Party Like a Marketer Podcast

Episode 26: How to Leverage PR for Cannabis Brands

Episode Description

Lisa Buffo, Founder, and CEO of the Cannabis Marketing Association sat down with Sadie Thompson, PR Coordinator at Proven Media, to discuss How to Leverage PR for Cannabis Brands.

For more information, visit

Read the Transcript

Lisa Buffo  00:12

Hi everyone, welcome to party like a marketer, the podcast dedicated to cannabis marketing, public relations and authentic storytelling. I’m your host, Lisa Buffo, founder, and CEO of the cannabis Marketing Association. You can connect with me on Instagram at libuff or Twitter at libuff21 and I’m also on LinkedIn. And don’t forget to join us at this year’s annual cannabis marketing summit June 7 through ninth in Denver, Colorado for two plus days of cannabis marketing speakers, best practices and networking with the industry’s leading brands and retailers and marketing experts over three stages in the heart of Civic Center Park. Today’s conversation features Sadie Thompson with proven media. She is a recent graduate with honors from Northern Arizona University with a passion for media and sports. Sadie maintained a dual major in journalism and strategic communications with an emphasis on advertising, while simultaneously writing and hosting a biweekly sports news television broadcast. Her in depth understanding of journalism and the mechanics of news enable her to connect authentically with reporters. And she brings an innate ability to seek out public relations opportunities for client’s safety skills, her attention to detail and her positive can-do attitude, help build client relationships and exceed expectations. Okay, welcome, everybody to today’s episode of Party like a marketer. Today’s guest is Sadie Thompson with proven media and we’re going to be talking about cannabis, public relations, storytelling, and campaigns today, Sadie, thank you so much for being here.

Sadie Thompson  01:53

Yes, thank you so much for having me on me. So I’m so excited to get into our conversation for today.

Lisa Buffo  01:57

of course. So let’s get started. Can you first tell our audience a little bit about Satie, who are you? How did you get started in the cannabis industry, as well as proven media and what proven media does and where you’re based?

Sadie Thompson  02:11

Yes, thank you. I’m so I’m Sadie Thompson. I’m a recent graduate from Northern Arizona University. I have a dual degree in Strategic Communication and Journalism with an emphasis in advertising. I spent most of my college career on the sports journalism side of things. I did sports broadcasting. But it really helped me develop a background for how news worked. And with that, I was lucky enough to be introduced to my boss Kim prints at proven media, my senior year of college and actually funny story, I presented my final college advertising capstone project to my boss. And that’s actually how I landed my job at proven media. So even more so shows how important campaigns are for marketing. But yeah, so proven media was established in 2008. And we pivoted strictly to the cannabis industry in 2014. So we have a pretty solid foundation with the cannabis industry. And we service clients in all sectors of the industry and commercial real estate, brands, entrepreneurs, testing labs all over the country. And we’re a marketing communications and public relations firm. So we do the public relations initiatives for clients create evergreen campaigns, really find their key messaging but proven media is based in carefree and in Boston. So we have an East Coast West Coast play. And we have a team of women. It’s a woman led firm, my boss Kim prints, and Neko cotton’s are on Ashley oak, Scott and myself, our team. And yeah, just a little bit about proven media.

Lisa Buffo  04:01

And where’s carefree? That’s in Arizona.

Sadie Thompson  04:03

Yes, carefree Arizona. It’s like North Phoenix by Scottsdale.

Lisa Buffo  04:08

Is it as carefree as the name sounds?

Sadie Thompson  04:12

Yes, reliving carefree and carefree. Yeah, yeah, I actually grew up here too. So I went to high school. So I’ve been in this community all my life.

Lisa Buffo  04:21

Awesome. Glad to hear that. And thank you for clarifying for our audience as well. Yeah. So let’s talk a bit about campaigns and public relations. So first, I want to know what so how do you approach them? And if we could first maybe clarify the definition of campaigns do when you say campaigns, are you referencing just public relations? Or do you all do marketing and advertising campaigns as well?

