Party Like a Marketer Podcast

Episode 29: All About The Cannabis Marketing Summit In Denver This June 7-9

Episode Description

Jordan Lang, Content Coordinator of the Cannabis Marketing Association sat down with Lisa Buffo, Founder, and CEO of Cannabis Marketing Association, to discuss All About The Cannabis Marketing Summit In Denver This June 7-9.

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Read the Transcript

Jordan Lang  00:12

Hey everybody. My name is Jordan Lang and I am the content coordinator for CMA. Today’s podcast is going to be a little bit different. I am joined by Lisa Buffo, founder and CEO of cannabis Marketing Association and host of party like a marketer to talk about the upcoming cannabis marketing Summit. Don’t forget to get your tickets before it’s too late.

Lisa Buffo  00:29

Okay, Hi, everybody. Welcome to today’s episode of Party like a marketer, the podcast dedicated to cannabis marketing, public relations and authentic storytelling. I’m your host, Lisa Buffo, But today, I’m also your guest. And I’m speaking with Jordan Lang. Jordan is our content coordinator who helps us produce conceive of and execute on the podcast. She’s also the brains behind our social media and a lot of the content that you see on our pages. So Jordan and I are going to be having a conversation today about the cannabis marketing Summit, which is our big annual events happening in June in Denver. Jordan, do you want to say hi to the audience?

Jordan Lang  01:14

Yeah. Oh, hello, this is new. This is exciting. I feel like I’m always on the back end. But now I get to be like, up here. So this is fun. Um, but yeah, I’m super excited to talk all things Summit. I’m super excited me so I mean, I don’t know about you, but it’s gonna be good. Um, so yeah, let’s just get right into it.

Lisa Buffo  01:37

Yeah, let’s do it.

Jordan Lang  01:39

Tell me a little bit about the summit and just kind of, you know, the basic things that people who are attending or might be attending would want to know.

Lisa Buffo  01:50

Yeah, so the cannabis marketing Summit is our tentpole event at the Cannabis Marketing Association. So this is our big annual meeting, big annual conference. That is the place for the industry to learn marketing best practices, specifically, and really tailored to a focus on brands and retailers. But anyone in the cannabis industry can benefit from the content there. Our first year doing the summit was 2020. We were supposed to do it in person in June. We like this early summer, early June. Timing at MJ is next in New Orleans. And obviously we know what happened in March that made that not happen in person. Yeah, so 2020 we did the last two years 2020 2021 We did the summit online. And we we’ve kind of became an accidental online event producers. But now we’re coming back in person. We’re hosting it in Denver, which is our hometown at cannabis Marketing Association. Yeah, vendor. Yes, Denver, Jordan, a lot of our team went to see you. I’ve been in Denver, Colorado, the last eight years I’ve come up in the Colorado cannabis industry. And we’re big fans of the environment in this space in Colorado is really gorgeous. early June, before it gets to the Rockies. So yeah, so it’s two and a half days, June 7 through ninth. The eighth and the ninth are full content days. So those are Wednesday and Thursday. And we’ve got a expo floor. So we got one floor of the event venue, which I’ll tell about tell you about a minute that is dedicated to booths and tables. And then the third floor is our educational floor that’s got three different stages. And we’re actually hosting it in Civic Center Park in Denver. So that’s yeah, you know, it’s where the Capitol Building is. It’s where Denver holds the 420 rally. It is like I mean, downtown Denver, and Denver, a full of Denver, if you’ve been to Denver, and it’s got these gorgeous lawns. There’s even like a outdoor band space. But we’re renting. There’s a venue and Civic Center Park. So we’re renting that venue. It’s called the McNichols building. And with the buyout of the building, we get the some outdoor space as well. So it’s going to be an indoor-outdoor event. Super COVID friendly, Super Summer friendly, early summer-friendly. So we’ve got the expo floor, we’ve got the education floor, and then we’re going to have an outdoor lounge that’s going to have like picnic tables, some blankets, outdoor games, so it’s not your average conference. We want to make it fun, engaging and exciting, and really connect with everybody this year.

