Lisa Buffo, Founder, and CEO of the Cannabis Marketing Association sat down with Andy Gonzales, Marketing Account Executive at Townsquare Media, to discuss Radio Cannabis Marketing: Boom or Bust?
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Lisa Buffo, Founder, and CEO of the Cannabis Marketing Association sat down with Michele Ringelberg, Owner & CEO at ThrivePOP, to discuss Building a Winning Marketing Team from an Agency Pro.
Read the Transcript
Lisa Buffo 00:11
Hello everybody. Welcome to today’s episode of Party like a marketer. I’m your host Lisa Buffo, founder and CEO of the cannabis Marketing Association. I can’t wait to see all of you at this year’s cannabis marketing summit June 21 through 23rd in Denver, Colorado for two and a half days of cannabis networking, best practices from the top marketing and communications professionals. At the peak of summer in Denver, Colorado. We’ve got a brand in retail pop up a rooftop after party, solo sessions, workshops, and all food and non alcoholic beverages are included. Further, we’re launching our CMA sevens awards, cannabis marketing awards focused on awarding excellence in effective and authentic marketing that advances the image of cannabis. All marketers who have a ticket to the summit get a free entry to the CMA sevens in the award show happens on Friday, June 23. At lunch at the summit today’s conversation features Andy Gonzalez, marketing account executive of Townsquare media, Andy is an experienced media and marketing professional with a passion for the cannabis industry. And over the course of his career, he has worked with a diverse range of clients in the cannabis space, including dispensaries, growers, and manufacturers. He’s skilled in developing comprehensive marketing strategies that leverage a variety of channels, including broadcast radio, digital media, social media and events to help clients build brand recognition and attract new customers. Okay, welcome, everybody to today’s episode of Party like a marketer. Today’s guest is Andy Gonzalez of Townsquare media. Andy, thank you so much for joining us today. Absolutely. Glad to be here. Yes. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into cannabis marketing your background and what it is that you do at Townsquare?
Andy Gonzales 02:07
Absolutely, yes. So, with marketing in general, I’ve been doing that now for about five, six years. And there’s various roles, you know, working with startups, as a director of marketing, you know, social media management, stuff of that nature. And basically, cannabis kind of came into the play, you know, a few years back when I took on a job as a brand ambassador. So actually working with a brand, you know, in dispensaries working with clients. You know, kind of fast forward a little bit further down the road, I ended up working with Townsquare media, which is the third largest media company, we have 74 markets where radio stations are throughout the US. And one of the main focuses is sensitive categories. So cannabis marketing is something that I do on the day to day, and I love the fact that I have that like in person experience working with the actual dispensary owners and brands as well. So a little bit about kind of me.
Lisa Buffo 03:07
I like how you call it a sensitive category. I’ve never heard it referred to it as that, like, what are some other what else falls into sensitive category?
Andy Gonzales 03:17
Those sensitive categories consist of anything that has to do with like, let’s say gambling, political, anything to do with medical, all of those are going to fall into sensitive categories. And of course, you know, alcohol, drugs, things of that nature are as well, anything that’s federally regulated, typically will be considered these categories.
Lisa Buffo 03:39
Okay, that makes sense. And then tell us a little bit more about Townsquare. You said it’s one of the largest media companies like, I know, what does that mean? What does that go?
Andy Gonzales 03:48
What does that mean? Yeah, absolutely. So our acids include clusters and radio stations throughout the US. Like I said, we’re in 74 markets. And typically what we focus on is the small business owner, we’re in the mid and small size markets. And we focus on full funnel marketing. So we go through all channels. One branch of the company is called Townsquare. Interactive, which focuses on website design, and SEO optimization. And then from there, we go to our Townsquare ignite division, which is strictly programmatic audio social media. You know, programmatic advertising, whether it’s display video, Ott, which is going to be your connected TV, all those digital tactics would fall under that division. And then we also have our lives event division where we put on local events or you know, in our communities, wherever those radio stations are located, we go out there and we’ve worked with, whether it be a brand or a specific type of cause we back it up and we help produce the events as well.
Lisa Buffo 04:58
And I want to Talk about events. But let’s first talk about radio. Because we actually haven’t talked about radio on this show yet. And I think there’s a lot of confusion around it in the cannabis industry, but also like, is it a viable marketing channel? Like who still listens to radio? And what is that? How does that fit into the marketing mix for cannabis businesses? Can you talk about kind of the state of radio in general, but then in context to cannabis as well?
