CANNABIS MARKETING ASSOCIATION

Party Like a Marketer Podcast

Episode 5: Affiliate Marketing and E-Commerce for CBD Brands

Episode Description

Lisa Buffo, Founder & CEO of the Cannabis Marketing Association, sat down with Durk Price, Founder and CEO of eAccountable, to discuss the ways in which affiliate marketing and e-commerce can influence the traffic of a brand, particularly in reference to CBD brands. For more information, visit: https://thecannabismarketingassociation.com/

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Show Notes

Lisa Buffo, Founder & CEO of the Cannabis Marketing Association, sat down with Durk Price, Founder and CEO of eAccountable, to discuss the ways in which affiliate marketing and e-commerce can influence the traffic of a brand, particularly in reference to CBD brands. For more information, visit: https://thecannabismarketingassociation.com/

eAccountable operates out of Denver, Colorado and has done so since the company’s beginning in 2000. The mission of their company is to help online retailers bring more traffic to their company, whether that be through brand marketing, increasing company revenue, or acquiring new customers.

Read the Transcript

Lisa Buffo: Hi everyone. Welcome to party like a marketer, the podcast dedicated to in-depth conversations with cannabis marketers who are breaking down stigma and changing the game of cannabis communications. Today, we’re talking to Durk Price, the chief executive officer and founder of III accountable, a conversion focused digital marketing agency.

Which he grew from an ambitious seed level startup into a grownup globally operating full service digital advertising agency that serves celebrated brands, such as Peter malar waterfall or crystal cafe press and Beretta. Over the past 20 years, Durk has piloted virtually every touch point of eAccountables operation, including everything from ensuring the success of its team and driving the sustainable growth of its clients to developing accredited partnerships with household names like Google thing, Amazon Facebook, Yahoo, Gemini commission, junction pepper jam network, Roku, tin Yotpo and more.

Prior to eAccountable, Mr. Price was the president and founder of net blocks and internet design programming and content development firm. Before net blocks. Derek worked as an AVP in the commercial real estate leasing division of Cushman and Wakefield. One of the leading global real estate services firms staffing more than 45,000 employees across 400 offices in 70 countries.

Derek price holds a bachelor’s of arts in history from the university of Missouri, and is a member of the Denver business journal leadership trust in Forbes agency council. He also serves the university of Missouri on the advisory council of the department of communications. Dirk is known for providing an in-person experience to every client served, even if he never gets to visit a client’s office.

His empirically backed approach, deep expertise and genuine interest in improving his client’s businesses has consistently yielded triumphs across some of the most competitive segments. Welcome Durk. And thank you for joining us today.

Durk Price: Thank you for asking me to be here.

Lisa Buffo: Of course. So I met Durk recently as eAccountable joined cannabis marketing association and they are a well-known and recognized agency here in Denver where both of us are headquartered. So for today’s podcast, I’d really like to talk a bit about how you started and grew your agency. Many of our listeners are. marketers in the cannabis space and those who are starting up their own client facing service businesses. So I’d like to hear a little bit about that, and then we’ll get into some of the nuances of CBD marketing online, which I know is a specialty of yours.

So let’s start off today with what made you want to start IA accountable. Could you tell us a little bit more about your entrepreneurial experience starting EA accountable in the early days?

Durk Price: I like being my own boss. I mean, I I’ve said in the past, no one would hire me. And so I just made my own jobs. so Niblock’s, I started doing internet development, design programming in 27 years ago.

Something like that. maybe yeah, 27, 26, 27 years ago. but it’s really hard. I really didn’t like the web development business as much as I liked marketing. So I left, so I closed that company down and I worked for him and I was in Dallas and worked for a couple of dot coms as soon became dot bombs.

and so they were the typical, you know, raise a bunch of money. Didn’t have a clue what they were doing. had a lot of fun. But at the end of a year of doing that, I realized all of these guys needed help marketing. And so I just basically decided I was going to start my own agency and concentrate on helping people get more traffic.

And so I started the accountable in 2000 was really the express idea to help companies grow. We work with all kinds of size companies, small, medium, and large. But just helping companies grow their, their business and it’s become kind of our passion and, and kind of key. you know, I, I think mission’s a little bit overused, but kind of what we try to do for all of our customers is just help them grow their businesses.

That’s simple.

Lisa Buffo: And who were some of the clients you had in the early days of the initiatives? How did you grow in those early days of the internet and of the agency?

Durk Price: Well, this is, we started well before Google started overture, which, became it was purchased by Microsoft. And when he came being, was the first place you could buy traffic.