Jordan Lang  04:41

Awesome. Yeah, that I’m so excited. Um, yeah, so kind of going off of that. Is there like a virtual component because you kind of shifted from like, oh, yeah, we all know happened in like March 2022. Like, here we’re putting on this like two-day thing. It’s actually in person. So I just kind of wanted to touch on that for Anybody who might not be able to make it or, you know, you know, whatever.

Lisa Buffo  05:05

So that’s a great question. And the answer is yes and no. So there won’t be any live virtual component. But we are going to film all of this sessions. And if you have a ticket to the event, you’ll be able to watch the recordings after they won’t be available immediately after, we’ll need a little bit of time to get the footage, edit it, you know, format it and get it on our website. But if you’ve purchased a ticket, you’ll be able to watch the recordings later. So if you can’t attend, say, there’s two sessions happening at the same time that you’re excited about. You can pick which one to choose attend live, and then there’ll be one, you know, you could watch later. Or you could go back and watch anything you attended. So in theory, if you want to buy a ticket, and you can’t come, you’ll get access to the virtual recordings. But there isn’t a separate ticket price, and there isn’t a kind of virtual only option.

Jordan Lang  05:56

Right? Yeah.

Lisa Buffo  05:57

I mean, they get one but we if you’re paying for coming in person, you know, we’d love to have you, you will get the Recordings.

Jordan Lang  06:04

Yeah. Um, well, that’s exciting. I know, I know, everybody loves like a good recording, to sum up, what they just learned. And I know, the summit usually has, like so much to learn, and you just walk away, and you’re like, Whoa, like, let me digest all of that. So, you know, that’s really cool that that’s like available. So people don’t quite forget what they learned or like, they have like a thought in their head. They’re like, Oh, my gosh, I heard this somewhere. And I’m gonna go back to I’m So kind of going off of that. Who’s speaking at this event? Because you mentioned sessions, and I’m personally excited for our lineup. I know. We have some great people. So go, ahead.

Lisa Buffo  06:47

Yeah, we do. And thank you for that question. We’re really excited about our speakers. So the content is focused on cannabis brands and retailers as far as who the target audience is, what folks are going to benefit the most and what they’re going to learn. So all of our content is really geared towards marketing best practices for brands and retailers, we have some solo sessions. So solo in the sense where you can go see somebody with a PowerPoint, and like, learn how to from them. We’re doing solo sessions on direct mail marketing. So how to do basically direct mail marketing, we’ve got a session a solo session on email marketing, so email marketing, best practices, how to set up those campaigns. That was really exciting that we’ve got going on, we’ve got a solo session on public relations, how to basically write like a journalist and get your company covered. And then we’ve got everything topics from omni channel marketing, SEO, marketing, the difference between med rec and CBT. Marketing, we’ve got a session on content marketing, you know how to make your content go further, faster, bootstrap marketing for all the small business owners out there are included we are stacked so and that full session is on the website. We’ve got. We’ve got topics on compliance, social media, creative branding, even things as detailed as benchmarking, benchmarking, for digital marketing. Even a session on customer experience design for retailers, so we’ll actually be talking about like design of dispensaries. How should they be laid out? What makes for a really good experience? So when we say marketing, we’re not just talking social media or paid ads. We’re also talking about physically what happens when you walk into the store. How do you make that really work for both brands and retailers and the customer? And so those are some of the topics as far as speakers. We’ve got folks from across the industry, small businesses, MSOs East Coast folks, West Coast folks, lot of homegrown Colorado folks, some highlights, we’ve got Tristan Walker, Dr. Tristan Watkins, who’s with the Colorado Office of Economic Development. He worked in the industry as a consultant for a while and now he helps implement some of the social equity programs in Colorado. So he’s going to be speaking. We’ve got Terrell wall, who’s the CEO of gentlemen cleanse, which is a awesome, great local brand in Colorado. Rebecca my estas sincere she’s a 13 year industry veteran with clear cannabis. They’re a vape company and MSO that makes really great products. Also Colorado-based. We’ve got Katherine wolf, the CMO of Malik’s premium cannabis, she’s actually their cmo and CIO. We’ve got Kristin Nichols, the marketing manager at light shade, and like many, many more So check out our website. Those are just some folks, we’ve got off the top of our heads. But we’ve got industry that’s brands, retailers, agency folks, really a lot of our membership and a lot of deep experience and cannabis Marketing and Communications.

