Party Like a Marketer Podcast

Episode 59: Brand Building in the Cannabis Industry: Strategies and Best Practices

Episode Description

Dive into the intricate world of marketing strategy and branding within the burgeoning cannabis industry with Lisa Williams, Founder of The TOKE Agency. From understanding brand archetypes and crafting cohesive marketing strategies to leveraging loyalty programs and successful email and text campaigns, Williams navigates through the nuances of building a standout brand in the cannabis space.

Take The TOKE Agency’s Brand Archetype Quiz here:



Learn more and connect with the Cannabis Marketing Association:

Read the Transcript

Lisa Buffo  00:11

Hi everyone, welcome to party like a marketer, the podcast dedicated to cannabis marketing, public relations and authentic storytelling. I’m your host Lisa buffo, the founder and CEO of the cannabis Marketing Association. CMA is the producer of this podcast and the guests are CMA members. They are experts from across all verticals in the cannabis industry, who come on the show to share their unique experience and marketing lessons with all of you. If you’re interested in joining the cannabis industry or learning more about cannabis Marketing Association, please visit us online at the Cannabis marketing or visit us on social media at Canna marketing. You can connect with our membership team and learn more about member benefits and how you can assist your business. And we host regular webinars, events and content in the form of blogs, white papers and downloadables to help members do their jobs better every day. And if you want to advertise on the podcast, or learn more about our consulting options, please reach out and you can learn more on our website. Today’s guest is Lisa Williams, the founder of the toke agency. Lisa has over 35 years of marketing know how and a deep rooted love for the cannabis industry. She’s passionate about creating connections and building a community and combines authentic storytelling with the latest digital marketing techniques tailored for cannabis dispensaries. At the tone agency. They craft content that resonates with people and actually drives results in ROI. Lisa’s vision is to make cannabis marketing more accessible, engaging and profitable for everybody. Okay, welcome everybody to today’s episode of Party like a marketer, the podcast dedicated to cannabis marketing, public relations and authentic storytelling. Today’s guest is Lisa Williams, the founder and CEO of the toke agency. Lisa, thank you so much for joining us on the show.

Lisa Wiliams  02:12

Lisa, I am so excited to be here. And I love your name.

Lisa Buffo  02:16

Yes. You’re the first. Personally, Lisa. So very excited to speak with you and share your story with the audience. I know we’ve gotten to know each other a little bit over the last few months. And you’ve got so much insight to share. So first, can we just can you introduce yourself to the audience, just tell them a little bit about yourself, your professional background, how you got started in cannabis. And I let’s get them to get to know you a little bit. Okay,

Lisa Wiliams  02:46

so um, I actually have a degree in marketing back when you know, that was a thing. And digital marketing did not exist at the time. So I have over 35 years of experience in marketing, and just taking what you know, marketing is marketing, and just transferring it to the digital space is basically what I have done. So I’m born and bred in Texas, I’m a Texas girl, been here my whole life. And I started a business back in the middle of the pandemic. And it’s completely bootstrapped. And what happened was, I was working for a marketing agency, as it was a small boutique agency, we didn’t have very many employees as a marketer and a salesperson. And then the pandemic hit, and I got let go. So I decided to go full fledge into marketing, my own business. And that’s kind of how I started and it started off as a different business. It was called it’s simply digital. And about a year and a half into that business. I had a partner that came to us and said, Hey, we have this cannabis dispensary. That needs social media and loyalty programs, emails and texts, you know, management, are you interested? And I was like, I don’t really know anything much about the cannabis space, but sure, I will give it a try. And of course, I had to learn everything like all the regulations and the rules. And you know, I mean, you obviously know everything that goes into the behind the scenes of marketing cannabis. So that’s how it started three and a half years ago and last year, my team and I decided to separate the two businesses and really dive into getting familiar more familiar with the cannabis industry. So the toke agency was born. And we launched our website at the beginning of December of 2023 last year, and in January decided to go full fledge into Cannabis, and kind of sunset, our other brand. And here we are. So since January till April, that’s all we’ve been doing is diving into cannabis. Awesome.