Andy Gonzales 05:28
Yes, absolutely. So radio in general actually is, you know, one of the largest mediums that you can reach an audience. As of right now, and we’re looking at statistics, our reach with radio has actually surpassed regular network television, as you know, what the war is going on right now with cable cutters, that audience has now dwindled down. And so radio still has about 86% Capturing audience, wherever that market is located. Great awareness tactic, and also just a way to stand out wherever you are their local community. I’ve seen, you know, a lot of brands that still use radio and it does drive traffic, it also does, you know, just make that differentiate your back that you’re on a local station, you have that local pie to the community.
Lisa Buffo 06:21
And when you say 86% of the market, is that like, people who have cars, is it just people who live there like goo on the cable cutter? So I’m like, Who,who is that?
Andy Gonzales 06:35
So that’s gonna be your major demographic. So like 18 to 50 years old. With radio broadcast radio, we’re actually tying into 86% of that market share. So there’s still a lot of audiences that are, you know, traveling, you know, and they still engage in radio. So it’s those a viable source.
Lisa Buffo 06:56
Okay, interesting. And I do like the, so let’s talk about that for cannabis businesses, like, what are cannabis companies, I’m guessing dispensaries in particular would be a fit for radio. And I think you’ve got a good point. And we talked about this on the show, and at CMA a lot about how it’s important to know your customer, but of course, your local community, and with retailers, it is all about who’s around you. It’s your local community and getting plugged in with that. So they often have different marketing strategies than brands or really other folks in the space because they’re so hyper local. So what have you seen cannabis companies do on radio? What is effective? And what are some best practices for those who might be considering it?
Andy Gonzales 07:46
Absolutely. Well, we still are, you know, have to abide by the general regulations. So one of the things that we can’t do on radio is target anyone under the age of 21, it has to be very specific to that. The copy just can’t mention anything, like any type of therapeutic, you know, result or anything like that, because FDA, of course, doesn’t allow that. And other than that, I mean, you can talk about what it is you have a little bit about the product just can’t make any claims, you know, like this is going to kill your illness or anything like that. We’ve ran, you know, quite a bit of campaigns where we were focusing on like a specific time event for a dispensary, let’s say they were engaging, like in a 420 celebration, or something of that nature. And how we typically work, which is a little bit different than like your average agency, as a media company. And this is something I forgot to mention is we actually are a publisher, we’re one of the largest publishers, throughout all of our brands, we have a website, you know, our local DJs, they produce three articles a day. And that gets all you know, put out into the community. So one of the differentiating facts, factors that we have, is we’re able to utilize our assets. So what I mean by that is with each station, you have a website, you also have an app, you also have a Facebook page. And so when I’ve worked with brands in the past, you know, we kind of targeted in two different separate ways. We are putting them on air, but we’re also utilizing, you know, our websites and our inventory to get that message out in a creative way. So whether it’s a display ad or an actual site, people who were taking over the skin of the website, those are abilities that we had that there are traditionally available in the market.
Lisa Buffo 09:38
I see so it’s publishing and out like outbound marketing, for lack of a better word that you guys are able to do as far as programmatic SEO, radio, things like that.
Andy Gonzales 09:55
Lisa Buffo 09:56
Cool, okay. Um, okay, and then hey, Have you seen any specific like results for cannabis company? On Radio? Like, how do you track that? Do? I’m guessing, and you’re based in Colorado, which we probably should have mentioned, you guys are in Fort Collins, and work with a lot of businesses in the Front Range. But like, what, what are those best practices for cannabis businesses when they approach a radio? Like how are they able to kind of measure success there? And then do you target like, within a super local radio station? Is it throughout the state? How does that work?
Andy Gonzales 10:36
Okay, perfect. Yes. So our stations are set up to where they virtually range from Denver all the way to Cheyenne, we have five different brands. The way that we measure this is really unique. And I like the way it works is we’re able to put a pixel on the backside of the website. And we tie that into our analytics. So when the actual spot errors, what we do is we try to measure like within a certain amount of minutes, if that customer did, we see a spike in traffic on the website. So with that being said, we kind of look back as we’re running these ads, and we’re doing certain date parts, whether that be the am drive, that they drive, or even, you know, an evening drive. Sometimes the weekends might be better, we go back, and we’re able to kind of break down that data and see, okay, we ran a Thursday spot at midday. And we saw it that, you know, increased maybe four or five visitors that came to the site during that timeframe that normally aren’t, we’re not seeing that traffic. So then we could come back and say, okay, advertiser, Mr. Customer dispensary owner, we’re seeing a more effective reach during this specific day part. How about we spend more budget on those timeframes versus just scattering it out or doing like a broad rotation?