Jordan Lang  10:15

Yeah, that’s awesome. Yeah, you just answered my question. Like, I was gonna ask him, How do you get the speakers all kind of wrapped it up? And it for, like, you know, on board with this huge event? I mean, you can elaborate that. Elaborate on that if you’d like, but I don’t know. I feel like you’ve covered it.

Lisa Buffo  10:35

Yeah. So most of the speakers are our members. So they come from our membership there, folks. We know who we’ve worked with for a while. With our big events, we have folks apply to speak. And then we’ve got a committee and a selection process. That whittles down the applications and allows us to say, Okay, we know these folks have this experience and represent these aspects of the industry. But also, what does the moment call for? So 2020, for example, that summit, which we did, virtually, in June, we did a lot of content around digital marketing and what had changed with COVID. Because that was top of mind, and that’s what had mattered. This year, we’re seeing a lot more interest and questions related to programmatic advertising and digital advertising. As more publications open up to cannabis ads, as the industry starts to go more national, more multistate, you know, as we look towards, I feel like we say this every year. But as we look towards federal legalization, you know, the house just passed, passed the more act again. So we’re always keeping what’s happening in mind, with an emphasis on compliance and deep expertise.

Jordan Lang  11:50

Yeah, that’s what I love about the summit. I feel like it’s always tailored to like the nature of the world. And I feel like it’s very, like relatable for people. And they’re not stuck in this place where they’re like, What do I do? It’s more like, okay, here are the tools that I can implement into my marketing strategy, or within my own personal brand, and kind of move forward, especially with like, with COVID. They’re like, Oh, yeah, like, how am I supposed to move through this, like, you know, digital space with all the restrictions about cannabis, you know, and just what you can do and what you can’t do. But I love that the summit, like kind of creates new avenues for that, like forward-thinking if that makes sense.

Lisa Buffo  12:32

Yeah, definitely. And we always try to keep in particular, small business owners in mind. So when I founded CMA, I was the Chief Marketing Officer of a cannabis brand, that was actually venture-backed and venture-funded. But they even in that role, we had small budgets and very little to work with. And I was the one person I mean, I was the CMO. But I was the entire marketplace. I was the marketing team. And so many of our members and businesses in cannabis, that’s the case where whether they have funding or not, they maybe have one or two people on marketing. And those folks are probably also in perhaps an operational role. Or they’re, they’re wearing many different hats. And we know with the two ad e tax code, marketing, and advertising expenses are not write-offs for cannabis businesses. So basically, cannabis businesses have a really difficult space to navigate as far as small budgets, small teams needing to make those dollars go further faster, and show a return on investment in an environment advertising environment that isn’t very friendly or open to those types of yeah, those types of communications or, you know, a lot of a lot of publications just simply money from the industry. So totally, we try to tailor our content in these events to say, under those circumstances, how can we help that that persona, that marketer as much as possible, so this event is really trying to give folks sort of a crash course and to two and a half days of cannabis marketing best practices, so they can go back to their nine to five, having learned something new from folks who are tried and true, like themselves, and hopefully met some connections of, you know, marketers who can shed insight into what they’re doing and help them do better in their jobs.


