Discussing Different Marketing Strategies For Your Cannabis Dispensary

Brandon Quan | Founder

Published: August 8, 2022

Had a fantastic chat with Adam Schlett, the Co-Founder of Safe Reach.

Safe-Reach is a data-focused digital consultancy specializing in the cannabis & CBD industry.They help Cannabis and CBD businesses understand, acquire, and retain customers through online media and consumer data intelligence powered by their NOMAD Analytics Platform.

We spoke about all things to do with digital marketing in the cannabis space. Including the ideal “marketing stack” of digital strategies you need in order to successfully run your dispensary.

Please check them out here: https://safe-reach.com/


Cannabud Marketing is the top digital marketing agency for Cannabis Dispensaries. Our specialized expertise will put you in the best position to succeed when working with us.

Book your audit with us here: https://cannabudmarketing.com/


Welcome to another episode of the dispensary marketing podcast. I’m your host, Brandon Quan, the founder of Canada marketing, the number one marketing agency in the world for cannabis dispensaries, both in Canada and the United States.

And I’m joined here, with Adam sch one of the co-founders of safe reach. So Adam, thank you very much for hopping on the show and, you know, welcome cocky introduction, man. Thank you so much for having me. no, it was really nice to connect and you know, we got into it pretty quickly with, you know, the usual Xs and OS of can marketing so excited to kind of dive into it here and share with everybody.

Right. I’m super super pump. So let’s start off with this. Tell us a little bit about yourself then a little bit about safe. Yeah. I got really lucky. I fell in my second job with, now what I’ll consider my mentor, in the data and marketing space. I was the first non-partner employee and helped grow that business to around 150 people.

So I’ve been in the entrepreneurial that was over a period about eight to nine years. my business partner now, and I were met at that company and I ran sales and I ran account management and, well biz dev and account management. And we kind of saw an opportunity in cannabis to, to spin off and take what we had learned there, but maybe kind of evolve the business and go on, on ourselves.

So safe reach is I media services business for the dispensary cannabis brand space. We work with dispensaries and deploying compliant, advertising campaigns. you know, the ability to buy media online for cannabis two years ago was like, my God, how do you do that? Now it’s a little bit more commonplace.

So it’s not a secret. There are ad platforms out there that are cannabis friendly. the difference for us is the ability to measure, attribution and the impact of online ad engagement to sales, online and in store. And that’s really what differentiates us. It’s taking the guesswork out of what the heck did my marketing dollars do for us and building a bunch of technology to support answering that question, which is relevant in pretty much any business that spends money on advertising.

Right? So put an X amount of dollars, you know, advertiser hopefully gets more out of that. Right. That’s, that’s, that’s pretty much the game, right. That’s pretty much the conversation we have with every client we work with. Yes. Right, right. So did you always know you wanted to get into the cannabis space cuz I know you had the other media agency sort of before, was this a vertical you were always interested in or did you just kind of see the opportunity in terms of like, Hey, there’s a service that we can offer and a lot of people need this, solution.

That’s kind of where we wanna go. I’ve been an everyday consumer since I was 18. So, at 34 now, I definitely consider myself a lover of the plant. it was an, an, an industry I wanted to be involved in because how, how many new industries that are not new, but are new formed and interview billion dollar industries that you also have an affinity toward an appreciation of.

Right. that doesn’t happen all the time. So it’s headed up. How do I apply my skill sets and my resources into this industry? I love that was really my initial impetus for thinking about cannabis and just the red tape and cannabis marketing. And the fact that I had a, a background in, in real database marketing, it was just like, this is what you should be doing.

Right, right. So how, how did the business itself get started? I know you said, you know, you had your partner, you know, that kind of grew organically, you know, you sales and that stuff, but how, how did, what was kind of like the, the seed that kind of, you know, grew into this business that you have today? we, we have another media agency as well that deals with non-regulated industries, which definitely helped us kind of fail forward in finding our place in how we actually had a bus, have a business, which, you know, makes a profit and pay people and scale and grow.

But we started as an ad exchange trying to solve the publisher problem. Hey, like there’s nowhere to run ads for cannabis. We realized that secretly a lot of the major exchanges were doing that. So it was like, okay, well that’s not our business. Then we tried to get involved in the data monetization space, Hey, other brands wanna reach known cannabis consumers.

That’s a privacy questionable space at times and a very cash intensive one. Right. and we realized just wasn’t a fit for us. And every one of our clients that we were talking about, you know, providing either publisher solutions or, you know, data analysis solutions or monetization solutions to right.

I was like, Hey, we need help running our traffic. We need traffic and we need to be able to measure it. Right. And it kind of just our skill sets aligned with what people were asking for. And I was just like, Hey, this is the business. You know, this is what we’re doing. And we started with a few small clients, a few of our key clients now gave us opportunities that, you know, I had to go sell them.

I had to go, you know, right. Knock the doors and make things happen. Right. But we’ve been really lucky with a lot of great clients who have been with us for well over a year, which in marketing is just insane for most people. Yeah. for, well, over a couple years now at this point and have grown it brick by brick from there, we haven’t taken any outside money, which has sometimes presented challenges and growth.

But having the other agency hedged a lot of that early days, failing candidly. Right. And has, you know, the last two years, the wind’s been a little bit more in our sale and building an actual business that grows regularly and has sound business mechanics. Right. So you kind of touched on it. you’re talking about the failures and stuff like that.

Right. Cause I think a lot of, you know, just in general, in an entrepreneurship space, it kind of paint a picture of yeah. Like, yeah, I did this, this and this, and now we’re making X amount of money. It’s like all good. I’m curious as to someone or a company that’s offering kind of a, a new service to essentially a new industry, what were kind of those biggest challenges like that you faced when I guess starting out when there was no blueprint to make things successful or you had no past experience to be like, we can just do this, this worked for another company.

