On a recommendation from a Missouri cannabis industry ally, I joined the Cannabis Marketing Association (CMA) in 2021. The CMA offers a wide range of industry news and insight, virtual networking happy hours, and a member Slack channel to connect with other industry professionals – all of which have landed me outstanding business opportunities and introductions to contacts throughout the US cannabis industry. Naturally, when CMA announced their first in-person conference in Denver in June of 2022, chock full of industry leaders that I admired, I jumped at the opportunity to experience this in person.
2022 Cannabis Marketing Summit
Conference topics ranged from cannabis retail strategies and compliance in cannabis marketing, to the importance of budtenders – and even the metaverse. The lineup was so great that it was hard to choose which sessions to attend, however all of them were filmed and will be available to members in a few weeks. I took pages and pages of notes, and from one passionate cannabis professional to another, I wanted to share a list of my favorite takeaways with like-minded colleagues in the Missouri Cannabis industry.
You get better information when you “lose” than when you “win”, because you can figure out what you need to adjust in real-time. Seems obvious, but given the “winning” culture we live in these days, it can be a valuable reminder to sit back and study what happened in your defeats.
Authentic and consistent messaging. As industry mavens, we’re tasked with creating experiences for our patients and customers. Consistent messaging, logos, fonts, and colors all play a part in those experiences and are a great reminder that consistency is always key.
Cannabis product marketing “dos” and “don’ts”. Multiple sessions covered compliance guidelines around what we can and can’t do when describing cannabis products. Using medical claims or jargon is a definite “don’t” in our industry, and can have very real repercussions for your business. For example, stay away from words like “cure” and “heal,” and use words like “may” instead of “will,” as in: “This may help you…” or “this may be good for…”
Leverage customer testimonials. Product knowledge varies from state to state and patient to patient. The value of using testimonials was a definite “do,” as they can use phrases like “this helped me…” and “my experience with this strain was…”
Budtenders, budtenders, budtenders. Subject-matter experts are crucial elements in the world of cannabis. Budtenders are your biggest brand ambassadors at point-of-sale and need to be empowered and armed with product knowledge at all times. Providing easily-accessible information to resources that allow your budtenders to have their pulse on product data in real-time affords your business with an authentic, trustworthy experience. Informed customers are apt to take more time with your products, and in turn, invest in them more.
The existence of the Invisible Shopper. In adult-use markets, over half of the customer base shopping in a dispensary is considering other people’s needs when choosing products. Very interesting.
Read the room and always know who your customers are. Does your customer base lean more toward the medical side of cannabis, or recreational use? What percentage of your customers are men versus women? Knowing the answers to these questions can change your messaging game and have a direct impact on your bottom line. Know who your customer persona is and do not ignore it.
The conference rounded out with an event at a consumption lounge. As a card-carrying Missouri medical patient, this was a very new experience for me, and took me about 30 minutes to accept this lounge as reality. What an amazing concept coupled with an even more amazing atmosphere. I started wondering why these aren’t more popular and available– maybe even mandated! It was a joyous, relaxed experience, full of smiling faces and beautiful energy– which was a welcome irony given some of the hostile environments we’re all familiar with at late-night bars between those who’ve overindulged in their drinks of choice.
Overall, I came away with more valuable knowledge than I anticipated. I hope you learned from my experience as well, and appreciate you taking the time to read this post. Cheers!
Tim Pickett | Paradowski Creative
Tim Pickett is the Director of Specialty Brands at Paradowski Creative. With over 25 years of experience in marketing and branding, and a proven track record of successful process and product launches, Pickett’s burgeoning interest in cannabis began after witnessing firsthand the direct benefits a close friend experienced once discovering his unique strain. His commitment to educating industry professionals and consumers resulted in the creation of the GreenFrame App, empowering like-minded colleagues and patients with interactive product information to aid in their journeys of wellness through cannabis.