'A F—ed-Up Situation,' Says MariMed CCO About How State Regulations Complicate Cannabis Edibles Strategy

Zinger Key Points
  • Fragmented markets necessitate regulatory adaptation & creative branding strategies to ensure product consistency
  • Investing in teams to maintain brand uniformity & leveraging budtenders' influence are crucial

What is the strategy for branding in a fragmented market? Was the topic Wednesday at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Florida, which got things heated up.

 "Regulations are critical, in some markets, there are potency caps, in Pennsylvania you can´t sell an edible, so today that's not a market we can win with our brands… It´s just a f—ed-up situation for all of us" said Howard Schacter, chief commercial officer for MariMed MRMD. "We are farmers, retails, co-packers, its insanity every day".

As it turns out disparity of products across states can cause headaches. As MariMed is set up to expand, consistency and quality issues arise.

Consistency And Quality A Means For Differentiation

"Hoping for product consistency when we are all striving to be the next Coca-Cola, Starbucks, MacDonalds (…) is so difficult. What we learned is the importance of investing in having a travel team, to make sure that in each market we are delivering the exact same products, if not packaging, that our customers are looking for," Schacter said.

 "It´s all challenges in maintaining a unified brand in all states. We spend a lot of time and resources and energy trying to unify, whenever that's possible, takes a lot of creativity," added Kristi Palmer, co-founder and president of California Kiva Confections.

Palmer also stressed that differentiation from competition can be found in consistency and quality, as this facilitates customer experiences and the reliability of products.

Packaging consistency nevertheless is hard to achieve and requires a creative effort to adjust and surpass the vast differences that state-based regulation imposes over cannabis product packaging.

Budtenders’ Key Role And Managements Extra Mile

Standardizing consumer experiences while building a reliable supply chain is also key for Angela Pih, global chief marketing officer at CCELL: "Our products are going to be very consistence from a quality and experience standpoint".

Pih added hard data to this claim, sharing that Budtenders can impact 40 to 70 percent conversion at the retail level. Meaning that a good budtender can create a loyal client.  

"A few of all on the management teams took the extra step of actually working the sales floor, working alongside our budtenders, packing at the cultivation facility, trimming, and really understanding at the very base level exactly what these folks do every single day," Schacter added.

Budtenders are the front line and key to business success. But also knowing the process firsthand should be an aspiration for management.

Scaling Is A Three-Dimensional Chessboard

Consumer experiences have an impact on confidence, which is fundamental for scaling as a brand enters a new market.

"We are looking to a ton of data and then the regulations too," besides looking at the markets that are thriving, so "it's a three-dimensional chess board," said Schechter.

As it always costs more to retain a customer than to get a new one. Pih explained that "the cost of not doing something right is going to be exponential in a market entry situation".

Closing remarks from panelists might be useful insights for those aiming to expand its presence in the cannabis ecosystem: "Make sure you are resourced when you jump into another State", "Budtenders training is critical" and "It´s not the first purchase is your second and thirds that are critical for success".

Photo by Jean Laurenceau

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Posted In: CannabisNewsEventsExclusivesMarketsAngela PihBenzinga Cannabis Capital ConferenceCCCHoward Schacter
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The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is coming to Florida

The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is returning to Florida, in a new venue in Hollywood, on April 16 and 17, 2024. The two-day event at The Diplomat Beach Resort will be a chance for entrepreneurs, both large and small, to network, learn and grow. Renowned for its trendsetting abilities and influence on the future of cannabis, mark your calendars – this conference is the go-to event of the year for the cannabis world.

Get your tickets now on bzcannabis.com – Prices will increase very soon!