I think, well, there’s technical answers to that question. The reality is that nobody was on Shopify or WooCommerce. Right. So any of the eCommerce functionality that anybody was used to, it’s even just being able to place a retargeting pixel. Right, right. Basic marketing shit. wasn’t supported by Dutchie Jane.

We’ve had the benefit of working with them. Right. And helping build these features, which have now been deployed and are used by a lot of our peers. slight humble brag. My, one of my partners really helped orchestrate the deployment of a lot of how all that’s done. Right. So like solving a lot of the questions, particularly in the attribution world, Hey, you’ve spent a thousand dollars, $5,000, $10,000.

What did I get out of it? That framework didn’t exist. So on top of a new industry and having to convince people that this solution works and isn’t digital, you’re in the digital marketing space, there’s a lot of snake oil sellers. And I think everyone’s most clients have been burned by somebody who’s not a real operator.

Right. we just didn’t have the technical tools to offer the solutions that business owners and decision makers rightfully wanted. So they had to be created while also making a new market at the same time. And then also dealing with the realities that dispensary budgets for marketing are small compared to other industries.

They want to compare display marketing performance to like SCM marketing performance or Instagram marketing performance. And these things are, are not necessarily equivalent. So I think all of those challenges while figuring out how to solve the technical problems, solve the business problems, solve the analytics and insights problems with a team of four people, was sometimes fun and really rewarding and sometimes, not so much so.

Right, right. Are you finding that education kind of gap is still a big piece in like trying to like sell the client and close a client or has the market kind of caught up to kind of what you’re doing right now? A little bit of both, to be honest, I’d say a fraction of the market caught up a fraction of the market started hiring people from the real ad tech technology space who have a comp in the front of the house.

People I’m not talking about engineers who have a, you know, pretty much a working, understanding how a lot of these systems work. Right. Cause it’s not overly complicated technology. Right. the decision makers I think, are getting a little more in tuned. I think a lot of people have been burned by folks who didn’t have a prowess in some of these solutions that we offer.

But the reality is they’re coming to us and many times they’re paying for the media, but they’re paying for our execution analysis and insights into why we’re justifying doing what we’re doing. So I don’t say we’re an ad agency because agencies do web dev creative, right. And media placement. We’re a media company that does media and attribution analytics.

And there’s a nuance there, but a big, a big nuance yes, very much so , I think that’s, we’re still a boutique business. We haven’t, you know, wanted to go and scale hiring because we wanted to grow the right business. And cannabis is tricky right now. I mean, you know, economically it’s, what’s the first thing to go during all the, like when things get hard financially or when the government regulation is asked backwards, making it harder for these operators to go.

So we’ve been just kind of slowly moving our pieces across the chess board right. Strategically. And you work with us because you want Adam, John, Sarah, Austin, Arto our, our products involved in what you’re doing. So that’s been the solution to kind of the lack of knowhow from the operator or buyer side.

Yeah. Yeah. Well, I mean, you know, I, I know, you know, we kind of just met just in the scheme of building our relationships and stuff like that, but that whole thing about kind of like, not trying to just grow as big as fast as possible, cuz like you said, like the majority of my clients came from other marketing agencies who were burned in the past and they’re like, Hey Brandon company a did ABC D FG.

I’m like, ah, well of course then it just makes my job 10 times harder because I need to now rebuild not only the new trust that they have with me, but I need to remove the distrust they have with marketing agencies or just like kind of service providers as a whole. Right. So I appreciate you kind of taking those steps.

Cause I do think it’s, you know, it, it plays a huge, huge role in kind of like benefiting us as a whole in terms of just like service professionals and stuff. Yeah. I, I think the term we use is consultancy. and even in our non-cannabis business, right? Like where we have Google social TikTok, you know, say social, I mean the meta universe, right? We have meta is other awesome tools that are really effective in driving sales.

They still folks still want to, whether they’re a hundred thousand dollars, $500,000 a month or $10,000 a month buyers, like there’s, it’s not that much of a landslide of difference of competency and understanding some of the tech and they still need someone to explain it and make it all work. So I don’t know, that’s just a huge part of our business.

A few of our peers who have scaled very, very quickly, we, they get backtracked because clients feel like they get left in the lurch because it’s hard to find people who know what we do. yeah. Really, really well and provide great service. Like it’s, unique skill set. Yeah. And, and it’s interesting cuz like service level media attribution, right? Like you do the same thing as however many other companies, but like it’s really about the execution of those different things.

Like you said, that nuance, that really makes a difference on if a campaign’s gonna go really, really well. And if one’s not gonna go so well and it’s very hard for the buyer to kind of like really decide, okay, this is the company I’m gonna go with or like, you know, this is the other company I’m gonna go with.

Right. So it’s a, it’s a big hurdle for sure. Yep. We don’t have a retail sales team, which you know, is sometimes cussing up at night and where we probably lose some real estate to peers who just have really good sales org. Right. but we’re very focused on scaling the clients we have correctly. Right.

And then, you know, scaling means, yes, they spend more money with me in my company. Yeah. But they’re doing that because they’re seeing measurable results that they can quantify to their bottom line. Right. And I’d rather do that and scale one enterprise real estate brand with 150 stores starting in five stores and getting all 150 than, 105 store groups that you know, are difficult to manage and don’t necessarily know what they’re looking at or have an interest in scaling beyond a test.

Yeah. Agreed. I mean, I I’m the exact same mate. So appreciate everything that, that you guys do. so hopping in, I guess, to the meat and potatoes of like the marketing stuff, cuz this is probably what you guys really wanna listen to. so you’ve heard me talk about marketing, SEO, organic search and stuff like that.

But I figured, you know, we’d have someone else talk about the marketing strategies that, you know, I kind of, he thinks, so let’s touch on some of the marketing strategies that you think, you know, the retailers could probably best leverage today. Yeah. And I always start in every meeting with, you need to have your SEO type.