Lisa Buffo  05:11

Thank you And okay, so you started it recently, but you’ve been in this iteration of it, but you’ve been in marketing for your whole career. And you’re not you’re now solely focused on the cannabis industry and it sounds like you bootstrapped it. You got it, you know, started yourself. What are well, first of all, what do you do at the toke agency? Like what are the services you provide? What’s What’s your is your niche? Still digital marketing? And do you work with any specific type of cannabis business? And that retail brand and ancillary? Does it not matter? But what’s your, what is your offering? Yeah,

Lisa Wiliams  05:46

and and we’ve actually been working with cannabis dispensaries for three and a half years, we just decided to go all in, and really make a name and a brand for ourselves under the Toka agency brand. So we offer brand strategy, because we cannot do marketing without a strategy. That’s your foundation, that’s where we discover what your brand archetype is, what’s your mission, what your values what your differentiator is, because that’s what’s gonna set you apart from all the other dispensaries, you know, down the street, in your state, in your city, etc. So we offer brand strategy we offer social media management. And the more important thing is we really offer managing your loyalty program, we are certified with spring big and alpine IQ. We’re familiar with both platforms. So you don’t have to go and learn those platforms, we take all of that off your plate, we do all the email marketing, the text marketing, the loyalty campaign, the customer buyer journey, we do all the content creation, all the execution, all the graphic creation, you name it, we do it. And we work with dispensaries that have anywhere from three or four locations up to about 15 to 20 locations. And anybody that’s really brands that are in the cannabis space, we work with them as well. And I haven’t really had an opportunity to work with any ancillary type businesses. But that’s not off the table that those two are just our main focus.

Lisa Buffo  07:21

Okay, cool. So you’re really focused on license holders and servicing them on the strategy in social side? Currently guilty? Okay, cool. That makes sense. So, given that you went from working in an agency to starting your own, what, how did you get, I want to talk about what you know, and your marketing strategy as well. But also, that you know, all this stuff, you had also launched her own business. So what did you do to get the tote agency off the ground? I know the pandemic was not, I mean, it wasn’t the easiest time to start a business. And it was it was just sort of a difficult and strange time for so many of us. But what were your first steps? And how did you? How did you get those first clients? How did you market your services? How did like how did you? How did you find your own brand archetype? Like what’s your own origin story in terms of getting the top agency or this entity off the ground? And in the form that it was?

Lisa Wiliams  08:15

Yeah, um, thanks for asking, because I feel like it’s a really interesting story. So and this is how we start with every client. This is everything that I’m going to describe to you, Lisa is what we do for our clients, because we did it for the toke agency, and I actually get people coming to me often and saying that they use the tone agency as examples of how to build a brand. So I love that. When we started with a brainstorm document, and I have a team, I have two other women that work with me. And we just started brainstorming names, marketing ideas, what color schemes, the look, the feel, you know, we pulled like deep purples for power and ambition and soft blushes and beige is for femininity and green for the plant. And so it was really us coming together with this whole brainstorming document that we kind of came to the idea of where that intersection of sophistication and boho hippie so we’re fun, trendy, yet feminine and forward thinking. And from there, we started doing market research, you know who else does what we do in that space? And what do their brands look like? What services do they offer? We came up with a SWOT analysis, our mission, our values, our target audience, a business plan, our service offerings, and then we we really started diving into what’s our brand archetype. How do we want other people to connect with us? How do we want them to feel when they connect with with us. And so we also did a brand archetype. Really a strenuous exercise that took three to four long hour calls. To dive into what our brand archetype was. And we loved that exercise so much, we came up with our own quiz to help our clients discover what their brand archetype is. So the Toka agency is the goal girl next door. So when I actually get on a call with somebody, a zoom, call or meet somebody in person, one of the first things they say to me is, I feel like we can be friends. I feel like we can sit down and have a coffee chat together, you’re very personal, you’re approachable. And I feel like I belong in your tribe. And that’s how we want people who connect with the toke agency to feel. That’s