Jordan Lang  14:22

So yeah, kind of going off of that. Networking. I know, that’s been a big thing in the past. I feel like we kind of pride ourselves on the fact that we give cannabis marketers the opportunity to network. So I just kind of wanted to ask you like, what is that going to look like? Besides like, you know, the whole being in-person thing and like hanging out outside? Is there going to be a specific, like flow or kind of? Yeah,

Lisa Buffo  14:46

Yeah, So we have sessions in the morning and sessions in the afternoon. There’s going to be a specific lunch break and a specific happy hour break where there will be no sessions and we’re actually with the way the venue is we’re bringing in food and drink and food trucks. So we’ll actually be able to take lunch, folks can go outside and eat their lunch, they can walk around the expo floor, in the middle of the day, and then during the happy hour session as well, there will be no content going on. So we have dedicated time in the middle of the day in the end of the day, and actually in the morning, as well, we’re going to have coffee for our attendees the whole time. And then we do have like a little coffee hour in the morning. So all throughout the day, there’s going to be specific breaks for networking. But we do have that indoor outdoor setup. So you know if there’s sessions going on, but you need to take a phone call, or you just need to kind of sit something out, you can sort of choose your own adventure, whether you want to go outside and have a conversation, lay on one of the blankets, play a game with a colleague, you know, attend and learn something or walk the expo floor. It’s really up to you. So we’ve got dedicated networking times, but it is a intimate conference. We only have so much space. So it is first come first serve. But it is going to allow folks to be able to get to know everybody and connect more intimately over those two and a half days.

Jordan Lang  16:13

Yeah, I’m really excited for the networking just because you know, it’s not like your traditional networking, you aren’t like sitting on Zoom screen like, Hey, what’s going on, you’re actually able to, like, meet these people and shake their hands. So I’m really excited that all these things are in place. And you know, some people aren’t morning people, some people aren’t nice people, you know, but there are the options there for like everybody. And that’s just I feel like that’s so true of the whole summit. It’s just like there’s always something there for everybody.

Lisa Buffo  16:42

I’m glad you mentioned the night aspect because we are going to have an after-party on Wednesday night, Wednesday night will be the official after-party of the event. But Tuesday, we’re going to have options as well. There’s a local bar stovies On Broadway where we’re going to have a folks can meet and gather,

Jordan Lang  17:01

Yeah, That courage.

Lisa Buffo  17:02


Jordan Lang  17:02

It’s so fun.

Lisa Buffo  17:04

Great bar name is really fitting. So we’ll have a activities at night as well related to the event so that you know, folks can you know, the party, the party doesn’t stop, if you will.

Jordan Lang  17:17

Right. Yeah. And like you said, it’s choose your own adventure. So like, one night, you could run a party, you know, and it just happened to be that Wednesday, but yeah, no, I’m, I’m really excited. So, you know, can you tell us a little a little bit about how those things kind of come together? Like sponsors? Are there opportunities still available, like, kind of lay out the sponsor thing for our listeners?

Lisa Buffo  17:42

Yeah, so we have an expo hall. So we’ve got booths in there, those are 3500 apiece, and they actually come with two tickets. And tickets are priced at about $500 general admission price per ticket. So for 3500, you’re getting two tickets included, that’s $1,000 value right there, and then the booth for the two days. So that’s a really good value. It’s your kind of typical pipe and drape booth setup there eight by six foods, that’s going to be on the second floor where we’re also going to have a bar and music. So it’s a really fun setting and space. And then we also have activity sponsors. So you can sponsor the happy hours, you can sponsor, the outdoor games, you can sponsor the Wi Fi registration, even the press lounge, we’ve got sort of different activations for you to pick and choose from, depending on whether you want like an engaging interactive sponsor or something a little more passive. And we also have a digital media sponsorship option. So if you can’t come, or if you can, but booth is not your thing. Those start at 2500. So you can actually like get in our newsletter and social media and have your logo and things up and have a presence there without having to physically set something up. And that’s all on our website. And then we’ve got higher level sponsors too, you can actually sponsor the entire outdoor lounge, or some of the stages. So we’ve got a platinum sponsor, a gold sponsor, and a bronze sponsor, platinum sponsor is the title sponsor. So you get to name the main stage, put down like leaflets and welcome information on those seats there as well, as well as tote bags, lanyards, you know, premium signage, everything that would come with a platinum sponsorship, as well as getting to own the entire middle of the expo floor, which is basically a big lounge. So the whole middle of the expo floor is reserved for that platinum sponsor to do a custom activation. That’s right in the center of everything. And then we’ve got the other options as well. So I was around the activity sponsors, and even you could sponsor the after party. So we’re really willing to work with folks if you’ve got a specific activation or budgeted Mind, just reach out, and we’ll see what we can put together. But that deck is all on our website.