Sadie Thompson  04:47

So we look at campaigns on every single level. So what we do is we take all of the or we get the key messaging and their foundation of the business of their time. target audience who that who they’re trying to reach the the demographic, the the key part or what makes their product special, we find all of that. And then with that we create a strategic strategic campaign that these companies can utilize in every single different platform. So with those key messaging, we create press releases, the press releases use the same like brand or brand identity, but they’re tailored to like a company a launch, say they go into a new market, we’ll write a release on that, say their new hire will write a release on that. But we create a marketing mix for businesses. So we want to utilize the same messaging and the same communications through all the different platforms so that each time it touches a consumer or a person interested in the business, they get the same exact message so that it’s not lost in the weeds. And it’s very specialized and targeted to who they’re trying to reach. So to kind of like wrap it all up in a bow, we pull out all of the messaging, and then we use all of that messaging throughout the different platforms and a different marketing mix.

Lisa Buffo  06:14

I love that. So you’re, you’re effectively restating one of the things I say on this podcast and with CMA all the time where, to me marketing and advertising is really the conversation around channels. But effective communications is telling a story. And so when you take the time to put your key messages, understand your brand identity, you know what’s important to the company and write that out first, then you can decide you know, what channel or what medium is going to be best to tell that through, but you need to have that story and that foundation first. And it sounds like that’s what you do you you get that write it out, you know, make sure your team and the client is clear and then sort of decide, you know, what, what campaign or strategy should we use to get it out there?

Sadie Thompson  06:57

Exactly. That is exactly what we do. And that’s what what we’re known for. We’re really known for our our strategic approaches for how to make these businesses look different to consumers, or to make sure that they stand out to who they want to reach. We also do investor communications. So we’re a b2b and b2c for b2c firm. So we really like touch all those different sectors. And each client we have we create a special marketing mix for them. So everything is very customized to the specific brand or company that we work with.

Lisa Buffo  07:35

That makes sense. Okay, and you had mentioned when we were talking earlier about creating evergreen campaigns and evergreen content, can you talk about that from the PR and marketing side? And what that means?

Sadie Thompson  07:49

Yeah, so an evergreen campaign is something that we see a lot of companies miss out on, and which is, like, the huge mishap in marketing is not having a campaign that businesses can use throughout so and what campaign means it’s like, an overarching story. And then through different initiatives, pulling out that that story and positioning it with like a newsworthy tie. So say that the campaign was all about. So it was like a hemp roll company and their campaign was about like sustainability, how every time you buy a hemp roll, you get or they plant a tree. So with that, we would like for Christmas, it would be like we would tie something in with like a Christmas tree, but you’re still getting the understanding and the the overarching campaign of that this company is a sustainable company, that when you purchase a product, you are helping the or the tree landscape in your community. So that there’s always like a cause and effect and campaigns are used so that companies can have that like, like, for example, a great brand campaign is Nike just do it. They they have that overarching campaign of just do it, and then they they do smaller campaigns within that overarching campaign. But anytime you see, just do it, you know, that’s Nike, but but then they have like the Colin Kaepernick thing, like the the sacrificing everything for something. It’s the they have these, this overarching campaign, and then they have smaller campaigns that that help also with the brand strategy.

Lisa Buffo  09:41

So they’re reinforcing the messaging, they’re taking a campaign or a message and then they just apply it in these different channels at these different times, depending on what’s relevant, you know, in the news, or you know what time of year it is, but they’re reinforcing the same messaging in ways That’s very top of mind and very present based on whatever’s going on.

Sadie Thompson  10:04

Yes, yes. And then that also to create that brand brand awareness. So anytime that someone sees something that even resembles your brand, they immediately think of your brand. And something too, that we talk about a lot with clients is how the cannabis industry is becoming more mainstream, and it eventually will become a commodity. So really positioning these cannabis brands to be more mainstream and lifestyle. So that they’re not very, it’s they’re not too niche to the cannabis industry, they’re able to reach a larger demographic, but then you’re, you know, we are having that issue with advertising to children and making sure that we’re making that that is not happening, and that we’re very compliant. But it is definitely where the industry is going more mainstream, more lifestyle. So just always keeping that in mind for brands as well.