Lisa Buffo  10:53

awesome. Yeah, and it helps. I recently dove further into brand archetypes myself, and it helps like create a lane for your business. Because when you have the brand defined, it comes all the way through and your products and services it comes through in your messaging, it comes through in your visual design and all of those elements so that it’s consistent and your strategy, right? Like if you were to do influencer marketing, what you know which influencers would you partner with, he would want those that are similar. So it actually makes it easier to do marketing, because you know, this is the space that we play in. And there’s some definition around it, and it’s not a box, it actually allows you to be more creative, because you have those that outline and you can better understand the brand and develop that personality in a way that is unique to you. And I’ve always found the earlier you do that in your business journey that like the better because it’s harder once you’ve come out one way and started to maybe change or it’s shifted, it can create some confusion. So for earlier stage entrepreneurs, I am so glad you brought that up, it’s always a good idea to find your brand archetypes, understand it and document it somewhere. Because everything

Lisa Wiliams  12:10

from it. Everything mean your colors, your logo, the look and feel of your website, your social media, your messaging, how you show up to live events, how you show up to podcast events. I mean, it’s just it allows for cohesiveness. And then you you know, you don’t have to go and pretend. And then because you have this cohesiveness Lisa, that’s what’s going to attract the audience to you because they’re gonna say, I like this person. And I want to belong to to what their what their message is, what their values are, what their mission is. I mean, I’m gonna take Harley Davidson, for example. They’re a rebel, that archetype, but look who they attract. That is very, very specific in their design element in their marketing in everything they do. That’s who they’re attracting the rebel.

Lisa Buffo  13:11

Yeah, yeah. And there are this was the when the research I did on this as this is actually Carl Jung’s work. And he pulled the brand archetypes from the personality archetypes. And more or less, it just got translated to business, but it is literally creating and defining a personality. But yeah, there’s 12 of them. And they’re super interesting for anyone who’s listening and wants to do a little bit, right,

Lisa Wiliams  13:37

and we have a quiz that you tap in, and you could go and take a quiz. And when you get the answers to your, your quiz, when we deliver them, we go into a little bit more of a deep dive of why that archetype aligns with you. And we give you some more information. And to your point, Carl Jung, I mean, we all have personalities, right? And so to know, to to grow our brand and or ourselves personally, we have to know who we are, we have to know what we represent. And so this just gives you a definition of what your brand is, so that you could go and grow the brand from there.

Lisa Buffo  14:17

That’s a really good way to put it. So for yourself, do you have a specific approach to marketing? Is there like a marketing philosophy or strategy that you stay true to like outside of maybe it is the brand archetype? Maybe we already talked about it, but from there is there is there a way in which you really like to think about it and advise your clients?

Lisa Wiliams  14:43

So in my belief, my study my journey through marketing, it doesn’t live in a silo. And you have to have an entire ecosystem at play. You have to have organic social to build brand awareness, blogs, and articles will build thought leadership paid social when applicable. And you know, to drive to a specific lead magnet or a specific offer, newsletters, emails, texts to stay top of mind and nurture with knowledge, develop trusted partnerships that you could collaborate with build lead magnets to drive interest. I mean, all of these things are an ecosystem. And it just keeps that wheel turning. So I really my approach to marketing is, there’s so many things that you can pull from, there’s not one way and you know, it’s interestingly says the first thing that a business or a brand will cut when they are starting to feel a crunch financially is they will cut marketing. And marketing is what drives sales. Yeah, that’s, you just I mean, maybe you don’t need all of those ideas that I just shared with you going out at the same time, but you build up to them. I mean, maybe when you’re starting off as a small budget brand, or dispensary, or whatever, maybe you just could use social media and an article or two, and maybe you add email. I mean, I think that this could grow over time. It’s not like you’re just throwing it all out there. At the same time. You’re saying, Okay, this is working. Now we’ve got some traction with organic social. Now let’s drive that organic social to a blog or an article to get them onto our website to stay there and learn more about us. Now, let’s do some email marketing, so that we could stay top of mind and nurture them with knowledge. Now, when they get on a call with us, oh, you need X, Y, and Z offers you need XY and Z to well, then we have partners that we can send that to. So we become this, this one stop shop. And I don’t mean that we do everything for them. But we become this one stop shop, where we’re this trusted advisor that they lean on.

