um, claim that it’s gonna have this effect. Well, why? And can I look at the packaging and say, Um, you know, like with coffee, if [00:36:00] it has caffeine, I know I’m gonna be up. Um, that’s, you know, it, it’s pretty black and white like that, so we have a ways to go on that.
[00:36:07] So yes, I do think it’s important, but I think there’s a lot of gray space that. Everyone’s still figuring out. I
[00:36:13]Bryan Fields: think that’s like one of the hardest parts because like if the supervisor is really pushing at, Hey, we have to get sales, and you see some of your competitors are leaning more into the gray market where you don’t really want, you’re kind of really at a, a really in, uh, impasse on what you should do in order to try to communicate some of those effects, but also understand you wanna build that trust with the consumer.
[00:36:29] So it’s a really, really tight balance that markers have to walk with. Their leadership is also with generating agents from the.
[00:36:36]Lisa Buffo: Yeah, and we saw it play out with, um, like hemp, a C B D I know there was in the early days, lots of CBD brands that didn’t really have cbd, b d in them, or they didn’t have a lot in them.
[00:36:47] And I knew tons of folks who said, oh, I tried it and I felt nothing, nothing changed. And then there’s these reports coming out that like, okay, because it’s so unregulated, they’re not actually putting in, you know, what the, the amount of [00:37:00] CBD that it says. So they’re immediately turned off and say, CBD doesn’t work for me.
[00:37:04] Cuz I tried it once, when really they tried a product that wasn’t what it said. Um, so, and I’m not saying that’s necessarily like what’s happening in cannabis, but just to the point as far as is your product going, like, are you manufacturing it the way that you said you would, are you being compliant and is it.
[00:37:22] Do you understand the extraction process and the chemical process enough that that’s being communicated from the production side to the marketing side, that there’s clarity there and com being compliant legally? Um, there’s a lot of steps
[00:37:37]Bryan Fields: for sure. Let’s do a quick rapid fire favorite company or brand from a marketing sense that you think doesn’t get enough credit and is under the radar.
[00:37:48]Lisa Buffo: I’ll have to say the Cannabis Marketing Association. I’ve got, we’ve got so many companies, uh, in our membership that I think do such a good job. So it’d be hard to pick a, a favorite, but I [00:38:00] think really the folks who, their founders have good stories and lead with them, um, I personally tend to gravitate towards, there’s one I, so I worked in, I, I had that service dog job, and then I had a stint in tech.
[00:38:14] Um, One of the, my favorite things about making the jump from tech to cannabis was all the founders here were like, Hey, my, um, grandma had cancer and she tried cannabis and it changed her life. And so I’m gonna create a brand that’s gonna be able to, um, you know, create change in other people’s lives. Or, I had this accident and something happen.
[00:38:33] And like, there’s so many amazing founder stories that I think give a brand initial energy and traction and like, Like when they say the product is made with love, you can almost sense that. Um, so those that I think have that down, it, it, it comes through in their company culture, it comes through in the branding, it comes through in the conversations at the point of sale.
[00:38:56] And those tend to be, I think the smaller to more medium sized folks who [00:39:00] are really rooted in their community, um, wherever they are. Uh, what’s the one thing about cannabis is it can be like, California grown or Colorado grown or indoor outdoor, like there is this sense of community, um, as far as the product itself too.
[00:39:15] So I think there’s a few brands in that space that, uh, I think are gonna resonate a a bit more directly than kind of larger ones. Speaking from the top down.
[00:39:24]Bryan Fields: Sure. Those emotional ties are, are really critical. Is there one that comes to mind that you were thinking about?
[00:39:30]Lisa Buffo: Not necessarily that comes to mind.
[00:39:33]Bryan Fields: That’s fair. Do brands in cannabis travel. How, how so do, let’s say, um, there’s a certain product in New York that I’m aware of, but I, and I go out west and I see it, I instantly wanna buy it. Do you think there’s sort of like traveling where when someone sees it, they, they walk in, they they look for it? Or do you think consumers are more likely to try a new product in a, in a new state?
[00:39:56]Lisa Buffo: A little bit of both. I think it depends on the person, um, and how [00:40:00] comfortable they are with cannabis. Some people, when they find their routine and what works with them, they stick to it and that’s, that’s what they do. Others are like to try and test new things. I like to try and test new things, but sometimes also I like to just stick with my routine cause it’s one less variable in my day, right?