Lisa Buffo  10:58

That makes sense. Yeah, we’ve seen it. I mean, we’re based in Denver, and we see a lot of brands do things with, you know, so we’re at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, and we see a lot of brands do things, but maybe a snowboarding company, or the outdoor events that are happening because it is tying that mainstream, you know, lifestyle that’s relevant to Colorado and where we are to cannabis, which is also a part of, you know, Colorado and our ecosystem there. But it does bridge that gap, which I love seeing how different companies do that and in different locations with you know, whatever it may be for them. Awesome. Okay, so tell me a little bit about the role that PR plays in all of this. Why is it so important? What can cannabis brands learn from PR? And how can they approach it?

Sadie Thompson  11:43

Yes, so PR is is very difficult for a lot of brands, because people don’t necessarily understand how it works. So to just start off, I kind of want to just talk about how PR works in journalism, and especially how it works in the cannabis industry. But essentially, public relations, you want to work with a public relations firm, so that you’re able to control the narrative of your company. So what PR firms do is, like I said, we get all those key messaging together, we figure out a campaign, we get all of that that foundation built for your business. And then once we have all of that we’re able to start approaching the media. So whenever something is newsworthy or happens in your business, we want to make sure that the news is covering it. So we write a press release. And we pitch it out how we pitch out releases to is we look at it as a local regional national pitching effort. So like, say, I’m pitching to a newspaper in Arizona, the pitch or the newsworthy tie might be different to then marijuana venture or a national magazine, I want to utilize more national statistics or something like to make that national reporter interested in what I’m saying. But as PR as more PR firms are coming into the space, it’s even harder to really make sure that those media placements are set in stone. So it’s that’s why it’s it’s we always talk about how it’s so important to have like your key your key messaging and your foundation bill of your business. Before we even start getting into the media coverage into the PR because say we, we reach out to the media and it the release is covered or it’s picked up in the stories written. But your audience isn’t ready for the message. It’s it’s lost, or even like if you had a really great story and you pitch it to the media and they’re not ready to hear it yet. They won’t pick up the story. And that’s why it’s very important to have a PR firm because we can keep that communication going. And then whenever that reporter is ready to hear that message where we’re presenting it to them, we’re presenting it to them. So, um, PR it’s, it helps with b2b, um, public relations and b2c public relations. Because one consumers are looking in the media, you want to have great media coverage about your business, about what new products about where people can find you. You want that and then also, on that, that b2b play you if you’re looking for investors, if you’re, if you’re looking for stakeholders in your company, you want to have you want to make sure that when they’re Googling your business, they see, oh, they made this much in revenue, or they you know, they donated to this cause or you want to see their businesses are active and they’re they’re doing something you don’t want to Google a business and it’s just like their company page that pops up on Google. You want to see you know, what they’re doing where they’re at in the media. But public relations is a huge part of the marketing mix. That communication with the media is so important for businesses. And also I want to talk about like crisis communication. So we deal with a lot like not a lot of crisis communication. But in the cannabis industry, we’re in a very regulated and compliant industry where a lot of businesses might have issues with state officials or just compliance issues that that they’re having to deal with. You don’t want your company to have 18 stories in the news about how there was a testing issue with your product, you know, we want to you want to have a PR firm that’s able to reach out to the media and say, yeah, like they understand that this happened here, we can provide a statement or, you know, having that team to really back you up on the media side, because most of these companies don’t have access, like a PR firm would. So just just really controlling that narrative, the consistency and really making that that connection with your brand with the reporters. Because once reporters start learning about your brand, and learning about all the great things you do, they they’re way, way more in tune if or if a firm were to pitch a story about them to pick it up, because they’ve seen you in the media, they know what you’re doing. So with relation is very, very, very important for business.

Lisa Buffo  16:19

Yeah, and I’ll say we, we talk with a lot of journalists and PR folks as well through CMA. And one of the things we see is that for particularly smaller businesses, who may be doing all their marketing and PR in house, what’s nice about working with the firm, or at least I should say how you should approach PR in general, is with that journalistic background in mind. So writing a press release is not the same as writing copy for your email, right, they’re using standards that are set by that, in that industry and journalistic standards that are much more independent, much more neutral than it would if you’re writing your own marketing piece, that’s obviously gonna, you know, hype up your products and services however you want. So to be able to have that skill or that communication and write that press release, as if you are a journalist where it is, you know, sort of as independent or as neutral as possible so that when they read it, those key messages do stick out. And it doesn’t sound like a commercial. And I think that’s the big difference that PR firms are those who do have that journalism background understand is that you can’t communicate with journalists like their, you know, sales folks in in a dispensary because they’re not there. They’re a part of the media. And so they communicate very differently, it’s a totally different style than writing ad copy, or, you know, your own newsletter as a marketer.