You need to have a website that is easily nav nav navigatable, and easy to convert against the menu, right? Like you’re a local retail business. In most cases, we’re talking about a brick and mortar retailer that does online reservations, maybe does some localized delivery. You’re an retail business.

Your website is branding as much as, and as much as it’s eCommerce. so those things should be in place first because they’re not free, but they’re a bit more fixed cost, right? In most cases. And once those are done, you look to amplify that reach for, because those are all pulling in customers, right? People going into Google saying, I want this now.

Right. Right. And you’re ranking organically, you’re driving into your site. And then you’re measuring how many of those folks reach the site and can purchase. And there’s standard benchmarks based on how many people are in your market, where you’re ranking on the page, et cetera, et cetera, that should be tight first.

Right? Once that’s tight, then you wanna start paying for it saying, Hey, not everyone’s necessarily actively searching. How are there other people who are buying in my market, who I can identify, reach, and then drive them to my site and then track that engagement back to my site, back to my menu or back to an in-store sale.

That’s where someone like safe breach comes in and helps play. So the simple way to think about it is programmatic ads, which is display media in app. When you’re browsing, you’re playing your game, those banner ads that take up the whole screen or a portion of the screen web when you’re on Newsweek, CNN, Fox news, whatever side of the aisle, you’re on both.

Those ads that come up on the side are integrated. Naly the content that we’re tracking users who see the ad for more than three seconds and then return to the website within seven days, right. Or click the ad and return to the website, complete a purchase within seven days. Right. there are other channels like streaming audio, a Spotify and Pandora do not allow cannabis today.

C Conor, but most of our business is cannabis centric. So that’s really where the focus is. It’s a lot of the FMM stations in their streaming iterative that support cannabis because Canada, I think they need the ads, right? There are some smaller podcast networks that do allow, you know, programmatic insert audio ads, connected television is the bigger one that’s growing.

That is really folks who are watching streaming television on Roku, sling Samsung TV, apple TV, certain channels within those networks on their television device or on their mobile phone. the challenge with the last two audio and CTV is that they’re a little less trackable in terms of ad exposure to sale.

Sure. And that’s principally because of some technical device items. So a majority of the media we see running today for most cannabis operators is programmatic ads where we’re targeting known cannabis enthusiast, shoppers buyers within that geographic footprint around their store. Right. And what, that could be 5, 10, 20 miles, their delivery zone.

We wanna hit anybody. Who’s waving their hands with a behavior saying I’m into cannabis that could be visiting a dispensary. Right? And your phone is emitting a latitude and longitude constantly. Right? So there are programs out there that are looking for the latitude and longitude for mobile devices that are associated to the latitude and longitude of a dispensary.

If your mobile device is at a dispensary, you’re probably buying weed. I wanna market you. Right. If you’re reading about cannabis content online, that’s called contextual relevance. Hey, I’m on Forbes, but I’m reading an article about pure leaf and their expansion, that person’s at least they’re interested in cannabis.

I probably wanna sell them cannabis. there are data companies out there that sell cannabis, shopper data. I won’t name drop any here. Some are good, some suck, right? so it’s using different data tactics to hypothesize that, Hey, this person is relevant for this reason and geographically relevant because they’re in our radius.

Right. And I wanna serve them this message and see what it does in terms of driving into my page, browsing my menu and completing purchases. If that’s what we’re doing. So on the, so there’s a lot to unpack. Yeah. That’s alright. I told you in a long no, no, no. That’s okay. I’ve been, you know, I’ve been good.

I’ve been taking the notes. so just going back to the ads and stuff, right? So you answer my question about, you know, the efficacy of like audio, audio, audio ads, and visual ads and stuff like that. Are you finding for stores it’s more impactful to have the branded ads like saying, Hey, dispensary near here, or product placement ads like saying, Hey, there’s a specific flower that people like, which one branding versus product? Well, I would say we want to, The answer, the sales answer is all the above, right? We want, we typically start with a location, convenience call to action.

Okay. A price call to action because some people are value shoppers and then a product called action. That could be a brand that could be a product category, rack, flour, edibles. we typically want to test all three of those when we launch a campaign because they will vary in response by market. Right.

We’ve been seeing more co-branded campaigns, Hey, get Jeter at X and X, get Jeter pre-rolls at X and X dispensary. And some of these brands particularly regionally carry a lot of weight. And when it’s a great brand and a great offer yeah. People respond. Right. Cause you’re essentially piggybacking off of the existing brand efforts that that brand did.

So why not kind of, but Hey dispensary, X company here, and then you leverage the power that they’re using. yeah. I know a lot, most of the data companies need data analytics companies and cannabis will say brand bias or brand loyalty is, is low. And I, who am I to disagree outside of my, you know, micro prism of what I see, but certain brands definitely command a lot of shelf space and certain markets.

And they, the ones who are typically everywhere, definitely do a good job driving engagement online. Right. Right. And the, so when you’re running any sort of ad like on like Google or Facebook, right. Typically they would say, Hey, run a bunch of ad creative and just let the algorithm do the work.

And it’ll optimize for whatever KPI. Right. Is that how you guys do the work or do you guys manually do it in terms of like, Hey, we need to test this, look at the data, test this. Or do you just have the all algorithm that optimizes for the best thing? I would say systematically, we’re set to deduce what’s working and not working.

We want to, there are algorithms optimization algorithms in place, right? That say, Hey, optimize spends clicks, publisher placements that have the highest likelihood of this outcome. Those exist in programmatic just as they do in Google and a Facebook. Right. and then how we proactively feed that process is by saying, Hey, we want to have five different audiences, geo fence, contextual known shoppers, lookalike shoppers, page retargeting.