[00:40:19] Like I just, there’ve got so many other things going on. The last thing I need is something that like may not work or. You know, send me on a, to a place I don’t wanna be necessarily. Um, so I, I think it really just depends on the person. I think there’s, uh, arguments for both. And again, I don’t think it’s as black and white as like, it either is all this way or is all that way.
[00:40:40] I think it’s where the consumer is or a certain consumer at any given point in time in their own cannabis journey.
[00:40:47]Bryan Fields: True or false? Uh, first mover advantage is crucial.
[00:40:53]Lisa Buffo: Yes. If moved thoughtfully and correctly, but it is not, [00:41:00] uh, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee staying power. And sometimes there’s something to be said for being second in learning from the first mover who has to make all their mistakes publicly.
[00:41:10] So really depends on the use case and their resources. But there’s pros and cons to both hybrid
[00:41:18]Bryan Fields: sativa, indica. Should we discontinue?
[00:41:21]Lisa Buffo: Uh, as far as like a whole industry and whether we discuss it or not, so I think there needs to be. My gut reaction is no, because I think there’s something to be said about creating simplicity for consumers at this point in time where it seems like folks need something to keep it simple to understand, to have language.
[00:41:46] One of the things that can be really, um, create a barrier for folks, uh, particularly older generations going into dispensaries. Oh, I don’t know the language. I don’t know the lingo. I’m not, I’m not equipped to shop here [00:42:00] because I feel stupid when I walk in and there’s all this jargon I do not understand.
[00:42:04] So I think there’s something to be said for having a common language parti, particularly for folks who are get started. I know if I talk to someone new and I’m like, cannabinoid profile terpene, profile flavonoids. Like they’re, they’re just like pre-rolls. They’re like, what are you talking about? You know, you have to.
[00:42:20] You just have to start at a foundation and build. So I think there’s something to be said about that language for that foundational stage for some folks in time where I think throwing it out right now may cause a little more harm than good. But do I think we need to evolve and iterate quickly as the science does and as we have a better understanding?
[00:42:41] Yes. I don’t think the marketing should ne necessarily dictate that. But you, you just can’t go. You know, it took me a decade to learn and understand all this years. So, um, everyone else should be granted that time in space too.
[00:42:58]Bryan Fields: The state you think is the most [00:43:00] ridiculous with the rules and regulation for marketing?
[00:43:05]Lisa Buffo: That’s a good question. Um, I wouldn’t say. It’s hard to say a state in particular. I will say, I know when Massachusetts came out with their regs at the time in 2016, they were quite restrictive because they were like, you couldn’t really have the Green Cross or Greenleaf, you couldn’t have merch. And at the time, that was not something that had been, um, instituted in the states out west, like California and Colorado.
[00:43:31] But a lot of states have changed and loosened over time based on community feedback and just how things rolled out. So I think a lot of states kind of start strict. For simp, uh, we’ll just call it simplicity’s sake, but it’s just kind of how they start and then they learn as they go. Um, so a lot of it just isn’t fixed, but I think there are some rules that are more onerous than others and have more red tape than they actually have like desired impact for [00:44:00] what the government was shooting for
[00:44:03]Bryan Fields: outside industry company.
[00:44:04] You think more cannabis companies should replicate marketing?
[00:44:10]Lisa Buffo: Outside of the industry company, um,
[00:44:20] I think more folks should find their company spirit, animal, and emulate them and understand why. Um, so if your thing is C S R. Like I said, Tom’s shoes. I don’t know why that was just top of my mind, but they’re sponsoring the podcast and they better sponsor the podcast. Ok. Yeah. But they, they have this CSR component, right?
[00:44:40] Like you’re, like, they give back is their first thing you know about the brand. Um, if that’s important to you, find your company Spirit Animal and emulate that. If it’s innovation, maybe it’s like Apple, you know, find what is the thing that you think is gonna make you different or the, the. Product you think is most analogous, or the company that’s [00:45:00] most analogous, and just study them and understand and replicate in a way that, where you can make it your own but not have to like relearn the same lessons.
[00:45:08] And I, I don’t think a lot of people. Even like cannabis marketing is hard, but we, and there’s a lot of nuance and difference, but we aren’t reinventing the wheel completely. There’s a lot that’s already been done. So can we just take those best practices in context to this space? We’re not, we’re not reinventing marketing.
[00:45:25] It’s not rocket science. Um, and I think the same thing goes with building a business. So like, understand who you respect and who you look up to and why, and dig into that and cop and copy what you think makes. Within, I say copy and not copy, but you know what I mean. Replicate,
[00:45:45]Bryan Fields: emulate. Yeah. Emulate, yeah.