We really worked in helping people build content on their site of them. We did a lot of lead generation at the time. but we did, you know, create content. We did lead generation. We did little bit early days of overture and early, paid search. but we, we were doing, what was called really affiliate marketing at the time, right from day one.

We had CA customers almost immediately just because I had done work in the space. Nobody really knew anything. So I’d walk in and I thought, you know, they thought I knew something, so they’d hired me. and so we just started doing it, but we started doing affiliate programs literally as early as they started.

And that’s kind of evolved in what’s now called partner and affiliate, but the key component of that, it was performance-based so that you wouldn’t pay anybody for doing anything until the sale occurred. And that obviously has very high. Interest everybody liked to hire a whole team of, commission, only salespeople.

So it became really, really strong, popular, particularly in the retail space. So we continue to focus on the retail space and then over the years we just kept adding services. We were. Big and the affiliated partner marketing space. Then we got into paid search and we got into Facebook marketing, and now we do Amazon marketing for customers.

And so, and you know, part of our umbrella company is we have a research company, so we can do all kinds of high-level market research, whatever they’re looking for. we’re doing political research right now. Just, not that we have any politicians as customers, but we’re doing. The research does show our capabilities in that, in that forum.

so again, our capabilities have expanded over the years and, you know, we keep finding customers that like to grow their businesses.

Lisa Buffo: And did you start, specializing in retail? Was that sort of the first vertical that your head around or, or were you spread across?

Durk Price: Yeah, we really kinda ended up in retail.

You know, almost, I did a lot of lead generation early on because they didn’t have the same kind of tools for retail. So we were doing a lot of lead generation for brands that are now gone, like business 2.0, which was an online and print and magazine. And they were, you know, we were helping them grow their, grow their lead basis.

We did it for a company called social net again, long gone, but that was a. the guy who were Paul Allen venture, Volkan venture. So they put a lot of money in that were doing lead generation and doing their affiliate program. And so we did a lot of lead generation or initially, but we were, I always felt comfortable in retail.

I, I, my business life started out in retail, actually sold men’s clothes. I was in college and ran a men’s clothing store. And, really liked retail. So I’ve been in New York, I’ve been spending all the by and done all that, seen all that. And I really liked that space. And so I just kind of naturally went and it also lends itself to the affiliate channel.

very well. So again, retail was a conscious effort. And then in hindsight, looking back at 20 years of doing this. There, the e-commerce space retail online e-commerce has gone up 15 to 18% every year, minimum for 20 years. And so, you know, as you see the number of people buying online, increasing, and yeah, you’re seeing it even now, what you’re going to see as a really big bump in online, by and through Instacart and grub hub and all the delivery guys, but you’re going to see.

Subject to supply chain interruptions, which we’re expecting to, you’re going to see foot traffic down and all the retail stores, which we haven’t seen any stats on that yet. I’ve been looking for it, but you’re going to see more and more people are going to do e-commerce to the point that e-commerce guys are now doing non touch delivery.

So they’ll actually drop your groceries off, bring your doorbell and leave. So you don’t really have to touch another human being, but e-commerce is going to be a big. Boom from this now for some of the wrong reasons, of course, but e-commerce has been a really continuous Marsh for 20 years since I’ve been in it.

And so sometimes you’re, you know, looking at something you just, you know, that’s a good fortune I had of being in the retail space that has grown so dramatically over the last 20 years.

Lisa Buffo: Yeah. That’s interesting. And so you think e-commerce is going to keep growing? It’s not slowing down at all.

Durk Price: No, it’s continuing to grow. The, what you’re going to see is more omni-channel multi-channel, activity. So you’re going to see the targets of the world, making it easier for you to buy online pickup in store, buy online, get it delivered to. go to the store. They don’t have the size, get it. The stores ships it to you. All this multi-channel omni-channel stuff Walmart’s doing it.

Amazon has got some stores. In fact, in our building in Denver, we have an Amazon store on first floor. Really interesting. so you’re seeing the cloud and you’re seeing the guys that are failing in the retail space. Typically, one of the major reasons you look back is they have terrible websites.

They’re not investing enough resources in that they’re getting run over by much more agile, direct, only online. And so, you know, they’re, they’re adapting faster. They’re innovating faster than the stores and you’re still, you’re seeing American Eagle. You’re seeing one of our really good customers.

I didn’t think were really going to be impacted was a company called performance bike. They had 110 stores, high end bikes at a huge online presence, but they never figured out how to make money doing both. and so you saw them go, you know, die. so you’re seeing the companies that really haven’t adapted to online are starting to really. follow up. You’re seeing Nordstrom’s investing heavily in online. You’re seeing Walmart investing heavily. You’re seeing, obviously they’re competing against Amazon that has got more investment in e-commerce and fulfillment than any all of them combined. And of course their stock value shows that. So again, yes, somebody actually did that.