Jordan Lang  20:06

Awesome. Yeah. Big, big stuff. But it’s it’s exciting. I wish I you know, I wish I could sponsor this. But it’s fine. Um, so yeah. You know, a question I probably should have asked sooner who is welcome at this event who’s invited to this event? Like, I, I feel like people want to know, I feel like people need to know.

Lisa Buffo  20:32

Yeah, so the events will benefit you most if you’re in a cannabis marketing or ownership role, obviously, I mean, it’s the cannabis marketing summit produced by the cannabis Marketing Association. So if you’re a marketing, you can definitely get something out of this event. We have all different types of topics. So you can take a look at our agenda if there’s something specific you’re looking to learn. But it’s really all positions, we’re not going to be doing any like super one on one marketing, you’ll you’ll kind of want to know a bit about marketing for this to advance further advance your knowledge, for sure. These are industry marketing experts, folks that have been doing this for a while. So it’s gonna be a little bit more advanced as far as the content. But if you have an interest in cannabis marketing, it can benefit you. And again, we’re really focusing on helping out those brands and retailers. You know, anyone with the cannabis license has to follow the regulations very strictly anyone who’s plant touching, so we always try to keep that persona in mind. But if you’re on the b2b side, or that kind of direct to consumer side, as well, as far as ancillary products or services, you can definitely get something from this. And I should also mention that if you are low income disabled, would consider yourself social equity or in any other way would qualify for a free or reduced ticket, we do have an application on our site. And we have set aside a certain amount of tickets to be able to make sure the event is inclusive for those that need access to this type of content. So you can fill out that form. If you need anything like that, if you have any type of disability or need special accommodation, you can let us know too. And we’ve got plans in place for that the building is ADA accessible, and almost all the content is ADA accessible as well. But if you have any special considerations that you need, let us know and we’ll make sure to get you that.

Jordan Lang  22:37

Awesome. Yeah, I love that. I love the inclusive nature of this event. I feel like every year, it’s just so like everybody comes and it’s just like you have you know, a different such a different background and like this person, like meeting them. Just like Okay, great. Like this is I don’t know what to do with this. But, you know, everybody’s welcome. Especially people like even people who are new to the cannabis space. Like, I feel like it’s a great, like learning opportunity. And you get a lot out of it. You know, you are learning about where the industry is right now. And you know, it’s not it’s, it’s so much more than marketing. I feel like it’s like, like we said earlier, like it’s the state of the world that we’re in, but it’s how does cannabis fit in there? And that’s what I love about it. It’s just, there’s always something for everybody, even if you’re like brand new. But yeah, so kind of going off of tickets. I like the accessible tickets. Where can regular tickets be purchased? And are there any deadlines that people need to be aware of?

Lisa Buffo  23:46

Yes, so if you go to our website, the cannabis marketing and then go to our drop-down for events. Cannabis marketing Summit is right at the top and you’ll everything you’ll need to know is there you could purchase there directly if you are a CMA member you get a discount so tickets for our conferences are always separate than our from our membership members get reduced pricing. So in our next deadline is April 22. So basically the end of for 20. Week Earlybird ends and then ticket prices go up to General Admission pricing, and they jump about 100 bucks. So if you’re going to come or are interested in coming, I would definitely suggest getting your ticket ASAP. Before for 22 and, and making your reservations.

Jordan Lang  24:35

Yeah, the Earlybird prices, you can’t beat them you really cannot have such a good value. Like you know, you get like a discounted ticket for all of this stuff. That’s That’s crazy. But you know, it works. It’s worth it. You know? Totally well, and people will see that. Um, and for those like coming from out of town Are there hotel options available? And if so, what are they?