Lisa Buffo  17:07

That makes sense? And are there specific channels? Like how do you decide which channels brands should approach and specifically, since you’ve worked with brands and retailers, and that’s the audience of this podcast? Like what makes the strategy that you do for them different than perhaps what you’ve done in the past? And I’m just trying to pull out and tease like, what are the nuances for brands and retailers? What do they need to focus on? And what are what are those big wins for them?

Lisa Wiliams  17:38

Okay, so we all know, like in cannabis, all of the regulatory compliance issues, you know, tick tock, I wouldn’t suggest it at all, as a channel. But I would definitely, you know, you can get away with very crafty messaging on an Instagram page, for sure. And I think that you could drive traffic from a social media channel, like an Instagram page, back to your specific brand website, so that you could, you know, get them to join your loyalty program. You can also, honestly, you have to use your in house team, you have to get them your bud tenders your staff, to get people to sign up for a loyalty program, and to follow you on social. And I think with the loyalty program, combined with the social, it’s not one or the other, it’s a combination of both to give that really pack that punch. But when you sign up for loyalty programming, you’re getting text and emails, you’re not only dropping deals for them, you’re really building a true valuable relationship with them. So that you’re not just going on discounts. You’re not just driving business on discounts, and you’re not competing on price, you’re really building a loyal following. And with building a loyal following, then they’re going to share that information with their friends, and they’re going to become brand advocates for you.

Lisa Buffo  19:16

That makes sense. So focusing on social in a thoughtful way. And making sure it is all of your marketing isn’t just kind of want to say siloed within the marketing team, but it’s like going all the way through the organization going to your frontline staff going to those bud tenders and having them also engaged in be a part of that process, since they do interact with your customers and your followers directly.

Lisa Wiliams  19:42

And I honestly think because given the regulatory information and you know, all the things that stop you from using all the great tools out there as a cannabis dispensary or in the cannabis industry, and you have to get really crafty, I think You have to come think outside the box, you know, how can we utilize our staff? How can we utilize our bud tenders? And how can we use other platforms like spring big or Alpine IQ to text and to email and, you know, create these cohesive partnerships with other dispensaries, maybe maybe you have partnerships with brands or dispensaries, maybe you sell a very specific product that they don’t and vice versa. So it’s building this this entire ecosystem in this cohesive relationships with everybody.

Lisa Buffo  20:40

That makes sense. And do you have any outside of the ones you’ve mentioned? Or maybe this is them any favorite marketing tools or platforms or resources that you recommend? Like, what’s your? Yeah, yeah,

Lisa Wiliams  20:52

so our stack starts at the very top of our stack is We could not survive. It’s our mothership. It’s our project management board. It keeps me sane. Yeah, yeah. And it allows for true transparency with our clients because we build out a Monday board specifically for our our clients. And they get to see every step of the way of everything we’re working on in real time. We have due dates, we have, you know, dates that you have to give us responses by we have everything is completely transparent on So that’s the top of our stack. And we also use engage Bay and Canva and Grammarly and HubSpot, and they help us you know, all the things that we do. I don’t think I can survive without Grammarly. Yeah Canva I mean, who doesn’t love Canva you could easily create beautiful graphics with Canva and make them your own. And then as far as like, besides Alpine IQ and spring big, engage Bay HubSpot, you know, all the other engagement. Similar tool to HubSpot. Okay. So it’s a marketing automation system. We actually just switched over to it. So it’s it’s been good for us so far from HubSpot from HubSpot.