Sadie Thompson  17:42

Yeah, completely different in your Yeah, you hit the nail on the head with that one. Um, it, it’s so important to like every every press release, there, there is a formula to how to write a press release. But a lot of media to like journalists are always on crunch time always on deadline, they sometimes just use the release, and place that as the article. So always making sure that everything in the press release is the who, what, when, where, why the most important things are right at the top a quote from someone, or a representative of the company that you’re putting the release out for there’s, there’s a formula for how to write a press release. And it’s, it’s very important to make sure that that’s always done in the best way possible, because nine times out of 10, if they’re not going to write the story, but they like your release, they’ll use the whole release for and they’ll place that. So. So yeah, and also a boilerplate. Having having like your company boilerplate in your company bio is so important for businesses and something that we see a lot of companies, they don’t have, like their executive bios, they don’t have, you know, their company boilerplate, their website, copy. So like, we’re able to use the key messaging and use it on all these different channels so that every time a consumer is going on your website reading about you in the press, they see that same key messaging, and they’re in tune with what you’re doing.

Lisa Buffo  19:20

Yeah. And I actually have a story to say about that. So when I was, before I started CMA, I was the CMO of a company in cannabis. And I was doing we did all of our press in house. And when we launched, I wrote a press release to our local media, which was the we were in Boulder, Colorado, so the boulder daily camera at the time, and that’s exactly what happened. I wrote the press release, as if I was the journalist. So I like tried to write it very independently. And I had a quote from our CEO. I had a quote from one of our customers, so that sort of independent third party source, I wrote it very factually, I included stats and she I mean, the journalists literally copied and pasted it almost word for word and it was The article. So when you think about it as if you’re almost doing the journalists job and put yourself in their shoes, it is going to be way easier to get that picked up and allow you to control that messaging more, but in a way, where if they do need to ask questions, or they do need to follow up, or they do see a gap or a hole, they can, but you are saving them work because they get, like hundreds of pitches in their inbox a day. And so they just don’t have the time to, you know, do the work for you. So you either got to do it yourself, or work with experts that know how.

Sadie Thompson  20:30

it also shows to how, like PR firms in the cannabis industry really control a lot of the media, like a lot, a lot of the media that you see in the press for cannabis businesses, stemmed from a PR firm. So I’m really understanding the role that public relations firms play in the media and how it can help your business is the very beginning of PR.

Lisa Buffo  20:56

And there’s so much interest in cannabis right now. I mean, it’s it’s an exciting industry. It’s one of America’s fastest growing industries, I think I just saw recently too, we’re one of one of if not the number one employer as far as job creations, new jobs being created. So there is a lot of attention on what we’re doing. And the ability to effectively communicate with the media is so important for your company. But also, one thing I like to talk about is, you know, we’re a marketing organization. So we get asked a lot about, you know, what, where can I advertise what, what channels can I use, because I can’t use Instagram, I can’t use Facebook, I can’t use Google ads. Well, communicating with the media is protected under your first amendment rights. You can say in theory, whatever it is, you want to the press, and they’re allowed to publish it and discuss it. Where that is not the case on these tech platforms or other places you might be publishing, it doesn’t mean you should say whatever you want, you should still have a strategy, but just in the sense that that is a right that we have. And our ability to communicate with the press is something that is protected, and the public does see as credible. So that that is a channel that everybody can use regardless of whether they’re a plant touching business, and ancillary business, b2b, b2c, or whatnot. So it is available to you regardless of the status of cannabis federally or in your state. So alright, well, now that we’ve talked a little about PR, let’s talk about some of the things you have learned in your career. So we’ve got a lot of cannabis marketers who listen to this podcast of all ages, all stages of their career. And one of the reasons I like this industry and why I actually started CMA, our listeners know is because I was a cannabis cmo and I tried to take my skill set from working in tech and applied to cannabis and just realize that marketing playbook, if you will, is not copy and paste. It’s very different in this space. So there’s a lot of trial by fire for me and so many, which is why we have this community. So what are some of the lessons that you’ve learned over your cannabis career? And what is some advice? Or perhaps something you wish you knew when you had first started?