[00:45:47] What is an area about marketing and cannabis industry that would surprise or shock others? Not in the industry to know.
[00:45:55]Lisa Buffo: Uh, when I have the two 80 e conversation with people, they’re pretty shocked. They don’t understand the [00:46:00] banking aspect. Uh, I think they, in their minds think, oh yeah, they operate in cash.
[00:46:04] Everything else is the same. And it’s like, no, it’s not. Taxes are hard on a good day, let alone when you can’t write off certain expenses, and you have to do all this, jump through all these hoops in order to be compliant when you’re not treated the same as other service providers. I mean, I know for us it, it took us almost a year to get a bank account to find someone who would take us.
[00:46:27] And I had to, you know, like I had to make my case to the vp, um, of the bank. Uh, when you work with other service providers, whether it’s payment processing or insurance, everyone deems you high risk. So you pay this, like what, what I kind of call a phantom tax on top of it. They’re like, oh, you’re high risk.
[00:46:44] It’s gonna be X percent more. And so you don’t get to like negotiate when you say, I only have one option of one vendor who’s gonna take me and I have to pay whatever they’re gonna charge because no one else is gonna work with us. So, It isn’t like there are those things [00:47:00] that, like you can have the strategy, right, but if you only have so many people you can work with, it really changes the execution.
[00:47:06] Um, and that part is hard.
[00:47:09]Bryan Fields: When you got started in your journey in the cannabis space, what did you get? Right? And most importantly, what did you get wrong?
[00:47:15]Lisa Buffo: Um, getting started early. So I moved to Colorado like on a hunch, really in 2014. And I really wanted to be there year one. I wanted to say, Hey, I’m gonna be able to tell my grandkids I was there the first year of adult use in the, in the first state.
[00:47:28] Um, and I didn’t hesitate. So, and that allowed me time to learn. It allowed me to learn on other people’s dimes in the sense that I had a a w two job before I started my own business. I was able to say like, okay, when I, you know, when it’s my. Here’s what to not do, and also here’s what works, um, that I think is, is smart.
[00:47:48] It’s easy to see like a lot of entrepreneur influencers on social media who make it look so easy. Um, And I, I, it grinds my gears a little bit because I’m like, it, it’s hard. Uh, we, [00:48:00] we need to talk about that more. It’s really, really hard. It might be easy on paper and like can read a book and be like, oh yeah, I can do this.
[00:48:05] And it’s good to have that confidence, but you also need the context of the amount of risk you have involved, the amount of toll it might take on your mental health and your family, um, and the financial risk that you have. So I think, uh, getting started early learning. Someone else’s dime. Like if you can get a job and work and learn, um, and dedicate yourself to it, that’s a really good first step before just jumping in.
[00:48:29] Um, and then something I got wrong, I will say something I have learned to balance, and so in some cases I’ve got this really wrong. In other cases, I’ve got this right. Is the combination of trusting my gut and my mind, cuz there’s a lot of decisions. There’s no playbook for being a founder cause everyone’s story is a little bit different.
[00:48:49] In theory there is, but there’s so many factors where you are gonna know best and you’re the only one who’s really gonna have a full sense of everything that’s going on. So [00:49:00] a lot of what I think has made me a better entrepreneur is understanding, okay, here’s the logical decision, numbers based, you know, next step I need to.
[00:49:10] And then also balancing that with what my gut says. We’ll say, oh yeah, but maybe you really don’t have a good feeling about that partner. And there’s something that’s just keeping you up at night. Even if the numbers look right or it might like logically sound good. If my gut says no and I don’t listen, I’m always wrong.
[00:49:25] So it’s finding your own internal, um, process of how do you make decisions and really. Being grounded in that because you’re gonna make mistakes for sure. Um, and you need to be able to live with them at the end of the day, and no one’s gonna have a better sense or better interest in your business than yourself.
[00:49:44] So you need to have that grounding in order to make it through all the storms that are gonna come.
[00:49:49]Bryan Fields: That’s really well said. All right, Lisa, prediction time. What is the number one marketing aspect cannabis brands or companies are not taking advantage [00:50:00] of today?
[00:50:05]Lisa Buffo: It’s hard to say number one. Um, but I would say thinking about the customer journey as cyclical as a, as a circle. So like I mentioned, the hu, the flywheel, um, that the customer journey doesn’t. Stop once they’ve purchased. It almost begins once they’ve purchased because you want them to come back. You want them to tell their friends.