They thought Amazon was going to grow 25% annually for the foreseeable future. Amazon is already 38% of all online e-commerce sales. So if they’re going to continue to grow at 25%, what does Walmart have to do? What does target have to do to even keep pace? So they’ll the level of innovation and what they’re doing and how, how people are starting to support the online is pretty spectacular.

Lisa Buffo: Yeah. Yeah. Amazon really is establishing themselves as they’re the, they’re the leader. And they’re the one to keep up with. That’s been clear for a long time.

Durk Price: Yeah. And they’re really difficult to work. It’s really hard. It’s straightforward, but it’s really hard. you know, we want to, I don’t think we need to get in the nuances then competing against their own customers, but, it’s, it’s a very interesting, platform to work with and we’re really excited to do it.

Cause it’s, it’s just another learning thing. No thing we have to learn learning is a key component of our entire businesses. We learn new stuff all the time. That’s

Lisa Buffo: Awesome. So I’d like to talk a little bit about, CBD marketing. Cause that seems to be a specialty that the accountable has gotten into and, you’re quite well versed in.

So, I I’d like to hear your thoughts on CBD marketing and particularly the trends you’re seeing. I know that affiliate marketing is a big part of how CBD brands market themselves online, but it seems that. There are companies every day, starting, there are people who are starting CBD brands every day.

It’s getting more and more crowded and, tougher to sort through, you know, what’s good quality product and where to get it. So can you talk a little bit about how you built your CBD vertical and eating accounts and how you service those clients?

Durk Price: You know, as in a lot of things in life, it was, it was serendipity that we ended up with a customer, And they ended up being the biggest, best CBD brand.

I had to list not the best plus the biggest one and arguably one of the most advanced out there, and they were there early or doing a lot of things, right. They’re really doing a great job. Their whole effort on compliance is impeccable. And so we, that was our first exposure was, you know, really. Customer has taught us a lot on how to be best practices within the CBD space.

And as we, you know, people have seen that’s who we’re working with. And I don’t know that we need to say who it is, but, you know, it’s just the biggest one in the space, right now. And, as I saw who we were working with, they saw that we were working with them, heard about it. we started getting more and more calls on CBD brands.

So we, within that, I’ve seen every kind of growth and failure, no. And craziness that is inherent right now, the CBD, and we know less about the cannabis space because we deal with product that can be shipped across state lines typically. So we deal less than the cannabis space. But it’s still kind of that it’s a little bit of the wild, wild West.

It’s the way the internet was 27 years ago, 20 years ago. And it continues in certain categories like CBD and cannabis or cannabis adjacent products, to today. But we we’ve seen a little bit of everything and, you know, the, you know, it’s, it’s really an interesting space. I believe in the product, You know, but we, there are a lot of naysayers that say the product isn’t anything, but we’ve been in the supplement space for as long as we’ve been in business, meaning selling vitamins and fish oil and all that stuff.

And we never made that judgment. If people, the anecdotal information we get on, they CBD spaces, overwhelming, positive. Unbelievable. And there can’t just be mass hysteria. Sorry. there’s something about it. Yes. We haven’t studied it. Is it, is it, you know, an effect that we don’t really understand? Is it additive to your life?

Yeah, I’m not a scientist. That isn’t my thing, but there’s a lot of stuff that, you know, eating chocolate makes you feel better. Okay. So if this makes you feel better, you gotta keep doing it. And so let’s not get any more involved about making that kind of judgment, but, you know, we believe in, you know, brand and brand quality and compliance and, you know, really working with guys that do really good job of controlling quality, throughout the entire process.

And that’s who we find, but it is, I would say right now it’s really, really hard to establish a brand. and that’s the part that a lot of these guys don’t understand, I think early on, you could literally open a store and start selling them tomorrow. It was that easy online. I mean, somewhat easy online, but now they find a really brand building is, is the key. And that’s really hard work, expensive, hard work.

Lisa Buffo: So when you first started working with this brand, was it before the farm bill? And what I want to get at is. in terms of your agency, what was the biggest learning curve or what you would say is step one, in terms of getting into CBD marketing, was it really understanding, compliance, or was it more, what channels worked for CBD brands?

And I know this is evolving quickly as this industry has grown quite fast over the last few years.

Durk Price: We’ve been in the CBD space three and a half years. So it was before the farm bill, So it was all kind of, you know, one of those hazy, legal places that, you know, they seem to be ignoring at the time. And, again, the first customer with, you know, they were very, very.