Lisa Buffo  22:19

So you’re like mid migration? Yeah.

Lisa Wiliams  22:22

Well, we’ve done we’ve done the migration. And we’ve been very happy with it so far. But we are also I’m certified on HubSpot as well. Yeah. We know both tools. And then I’m gonna say about HubSpot and engage bay with any kind of marketing automation tool. They all are very similar in the way that you set up the back end. So I think there’s a good deal of familiarity there with our team.

Lisa Buffo  22:51

Can I ask why you switched or what was the shirt use HubSpot, and I definitely have a love hate relationship with it. But I’m always curious when some who knows it switches off like what’s I

Lisa Wiliams  23:05

love HubSpot. I’m actually a partner with HubSpot. But we are a small brand. And I truly believe that HubSpot caters to a bigger, a bigger brand, a bigger business. And to make that jump financially from where we were to where we need to be with a huge jump financially on HubSpot. So we looked we looked for alternatives. And then that’s where we came up with engaged Bay.

Lisa Buffo  23:32

Okay, cool. That makes sense. Yes. And so I want to talk a little bit about campaigns that you do and like get into strategy and what that looks like in practice, because it’s always good to talk high level but in practice is a whole nother thing. So I know you do do a lot of campaigns if you’re if you’re working with these tools. So can you talk about a campaign that was a success for a brand or retailer? What did you do? What did it look like? You know, what were some of the lessons learned? How did you approach it? How did you think about it? Like do you have an example you don’t mind walking us through? Sure.

Lisa Wiliams  24:08

Okay. I’m going to talk about how we incorporated the 12 days of cannabis glory into an email and text campaign with an existing loyalty program for a brand that has two dispensary locations. So what we did is we did 22 campaigns for the entire month of December, and we highlighted their holiday specials as well as educational information and I asked true believer in putting as much educational information as you can, especially in the cannabis world. And so here’s what our results look like, after a 30 day analytics from December of 2023. And I’m gonna say touching a 30% open rate, which if you look at industry average, it’s around 23 24%. So a higher open rate than industry average, nine cent cost per conversion $133 per message sent in revenue generated. So I’m going to say that, again, every message that we sent generated $133 of revenue,

Lisa Buffo  25:43

and where are the messages coming from, from their

Lisa Wiliams  25:46

Alpine IQ system, text and email campaigns. And this was the 12 days of cannabis glory that we had set out. Cool, which gave us a 764 time return on investment. Wow. Yeah, like that’s an m&a share another example, but that was one. And the reason I like to share the 12 days of cannabis, it’s because it’s a very stressful time for marketers and for dispensaries, because we’re trying to get as much done at the end of the year as possible. Everybody likes to do a 12 day, some kind of take on the 12 days. Okay, so another client that we incorporated the 12 day deal with. Now, they were new to the market in 2023. And they had 15 locations. And so what we did for them is we did 12 days of deals with spotlights on certain products to educate their customers on the different specialty products that they offer. And going back and doing a 30 day analytic from December 2023. For that particular brand, or that particular business, we had a 27% open rate, we had a 14 cent cost per conversion $120 of revenue generated per message sent, which gave us a 414 return x on ROI.

Lisa Buffo  27:19

That’s awesome. And this is all through text and email, all

Lisa Wiliams  27:22

through text and email. And these two particular clients, we run their campaigns through Alpine IQ.

