ISA and Vertosa Announce Speaker Lineup for Live Event on Nov. 4: The Evolution of an Industry: Tales and Trends from Cannabis Industry Veterans

David Paleschuck, best-selling author of Branding Bud, will moderate the event featuring two speakers fresh off the stage at MJBizCon 2021

ISA and Vertosa announced today the speaker lineup for their upcoming webinar, The Evolution of an Industry: Tales and Trends from Cannabis Industry Veterans. In 2020, in-person conferences came to a halt. Last week the cannabis industry gathered in Las Vegas for the most-anticipated event of 2021. With 35,000 attendees, 1,300 exhibitors, and 130 speakers from around the world gathering to learn the latest about the cannabis industry, it was the place to be for industry executives and business leaders. This webinar will reveal shared learnings from this event, featuring two dynamic speakers fresh off the Las Vegas stage. Speakers will share their thoughts about the evolution of the cannabis industry as a whole, focusing on what has changed over the course of the pandemic era. Austin and Lisa will share the focus of their speaking engagements from MJBizCon and explore the themes and buzz from the event.

David Paleschuck, best-selling author of Branding Bud: The Commercialization of Cannabis, will moderate the live event starting at 1 pm PST on November 4, 2021. Austin Stevenson, CIO at Vertosa, Lisa Buffo, Founder & CEO of the Cannabis Marketing Association, and Adriana Hemans, VP of Demand at ISA, will provide context as industry veterans who have witnessed the transformation first-hand. This engagement is the fourth in a series of webinar events stemming from a strategic partnership between ISA and Vertosa.

“Our panel brings together a diverse group of veteran industry leaders, each with their own unique perspective and in-depth knowledge of the cannabis industry. Join us to gain an insider’s look at the strategies for building successful brands in a disruptive market.” said Adriana Hemans, VP of Demand at ISA. 

The event is free and open to the public. Attendees can register here.

Meet the Speakers

David Paleschuck

David Paleschuck is the author of “Branding Bud: The Commercialization of Cannabis” and has over twenty years of global brand and consumer marketing experience at American Express, MasterCard, Pepsi and Microsoft – and over ten years in the legal cannabis industry as VP, Licensing & Brand Partnerships at Dope Magazine; Chief Brand Officer at Evergreen Herbal and The Matters Group. David has played a part in creating many of today’s well-known cannabis brands. His writings on cannabis trends, branding and packaging have been featured in A Different Leaf, The Cannabis Industry Journal, Green Entrepreneur, New Cannabis Ventures, Cannabis Prospect Magazine, Green Market Report, Dope Magazine, MG, and many others. His work has been noted and quoted in Forbes, Kiplinger, and The Brookings Institution. His recently released book was featured in Forbes magazine and is currently at the top of Amazon’s bestsellers’ list in the ‘branding and logo design’ and ‘green business’ categories.

Austin Stevenson

Austin Stevenson is Chief Innovation Officer at cannabis and hemp infusion technology company Vertosa. Austin plays an integral role in the business development of Vertosa, facilitating partnerships with leading brands to produce top quality cannabinoid-infused beverages, topicals, edibles and more. Prior to joining Vertosa, Austin leveraged his bio-tech experience building the regulatory Hemp/CBD testing program for Eurofins – a world leader in food, environment, and product testing services – where he worked with CVS and Walgreens to test and verify the quality of their retail CBD topicals. Austin and the Vertosa team are also committed to community action and industry leadership. He serves as a Member on the City of Oakland’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission, for which he supports the licensing of equity partners and works to break down financial barriers to entering the industry by championing grant funding. He is also an Advisory Board Member oEAZE’s Momentum Program, a business accelerator designed to support and empower underrepresented founders in the licensed cannabis industry, as well as a founding board member of the Cannabis Beverage Association.

Lisa Buffo

Lisa Buffo is a marketer and entrepreneur 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 trade association focused on education and best practices for industry marketers with the vision of rebranding cannabis at the national level. CMA has hosted over 100+ educational events nationwide bringing together the cannabis marketing community. Lisa has been quoted in Forbes, The Guardian, VICE, Denver Business Journal, The Boulder Daily Camera, Marijuana News Network, Cannabis Culture Magazine and other national, local, and trade publications. Lisa has worked in the cannabis industry since 2014. She started working in commercial cultivation where she grasped the important role compliance plays for cannabis companies. Lisa helped launch 10 cannabis startups for CanopyBoulder, the industry’s first business accelerator in 2015. Lisa also launched the industry’s first online wholesale brokerage as their CMO, garnering national coverage in VICE and INC Magazine and becoming the first cannabis-related company to present at SXSW in Austin, TX. Lisa is the Founder & Co-Chair of the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Marketing & Advertising Committee where she co-authored the Public Relations Crisis Manual and the Short Guide to Colorado’s Marketing & Advertising Regulations. Lisa is an active speaker and has spoken at WomenGrow, NCIA, and CMA events.