You know, you’d almost say conservative, they weren’t conservative people at all, but they really took a very conservative approach to compliance and what they were saying and all, any claims they made were making sure they weren’t making any undue claims. So that’s how we came out. We came out, you know, being compliant.

That’s really all we knew and that’s kind of been one of the things we stuck stuck with. So we, we came in before the farm bill and we thought. That we’d easily be able to get these, this customer and future customers into Google, Facebook, and Amazon. We have tested all of that. And of course, you can’t do that right now.

So the only real channel has been available where you can get traffic is. Through partners. Now you can build SEO, you can build your own content and you can get it ranked. But what we found is these partners, these, publishing partners like Cana review, remedy reviews, Canon site, or, there’s all kinds of these guys that have been out there writing about cannabis.

And CBD for three, four, five, six years. And they’re getting all these top spots in search on anything you can think of and, and CBD and cannabis because they’ve been writing about it for years and they’ve been writing good content. These are guys that really do know what they’re doing. And so those are the guys and the, we went after to become partners and pay a performance metric for them doing.

So this was really one of the few channels that you could. You get up every day and drive traffic. you know, we’re still very, still not sure why we know that the Google, Facebook and Amazon are testing within the CBD and hemp space, but we still haven’t seen any broad release. Yeah. You can find Sephora products in the Google product feed  coming up in search. If you do a, if you do a CBD search, you’ll find they’ll, they’ll pull in Google ads and that’s from it’s from retailers that aren’t CBD only it’s from it’s vitamin shop it’s you know, so fora just announced with Lord Jones, they’re putting a test and to, 240 stores or something like that.

They’re coming out with kind of a brand that’s specifically for some, for customers by Lord Jones. I mean, that’s a pretty big deal and you’ll actually confined for as also other products that has CBD in it. Beauty products, lotions, topicals that they’re doing. So we’re seeing some effort that some topicals are showing up, but again, if you’ve got a big enough paid search catalog, And you don’t push CBD in any advertising.

You can have it show up in your Google feed and it’ll show up in search. So if you’re a hundred percent CBD company, like Charlotte’s web CBD distillery, Lord Jones, Sunday, scaries, you’re not getting any of that. You can’t go by the traffic. So it’s really an incredibly complex. Issue. And we’re trying to guide our customers throughout all that, but obviously our hope is that we’ll be able to do paid search paid ads, paid Facebook and Amazon.

So we can really help our customers grow because right now, the only place we can help them as an other than SEO is in the partner space partner, affiliate space.

Lisa Buffo: Have you seen that space change at all? And, you know, I’ve been hearing that from a paid search perspective, Google starting to allow, or Facebook is starting to allow, topical ads. Have you been seeing that as well?

Durk Price: Yeah, it looks like they’re taking a few tests. I don’t know. none of our customers have asked us really to go. Trying to figure out Facebook. They’d rather wait for Google and Amazon. Facebook’s top of the funnel. Typically, not that that’s a bad thing. It’s really good  and it’s an expensive, relatively inexpensive, but none of our customers really asked us to do that. And I know they’ve been, they’ve been testing off and on, but like a lot of these guys they’ll test and all of a sudden you’re turned off Amazon in particular. you know, you have, I’ve seen stuff show up to CBD and then a week later it’s gone,

and you know, we, we’ve been really careful about not getting our customers in any trouble with any of those guys waiting for the long-term. I keep telling everybody it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. And if you try to go out and do something, you may end up getting blocked and never get back in Amazon in particular.

It was really tough if you, they, you go against their terms and services with a product that they banned at the time they do, even if it becomes available, they still may not let you in. And then, so the risk of doing that is fairly, owners. so again, we’ve been kind of taking the conservative side, but we have been testing and we are having some success for short periods of time.

so we know it’s gonna work. Those channels are going to work. it’s just kinda, really difficult to keep it on an ongoing basis where it really makes it financially. we can track it, you know, manage it, grow it, you know, like we do most of our retail customers. So again, it’s pretty tricky.

Lisa Buffo: Can you talk about, Amazon’s terms of service and some of the best practices for, selling through them?

Durk Price: Well right now, if you, if your website, if you have a website that’s purely hemp has no reference to CBD, no CBD on labels. You can get hemp into Amazon. and so best practices are you can do that. There’s really not a big issue with hemp, only side hemp, only products. but people are not looking for him.