And we want to take all three creatives against each five segments and track them separately. Then after a week, we’ll say, Hey, and these segments, this sucks me segments, these kick ass. We’re just gonna remove these or allocate money here. That’s the managed service part of it. Right. So I think it’s inherently baked into how we configure campaigns.

It is baked into the technology we deploy for our campaigns. Right. And then it’s just the principles of being a good marketer. Right. And how many ad variable, like how many different ad copies are you usually testing at any given period of time? I would say three is the kind of, you know, budgets are slim.

It’s not like, and creative resources are typically taxed pretty hard. Right. You know, so I wouldn’t say we have a few MSO clients who have scale creative resources for a lot of retail brands and can compact creative. Right. not necessarily the standard. So I like to start with three and even if we can make one ad layout and then alter the copy or just like the products on it, that kind of iteration that is AB testing creative.

So it’s like, how do we get the most with the least amount of work? And that’s not to say, we don’t wanna do the work. I’m just saying typically resources are pretty slim. Right. So how do we expand it? And I would say, the call to action, copy, location, price, or product are easy ways to iterate the same creative pretty simply.

Right. So for the, you know, the mom and pop dispensary, you know, owner who maybe wants to run some ads on whatever platform they want, you mentioned CTAs are like a pretty important thing that you need to do. Right. You gotta tell whoever’s looking to do something. Right. just kind of based on your, your experience on that stuff.

What CTAs have you been finding like the most effective? Is it like buy one, get one freezed? Is it discounts? Is it, you know, viewer menu, something like that. it goes back to, it really is varying on the market, in the brand. Right. we work, we’ve been public radically, we’ve done some press releases with them.

We’ve done. We work with sweet flour in LA. Yeah. Who’s super premium in a good way, very branded and has a brand voice as a retailer. So their, their messaging can be, doesn’t need to be necessarily so cost competitive or value competitive. That might be different in other markets. So to me, there’s no one answer there.

I like If you’re in a particularly suburban market shop, local messages, like, you know, community based, if you’re competing against a bunch of corporate companies, like maybe we want to come at that a little bit and you know, talk about the community aspect of it. But you know, when you’re reaching folks who are gonna buy every week anyway, typically it’s value, right? Like how am, like if I’m spending, if I’m buying, I buy an eighth, every two weeks.

Right. I’m getting slowing down in my older age. but, but, if I’m buying an eighth or a quarter every week, I mean, 20 bucks is a difference maker. So maybe we wanna just go off the price. If I’m an everyday consumer smoking three tubes a day, potency matters because eventually like I’m gonna need something super strong.

So it’s all co contextualized. And that’s why going back to data, and who you’re talking to is, is important. Right? So on the, the testing side, cuz I think one of the biggest advantages that paid advertising strategies have is essentially just, just testing at scale, right? Like with SEO, you know, it takes a long time, right? You have keywords that, you know, you hope is gonna drive the traffic value you want, if it works great, if it doesn’t then you know, you’re in big trouble.

So, in terms of the, the, the, the paid strategy, what would be the most, I guess, effective way to leverage the paid strategy in order to do better organically, I’m not just talking about like keywords and stuff like that, but I’m talking about maybe like resonating offers that people can put on their website that has a highest likelihood chance of converting their customer.

Is that something that you guys like recommend to your client say, Hey, this ad copy worked really, really well. Why don’t you give this a shot, putting it on your website because if it’s converting well via paid, it should also do all organic or does, is there a, I would say really where we get into page content is just consistency across brand aesthetics.

Okay. And if we’re promoting an offer and it’s not available on the page, right. When you get there, like if, Hey, use a promo code for 15% off your delivery. Okay. Okay. Well, if that promo, code’s not in a floater bar on the page, it sticks with you while you browse the menu. No one’s gonna claim it. I listen to a ton of podcasts and you I’m a big 10 Dylan fan.

Let’s say I go to magic spoon and I do magic spoon.com/tim Dylan. Right. That floater is across the page. Make sure you use code Tim at checkout, right. Or otherwise you’re gonna forget it. And then you have people backtracking. And that makes the process of completing that purchase, not seamless, which is counterintuitive to why you paid to drive them there in the first place.

Right? So you increase the friction for your customers, which then reduces conversions, reducing conversions reduces the, the cost pretty much. Yep. And you know, retargeting is, is always the, you know, the, the sexy one in terms of ROI analysis, particularly when you’re just retargeting all site traffic.

Like if you’re doing your job as an SEO, you’re driving people to the page. We’re maybe suppressing everyone who’s purchased in the last 24 hours, but everyone else is getting remarketed, that’s a lower funnel purchase. We’re just driving them back. Right. prospecting traffic, you know, that we can convert on is awesome.

Like the, Hey that person just saw our app and they completed a purchase. A lot of times we will look at messaging maybe there or landing page content a little bit more. If we’re retargeting, we’ll go right back to the menu because we know we selling the page already. You know what we’re selling. We just want to get you in a position where you’re ready to convert.

Right. prospecting. We’re doing a little bit of, we’re not doing brand building, cuz everyone says I want sales or, or you’re fired. but you know, like we are telling a story where aren’t educating. If you just drop them into a Dutchie menu. Yes. Which is a logo above it or a Jane menu with just a logo above it.

It’s just like, okay, well this person doesn’t know where you’re located. Doesn’t know your brand value prop. Maybe they’re gonna bounce and, and tick off. Right. Right. So hear that everyone, if you have any sort of promotion or anything like that, and you’re linking towards something else, make sure that the messaging is essentially not necessarily identical, but it leads to the exact same thing.

So you have something on Instagram that says, Hey, you have this promo, go check it out at this URL, make sure you have exact same promo on the landing page. Cause then people are not gonna know exactly what’s going on because that, that continuity is, is, is super, super important. So percent. Yeah.