Sadie Thompson  23:04

Yes, that’s a that’s a great question. I want to first off start by saying all young marketers, please have confidence in what you’re doing. That is something that I feel I didn’t have, in the very beginning of my, my career, I’ve approached normal. Yeah, I’m pledging the one year at my firm and I was I joined a team that was very lucrative and super profound in their knowledge. So coming in being new, I was very overwhelmed. But as as I started developing and gaining more confidence and networking and learning about the industry and learning and finding my position in the company, I was really able to develop not only my skills, but my brand help help our company. I just was a keynote speaker in Chicago at a networking event. So yeah, I traveled from Arizona, to Illinois and was able to talk to or talk about cannabis PR, to over 100 professionals. And it was so amazing. A lot of people were just so interested in PR and it made me really gain that confidence and understand that, you know, you we do know what we’re talking about. We just need you know, those those listening ears and also something that I want to talk about too is is having a really strong mentor in this stage in your career as a young marketer. I’m very blessed to be in like the Arizona cannabis market. We have the marijuana industry trade association here. We work really closely with our proven media and they’re one of the best networking events I would say in the country definitely in Arizona. But but really like really getting connected understanding the ins and outs of the industry finding your place Being as as authentically yourself as you can be, that’s, that’s what I live every day. I can’t be anybody who I’m not I, you know, so I live to be authentic and I enjoy now I thought I get to do it with my career and help these cannabis brands be authentic and strive themselves. But yeah, just some advice would be that to have confidence. Move with purpose, and it’ll be great. The the industry is in its infancy. And as long as you have a good head on your shoulders and some determination, it’ll be great.

Lisa Buffo  25:42

I love that. Well, since you’ve talked about personal brand, I and I want to talk about some marketing strategies. So perhaps you’ve touched on this on the business side. But if there is anything else you would like to add, I do want to ask, what are some effective marketing strategies specifically that you see brands using? And then on the personal brand side to what are some ways in which you can build your personal brand. And if you could just talk about the difference between the two as well as any overlap?

Sadie Thompson  26:11

Yeah, um, so something that I noticed too, when I began, when I first got in the industry was, I was saved yet proven media, and that that wasn’t a bad thing I love I love our firm and everything we do, but I was like, I want to make sure that Sadie Thompson is known as well. Um, so really pulling, pulling together, you’re making sure that when you’re doing all this work for your client, you’re not missing out on your own. That’s something that we realize in our firm is we do PR and marketing for all these other companies. And then our company is the one that doesn’t receive the marketing and, and PR. Yeah, sorry. Yeah, so So just really like saving time working on your own brand. I’m really being well connected, that LinkedIn is the best platform right now social wise for cannabis companies to use, making sure that your LinkedIn is cinched up, making sure that you’re connected with the right people. When I got got my job at preview media, my boss Kim pins, she said the first thing that she looked at was who I was connected with on LinkedIn. So you know what it like, she wants to know who I’m connected with what like what you can bring so so making sure that you position yourself to be desirable for people to want to work with you. And also making sure that you’re staying staying up to date with cannabis laws, a lot of young marketers, I feel like could benefit from talking more about education. I feel like we grew we grew up and a lot of cannabis was looked at a lot differently. Yeah. And so we’re really that generation to come in and be the Education Source and to D stigmatize cannabis essentially, really break that barrier between cannabis and, and consumers. But, but young marketers build build your own brand. And by doing so you, you will hope your company.

Lisa Buffo  28:12

Yeah, that’s a really great point. And I yeah, I just want to echo your point about LinkedIn. It’s so active for cannabis. And it’s one of the few places that actually allows fairly uncensored conversation about it. Certainly, compared to Instagram and Facebook, and from the b2b side, we I mean, we use it religiously at CMA. And it’s been a really helpful platform and avenue for us. So I’m really glad that that’s open and available. So, alright, let’s talk a little bit about what you see as far as the future of cannabis. The future of cannabis marketing the future of cannabis PR, I mean, now that you’ve been in the space about a year, you know that the joke is that when you’re in cannabis is like dog years, it’s like seven it just go so fast, and things change so much. And and you also mentioned that regulations and the laws, they do change really quickly. And they’re different in each state. Each city obviously, we don’t have a federal framework yet. But you know, that’s that’s eventually will happen at some point. But how do you see the future playing out and how, how and why is that important for brands from a marketing and PR perspective?