Lisa Buffo 11:49
I see. So it’s like a timing, consideration.
Andy Gonzales 11:53
That’s typically, yes. typically how we measure it, if we look at the pixel through the website traffic, which is tied into our Townsquare analytics, we’re able to, you know, like I said, measure that traffic, when that commercial actually air when the spa aired? Did we see you know, so many customers go to the website, and we can kind of gauge response with that aspect.
Lisa Buffo 12:16
And I’m guessing you probably do it around like is the best commuting times morning, you know, early morning, later afternoon. Lunch, like what what’s considered ideal radio window,
Andy Gonzales 12:29
Typically how I build a schedule is, first what we look at as we look at your demographic, right? Who’s your ideal customer? Are you going out there medical cannabis, consumers, are you going out to retail recreational consumers, and then from there, I would match and depending on what genre or what type of radio station we have, we would then go in there and we would look at the high traffic times right, when we see the most visitors that are actually on air. They’re not on air, but they’re they’re listening at that time. And from there, what we’ll do is we’ll schedule you know, basically a certain amount of spots. Now the way radio works, as you all know, with marketing, it’s all about reaching frequency, right reaching the right people the right amount of times. So typically, like in a two week period, I wouldn’t run anything lower than about 40 spots. And I would strategically stagger those spots to make sure we’re hitting the right people at the right time.
Lisa Buffo 13:24
And as far as like a 32nd commercial or something that you like a commercial you hear on radio.
Andy Gonzales 13:31
So ad copy, with radio is broken down to three different options, you have a 15 second spot, you also have a 32nd spot, and then a 62nd spot. So those are going to be your three options. What we’ve found through data and research is the longer the commercial, the less tension that you kind of grab. So I’ve seen the most success with 15 Second 32nd spots. Now it’s for a specific event where you want to give out a lot of information, then I would definitely recommend going with the 62nd spot.
Lisa Buffo 14:03
That makes sense. Yeah. And it’s almost like if you’re gonna go to the website, you want to leave them with something a question you want to leave them with something to think about. So they’re gonna go, oh, let me look that up and learn more as opposed to just like okay, I heard the whole pitch. I’ll make this decision later. Yeah, that makes sense. Okay, so anything else you want to say about radio we haven’t talked about?
Andy Gonzales 14:26
Yeah, just radio in general with with cannabis is unique, right? So if you’re a brand, let’s say that’s in, you know, five or six different states. That’s great. ignol and your brand awareness needs to be at a local level. So I would recommend if it’s anyone that’s, you know, in like a smaller community or even a larger segment, I would recommend radio as a great way to stack it, that kind of keeps you As a differentiating factor. It’s not a whole ton of people that are getting on the radio. And using that. So if you have the budget available, and you are using other tactics on top of radio, it does make a good fit. And we’ve seen success when you’re layering in digital on top of radio.
Lisa Buffo 15:36
To talk about that a little bit one budget like how, what does radio cost in relation to other marketing channels? And then I want to talk a little bit about digital and how like the layered approach works. Because as we know, cannabis, marketers are fighting for really small budgets. So like, what is that? Are they’re fighting? Yeah, they just they have small budgets. So like, what? What is what is the typical spot costs? Like? How should they think about that?
Andy Gonzales 16:06
Absolutely. So as you all know, radio works on a couple of different things. Inventory has a lot to do with it, right? When it comes to rates, down availability. So during certain seasons, you know, political seasons, things of that nature rates may go up a little bit. And also, you know, rankings play a little part in that as well. You know, how many people are we reaching, you know, how many listeners are on at this specific time, that all plays into the actual rate. And rates can range, you know, anywhere from, you know, 15 to $20, a spot all the way up to 40 $65 a spot, it really just depends on the market you’re in, and how many spots that you actually want to run? And like I said, you know, 20 to 40, in a two week period, it’s where you want to be, you know, definitely,
Lisa Buffo 16:54
that makes sense. Okay, so can we talk about radio, and, I mean, really, this is a better conversation about marketing, but also, you were saying it’s more effective when you layer in digital, and programmatic and SEO and some of these other things on top of that. So we know that’s an omni channel strategy. I want to talk about that. Well, let’s talk about that first, and then we’ll kind of back into events, because I did find it interesting how you said, if you do it over a two or three week period, like, how do you pick that? Is it around a promotion, maybe you’ve got going on? Or an event that you’re hosting, or something like 420? Where, you know, you want to do the few weeks around that? Like, how do you? Can you talk about that first, actually, and then we’ll layer in the other channels?