I mean, I think that’s a big thing that a lot of people miss too, you know, technically in the Google ad space, you’re not allowed to do cannabis at all. but you, you see, you see locations getting away with it and I see exactly what they’re doing. Right. But I, yeah, it’s not hard to figure out it’s just not sustainable.

It’s a matter of if, not if, but when you get flagged by, the big hand of Google yes. By, by big GS so, talk, you know, we, we spoke about a bunch of, you know, programmatic ads, spoke about SEO and stuff like that. what are your thoughts on email and, and SMS in the whole kind of, you know, marketing stack of, of what we have going on As a consumer, I hate SMS.

Like that’s like the last bash of privacy for me. Like that’s my space to message with people I care about. I’ve been getting kid up by, all types of business solicitors recently. So you got me on a, you got me on a particularly grumpy side. I know it’s harder to deliver vice messaging. I know that’s why everyone’s pushing to a loyalty app situation in which I think will work for some, but not for everybody.

Right. I think email is awesome. I know it’s not necessarily the most successful for a lot of people. And I don’t know if that’s because of content or because of deliverability issues and program issues. Right. I’ve never seen an email newsletter that just got me what I wanted. Like here’s a quick hits sales this week, new products this week shop now.

Yeah. That’s really what I think it should be in an email a lot of times it’s, it’s brand voice it’s it’s brand ethos. And I just don’t think PE once they shop and you give you your email, they’re looking for coupons, they’re looking for savings. Right. That’s what you should be putting in email. Right. SMS, I don’t have too strong of an opinion for against it’s.

It works. It’s a part of everyone’s media mix. Okay. I just know that there’s a lot of red tape on how you do SMS, with how you’re promoting and how you’re selling. Yeah. And then there’s also some challenges at times would attribution measurement, which makes things messy. So I, I will, long-winded way to say I’m gonna opt out of answering that question.

well, no, I, I, I think you, you do bring some interesting points. I mean, I’ve spoken to a bunch of people and kind of asked them the same thing, thoughts on SMS email, you know, and you know, I, I forgot exactly who it was, but they’re like, I’m not downloading another damn loyalty effort at the dispensary I’m going to, that they just said, you know, I don’t want any more apps on my phone.

Right. They have enough, you know, that’s about it. Right. but then I was speaking to another dispensary owner who was saying email was much better than, than text. And then another owner that was like, text is like the only thing we’re doing, we’re cutting out email. Right. and I think to your point about, you know, how different ad copy works in different places and different CTAs and stuff like that.

I do think it’s like a regional thing where like, you know, just people in this specific demographic probably, you know, like maybe not like, but, you know, tolerate, this specific, you know, kind of thing. Right. But I do think that there is another nuance towards email and SMS where like SMS, if you’re texting me every single day about a deal, I’m immediately gonna block that, that number.

Right. But if I give you my email, I’m not saying I want you to send me an email every day. But the overall, I think consumer demographic tolerance for getting emails every day is a lot higher than getting texts. and I don’t think dispensaries are like doing that properly. They’re probably just like mass texting, cuz like, Hey, your Oprah internet rates are 90%, but like, it’s gonna continue going down if you keep doing that.

Right. So that’s kind of what I’ve heard. What’s yeah. Everyone knows the spring big is Alpine as a bunch of other companies, SMS, would you CRM worthy? Well, and I, I would put email marketing and SMS under the bundled service scope of CRM retention, marketing. Right, right. Like it’s loyalty marketing.

Right. I mean email’s so cheap. It’s just like, it’s, it’s a time investment build a bunch of templates. Yeah. Create a schedule, send up weekly specials on Mondays and on Thursdays going to the weekend. Yeah. People are gonna check that like build a newsletter around sales promotions. it just requires regular upkeep more than a heavy investment in cost.

Right. I’m not over familiar with the cost method for sending SMS. I believe it’s a cost per send, whereas email, like we have a Clayo account and for our loyalty messaging and it’s 50 bucks a month. Yeah. Super cheap. It’s it’s you, the tools to build templates are right in there. So I don’t know. Anybody says we’re cutting it out is it’s I would just probably contest.

They’re not doing it effectively and regularly. No. Yeah. Look, I I’m withy on that. I mean like, you know, the marketing channels work it’s, you know, it’s about who’s executing on those campaigns. Right. Just to bring it back to everything. It’s just like, you know, company a can use the same tools as company B, but if they’re executing it a lot better than, you know, you’re at a loss.

Right. so to, to break down the, the entire stack, what would be your recommended kind of stack let’s just say from, you know, in terms of priority. So what would be like, okay, we gotta work on one all the way through 10, if that’s kind of what you got, Your website, your e-commerce system linked to your point of sale system, those systems should be easy to navigate with your data.

It’s your data. We’d be amazed at. We’re doing a lot of things now we’re we’re measuring instore measurement. So Hey, like how did online ads affect instore sales? Not some like jargony or, or not some like, like questionable mobile geolocation analysis, like, Hey, this ad have this sale associated to it.

Right. and some of the point of sales systems are F and awesome at like working with third parties like us to make these solutions available. Some have been, astoundingly bad. so I think that relationship between your eCommerce, your website, right, there’s a whole conversation about iframes versus, you know, like, a Duy plus or a Jane roots or a dispense versus a Duchy standard or a Jane standard.

That’s a whole separate conversation, right? website, CMS solid eCommerce solution that connects succinctly and easily to your loyalty platform and into your point of sale system. Okay. point of sale and loyalty can be related, but typically they’re not from what I’ve seen, from that should be a, a fairly closed circuit.

And then from there, those platforms should be able to support plugins from third parties like myself, right. Like other widgets in online paid media channels. Right. you know, we plug in mostly through Google tag manager or a tag on the page and then we’ll connect to your Duy plus API, your Jane API, or, you know, your co API, whatever it is.