They’re looking for CBD. Right. And so the conversions aren’t nearly the same, so you can do all you want. And the other thing is there’s so much hemp out there that is literally salad oil. Charlotte’s web did a study and they, they pulled 13 hemp products from, from Amazon and they basically had no CBD in them at all, much less hemp.

They were just, you know, so they were probably coming from a foreign country. And, you know, they didn’t care. They were just trying to get on the bandwagon. So again, the quality and some of the stuff you can buy on Amazon, and it can be very, very low and you just, you know, the, the good guys are just going to have to wait it out and educate, the, you know, consumers about what’s good.

And what’s not, again, they’re getting, you know, you’ve seen the stuff there’s pesticide in this stuff. There’s just a, it’s just a mess. And again, that’s the wild, wild West mentality and guys are cranking up and going, finding something looks like, or smells like CBD, and they’re putting it on or they label it under amp.

It’s shown up on Amazon. but they’re not going to be long-term players. the FDA FCC FTC, you will finally find them eventually. so the whole thing with the, you know, again, the, fade pets, somebody was selling. Those vape pens that ended up having whatever that, vitamin e

Lisa Buffo: vitamin E acetate

Durk Price: and yeah,you know, kill people. Well, I don’t know that the stuff that’s being marketed as hemp, but it’s,  you know, who knows, it’s got pesticides in it. It could kill you over time if you keep taking it. So again, the whole industry has got to come together. Figure this out, you got to police the bad guys where regulation is to a certain extent is a good, is a good thing because we can get some of the bad guys out.

So,

Lisa Buffo: do you work with your clients on content marketing strategy as well? I know there is a lot of misinformation out there about CBD and there is generally a lack of consumer knowledge about, you know, I don’t think many people would know the difference between hemp and CBD and that they are. Not one in the same, but that CBD can be a part of hemp if you know, extracted correctly.

so do you work with them a bit on content marketing and, and educating their customers? And how important is that,  in terms of the marketing funnel?

Durk Price: It’s very important, and we’ve, we definitely have helped in the content space. We’ve got a couple of writers, right, in the cannabis space, cannabis and CBD space.

They’re very knowledgeable of all what you can say. And can’t say the difference, the chemical differences between cannabis and CBD and you know, my guys who work on a day to day, they, they know it because when we start with a customer, you know, we think of affiliates as super consumers. And so we actually build a welcome kit that we send out when we recruit all the partners, we tell them what they can and can’t say we also give them, even though they’re in the space, we give them educational points wise, you know, you’re not going to get high with, you know, you’re, you’re, you know, you’re, you’re just not going to cure cancer that we know of. so, you know, we got all this misinformation out there and, and there were.

Some of the particularly early on are actually still there. There are people making claims on our websites, you know, cures cancer, you know, removed, epilepsy, or they’re still saying that stuff. And so, you know, one, you can’t make that claim. There’s no studies right now that support it. I mean, no large-scale studies are supported, approved by the FDA.

So you’ve got to really do the contact just as a real simple, “no, try this and see what you find.” And so it’s been really hard. I mean, I think consumer misinformation is one of the reasons why CBDs not more widely accepted right now, maybe that’s way, even though I think the numbers are getting better all the time.

I haven’t, I haven’t. 13 and a half year old dog and a 91 year old mother, my 91 year old mother love CBD. Yeah. Taking it for three years. And she is trucking around, you know, we’re walking for 40 minutes a day and she says she has less arthritis playing than she had before. I can’t use that. No matter she thinks.

And it’s her anecdotal information, but I can’t use that. I can’t put that in content. I can’t put that in. I can’t even let that on the side as a review. So you, all these things you’ve got to do, it’s all compliance is all about, you know, you gotta be smart about what you’re doing. Oh, you know, we set up a lot of review platforms for our customers.

So because reviews are huge deal and re retail. And so one of the things we do is. We manage the reviews that come in and we literally have to, you know, talk these people, all this anecdotal information, you have to talk them off the cliff. They can’t say this stuff. We have to ask them that they remove that information from their review.

Now, again, we didn’t generate the review the customer did, but we still have to manage the content that shows up on the website as if it’s our content. Right. So it’s again, is that part of content marketing? Yes, I think it is. So, yes, we do help in that also.

Lisa Buffo: So if you don’t mind me asking, does your mother use tinctures or capsules? What’s her… what, what works for her? What does she like?

Durk Price: She does tinctures. Yeah. And my dog, my dog does capsules and my wife does gummies.

Lisa Buffo: And what about you?

Durk Price: I do topicals.

Lisa Buffo: Nice.

Durk Price: Yeah. I I’ve, taken, the, tincture. I hated the taste and I just, I couldn’t find one that tasted good. and then I, I took capsules for 90 days.