Sadie Thompson  29:22

Yes, I think that the cannabis industry is going toward national legalization. And so I think that right now, it is super important for marketing and PR firms to start positioning their clients to be prepared for when global legalization happens. So just like for example, in Arizona, we just had the one year anniversary of rec sales in in the state when rec launched all of our clients were in, in the newspapers, you know, like in all of the the local The media really, you want to be able to capitalize on those huge events that happen in the industry, so making sure that you’re prepared and the businesses are strategically positioned to succeed and to thrive in the media in, in their marketing campaigns, and throughout their business, they’re able to strive. Um, and where I see it changing is I think the industry will become more regulated by the government to on especially on the marketing side, just because, I mean, every single state is different, you can you can have a billboard with it, you can’t have a billboard within 300 feet of a school or a church in some states, you can’t, you know, there’s, there’s too many, there’s too much of a gray area right now for the cannabis industry. So I do see within the next five to 10 years, a lot more regulations for, or a lot more parameters or boundaries for what we can do right now. Um, I kind of it just, like I said, it’s just super gray. And so I think within the next couple years, we’ll have some more defined laws and defined regulations that we’re able to use. So just making sure that as a marketing professional, that you’re very in tune with what your state is doing with what what’s going on, in DC with, you know, what states are doing, and where everything’s going to make sure that everything is set in stone before when legalization does happen.

Lisa Buffo  31:34

Yeah, and I do want to mention, when it comes to the laws, it it depends also on how open the culture is to cannabis and, and how that changes over time. So for example, Colorado didn’t allow billboards when they first launched, and that has recently changed, as you know, enough time has passed, and, you know, things have played out and they and everything has been fine. But it is also on us as an industry to communicate with our legislators at all levels, about what works and what doesn’t, because they’re learning to that they don’t know how to market cannabis, or you know, what’s an appropriate or effective law. They’re just some degrees short, right. And they’re using standards and best practices from other industries, a lot of our laws are actually based off of what the alcohol industry does. But as we know, cannabis isn’t alcohol. So you know, there’s some differences. And while that’s a really great framework, it’s it’s not the end all be all picture. So it is an iterative process. And as new states come online, the laws, you know, they start out one way, and then they change and evolve as we see what they look like in practice. So just to echo your point, I want to emphasize to our audience, and particularly newer entrepreneurs, and those newer states that if there is something that isn’t working for you to not be afraid to articulate that to the regulators, or legislate legislators in your state, and let them know why this works, or why this doesn’t work, so that they can make better and more informed policy, because they actually do really rely on your feedback a lot more than you would think we don’t have to live with. I mean, we do but like we have, say in this process, it’s a democratic process. So just the ability to recognize that and understand that and speak up not just to each other within the industry, but have that communication with our regulators. It’s just something I want to add.

Sadie Thompson  33:24

Yeah, and I actually have something to add on that as well. So just talking about, like being ahead of it, of like legislature and like lobbying and everything. We actually were on the front end of kind of a breaking news story in Arizona about the weights and measures department in Arizona, the Arizona Department of Agriculture.

Lisa Buffo  33:46

Can you explain what that means for our audience who’s not in Arizona? Like who are they and what do they do?

Sadie Thompson  33:51

Yes, so the Arizona Department of Agriculture, they are the regulators of like cannabis packaging. They do all packaging like food packaging, but pretty much like they’re the regulators to so when you purchase like a bottle of lotion that says it’s it’s six ounces, that it is exactly six ounces when you purchase it. So they’re they also regulate the cannabis industry. So something that was going on in Arizona was that the government was or the Arizona Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures division was holding the dispensaries in contempt of consumer fraud because the product wasn’t weighing exactly what was labeled on the package. Um, what year was this? It was actually a couple months ago.

Lisa Buffo  34:41

So it was the adult-use or all of them.