So if for, as a service provider, it’s our job to build the ability to quickly bolt onto their systems. Yeah. Those systems website, eCommerce point of sale and loyalty, they need to bolt in with each other very tight. Right. Right. So just like your messaging kind of needs to have some continuity your, your, your foundational tech right.

Needs to have that cont continuity as well. I’m very curious. Just, I, I know we can have a full conversation on this, but, the iframe in beds versus kind of like the, the plus equivalent of all these online eCommerce menu systems, what, which side are you on? I just, don’t the wrong person to see this joke aside.

Not side, but where, where are you leaning towards from the eyes of the consumer? Not from your side, like obviously the more kind of links and SEO and URLs that you can get. Sure. Like that’s, that’s, if you’re a scaled operator, who’s putting a volume of data out, right. That asset, your customer list is incredibly valuable.

Right. When you use some of the other services, you don’t own that customer list anymore. Right. You share it with them. Right. so there’s that concern. And then there’s also some of the bigger players don’t necessarily make data sharing with third parties, easy. some do some don’t. So it’s kind of a scale there.

I think they make sense for the, not, I just have a website, I need to stand this up. I think that there are answers coming out to compete against those iframe based solutions that are compelling and as simple to execute, which will change the game or there that’s the intent of some of these companies. I know that the headless commerce, you know, the, the, the pluses of the world, the Jane roots of the world require a development effort.

Like they’re not for, I don’t have technical resources companies. Yeah. So the iframe thing works when you don’t, but when the minute you’re scaling, you have multiple locations. Yeah. Your online is growing or becoming a bigger part of your business. Yeah. I would contest that it’s the time to start working on those processes of making that site a bit more of your own.

I would say you need to understand what your vendors can do with your data who owns that data. Yeah. Again, scale matters here. If you have a thousand customers just put the eye frame up and focus on growing your business. Yeah. But if you have 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 customers, it’s a different conversation for, to me, it’s a different conversation.

I also come from the data world. So it’s, I don’t know. I get brought you at these things. I mean, look, it makes sense. And, and, and I do think that, you know, for the, you know, if you, even if you own two stores, right. Sometimes, you know, the, the, the effort and the technical knowhow and trying to find somebody to implement all of this stuff just well exceeds, you know, like the money that you would actually make from implementing this, just cuz you’re so small.

Right. And as you scale up, I do think it makes a lot more sense, especially if you don’t have the tens of thousands of dollars to kind of implement these new solutions. Like, I, I do think that it’s, it’s, it ends up being more of a headache than not, especially, you’re kind of grasping at straws at that small level.

Like you said, if you have a thousand customers, it really doesn’t matter. But once you’re hitting the tens of thousands, then there’s a conversation to be had about implementing data, scaling it up and then, you know, looking at the data from, like a more corporate level, I guess if that’s how you yeah.

At it’s yes. And yes. And as you expand, you wanna expand, you wanna be acquired, you know, like your ability to retain and grow any, any eCommerce business, you know, cost proposition, but lifetime value is massive. And are you potentially deprecating or diminishing rather lifetime value if your customers are being shared, I’m not saying they are or they aren’t, but that would be the, the paranoid way I would look at it.

Yeah. Yeah. So, you know, hopping back into safe reach and stuff like that. super, super high level, walk us through like how, okay, I’m a dispensary owner. Maybe I own one, you know, how does that conversation look? What do you tell me? And then I’m a dispensary owner with a couple partners and maybe I own five to 10.

How does that, how, how do those conversations different? What does that process look like for anyone who’s interested? It’s the same thing we wanna answer for simplicity. Who do you wanna talk to? What do you wanna talk to ’em about, and then how are we validating success, right. Who do you want to talk to is really how big of a footprint around your store? are there demographics you do well with not do well with, you know, my mom isn’t maybe, maybe the ideal profile of a cookie shopper, but she is a profile of a sweet flower shopper, right? So it’s like, if I was a sweet flour, you know, like how do I target my mom versus maybe targeting another customer? I’m just throwing brands out that are common brands that just for the sake of conversation, and then how big geographically you want to go about targeting them? What do you want to talk to ’em about why do they give a shit about your offer? Is it convenience? Is it price? Is it product going back to the creative things we talked about? So, you know, how big of a geo are we targeting? How are we qualifying these behaviors or demographics, right? What are we promoting to them? And then how are we validating? It works, which really comes down to what’s your e-commerce system.

So do, does it, share the ability for safe for, to plug in our conversion scripts so that we can measure the effectiveness of, of media spend, you know, are you on Leafly versus Jane versus weed maps versus Dutchy versus timber? Because there’s different considerations there on all of those things.

So it’s doing a little bit of a diagnosis there. We’ve worked with all of them and, and know what we can or can’t do across the board. That’s why you work. So whether it’s one store or it’s five stores, that process is pretty much the same. Right? Right. We have tools to make that discovery qu the quantification of audience available, pretty easy and scalable, but it’s one store or 20 stores.

The logic is still the stain. You have a set radius around the store. There’s a finite amount of people in that radius. What the heck do we wanna promote to them? And then how are we measuring the effectiveness? Right. So it’s who do you want to target? What do you want to just kind of put out there? What KPIs are we kind of, looking at? And then what is the radios geographically? That’s kind of like the four main things that you would yeah.

I would put geo geo in the, who do you wanna talk to bundle? Right. Just to keep things nice and simple. And three keep, yeah. Keep the iteration going. Right. But yes. Okay. Perfect. And then on the attribution side, and then we, we had a, a small conversation about this, and again, I don’t wanna get super, super tactical.

But looking at the attribution, one of the big things in the SEO space is like, how do you directly, you know, say that, okay, because you got, I generated you this person to visit your website. How’s how does that turn into a sale? Where do you come in and how, how do you ensure that, you know, your ads are properly being given the credit for a sale? Great question.