I didn’t feel any different, but I liked the, I liked the top goals. yeah, I use the topicals every day virtually I play golf, you know, I exercise and I’ve always got a little, you know, Twitch or pain and put that stuff on there and it works great. So yeah, that’s what I do.

Lisa Buffo: Nice. I’m glad to hear it.

Durk Price: Somebody that has the best tasting gummies in the world. They’re in the cannabis space as well. And so I don’t need to plug them, but the best tasting gummy in the cannabis space, we’re managing their CBD program. It’s the best tasting CBD gummy there is.

Lisa Buffo: and it’s fully CBD, no THC in it?

Durk Price: Correct.

Lisa Buffo: Awesome. Are they here in Colorado.

Durk Price: Yes, they are.

Lisa Buffo: That’s exciting.

Durk Price: And our CEO wins all kinds of boards. As female entrepreneur. Yes. Very great. Yeah. So we’ve had really great, you know, we’ve got some really great companies we work with, which really makes it fun and we’re seeing them grow, you know, expand, go through all that difficulty in getting bigger.

So it’s really been fun to be there helping all the

time.

Lisa Buffo: Yeah. I love working in this space. It’s a startup industry with a lot of exciting and passionate founders, and I think we’re still in the very early stages.

Durk Price: Well, we set our first, CBD, what we call CBD, I’m sorry, cannabis adjacent. And they are, actually cannabis service product.

And that they actually they’ve been at it for about two years, but they help people get medical marijuana licenses online. And then I have a secondary, second service that they get their car, like, get patients, get their, yeah. So you don’t have to go into someplace, but they have a medical doctor review the application and approve it.

So it’s by state doctors within the state that have been authorized to do this. And then they also will do a consulting on the phone consulting with a doctor who will go through. You can go through your list of things that you’d like to. That you’re dressing in your life, lifestyle, whatever. And they’ll tell you some of the best, best practices on, testing cannabis for yourself.

So we call it cannabis adjacent. They don’t sell anything, but we’re selling the service level and that’s been really, really fun. Cause they’re, they’re really growing and doing well. We just started their partner program a couple of months ago and is doing quite well. And buy cannabis, Denver too. So they’re in Denver, they just moved their company to Denver.

Lisa Buffo: Nice. Yeah, Denver is, we’re we’re in the center of things. It’s exciting. and so by cannabis adjacent, do you mean ancillary products and services?

Durk Price:  Yeah, exactly. Yeah. They’re servicing the cannabis and they actually, you can do the same thing. With a doctor with CBD. So you can ask them, I don’t want to really take a psychoactive.

So tell me a CBD product that would be good for these issues. So you can do both CBD or cannabis. Excuse me.

Lisa Buffo: And this is all online, with this service?

Durk Price: The consulting is they actually talk to a doctor.

Lisa Buffo: Gotcha. So that’s a perfect segue because, something I think we’ve seen is that CBD is the gateway topeople using more THC based products or going from hemp and CBD to, to entering or becoming more comfortable walking into a dispensary and asking for products there. Is that a trend that you’ve been seeing and, you’re working in your marketing?

Durk Price: Yeah. I don’t know that that’s really anything we’ve really been tracking. It’s I think, you know, we’re seeing a lot of cannabis companies in the CBD market and vice versa. So the probably because we’ve been so much on any, we work in the area where you can ship somebody, something to somebody that’s not early store oriented.

That’s really not our expertise so much. So I don’t know that I really have any direct, I would say that sounds right. I’m seeing some people are low. I tell you what I know anecdotally, from my experience from my friends that are typically a little older and a very, been very resistant about changing or understanding cannabis and, THC and what that means and how does, and, I’ve seen them become less resistant to THC  as they have taken CBD and enjoy the results of that. So while they may not want to take a psychoactive THC or cannabis product, they’re being more open to that discussion than they would have been in the past. So I think the value of CBD is a. A door opener for some people rethink this whole cannabis experience.

We’ve gone through the last, you know, since I was a kid is really been helpful. And I think part of the improving trends, poll trends with cannabis too.

Lisa Buffo: And while we’re talking about trends, who have you seen as the fastest growing segments and who, who should companies be paying attention to as the new CBD consumer?

I know in the cannabis space, women and baby boomers are growing quite rapidly. Have you seen anything similar, from, from your perspective as well?

Durk Price: Yeah. I think that, I think that I see kind of a disconnect. It seems like the people that I. It seems like, you know, 40 plus people are buying it and people that are running, these companies tend to be younger.