Lisa Buffo  27:29

And it’s testing email to their current customer list to

Lisa Wiliams  27:33

their current customer list. So this is why I’m a huge believer in it cost less to market to an existing customer than it does to go acquire a new customer. And when you build out a buyer journey with your loyalty, which is what the toke agency does for our clients, and you hit them at certain milestones, okay, here’s your 30 day milestone, or here’s your first purchase over X amount of money, or it’s your birthday, or you brought a friend, or you left us a review, or you followed us on social and you just hit them at these certain milestones with significant discounts. Or you have a VIP type program, or you have a subscription type program where you offer VIP access to let’s say you open early or you stay open late or only these specialty products are available to your VIP clients. I mean, you you have to make some kind of exclusivity. But there’s there’s so many ways to do this in a loyalty program and market to your existing customer base. And

Lisa Buffo  28:45

was there any any particular deal that stood out or one of those promos that was like this is the thing that worked more I know, it’s also so specific to the market and their customers and the product and all of that. But was there any anything that came out either in the messaging or the way you structured the offers or like any insight as to what the content of that was that really resonated differently?

Lisa Wiliams  29:12

So I didn’t pull information for each specific campaign for each specific message that we sent. But overall, I think it’s just you know, we come up with crafting names, like, you know, instead of calling it the 12 days of cannabis, you can call it whatever you want. It’s, you know, we come up with crafty names. And so I think it just keeps your audience going. Okay, what’s tomorrow’s deal? Okay, yeah, what’s the deal? Because it’s 12 days in a row. So the other thing is, you are okay, so say I love flower and a very specific flour, I don’t know. And so I see on the third day, they have flour on special so I go and purchase flour on that third day. Now let’s say on day eight, maybe not only do I love flour, but I love vapes, and maybe on day eight, now they have a deal on vapes. And so I’ve gone in twice in the 12 days, because I’m going to get my flour, and I’m going to get my vapes. So you stock up.

Lisa Buffo  30:16

That makes sense. And did they were they able to know in advance what the days were? Or was it like, Well, surprise, you know,

Lisa Wiliams  30:24

so we set like, so before we started the 12 day campaigns, we would say, these are the 12 days, these are the specific, you know, it’s almost like we sent out a campaign before the campaign. Yeah, we can say, here’s what’s coming. And, you know, special hours, special deals, you know, all the things.

Lisa Buffo  30:44

Okay, cool. That makes sense. And so I hear that in terms of special campaigns, and you know, very holiday specific and going with the just the calendar and and the buying cycle, but I also want to talk about loyalty kind of pull out a little bit in the broader context. And I think you’ve already illustrated really well. And we I mean, we have the same experience ourselves as a membership organization, when you already have customers, and they are loyal, or they like you. I mean, they borrowed they do to some degree, because they’ve paid for something that it’s easier to market to them than just keep sort of filling the top of the funnel. But can since you specialize in loyalty Can Can I hear from your perspective, in your own words? Like, why is loyalty so important? And how do you implement it? Like if there’s a retailer of brand listening that hasn’t implemented loyalty or doesn’t know how to think about it? Can you get into that detail? And do you have any examples of that for maybe any other time of the year? That’s not the holidays,