Sadie Thompson  34:44

So it, all of it essentially, um, what happened was is it’s they I mean dispensaries they can only do so much like they can only push out products so much they can they can only do so much and not to mention cannabis It’s not the same as like a thing of lotion it cannabis is a tangible it’s a it’s a plant it, you know it, it dries it, you know it shrinks it, it changes through its lifetime on the shelf. So it’s we were just trying to push that it’s very hard. It doesn’t make sense that the government’s cracking down on dispensaries when it’s like a larger problem. And it’s not the dispensaries problem that the flower isn’t exactly what it’s weighed. It’s it’s a state and regulation issue. Whereas if it’s if it’s off of, even if it’s off point 00001 It’s it’s an issue. It’s not compliant. So just being ahead of that, and, and yeah, we were the break the firm that broke the story a couple months ago. And yeah, so it’s just.

Lisa Buffo  35:56

How did that play out? Is it still an issue? Or did they get it resolved?

Sadie Thompson  36:01

So it’s it’s still it’s still an issue, but are right now are the legislation and legislature, local government officials are really working on how to regulate the industry? Because I think I believe Arizona will be a groundwork for how a lot of other states roll out their wreck. I mean, Arizona, we have a limited amount of licenses, so that the the markets not oversaturated, like, like you see in Oklahoma. Yeah, it just it’s very regulated. So I think Arizona is going to be a state that is replicable across the country. So yeah, just just being ahead, understanding all the laws in your state, I’m reaching out to those to your government officials, the people that are making the decisions, they want to hear from you, like you were saying they want to know what these cannabis companies are struggling with? Or what’s making their jobs harder. And how can we all we all want a regulated and safe product for consumers? And how we do that is by working together and figuring out what works and what doesn’t work. And so it was just really cool to be a part of like the IRS in front of the Arizona Department of Agriculture waste mesures division story earlier this year. Very cool.

Lisa Buffo  37:26

Well, I hope it works out for you all down there. And I that’s so interesting. I actually never occurred to me about that, being that much of a problem or that detailed of a problem. Because yeah, I can’t I mean, it does. It has its weight, but yeah, it does change depending on you know, moisture exposure, but I always thought it would be such a negligible amount that it wouldn’t, like, be a thing. I I hadn’t heard about that. So thank you for sharing that.

Sadie Thompson  37:53

Yeah, I mean, like, when, I mean, yeah, when consumers buy an eighth of cannabis, and they go home and weigh in, it’s about three grams, you know, they they just spent money that, you know, there, they were shorted a half a gram or you know, but, you know, you don’t know if it was packaged with three and a half grams. So it’s, you know, it’s all just very, very gray. Like pretty much everything is the industry right now. So, yeah, just just being ahead of the curve, and making sure that you’re telling your state officials what is going on in the industry and how you can help.

Lisa Buffo  38:28

Yeah, definitely. And I should say, for our members who are listening, we do have a guide with links to all the regs in each state. So if you do need that resource, we do have something for you there. Okay, Sadie. So one last few last questions I want to ask so just to keep it real on this podcast, like I said, you know, it’s love Trial by Fire working in this space. And you know, part of I found at CMA was I had tried my marketing playbook and failed so many times because it was just very different here until I learned okay, there’s sort of a way to do this specific for cannabis. So do you have any stories of adversity you faced or failure or things that you sort of like learned the hard way getting in to cannabis that you would want to share with the audience just to bring some light to you know, how I guess how different things are and and what it’s actually like working in here?