Adriana Hemans

Adriana Hemans is Vice President of Demand at ISA, where she heads up the Cannabis Research Division. She helps cannabis brands build more customer-centric businesses through data and insights. Adriana’s work has been published in numerous industry publications including mg Magazine, Marijuana Venture, and The Cannigma. She has been invited to speak onstage at cannabis events across the country, including NECANN (Northeast Cannabis Business Conference) and the NCIA’s Annual Cannabis Business Conference.

How Professional Cannabis Consumer Insights Can Help Guide Strategic Decisions

States across the country have taken steps in the direction of cannabis legalization and decriminalization. Some states have legalized sales and; depending on the source you trust, as many as two-thirds or up to 68% of Americans believe that cannabis products and their associated consumption should be legalized. Consequently, the legal cannabis industry has consistently grown.

Whether you operate a successful dispensary and have been in business for years or you’re just looking into the financial implications of running one, there is value in cannabis consumer insights. Business leaders base much of their strategic planning around forecasts developed from extensive consumer opinion polling and other objective research.

But how can it benefit your business? Much of it comes down to how well you understand your consumers, what they do, why they do it, and what they want.

When historical sales data is insufficient, sometimes the answer lies with gathering the data proactively. Here are some of the key questions that cannabis consumer insights, consumer polling, and market research can help you answer.

How Do Customers Prefer to Buy?

Though this question, on the surface, looks like a high-level “cash or credit?” type of question, its implications run much deeper. Consider the shifts in purchasing habits that have taken place over the past two years or so.

More and more online and local shoppers are increasingly desirous of free shipping that is also stipulation-free; that is, customers who buy online want free shipping or free local delivery. Is your dispensary prepared to handle that?

For example, our research indicates that 33% of cannabis users in select markets relied heavily on delivery services during coronavirus lockdowns. Is that trend going to continue or will it falter? Past sales figures can’t tell you – only current polling and other research.

The bigger question is: is your dispensary poised to adapt to changing consumer preferences such as these?

What Are Customers Cannabis Consumption Habits?

Does your dispensary sell only flower? Or does it sell a range of different cannabis products, such as edibles, tinctures, concentrates, cannabis drinks or other unique products? More importantly, does this matter to your customers?

If your target buyer smokes flower, then you’re set for success. But what if your buyers only purchase flower incidentally, then decarb it themselves in order to make their own edibles? You might serve them better by expanding your product portfolio. Consumer data can yield insight into this consumer data.

Conversely, a product line expansion might be a wasted expense if it doesn’t result in sales and conversions. How and what your target buyers consume can help you grow strategically, making informed decisions that can justify that growth with sales – not just with a larger, costlier enterprise.

How Frequently Do Your Target Consumers Partake?

The prices you set and the type of buyer you want to attract will both affect and be affected by the consumption habits of your target market. Profitability will be affected by sales, and you might need to adjust prices accordingly to reflect projected sales forecasts.

As a very simple, high level, but reasonable example, if your target market only partakes occasionally, you might want to sell in larger or bulk quantities in order to meet that demand and expand profitability at the same time. Selling in smaller quantities might not make sense.

It all comes back to what your buyers do and when they do it – how often do your target consumers use cannabis, and can your dispensary meet that demand?

What Type of Budget Does Your Target Customer Set?

Similarly, you need to understand your target buyers’ budget as closely as possible. Other questions such as those related to price sensitivity are equally important to answer. If your branding appeals to a price-insensitive audience, a price scale or adjustment might be in order. The same could be said if your brand was not well-aligned with the actual visitors that came to your dispensary.

The key takeaway is that your price model might be inefficient, but you wouldn’t know it unless you can answer some key questions about how much your target audience intends to allocate to discretionary purchases of cannabis products.

What Types of Incentives Will Your Target Buyer Respond to?

Another basic but surprisingly relevant question revolves around strategic growth. It’s been shown time and time again that effective loyalty programs can improve customer satisfaction, boost customer engagement and retention, and increase sales. The operative word in that statement is “effective.”

What type of loyalty program will appeal to your target buyer? Why? What other strategic positioning incentives can you undertake in order to reach more consumers more effectively? Our consumer research shows that over 70% of dispensary shoppers would spend more if the dispensary offered a loyalty program.

What other questions about strategic growth do you need to be answered before you can justify the expense associated with rolling out new programs? You may be the only one to be able to ask those strategic questions, but our cannabis consumer insights can help answer them.

Basic Cannabis Consumer Insights: Your Buyer Persona

Reflect on what you’ve read so far. You’ll notice that we used the terms “target audience” and “target buyer” several times throughout this article. Before you can answer any of the other questions we posed with cannabis consumer insights, you need to define your target buyer – surprisingly, target buyers are not just the people that come into your dispensary to purchase. These are just buyers. Target buyers fit a profile defined by habits, preferences, and demographics that you must define in order to launch successful marketing campaigns.

Luckily, cannabis consumer insights can also help you define your target audience. To learn more about how you can get started making wiser marketing moves, visit our pages on Cannabis Market Research and CANNApinion Polling, or get in touch with us directly at 818-989-1044 or at hello@ISACorp.com.