And so, you know, they don’t, you know, the big market is for people with the aches and pains over all the years that are, you know, 50 67. And they’re the ones with the income to do it. And I think the younger people just. They’ll go do cannabis, but in the CBD space, I think the market and I that’s been, that’s been born out by polls research, people that are taking it.

So I think that as you look at these websites, it really changes maybe the way you should market. and you know, cause you want to make, you want to be inclusive. You don’t want to miss the, the younger people that want to try it and find value because they. They just want to do that. And then, but it’s the older, you know, older generation, I think that’s really driving a lot of the sales.

Lisa Buffo: Yeah. I would definitely agree with that. so what is the biggest challenge that you face in digital marketing with CBD? Is there a sort of one, this is our biggest pain point that you encounter as an agency?

Durk Price: Yeah, it’s, it’s very. Let me say this in a nice way. Very minimal understanding of e-commerce in general. Now that’s

Lisa Buffo: with your clients.

Durk Price: Yeah. Terrible websites. Ugly. Don’t work, not mobile sensitive. you can’t order subscription. Just things that just, you go. We’ve passed on people cause their sites are so bad and they weren’t committed to upgrading their site. you know, when we send, we can send traffic to your site, but if it doesn’t convert, then you’re not making any money on it.

We’re not making any money together. So well, we’ve, we’ve, that’s been the number one now exacerbate that there aren’t you look, there’s a lot of websites around the country and they’re not very good, but they’re in a business where there’s a no need and. But in this, when you’re so competitive and you’re trying to build a brand, you’ve really got to have a great website.

You have to have reviews, you have to have loyalty. And there, there are only a couple really only a few, I think, really fun, strong websites in the space. and not very many of them are with our customers and our customers are doing well, but. We’re doing with one customer and we’re doing a whole redo their website, cause it was one is they just, they were there in the cannabis space too. And they’re making, they’re growing and they’re going national. So their resources are going to that because they know they’re going to make money so that the CBD stuff has kind of fallen off their radar. So we’re going out and doing it.

And so we’re redoing, we’re going to end up redoing their website because it’s just not very good. And, but, you know, we’ve had some of our biggest customers, I don’t think their websites are very good now. They haven’t asked me, but I would tell them if they did, but there are, there are a bunch of really good websites out there.

I think, CBDistillery just loved their site. Their unboxing experience when you get a product is superior. I’ve always liked Sunday Scaries website. I never liked Laura Jones, but it sold for $300 million. So, you know, there’s, I think, but, but it’s also, the problem is exacerbated because they’re not a lot of good e-commerce guys out there in the United States that are available.

And so when you go start somebody you’re getting somebody who’s maybe done a WordPress site and then they all said, Oh, let’s do WooCommerce because it’s cheap. And you know, that’s not the best way to go because, you know, we have a hundred, we have a bunch of econ, enterprise customers, and none of them use WooCommerce.

There’s a reason for that. It’s not scalable, like Shopify, big commerce, Magento, other, other things are. So, and then you got whole design issue and you know, the design, the user experience is usually bad. They’re not capturing emails when somebody comes to the site, they’re not doing emails after they’ve been to the site and did, or didn’t buy.

I mean, just on and on and on how little they really understand e-commerce and that’s really been one of the biggest things we’ve dealt with.

Lisa Buffo: So the foundation is good design, good e-commerce. And then that allows you to really scale and help them market in a way that is effective.

Durk Price: Well, you have to take advantage of the traffic when it gets to the site.

And if you don’t do that, all the traffic we can drive, particularly when you start doing paid traffic. It’s one thing to get partners, but even the partners now understand that they don’t like the website, they’re not going to send you any traffic. You’re not going to write a review about you. You better have a great product.

You better have good brand. You better have a good logo. You better have, the site needs to have a great user experience. Had content on the site, visuals on the site all have to be really good. And if you don’t do that, the traffic that comes to your site is not going to convert. Then we all lose.

Lisa Buffo: That makes sense. Okay. Well, before we wrap up, I just have a few last questions. So one of the things you had mentioned was, that it’s really difficult to build a brand in the CBD space. And I think part of that is because it is getting so competitive and the differentiators aren’t as clear as why is your tincture better than the 400 other ones I see on the shelf or online?

Can you speak a little bit about what you see from a brand perspective that is important? Or that, companies need to consider in the early stages?

Durk Price: Yeah. We’re not brand guys. I mean, and so it’s a, it’s a really tough question for all the things you just said, how do you differentiate product and all that?