Sadie Thompson  39:21

Yes. So the industry is is so so different just from from every industry I’ve worked in, just with how everything works with the different people, everything, but something that I I want to talk about just as like a marketing and PR professional to is is how some some things that you want everything to be perfect everything in your thing like I I envision this to look like this to be like this. I secured a three page editorial feature for a client in High Times magazine It was, I was so excited for the placement. Of course, it was a huge placement, my first placement and national magazine, I coordinated with the editor in chief of the publication, got all the photos, the interviews, everything went great. And then I, the photo, the one photo that I wanted placed in the feature was not in the magazine, it was like the one photo that wasn’t selected. I was absolutely heartbroken. I called my boss crying like I can’t do like, you know, I was just absolutely heartbroken. Like, that’s all I wanted was for this one photo to be in this magazine feature. But my my boss was like, just because that that one photo didn’t make it in the future doesn’t mean that the feature isn’t like still as amazing as it as it should be, you know, like, that’s something that we also have to understand as like a PR firm is that we’re pitching the idea. And it’s the reporter story. Yes, once that idea is gone, or, you know, send over to them. So not everything works out perfect, but to not not be upset or to not like get too down on yourself if it’s not perfect, because the the overall message is still there. And it’s it, you know, it was still a great feature. But you know, understanding the value of placements, and not everything, like works out exactly how you want it to go. Or I mean, shoot, you might have a typo that it’s you know, it’s you’ll never go your whole career without having a typo on something. Absolutely not. But you know, when it happens, it’s absolutely heartbreaking. And you want to cry and like hide in the hole. And if you can’t get it fixed, that’s even worse. But you know, mistakes, mistakes do happen. And especially in this industry, it’s so cutthroat. I mean, marketing is the the one part of business that businesses cut first, when budgets are tough, are slim. And so yeah, we just always have to move or we have to work like under the knife basically at all times. Because we know that our job is basically the first one to get cut if you know the businesses and succeeding. So just fighting through adversity, not being upset if it’s nothing or if everything doesn’t work out perfectly, because you have to really understand the overall message. And if the clients happy, you should be happy too.

Lisa Buffo  42:22

Yeah, that’s a that’s a really great point and leaving yourself some room to go with the flow and let things play out. Because, yeah, I mean, particularly in marketing and PR things move so fast and tight deadlines, turnarounds, that sometimes those details do happen. I mean, I’ve spelled Association wrong before and I’ve typed that word, literally a million times. But sometimes it just happens. And so yeah, it’s just you know how it goes. So thank you for sharing that story. Okay, well, we’re almost at time. So is there anything else you want to mention or talk about that we didn’t cover yet.

Sadie Thompson  43:01

I think we covered everything but I just I just want to talk about just making sure that young marketers are networking are showing their face out there. With COVID and everything I feel like a lot of people got very comfortable like just staying behind the computer and especially being marketing and NPR we are able to like really work behind our computer all day long if you know but what separates you or what makes you different is showing your face and really making that connection to your clients and and yeah, so just networking, networking, networking is important and building your own brand.

Lisa Buffo  43:42

Awesome. And Sadie is there any contact information you want to share proven website if you have any your LinkedIn or anything like that, that you would want the audience to know?

Sadie Thompson  43:52

Yes, you can find proven media on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and it’s proven media. Our website is proven And if you want to connect with me, you can find me on Instagram Sadie Thompson with two extra ends. Facebook, Sadie Thompson and my LinkedIn and a CT Thompson 1999, I think but Sadie Thompson on LinkedIn.

Lisa Buffo  44:17

Awesome, Sadie, thank you so much. It was a pleasure having you and I appreciate you sharing your stories today.

Sadie Thompson  44:22

Yes, thank you so much for inviting me on. I had a great conversation with you. Thank you so much, Lisa.

Lisa Buffo  44:27

Thank you for joining us for another episode of Party like a marketer. Follow us on Instagram at party like a marketer and on our website, the cannabis Marketing Association calm and be sure to join us in person this June 7 through ninth for the annual cannabis marketing summit happening in Denver, Colorado. Check out our website for more details and membership information. We’ll see you next time.

Meet Your Host

LISA BUFFO, Founder and CEO of Cannabis Marketing Association

Lisa Buffo is an award-winning entrepreneur and marketer with a passion for launching companies with experience in both the cannabis and technology industries. Lisa is the Founder & CEO of the Cannabis Marketing Association, a membership based organization focused on education and best practices for industry marketers with the vision of rebranding cannabis at the national level. She was named one of 2019’s 40 Under 40 Rising Stars in Cannabis by Marijuana Venture Magazine in 2019 and named “The Marketing Guru” by Women & Weed magazine and is a featured speaker and media source in publications like Forbes, The Guardian, and VICE. You can find her on Instagram @libuff and Twitter @libuff21.

Become a CMA Member Today!

Join the fun as we host exciting educational and networking events in your community. Engage with your marketing peers and collaborate to solve the cannabis industry's toughest marketing and public relations challenges, all while building community and having a great time!