Lisa Wiliams  31:46

not the holidays for or 420? Okay, so often an average dispenser is dispensary doesn’t have repeat customers. And it could be for a variety of reasons. Maybe they’re travelers, maybe they’re one time, you know, new to a cannabis connoisseur type, you know, they’ve never experienced it before. There’s there’s all kinds of reasons why they don’t have maybe you live here and they happen to be you happen to be driving by a dispensary at the time, it’s not close to your house, etc. I mean, there’s all kinds of ways and reasons why you don’t get repeat business. And actually, on average, only 20 to 30% of your traffic comes back. So a lot of dispensary customers shop on price. And we always we don’t want to always compete on price alone like that. That shouldn’t be the driving force to get more business back into your dispensary. Yes, it should, it should be a part of your marketing. And it should help you drive certain business. But we don’t want your customers to always shop on price alone. So how do you keep them coming back and not shopping. on price alone? Well, you start to build loyalty campaigns. So you could target customers in their buyer journey and reward them for staying loyal to your dispensary. So let’s say for example, you send them a welcoming, you know, like we just, they just joined your loyalty program. So you welcome them. And then you hit them with discounts for certain milestones, kind of like I just explained to them. But then you can offer certain suggestions based on their buying habits. So now they’re in your loyalty program. You know, what their buyer buying habits are, they come in every two weeks, and they buy the same product, or they come in every four weeks, and they buy the same three products. So now you’re starting to build up this portfolio of what that particular person likes to buy, and how often they’re shopping at your dispensary. So you can really personalize messages. You wouldn’t want to send like a vape or gummy deal to somebody who only buys flower. That would kind of be Yeah, you know, defeat the purpose. And then you could give them bonus points for a reward and reward them for reviews for social media follows for bringing a bed. And when you build out a buyer journey, you’re building a loyal customer base. And you’re you’re not they’re no longer shopping on price because you’re saying hey, we know you and it makes it feel very personal to them. Like I explained to you like not sending gummy or vape deal to somebody who buys flour. They’re like hey, they get me they know me I like flower and now I’m getting a deal or a loyalty, you know discount because I’m blind flower all the time. or say your your a high dollar or so you like you purchase high dollar volume or, you know, maybe your basket size is always over 250 $300 Maybe that’s the person that you are. That’s your that’s your that’s your what you do. So when you do that you go and reward them. Okay, mister or miss buyer. Every time you purchase something from us for over X dollars, we’re gonna give you a discount, because we see your buying habit is you’re a high dollar purchaser. So there’s so many ways to break it down.

Lisa Buffo  35:38

And can you talk a little bit too about what a buyers journey is and what it looks like? Sure. So

Lisa Wiliams  35:45

building out a buyer journey, we actually do this for our clients. And we first of all, we have to know like, who we’re working at with and you know, their brand strategy and all of those things. But it’s, it’s creating these milestones within your campaigns to get them, welcome them to the club, okay, so whatever your loyal club is called, so you send them a message and you welcome them. And then you can build out these these certain milestones. Okay, so for example, if they, it’s called the toe cage, the tote dispensary. So the first time can be let’s talk, and they, they get 20% off of their first purchase, because they just joined your loyalty program, then maybe seven days in, you’ve seen what they’ve purchased in the in the first time, and now you could offer some suggested selling, okay, I see you like these three or four types of products, here’s a couple of other products that are similar to this product, then you can hit them at another milestone. Thanks for coming back, because maybe they’ve come back a second or third time. So now, thanks for coming back. Here’s a $10 off coupon for the next 14 days that you come in. And then you could set another one that says, hey, you’ve been part of the club for 30 days, let us know what you think and leave us a review. So then they have another milestone. Now, they’ve hit us three or four times in their visit, we could offer suggestive selling again, then they’ve come in for like the fifth time now we say Hey, bring a partner don’t keep us you know, to yourself. And soak sessions are definitely better with buds, right? So bringing a bud and then you offer them another discount for bringing a bud. So that’s how you build out this buyer journey. And you can keep heading them, you know, at different milestones with different discounts.

Lisa Buffo  37:49

So you as the business decide and determine the buyer journey. Like you were saying this is this is the path we want to take them on. We

Lisa Wiliams  37:59

work with, right we work with our our clients to build that out. But our first go round is okay, we know the brand, this is what we feel like is a good buyer journey for this particular business. So then we’ll go and share that with our you know, with our and some of our dispensaries. It also working with them, we have to know what your discounts are. So we can’t just make up these discounts if they don’t want to give 20% off or 50% off or $10. You know, we have to work with the actual dispensary, that retail location that will come up with some suggestions and then present it to them.