And they’re all trying to find these little, this, that, or the other. And some of them are compelling. Some are not, And so it’s really hard. And so, but we kind of think, and the other thing that makes it hard is you can’t test it. So one of the good things when you’ve got Google and you’ve got Facebook and you’ve got Amazon, you can go test your own BS.

You know, you, you tell me this works better, this works terrible. But if you can’t drive traffic to it on a consistent basis, no one knows. So we’re more on the test side. And since we can’t do. You know, we know if we drive enough traffic to a site, through Google, as an example, we can test what works with the consumer and we can help you get your message better, stronger, but when you can’t do that, and you’re, you’re relying on, you know, partners, your own SEO content, or getting lucky and going viral on something, which is really hard to do. You know, it really makes it hard to do a brand. So all you can do really then is study your competitors and take the best of what they’re doing, emulate it, differentiate yourself with a combination of, you know, imagery, content, and whole, you know, the whole feeling. And some of it is also, you know, customer service, you get a sale, you better turn that person into a lifetime value. If you don’t, then you’ve lost that opportunity. So again, it’s a very tricky space and, you know, we had a, we had a really, really interesting meeting with the guys that had some, or have a, we’re hoping to get hired by them.

They’re in the process of finishing up their production facilities in Oregon. And they picked a brand, a design firm… just blew my brain. They showed me some of their work. I just went “perfect.” I mean, they had, they picked a design firm, brand management company that I’d not seen anything like it in the CBD space and it’s not going to be cheap, but on the other alternative, and these guys had DOE, but I mean, the alternative is you go out there without a strategy. And you’re going, how do you compete? It’s going to be hard. So again, it takes the whole thing takes money, and it’s going to get more expensive to break into the market as Google opens up because you know, the big guy Charlotte’s web and CBDistillery and all these big guys, you’re going to have plenty of dough to spend when.

When, paid search paid Amazon paid Facebook open up. And, so, you know, that’s kinda what you gotta do. I think to really, you gotta have good e-commerce knowledge background and you gotta have a really strong branding position on a brand new position is I think that yes, it needs to be differentiating.

It needs to be, you know, unique. But, you know, sometimes you can sell really good product in the same category, just because you’ve got a better message, better delivery, and you’re able to handle a conversion and the post conversion with the customer in a way to delight and keeps them high lifetime value, and so that’s what we’re trying to do.

Lisa Buffo: Awesome. Well, thank you Durk. Any last words you’d like to say or mention?

Durk Price: No, I appreciate it. you know, we, we try to be involved in a couple of associations and learn more all the time and it’s, you know, it’s a rapid, rapidly expanding and growing market. I think the market will be even stronger, which I’m really, I was really hoping that cannabis would get  descheduled before or by the election.

I don’t know where that is. though there’s a whole long process on shipping it across state lines. There’s all kinds of stuff there. You know, the whole, you know, backlog or the intellectual backlog that we got to deal with. You know, I go to other States and I mean, they, they’re just clueless about THC being in Colorado.

We think the rest of the country is like Colorado and understanding the issues and how you live and how people aren’t getting run over by cars. And aren’t driving cars are driving high and killing anybody. And, you know, I think the state of Colorado has done a great job of taking some of the money and looking at education and we haven’t seen any increase in.

And children using marijuana above what it was before, which is amazing thing. And so we’ve, Colorado’s really done a lot of things. And I think the idea that cannabis is not nearly as bad as drinking alcohol and, I, if you had a picture of my wine bottles were in the back there. but, but again, it’s, it’s like, you know, this is, shouldn’t be an issue, but it’s in this collective consciousness of 70 years of War on Drugs.

You know, we can talk about how wasteful that was in human lives and, and everything. But it’s going to take a while to get to the point where we can have a rational conversation with some people about it.

Lisa Buffo: It will. Well, thank you and, please tell our listeners how they can find you or learn more about eAccountable.

Durk Price: eah, and just Durk Price. dirt is spelled D U R k@eAccountable.com. It’s accountable with an E on front, dot com and we’re in Denver, Colorado, and the Cherry Creek area. Stop by and visit us.

Lisa Buffo: Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Durk. It was a pleasure speaking with you today.

Durk Price: Well, thanks, Lisa.

Lisa Buffo: Okay, bye.

Durk Price: Bye.

Lisa Buffo: Thank you for listening. Did you like this video? Give us a thumbs up and subscribe to our channel on YouTube, Spotify, and Apple music. You can learn more at thecannabismarketingassociation.com and find us on social media at @cannamarketing and @cannabismarketingsummit. And don’t forget to buy tickets to our annual virtual Cannabis Marketing Summit this June.

 

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LISA BUFFO, Founder and CEO of Cannabis Marketing Association

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