Lisa Buffo  25:03

Yes, so we’ve got room blocks at hotels and everything for the event is within walking distance. So as of now our after parties or hotels, the venue, everything is within walking distance, right in Denver’s Broadway neighborhood, right? Like right down kind of just south of downtown actually. So again, wanted to make this very accessible, you don’t have to worry about Ubers. As far as our event goes, you can walk everywhere going to be a gorgeous time of year. But the two that we’ve got blocks out right now are the element hotel, it’s a Marriott property, right across the street from higher grade dispensary, which is they’re part of our network, their director of marketing is going to be speaking at the event. They have great cannabis as well. So element hotel there, Marriott property. And then we’ve actually got a local business, it’s called the 11th Street hostel. So it’s called a hostel. And they do have some hostel rooms, but don’t think about it as like your Euro trip hostel. It’s actually like a nice boutique hotel that has some shared options, but they have private rooms, and then they have Euro rooms. So a private room is like, it’s just a hotel room. And then they have Euro rooms where the bathroom is up the hall, but they’re private bathrooms. So it’s like individual shower, individual bathroom, all brand new, all renovated, we just toured it a few weeks ago. Really nice quiet property, there is some communal space. And if you really want to do like the hospital-style, they have that. But they also have rooms that have, you know, two beds in them. So if you wanted to share with a colleague, you can do that as well. And those are in that the 11th Street hospitals extremely affordable. The rooms are about $100 a night or less. And if you look through the links on our site for both the element and cm and the 11th Street hostel, we’ve got the direct booking links that have our discount codes. So again, we wanted options to make it as affordable as possible. And if you’re flying to Denver, you can take the train from the airport to Union Station. And then you could walk from Union Station to these places. And the venue is a little bit of a walk, but it can be done. You can take the 16th Street tram right there. Or if you can Uber if you want, but everything is very close. Very accessible. No need to rent a car. Likely no need to Uber depending on how you’re getting in from the airport. And then once you’re you know, in the area in the neighborhood, you can walk to everything.

Jordan Lang  27:33

That’s awesome. Yeah, that’s why I love Denver. You know, it’s all right there. Yeah. I mean, I don’t think there’s anything else that I could ask about, um, do you have anything else that you would want people to know?

Lisa Buffo  27:53

I would say that Tuesday night. So Tuesday is our opening day. Basically, in the morning, we’ve got an expo setup for exhibitors, and we’ll have some adventures as far as things you can choose to do. Denver has a meow wolf exhibit or building that just opened. So if you’ve never been to a meow Wolf, you could definitely check that out. Meet with your colleagues. We’re working with some partners on you know, ancillary events during the day. And then Tuesday evening is our outdoor reception. So that’ll be a happy hour outside. And that’s actually a pop-up for brands and retailers. So if you’re a brand or retailer and you have a ticket to the event, we’re donating table space for like a quick two-hour pop-up during that happy hour. And then after that, we’ll have an after the reception. Likely at Stony knees. And so folks can you know, engage, have fun, do the Tuesday night thing welcome. Get to know each other and then Wednesday morning the event kicks off. So Tuesday evening, welcome reception. Happy Hour and brand pop up all outside in the park.

Jordan Lang  28:59

Awesome. Yeah, I’m excited. Especially for Estonia. Estonia is the perfect place for this event. Such good food, good vibes. I’m excited for people to experience it.

Lisa Buffo  29:11

Welcome,  Welcome spot.

Jordan Lang  29:13

Yeah, totally. Absolutely. Um, okay. Well, I think that’s all I have. Um, if you don’t have anything else, I think we’re good.

Lisa Buffo  29:18

Yeah, just all of our members and everyone who’s helped us put this together all of our partners as far as making this event happen over the last three years, including this year, and I’m just so excited to finally see everybody in person after, you know, too long years of work from home and screen time.

Jordan Lang  29:43

And yeah, yeah, we couldn’t do without everybody. All our members and everybody has some sort of involvement in the summit. I mean, really, we cannot do it without you. We really cannot so we are so appreciative. Yeah, All right. Well,

Lisa Buffo  30:03

Okay, thank you, everybody. We will see you at next week’s episode and check out the cannabis marketing Get your tickets, get your booth and make your reservations before we run out of space.

Jordan Lang  30:15

Do it.

Lisa Buffo  30:18

Thank you. 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 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.

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