Lisa Buffo  38:39

Okay, cool. That makes sense. And then how do you help reef talked a little bit about compliance? We talked about it a whole lot on this show. But from this perspective, loyalty, text email, how do you ensure that retailers stay compliant? Where’s that intersection of the strategy and the compliance? So

Lisa Wiliams  39:00

first of all, we stay educated through the AMA, through any time. I mean, I’m on so many newsletters, and I make sure that I stay top on top of whatever is going on in the industry, so that we are compliant with whatever and then I know that there’s certain state regulations and so the states that we operate in, we’ve gone through and educated ourselves on those state regulations. And then we also have an ancillary partner who is a compliance officer. And we can bring her in as needed with whatever brand or business that we’re working with. So it’s just educating ourselves just constantly keeping educated on whatever’s going on. I mean, I probably get 10 to, I probably get about 10 newsletters maybe 15 Every week in the cannabis space, maybe even more than that fit maybe It’s more, it’s quite now, a lot of them repeat the same information about. But I mean, for us being in the industry, I, I have to, I also belong to And so I’ll go read articles that are fresh and new. I also look to LinkedIn for education of anybody that I’m following or connecting with, that’s putting out educational information as well.

Lisa Buffo  40:26

Cool. Okay, that makes sense. And then, if you don’t mind talking about what the investment in these types of services are, I know sometimes and agency world and service provider world, it’s like the last question, but there’s a whole range, right? Some of these troublesome can be wildly expensive. There’s a lot that’s in between. and So can you just talk a little bit about what what, what can brands and retailers expect if they if they were to work with you or want to actually implement these types of programs? What’s that commitment?

Lisa Wiliams  41:00

Oh, so our price range is anywhere from $4,000 a month, up to $10,000 a month. And it just depends on the services and the locations. Because if you have multiple locations, and we’re doing loyalty and social media for multiple locations, obviously, the price goes up on there. So it’s a it’s a wide range. 10 is the max ish that you kind of topped out with that also is going to depend on locations. I mean, if you come to us with 25 locations, it’s going to obviously depend on on the locations, I just say, from four to $10,000 a month. But Lisa, we always always start with a brand strategy. And even if you just came to us and wanted a brand strategy, that’s $7,500. And that’s a one time deal. Yeah,

Lisa Buffo  41:49

that makes sense. Okay, cool. Well, Lisa, anything else you want to touch on that you feel we haven’t talked about any other messages that you have for the audience? So

Lisa Wiliams  42:02

I think that the main thing that I would advise brands dispensaries, is you really have to educate your consumer. And I think, given all of the stigmatism that happens in the cannabis related world, is that you have to incorporate storytelling through storytelling and education. I think that’s what’s gonna draw your audience in. And that’s, I’m gonna leave it at that. Because if you’re not educating, I mean, there’s probably hundreds, if not 1000s of new potential consumers out there that don’t know anything about cannabis. They’ve never even walked into a dispensary. They don’t know the difference between the types of highs that you get, or the terpenes or, you know, the cannabinoid profiles. They don’t know any of that. So there’s so much opportunity to provide education.

Lisa Buffo  43:03

Lisa, and how can our audience get a hold of you? Any website? email, social? Sure.

Lisa Wiliams  43:09

So it’s the toke That’s our website. And also on any social platform is the toke agency. I also build my personal brand, as well as the tone agency on LinkedIn. And so it’s Lisa Williams. But you can start by just going to our website at the tone

Lisa Buffo  43:33

Okay, Lisa, thank you so much. I really appreciate you taking the time and connecting with us today.

Lisa Wiliams  43:38

Thank you, Lisa. And I will share the brand archetype quiz link with you so that you can put that with the podcast. So if anybody wants to take the quiz.

Lisa Buffo  43:48

Yeah, we can put it in the show notes. So if you guys want to check that out, that’s where that will be. Thanks again, Lisa. Appreciate your time.

Lisa Wiliams  43:56

Thank you.

Lisa Buffo  43:58

Thank you, everybody, for tuning in. Please subscribe to this podcast. We’re also on YouTube, where you can see the video version. And if you’d like to connect with the CMA community, please visit us at the Cannabis marketing or on social media at Cana marketing. You can also sign up for our newsletter on our website to stay up to date with new episodes, tools, Insight blog posts, and more from the CMA community and hear from our members. And if you’re interested in learning more about membership or becoming a guest on the show, please reach out to our team at membership at marketing See you next week.


— Transcribed by

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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