Andy Gonzales 17:45
Absolutely. Yes. So I mean, you can run a schedule, you know, for a whole month, if you want, I recommend doing it like two to three weeks out of the month, and usually staggering those either first or second part of the month. So either the first part or second part. And what that does that, you know, it changes the way that the message is coming through, right, it’s at a different date part. So you want to make sure you’re hitting everybody. Now the thing that we always try to focus on is we have a long term client that’s running radio for us consistently, as we try to change up ad copy, there is some type of fatigue, you know, I don’t know if you’ve experienced it. But when you’ve seen that ad, or heard that ad multiple times, after a while you kind of try to block it out. And so what we try to do is make sure that we’re keeping that fresh content, or doing call to actions on those ad copies, and that they run for a specific amount of time. Now, if you’re shooting for an event, we always want to give ourselves at least two to three weeks prior to when you start promoting that event. So if you’re doing a campaign, let’s say for for 20. Celebration, you want to get ahead of it and start running your radio before you actually launch that campaign. So that way, it’s already out. It’s the names out there, people are hearing it, and then when they get hit from these other channels. They’re starting to recognize that we’ve already heard that.
Lisa Buffo 19:14
Okay, cool. And then how does that. So let’s talk about the digital component when you said you’ve seen more success when you layer in programmatic? And some of these other strategies. What does that mean? And how do you do that? Because I think particularly from a programmatic standpoint, there’s a lot of confusion around what it is and how it can help a business and how it factors into the marketing mix. So can you like give some context as to what programmatic is for you and how you would tie it to something like a radio campaign?
Andy Gonzales 19:47
Absolutely. So working with clients in the past, when we were able to, you know, bring on radio, they had a budget where we were able to allocate to radio and digital, the way we do it because we’re limited with regulations as you know, we can only hit 21. And over, we do programmatic advertising and I break it down into three tactics. The first tactic is called advanced audience target. So that’s when you can specifically go after like an age group, or you know, a male, female, whatever that type is. And then you can also go and look at like buyers intent, behaviors, things of that nature, someone that’s interested, you know, and like wellness or medicine, we can target those people. I would also like, layer that in with a geofencing, called hyper local mobile. And what that they want to do is hit specific areas. So if you want to go out to let’s, let’s say, a competitor, and you’re right next to another dispensary, you know, you can hit digital ads, and send those into the other dispensary and still, you know, engage with customers. And then from there, you know, keyword targeting is huge. We’re able to go in and display a creative ad, whether that’s an image or video, and we’re able to go in there. And when someone’s online, and they’re searching, we can put that out in front of them as well. So it’s a three pronged approach, when I’ve seen the most success is having those different attributes and programming the campaign, which is programmatic audio, I mean, programmatic advertising, right? Programmatic digital is programming that campaign to hit the exact audience you want to hit. So we can get very granular, granular and hit specific people versus just spray and pray. Right. And so when you layer that in on top of radio, and it’s all in the same area, then you’re hitting that customer 345 different ways. Overall, we do see, you know, return on investment on that.
Lisa Buffo 21:44
And when you work with cannabis companies, what how do they approach you like, or do they say, We want women 35 to 44? Or we want those who are like medical consumers? Like how, how specific are they getting? And what is that conversation?
Andy Gonzales 22:04
Absolutely. So every process that when we work with the client, we first we do what’s called a CNA, if the customer needs analysis, so we try to do is really understand the brand, right? What type of dispensary is this? Is this a location that is specific to just medical CBD or the CBD with THC? How does that look? Because as you know, regulation and CBD are a little bit more lacks, and there is more opportunity there. So we have to differentiate a what is their specific product, with their target audiences, and where they live and, and what I do personally, as I do a lot of market research, and I go into the specific community that they’re in. And we look at the queue, right? What did this market made out of? Where did you shop? How are people consuming media is that on social media is there all these other channels, and then from there with what we have available, we make those recommendations. So it’s a very, you know, in depth conversation that we have to get it started. And it can vary, you know, it could be something that’s just straight recreational, or it could be something that’s medical, and we’re going out there like the older, you know, age group where we don’t really want to hit younger age groups. So it’s all dependent on their specifically.