[00:50:26] You want them to educate for you and explain to their parents or their siblings why this product is awesome. You can’t just be done at that point of sale. So I think. Thinking about the life cycle of a customer, the longevity, um, in the longer term is really hard to do when this industry moves in such kind of short cycles.
[00:50:48] But keeping that big picture, I think is important. Um, more so than this, there can be a fixation on like, what’s the best channel? And I’m like, that is 10 questions too far [00:51:00] down. Like I, who, who, why, where, when, and then we can talk channel. So like being able to, see The forest from the trees. I think in marketing and knowing when to zoom out and when to zoom in is is really tough, but I think there’s some work to be done there.
[00:51:17]Bryan Fields: Kellen, repeat the question. What is the, I’m thinking what is the number one marketing aspect cannabis brands or companies are not taking advantage of today?
[00:51:31] More education
[00:51:32]Kellan Finney: to the bud tenders. I think that they hold so much power, right? I mean, I’ve even worked in the industry as an operator. I understand all the science behind all these different strains, right? And there’s a lack of, uh, Ability to, to gain that information when you’re trying to shop for, say, flower, right?
[00:51:51] Like no one is really displaying their full terpene profiles on their packaging. It’s just challenging with the amount of items that go on. And so I even lean on [00:52:00] bud tenders to be like, okay, I haven’t been here in a couple weeks. What flower have you tried? That’s new? Can I smell it? And it’s just such an interaction at that point for me at least
[00:52:10]Bryan Fields: that I think that.
[00:52:13]Kellan Finney: doing kind of more traditional like vendor days where they have a representative at the store who’s kind of interacting with those bud tenders, kind of provides intangible information to them that creates this, this loyalty and this relationship with the consumers. That’s so hard to track, right?
[00:52:33] But I think it’s so undervalued, in my opinion, in the
[00:52:35]Bryan Fields: industry. I thought that. Yeah, I think that’s great. Um, I think for me it’s really focusing on who that target customer is, and then drilling all the way down for all their specifics. I think too many times we hear, oh, we’re gonna produce the best in class edibles.
[00:52:49] That’s great, but like, what’s the price point? Who’s the story? Who’s the purchaser? All of those things should be representative in your marketing and your brand, your storytelling, in order to elicit that type of emotional ties and attraction. So, [00:53:00] If we’re crafting a, a story for me when I walk in, I should pretty much gravitate towards that product and, and maybe not even know why I’m gravitating towards that.
[00:53:07] And I think, uh, a secondary thing that came to mind is resourcefulness. I think Lisa, like what you shared today about the. The wide spectrum of what marketing is. A lot of these companies don’t understand the complexity of marketing and how broad it is and try to loop in one or two people with a very tight or no budget and say, Hey, go make magic happen.
[00:53:24] And I think with a better understanding of some of the complexities and the challenges, but giving the resources and the the need and the importance that marketing is, I think can make a massive difference for these companies who are battle battling for shelf space and then obviously fighting for the price compression.
[00:53:41] So Lisa, for our listeners, they wanna get in touch. They wanna visit the Cannabis Marketing Association and be a part of the summit. Where can they find ya?
[00:53:49]Lisa Buffo: So the cannabis marketing association.com. Our cannabis marketing summit is June 21 through 23 in Denver, Colorado. Auto. The theme this year is doing more [00:54:00] with less scaling sustainably, so it’s two full days of workshops, solo sessions and some panels, but we’re really focused on workshops and solos this year, um, to teach you how to do more with less and scale, um, thoughtfully in all the verticals, s e o, um, packaging.
[00:54:17] Branding, you name it. So we have a theme so that as we go into each topic, there’s context to it. Um, but it’s, it’s a fantastic conference. We, we do a welcome reception the night before. Uh, so it’s all day Thursday, all day Friday. We’re launching an award show, so our awards entries will open soon, and the, uh, show itself will be at the summit.
[00:54:37] And you can find us on social media at Can Marketing, I’m on social media as well at Li Buff, L I B U F F. Um, and I think I’m at Li Buff 21 on Twitter. We’ll link it
[00:54:48]Bryan Fields: all up in the show notes. Thanks for taking the time. This in
[00:54:50]Lisa Buffo: LinkedIn? Yeah, we’ll link it all up and if you find me on LinkedIn, just mention, uh, hey, I listen to you on the podcast because I get a lot of random requests.
[00:54:57] All right,
[00:54:58]Bryan Fields: thanks Lisa. Yeah.