So the one thing to consider is programmatic ads. We’re saying, Hey, you are in our radius. You’ve exhibited cannabis behaviors. So we know you’re gonna buy cannabis eventually. Right? That’s the assumption. We’re not saying when you’re doing a Google search campaign that person’s saying cannabis, now they’re saying I wanna buy, click and buy.

Right. so typically there’s a click through conversion because that person’s saying I’m ready to buy. I saw your ad and I’m going to buy. Programmatic is saying, Hey, you look like our customer. We wanna track you from the ad exposure to a completed sale, typically seven days, because we think that’s an appropriate timeline, right? what we’ll do this first step is our ads are ads natively, right? We, we are able to track when the, when and where the ad was served, what add into what audience.

And then if that user completes a purchase within seven days, right? Our, our tags will pull a transaction ID from your point of sale terminal. And the revenue amount that point of that transaction ID allows us to tie our data back to your point of sale system. So you, we can then understand, did you have a relationship with that customer before? How much did you have a relationship with that customer before? What products did they buy? We built an analytics platform called nomad, right? That literally ex connects to point of sale, connects to Jane Duy, Duy, plus Google analytics to extrapolate that information.

But that’s essentially how we’re tying our data, right. To your data, to understand what did we really do if I just remarket all of your best customers who are gonna buy from you anyway, I look like a, a marketing God, but the reality is cause people might have bought anyway. Right. so that’s the big question we get.

How do I know that these people didn’t buy from me anyway, Adam? Great question. so how do, so that’s the first part of answering that question at the conversion level? What’s the relationship you had with these people before? We can answer that deter deterministically in every campaign we do.

How do I then take the relationship between an organic search or Google my business campaign or a sponsored ad or a weed maps campaign, whatever it’s that’s where we work with Google analytics to ingest what their e-commerce framework is saying. Sure. To mash that against our data in real time to say, Hey, our ad server saying, Brandon saw ad and completed a purchase three days later after being prospected right Google.

So Google is showing that same conversion idea as an organic visit, right? So we know that it’s consistent with brand. Brandon saw the ad closed his browser. Two days later, went back and completed a sale, right? If that sale that we have in our data is married to maybe a CPC campaign because they’re being bad boys, and they’re doing Google campaign.

, you might want to share that credit or distribute the credit for that attribution. Hey, you didn’t sell that whole sale. We actually had to pay another $10 for that click. Sure. So really that $10 CPA is actually a $20 CPA on that sale. Right? Right. Maybe we wanna suppress these people. Maybe we wanna not run these ads to these segments.

Right. So that’s because we’re already doing that. Maybe we wanna take that money away from CPC, whatever it is. We can answer all of those questions. I’m trying not to get too down into it. Not yet. That’s good. we, we wanna be able to answer, what does, what is our system saying? What is your system saying? And where’s the overlap.

So super, super simple. There is a digital ID, you know, it’s all private, no one needs to worry about that. That has specific, behaviors of different demographics. Right? You match that with the other IDs that the other software has give you in your POS. And then, you know, you take, put that together and then boom, you have this data piece that says, Hey, this person did that.

That’s, that’s a very succinct way of putting it. Yes. . I just wanna make it as simple as possible cuz I know people listening. This are like, yeah, I don’t. When you work with us, you wanna log into one screen right. And say, here’s what we spent. Here’s what we sold. Here’s a new customer. Here’s a new returning customer.

Right. And then here’s where those customers also engaged your brand on the path to conversion. We can answer that. You don’t have to do the programming. You don’t have to do the tech configuration. We know the questions that dispensary owners ask of their digital partners and we build a solution that is hyper scalable and solves all those problems.

Fantastic. there’s something that you mentioned. so the, the initial question about that marketing tech stack, programmatic SEO, SMS, MMS, loyalty, that fun stuff. I noticed that you didn’t have what a lot of defense user are doing, which is like weed maps and Leafly advertising. Right.

But you did kind of mention it in passing, which is why I brought it up. Is there a reason why that’s kind of not one of your main things using these kind of main directories anymore? You’re damned if you do, You’re damned if you don’t, I think it’s finding the right balance of what’s appropriate for your market and your brand.

That’s a, it’s a common theme in everything we’re saying, you know, there’s one side there’s commonalities in strategies that work, but the, the method and degree of which they’re applied at the individual brand level does vary. That’s where your marketing analysis comes in. Right. some of these providers are selling competitive products to me because they first party products aren’t necessarily satiating what the market wants in terms of measurable engagement.

Sure. I know some of these platforms win advertising dollars purely out of FOMO. and they’re not cheap advertising dollars. so you’re damned if you do, you’re damned if you don’t, what I would say is don’t let a salesperson sell you challenge that salesperson to say, Hey, I want to test small.

Then I want to test big. And I wanna see what the difference is. Right. Because somewhere in there is probably the right blend of spend for you. Yes, yes. Agreed. Like, I mean, I, you know, it’s east coast, WECA Kline on the, on the east coast and you know, weed mass pitch them whatever, $4,000 a month or whatever it is like very minimal engagement, nothing at all.

I have another client out in Montana where they said it themselves, that that market is still kind of catching up. And the majority of people who, who, who they get is from weed maps. Right. So again, it’s from the start of our conversation, it’s ROI, right? How much am I paying? How much money am I getting back? and yeah, I was just super interested to kind of hear what your thought process was on, you know, both those platforms as well.

I also, haven’t seen a lot of their attribution solutions. I know weed maps recently acquired a company that has a SIM had a similar business model to what we do. They did some things very different that they were better at where their core competencies. And I would contest that we were significantly better at the things that they were doing that we do really well.