Lisa Buffo 23:23
Okay, that makes sense. Um, anything else you want to add about that before we talk about live events?
Andy Gonzales 23:34
Yeah, so when cannabis companies normally, you know, approach or look for assistance, they’re trying to find different avenues that they have either not been able to prove that successful, or they just don’t have the knowledge on how to do it at all. So you know, they come to us. And the way that process looks like is before we can actively run a campaign, we take that project, and we take it through our legal counsel. And we have, you know, our internal team, look at it, review it, make sure that we’re in guidelines, as you know, every state has their own regulations. So we make sure that we’re on top of that. The setup process, you know, we can take on the creative, but the client has their personal creative, you know, they they bring it through, so they’ll go through the legal, but then we get that process approved, and we begin to launch the campaign. The way it works during throughout the campaign is we’re looking for, you know, optimizations when we do recording meetings. So at the end of every month, we sit down with a client, we go over what’s performing well what US improvement and where to shift budget, we need to put budget more into keyword targeting versus let’s say radio or just regular display ad. We then make that decision with the client and kind of guide them, hey, look, this makes more sense, because we’re seeing a better, you know, result with this specific deck.
Lisa Buffo 24:58
Okay, yeah, that makes sense and I think it’s a good point that you mentioned about having your own internal legal team. Because cannabis companies, you know, they have lawyers, but they’re expensive to work with. And I think would you need to talk with him about every single marketing campaign that can like eat your budget. So it’s nice to be able to partner with someone that is doing that for you that you can trust, particularly if you’re running bigger campaigns that have longer timeframes. And to that point, do you then work with brands that may be national, where they’re in a few different states, and they’re running radio spots? Are programmatic in three different states with you?
Andy Gonzales 25:41
Absolutely. So we do have clients, like I said, we’re in 74 different markets. So with that being said, we’re kind of spread out throughout the entire US.
Lisa Buffo 25:49
And when you say markets is that, like major metropolitan areas, like cities,
Andy Gonzales 25:53
The are gonna be small to midsize markets. So for instance, we’re out of the DNA of Denver, but we’re in Fort Collins. So down in Texas, like Tyler, Texas is one of our other markets. You know, they’re they’re a little smaller, smaller outside of bigger metropolitan markets. I see. And one of the things that we’ve actually, you know, brought to the client in the past was doing a type of co op deal, I guess you can call it not necessarily Co Op. But it’s where like a producer or a brand, like let’s say it’s a vape company, or even just a specific product that a dispensary owner carries in their dispensary. What they did is basically split split that budget in half. So the product, the producer, the one that’s, you know, supplying the product, let’s have the budget with the actual dispensary. So we’ve worked together to drive traffic, and then kind of split that cost, right? We have your product and our dispensary. We’re selling it, we also want to advertise both benefit from that. And so that’s kind of how that works. It’s a it’s a cool model to try and save money, you can work on a project with multiple different vendors and not have to put up that will call.
Lisa Buffo 27:10
Okay, yeah, that makes sense. And that goes with a lot of what we’ve seen in the cannabis industry to where I think like brands and retailers were will work together. And they these like CO marketing partnerships can be really helpful when you you are partnering with somebody who has a very similar goal, if not the same goal. And it’s mutually when when it allows you to split cost. And, you know, like we even see it with billboards in some places where it’s like, go to this retailer and buy these products, and it allows them to split the costs, but also get the same message and then same goal accomplished. So I like how that speaks to that more broadly. Absolutely. Cool. Okay, um, well, I do want to talk about events, because I think that events are back. Yay, I know, it’s been like a year and a half separately, but it still is like great that we can do them again, and that we had so long where we couldn’t. And I think events are something that cannabis industry leans on very heavily because they are, well, when it comes to any type of product, it’s, it’s helpful to be able to see it, touch and understand it, but also build that trust. And I think when you have an in person touch point, and you see a display or you’re talking to a rep, it’s just different in person than on the phone or over zoom. And it’s also I think, in some ways a lot easier when you’re at an event or it’s just like mutual ground versus like in a store or you know, somewhere else. So can you talk to me about like the role that events play in the marketing mix, and specifically how you utilize them, either for clients or on behalf of town square, because I know you use it as a marketing avenue for your business and your b2b. And what we have found in our research is that cannabis marketing is both b2b and b2c If you’re a brand you have to market to retailers and get into retail shelves but you also have to connect with your audience and make sure that there are customers out there going into said retailer and purchasing your product. So b2b and b2c are very different strategies but I think events can play a nicely to both of that and it’s just a you know, business strategy in general. So how do you leverage events as yourself at Town Square but also how do you see cannabis businesses using them?
Andy Gonzales 29:38
Totally. So the main event you know, model mix up is you know, where you’re getting revenue from, but ultimately, like you said, it’s really building that that trust and that you know, interest where you know, the client can see the face of the actual brand. One of the things that we deal a lot with is sponsorships. Right And that’s getting that that name up there. Whether it’s you know, for a specific type of event, whether it’s like a learning event, or it’s a an actual music festival, giving a brand that’s in cannabis, the ability to be able to put their name on, you know, where 1000s of people are going to see this, as proven to be effective, when you also layer in other things, right. So with events, like by themselves, they’re great. And I think that they do accomplish quite a bit. But I also think that you got to be strategic on the way that you find that out, let me give you a quick example. So we we did have a pretty large event where we had a client come in, and they were sponsoring like a specific signage for like an entry of an event, right? They came in, and they knew they were going to be there. So while the event was actually running, they also did programmatic ads. So these people were on their phones and uploading, you know, social media pictures as well. And so they were getting hit with an ad. And then they’re also seeing the face. So it’s more familiarity, I think, than anything. It’s an awareness play, obviously. But I have seen, you know, when, when people invest, and they spend that time, that a lot of relationships are built out of events, strong relationships, you know, that lasts and turn into multiple other opportunities. So definitely recommend them if you have the ability to get in it. Even if it’s just a smaller event, I mean, that extra channel is, is really great if you’re trying to grow your brand.
Lisa Buffo 31:33
Yeah, and I think with events, like one thing we see in the cannabis industry, I mean, we’ve got our upcoming cannabis marketing Summit, June 21, to 23rd, shameless plug for everybody in Denver. There. There’s also like the event circuit where you know, you’ve got the events, you go to keep going back to them, but it allows you to have touch points throughout the year with people and build a relationship. And it takes some of the pressure off to be like, Oh, I’ve got two days to make this happen. Like you get to, it’s almost the same in person as it is digitally, where you need multiple touchpoints, to build that trust, to build that understanding to have those conversations. So if you can have that. It allows you to like get to your goal faster, and also be open to new ideas and new people that you know, is just again, much harder to do when you’re not out there in the field.
Andy Gonzales 32:26
Absolutely. speaking a little bit more on events. Another tactic that you guys can kind of play into is giving a call to action or a follow up. So sometimes on a sign, you might put like a QR code, right? If you’re just trying to advertise the brand, that’s great. But if you didn’t give them some type of incentive, or some way to kind of research you or even go to the website, then we’ve seen even more conversion, you know, along those lines. So just an idea, you know, with that?
Lisa Buffo 33:00
Yes and have you seen, like, tell us about the different events that you go to? I know, we’ve talked about this a little bit, they’re not necessarily cannabis specific, but like, what are the different events you go to? And how do you see them working for this industry?
Andy Gonzales 33:18
Yeah, absolutely. So personally, and with our company, I mean, I go to multiple events throughout the year. music festivals are huge, especially with cannabis like music goes very well. art festivals are also huge. If you get a cannabis sponsor into one of those, I mean, it’s great because it also plays on that like creative side of things. Educational expos just got recently back from the NoCo hemp Expo, which was down in Colorado Springs, which was really great event just to kind of get out there and, and mingle and learn more about, you know, all the things that are in the industry. So whether you’re trying to, you know, engage in education or fun and entertainment, like there is so much opportunity. And you’d be surprised. I mean, prices sometimes aren’t as significant as you think they are. It depends on the person that’s actually coordinating the event, how big the company is. Some events are put on for nonprofit as well or for a specific cause. So there’s multiple ways to tie in your brand, and give that humanize like local touch to it. Right? It’s showing that not only do you guys support the local community, but you believe in whatever’s going on wherever that may be.