Right. so I, I, I imagine that weed maps is going to transform into an advertising business, you know, for the cannabis space, amongst other things they’re doing, I’m not gonna pretend to know their business. Yeah. they have a lot of money. So my assumption is they should be able to solve the problems that people are complaining about, but, TBD time will tell.

Right. so now getting to, I guess the last little bit of the episode, just wanna say, you know, thanks again for a really awesome conversation. You know, this has been going, going swimmingly. what would you say to a, the, an owner river dispensary who’s like looking to take their company to the next level? I mean, I know one digital marketing campaign’s gonna solve it.

There needs to be synergy across your marketing messaging, outdoor in-store online. You need to have a great customer experience because I don’t care how good your deals are. If I hate coming to your dispensary because your bud tenderers suck they’re rude or they’re slow, or the, the flower sucks. Right.

I’m a flower smoker. I’m not coming back. Yes. So you need to obviously have a great shopper experience. and then you need to be, you need to be thinking about how you retain and how you keep customers separately and how those things work together. these are all very high level, you know, things that typically one person on a staff would handle explicitly, right.

But that’s really customer service first discoverability online, ease of transaction online, and then ability to keep people, finding you and ability to keep the ones that do find you coming back. Right. Understanding why it is they come back and then arbitrage the crap out of that. Right. Right. So, you know, the buyer shopper experience, retaining, keeping customers, the discoverability of your own store, you know, again, and these kind of all tie into to the stuff that, that you were saying, right? It’s like, you know, you gotta have the good buyer shopper experience.

So you gotta make sure your store is, you know, done well, you gotta hire the good bud tenderers and get people to do that, you know, to retain and keep customers. You gotta have the good product. And again, just a good buying experience itself, discoverability whether it’s with SEO stuff or it’s safe reach, you gotta make sure people can find you and then keep finding you.

And I do think that if you cover these bases, you’re, you’re in a pretty good spot. You’re doing, you’re doing better than most anyways. agreed, agreed, agreed, agree. Like you got a good product. You have to be price competitive. And that’s really driven by the market. But people have to like to shop with you.

They have to like, feel comfortable. Like I think retail is getting slick. I think some people love, like some people don’t care if it’s is a, a, if it’s a head shop looking shop, like I’m here to buy bud, like I’m a regular smoker. So, but like my mom, isn’t going to go into a CD looking like bong, shop, looking place to go by bud.

So yeah. It’s knowing your market. And then going back to the mechanics, great customer experience, inflow of customers, retention of customers. Right. Perfect. Perfect. And then any last additional nuggets of wisdom, just in general, maybe for other entrepreneurs out there, that you’d like to share, work your ass off, believe in yourself, even when nobody else does.

Right. That’s a little too like rah, rah it’s it, look, it it’s true though. I, I think that if anyone was to take anything out of this conversation, it’s about looking at the foundational aspects of the business and just doing it very, very well. Right. It’s not just about, Hey, have a good website.

It’s like, okay, actually have a good website. Right. Or actually have a good buyer experience because we didn’t list too many things. Right. There’s like four or five things that if you do well, you’re gonna be really successful. Right. And I think that applies for business owners as a whole, like, you know, you gotta work hard that that’s one of the tenets of, you know kind of making a successful business, right? Yeah.

It’s anybody in the cannabis business, you have your money, right? Because you weren’t ad business. Right? Like, and we put, we were three years, three years profitable and growing and just going to get a traditional loan right. To fund and manage receivables was a fricking nightmare. So I would just say you’re entering the cannabis industry, be aware, be ready for entrepreneurial challenges and then some, and work with smart people, or you get a mentor or someone you trust.

Like, I don’t know. I’m very comfortable saying, I need help. Yeah. that doesn’t scare me. Right. so I’m very lucky. I have people in my life who I can call, who have been very successful, in corporate world and in entrepreneurial world, who act as, you know, mentors to me and help me navigate that issue.

Right. Whatever it is, I’m tr whether it’s staffing, whether it’s financial, whether it’s just, you know, personal at times. . but yeah, man, part of it, personal’s part of it. I mean, a lot of people are like, yeah, business, business business, but if you don’t have your personal life handled, then you know, your heads erect, then you know, nothing else is gonna work out well.

But yeah, the idea of 50 hour weeks, 60 hour weeks is like, you know, it’s easy to say it’s much harder to do in perpetuity. Right, right. It’s you can do it for a couple weeks, maybe a couple months, maybe in a couple years, but eventually there’s gonna hit that mark where you’re like, ah, I’m done. Right.

So it well playing the long term game, expanding that time horizon and you know, kind of, getting success off of patients, which I think is super, super important. so last things last, where can people get in touch if they wanna find you feel free to plug all the different things that you like to plug abouts a breach save for each.com it’s S a F E dash or hyphen R E a C h.com.

My email is Adam, a DM safe dash or hyphen reach.com, LinkedIn safe reach Instagram, safe, free shoots, a BM. We’re pretty much at most of major industry events. Usually sometimes we usually sponsor a big party at MJ Viscom, but you usually see me and a few of my peers bopping around, but you feel free to shoot me a DM, feel free to shoot me a message or a connection or I’m, this is the Adam you’re gonna get.

Whether you’re a prospect, whether you’re a small prospect or a large prospect, we wanna be in business with people who wanna speak directly and candidly and against a shared common goal set. So that’s the way we do business and we found it to work and we look forward to working with you guys. Awesome. Well, Adam, thanks again for hopping on the show.

This is the end of the dispensary marketing podcast episode. again, I’m your host, Brandon Kwan, founder of can and marketing. If you’re dispensary, you need any help with any of your marketing stuff. Just set me up, just go to my website, can and marketing.com and I’ll see you over there.

Thanks again. Bye.

Article By

Brandon Quan

About The Author: A digital marketer with over 7 years of experience, Brandon Quan is wildly known as the top marketing expert within the Cannabis Industry.

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