Lisa Buffo 34:33
Yes, and I think too, for cannabis companies like you’re saying when you intersect with some of these other non cannabis specific whether it’s music or art, but it’s complimentary, you’re unexpected. So it’s kind of the point of that, keeping it fresh and almost that element of surprise when you were talking about oh, changing up the ad copy, like that’s great, and you definitely want to do that but also like, where can you be where someone’s going to be surprised? Is it happy to see you and it’s gonna be complimentary or different or out of the box, as opposed to just like what you expect to see on. You know, like, when you watch TV and you see commercials or like I was expecting that or, you know, it’s, you get your attention gets caught. And that is such a valuable time when you do something a little bit different, a little more creative. And I think being at these types of events, can play into that and has really unlimited opportunity. I know we’ve seen in Colorado, there are events for there’s like a lot for the outdoor industry, which is also quite compact. Like I would put it in that same bucket as complementary to music and art. And like outdoor festivals, like the whole outdoor culture is very Colorado, which is the Colorado resident, the cannabis consumer, like there’s so much overlap there. So there’s different ways to engage with the community that isn’t always have to be in a cannabis specific way, but does like help from a marketing perspective. And you can always test it out, right. And like if it and when you’re in person, you can do things like those lead gen forms, you can capture business cards, you can depending give out products or sample, not necessarily THC if you’re cannabis directly, but you can do t shirts, or swag bags or coupons or things like that, that do allow you to sort of attribute that ROI and get that name out there, but also, like generate sales.
Andy Gonzales 36:28
Absolutely. And, you know, speaking a little bit more on that, you know, one of the things that I see a lot of clients do is, while they’re at these events, they are using a cute QR code to do like a lead gen form. And then with that information, that email address is so valuable. They turn that into an email campaign, you know, and then tied into a push notifications campaign. I mean, it’s endless, you know, one event, if you do it right, you really can capture a whole lot more about your consumer, you know, do a survey, you know, when you’re talking with people, you know, what products do you prefer most. And then just kind of use it as a learning experience to really understand the customer. And then from there, use that data to follow up and create, you know, more and more interests, give them incentives call to actions, things that that would drive that customer into the actual store or to your website, whatever you’re trying to do.
Lisa Buffo 37:26
Yes, yes, I agree. Um, I want to ask about some specific advice that you have for marketers, I know when you work in a role like this, you get to see lots of different campaigns, you get to see what works, what doesn’t. And which I think is like very cool about a position like yours, where you actually work for the company and see, you know, what works for different with different types of campaigns work for different types of clients? What’s been more successful? What hasn’t? So what would your advice be to cannabis marketers who might be considering either earlier on in their kind of marketing journey? Or who are considering doing this type of like omni channel campaign where they’re utilizing different strategies, either with one company or throughout multiple?
Andy Gonzales 38:17
Absolutely. So as I think back, I think the biggest hindrance that I’ve found a lot of these campaigns is all where your online presence is. So what I mean by that is the website, the SEO, the way those are set up, are extremely important, especially when it comes to ad creatives. Sometimes, you know, you might get approved to run an ad, but when you go through, and then the website is saying something that’s not in alignment with regulations, those things can prevent or shut down the campaign altogether. So one of the pieces of advice that I would definitely recommend, and I think it’s something that kind of gets overlooked, is really digging down deep to create a website that’s not only SEO optimized and has the metadata to be able to, you know, locate you and find exactly what it is that you have. But also to make sure that that website isn’t leaning too far to one way or the other, where it’s going to interfere with a campaign that you’re running. So that’s definitely a piece of advice that I would recommend that you’re looking at, you know,
Lisa Buffo 39:29
How would it do that? Like, how would it interfere with the campaign you’re running? Like, what, what’s an example of that that you’ve seen?
Andy Gonzales 39:36
A lot of it would be just specific. I would say, you know, like I said, within the requirements, you can’t make any claims. So as long as you’re following those guidelines, and you’re not, you know, making a creative look to kiddish, or like it’s targeting young people, things of that nature. Google looks at I’m not sorry, not Google, but on different platforms, we’re running programmatic ads, they look at that. And if it’s too bright, or it gives too much information that’s kind of persuading a certain audience. They will, they’ll shut it down.
Lisa Buffo 40:15
Okay, so like from a compliance perspective. Yeah. Okay, that makes sense. Um, and then what are you most excited about for the future of the cannabis industry and cannabis marketing.
Andy Gonzales 40:33
I’m, you know, I’m really excited. I mean, as you all know, you know, Twitter started relaxing their regulations back in January, you know, Google also opened up to CBD, and things of that nature. I think with this big shift that’s happened within the economy and the marketplace, a lot of companies are going to start entertaining and allowing more things to come through the funnel. The regulations, of course, are going to change, but what excites me most is going to be, you know, the Econ portion of the business and how that all unfolds. Because I mean, that’s a piece that you definitely want to play into your marketing strategy. Because you can use data from all of that, and then kind of target so you wanted to, you know, really focus on on what type of sales you’re, you’re getting through econ, and then you can use your other tactics to kind of tie that back around. So I would say, you know, regulation spread really, when that gets that point, I don’t know how far that out is, but eventually it’s gonna happen, you know? And so I’m excited about that and giving you know, everybody a fair shot, like for so so many years? Cannabis, you know, we’re, they’re all business owners, everyone’s trying to make a living. And this doesn’t feel like it’s a fair playing field, which is unfortunate. And I feel like, a lot of things are coming down the pipe, it’s gonna be good.
Lisa Buffo 41:59
Yeah, it’s very much so it, there’s a lot that cannabis businesses are up against. I saw they reintroduced safe banking to ad needs to be addressed. We talked about that a lot about how your marketing expenses aren’t write offs, or they’re, they’re not deductible, which is just like wild and unheard of in any other industry or space, because you’re not being treated as legitimate business, because those are that is part of the cost of doing business and getting your product and service out there. So with two ad, it makes it really hard to have any budget.
Andy Gonzales 42:34
Yeah, and that’s understandable. So you know, some of the things that we try to do is, you know, start off small and then scale your way up, you know, doing test campaigns are greatly beneficial, learn from them, and then grow that campaign out from there.
Lisa Buffo 42:53
Yep, very much. So, um, anything else you want to mention, as far as radio advertising programmatic that we haven’t touched on today?
Andy Gonzales 43:06
Yeah, so the last thing I just wanted to kind of explain the difference between a regular agency and a media company, like like Town Square, Town Square, it’s, it’s full service. So whether you’re looking for a website that needs to be created, launched and optimized for SEO, or whether you’re looking for radio, or you’re looking for events, whether you’re looking for programmatic advertising, social media posts in deeds of that nature, I mean, we do it all. We also work with a lot of other agencies. So we do partnerships, we do white label situations where we’ll do the work for you. And then you know, put your name on it, and get those reports to, you know, your client with your name on it. Things like that. And, you know, of course, costs, cost is going to be a big part of that as well versus, you know, going directly to a vendor vendor like us versus hiring someone that’s going to have to go through that same path to purchase media. It’s, it’s something to take into consideration as well.
Lisa Buffo 44:13
Does is it what’s the most cost effective solution? It just depends.
Andy Gonzales 44:19
It just depends on your situation. I’ve worked directly with clients. And when I’ve worked with clients that prefer me to go directly to their agency.
Lisa Buffo 44:28
I think you said you approach clients and meet them where they’re at.
Andy Gonzales 44:32
That is correct. Yep. Cool.
Lisa Buffo 44:35
Okay. Well, and is there any contact information you want to share website social handles, how can our listeners get a hold of you if they want to learn more?
Andy Gonzales 44:46
Absolutely. So I can be reached direct, best method of contact for me is going to be either email or phone could also be reached on LinkedIn for my contact. You can reach me at 970 3081981 My email address is going to be Andy.Gonzales@townsquaremedia.com And yo u can find me on LinkedIn and even.
Lisa Buffo 45:16
I think the first guest to give a phone number.
Andy Gonzales 45:20
Hey, we still use it.
Lisa Buffo 45:22
That’s awesome. Okay, well Andy, thank you so much for taking time to be on the show today. We’ll, we’ll share that contact information in the link in the show description. And I’m looking forward to seeing you at the Cannabis marketing summit next month.
Andy Gonzales 45:37
Definitely looking forward to that as well.
Lisa Buffo 45:40
That’s Awesome. Thanks, everybody.
Andy Gonzales 45:42
All right. Thank you.
Lisa Buffo 45:44
Thank you all for listening to today’s episode. We’ll see you next week. And we’ll see you in June at the Cannabis marketing Summit. Get your tickets now at the Cannabis marketing association.com To get your free entry to the CMA sevens marketing awards.
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