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Pod 301 - How to communicate directly with cannabis consumers to drive deeper relationships

by Business of Cannabis
August 4th 2021

On this episode of BofC Live, we connect with Nat Shaul, co-founder and Vice President of Marketing for springbig. springbig is a technology that allows cannabis retailers and dispensaries to commu... More

Yeah. Welcome to be Fc Live. The daily video and podcast series of business of cannabis BFC Live highlights the company's brands, people and trends driving the global cannabis sector. Find out all that we do at business of cannabis dot com. Coming up on B. Of C. Live. We connect with nat shawl. She is a co founder and the vice president of marketing for Spring Big. Talking about how cannabis retail outlets can use their technology to engage consumers market and be more profitable, enjoy this conversation with Matt shall. Yeah, no, thank you for being here. Thank you. J well, I'm excited to talk to you because we hear about Spring Big a lot. Um Tell the folks and business of cannabis, Tell us the snapshot of what Spring Big is and then we'll get into uh we'll get into more of it. Yeah, I'd love to um Spring Big is loyalty and text message marketing for the cannabis space. We service brands and dispensaries nationwide and in Canada we give them the ability to advertise directly to their consumers via text message marketing.

Um we're also launching an app this week, so we'll be able to send push notifications as well and reward their customers with with loyalty. It's first of all, that's a good description. Not everybody is as tight as you are when they describe the company, but but we think about a lot. I'm based in downtown Toronto but been spending time in the Northeast in the States and it seems to me you're going to correct me that this is an area where the dispensaries and in Canada, the cannabis retailers a do amazing work and just be doing so much better because that direct communication with consumers is absolutely essential, especially in environments where traditional advertising is their limited or not allowed. Yeah, exactly. So like that, that's really, that was the first kind of entryway into the space. And we had um, we started servicing small businesses, pizza shops, mom and pop shops. Um, and they were using our software well, but once we signed up about two or three dispensaries, we noticed that they were using it extremely well.

Um, you know, it's like the average use was 30 times a month. Theory, average use was like 200 times a month. Um, and their results were 15, 20 times what the results of the mom and pop shops were. And that was just because, you know, the consumers were eager to receive those messages way more than you're eager to receive. You know, how you get a free slice of pizza today. It take 20% off cannabis. There's a lot more exciting. And it was really the only way to know that they're getting in touch with their consumers with their customers. So they were really excited to use it and they were just a lot more tech savvy. Um, you know, these people who really put in the effort to learn all the ins and outs of the software, um, because they were so excited. They really spent the time to learn everything about it and because of that they really got to use it to the most ability. That must be exciting from a tech perspective too because you have this tech, you want people to like really tested and drive it and like even drive new features that might be sort of needed.

Is it exciting to work I guess in a intersection. And we talked about a lot of cannabis and tech, but especially cannabis in tech and like consumer facing retail because that's where the limits of how people are sort of operating the world are really changing almost every day. Yeah, that was honestly, I mean it was way more exciting for the dev's because for so long, you know, we would ask for like, hey this would be a cool feature and they make it and nobody would use it and then all of a sudden, you know, we would sign up a bunch of these people and they're like wow like you are using it and they're getting all this feedback on it and it was really great to see um for sure. Yeah, I mean it's um I want to ask you sort of uh we've been trying to think about sort of can, especially cannabis, especially in terms of the U. S. Right now and like there seems to be so much growth ahead, There's been tons of growth behind, but now it's like there's so much ahead of us, even you're based in florida, you know, there's going to be tremendous growth in florida. This tremendous growth in new york in the midwest and then like the rest of the country to, that hasn't already got there.

But it is interesting to think about the confluence of that, like this growth in the cannabis industry and how consumers are behaving Covid, post Covid and how brands are interacting with them. Do you think it's changed like totally in forever or is this like sort of has Covid has been an anomaly And like then go back to normal or, or are the things that you're seeing on the tech that people are behaving differently? Oh, that's a great question. Um, I'm behaving differently. That's what, oh man. Yeah. You know, I hope for the sake of the country and for the sake of the people, it's not forever. Um, I do think that for a while everyone is going to be behaving a little bit differently. You know, whether it's mandated or not. I think people are just a little bit more careful and on edge. Um, and with that, I think dispensaries, I mean we've seen them use, uh texting a little bit differently where it would usually just be like, hey deals, um, new new new supplies and all that.

And now it's kind of a mix of, you know, still the deals. Um, but also they'll be like, hey, you know, mask mandate is ended or a mask mandate has started again. Hey, stores close. It's just curbside pick up from this hour to this hour. Um, and and having that, I mean in Covid, we, we grew dramatic tremendously. I think, you know, when it started, We had about 40 employees in our closer to 160. Um, which is, you know, it's insane. You know, I walked into the office for the first time, uh, a couple of months ago and I was like, I don't even know anybody here. Like it's a different company. But yeah, I mean Covid, I mean, I don't want to say it's helped us, but it's definitely been eye opening for us to see again. Um, all the different ways our software can be used and utilized. Yeah, that's exciting. And actually one of the things and this was not why we're talking now, but one of our people we know in the sort of Toronto landscape bud tender got acquired by you guys in the midst of Covid I think.

Um, I mean, I know they got acquired but in the midst of it, which is exciting to see from our perspective because we, we know jake and the, and the team there. Um, but it's also, I just like the intersection of sort of two growth industries of tech and cannabis and together, like using it in interesting ways is like, that's what excites me like from your background. Um, I guess in tech like is that, is it like a really dynamic place to be, not just, I mean other tech is great too, but cannabis in tech is like super charged. Great. Yeah, it's amazing because as cannabis changes we have to change also. So you know, it's it's fun. I mean because usually when you work for a tech company, I mean I can't speak from so much experience. Spring break has been a big chunk of my life. But you know, it feels like, you know, you're you're making one thing and you kind of make enhancements to that one thing. But for us it's like we're always changing it. Um and we're making enhancements, but we're also, you know, as the landscape changes, we change as well.

Um So it's it's really fun to be in this kind of atmosphere and and you know, change ourselves to the changes of, of cannabis, um acquiring bud tender during, during Covid has been amazing. They're a great group of guys and you know, putting them into our software again was it was a change and worked out great. Um seeing great results from that. So yeah, I mean it's it's just it's a it's a really amazing experience and it's a great roller coaster to be on for sure. Yeah. And I don't want to look ahead. I mean uh you know, we're talking, I feel weird saying this as the delta variant is like north America but but but but I think it's not you can see a time where um new states really come online in terms of their sort of full fledged cannabis industry. We think we talked about new york florida, can't be far behind Arizona Illinois, michigan, like all those places are like gunning. Um and in that and this goes back to what we're talking about initially is like the relationship between like a dispensary and their consumers, even though like there's big picture industry stuff happening, that direct relationship is where the rubber meets the road and like enabling that.

You know, it does, I think put like mom and pop on level playing field with like huge mso. Like is that how you sort of think about it as well as like this is really something that puts dispensary owner and dispensary consumer in direct contact and that just has to be good. Yeah, it's really amazing. And also like you said, it does put them on a level playing field. Um you know, if a mom and pop opens first and then, you know, this mega chain opens usually in a, in a mom and pop world that mom and pop shuts down um in cannabis. You know, if the consumers are, there's, they really have a shot at keeping them more than they would have in any other instance. Um you know, they can text them like, hey make more specials, you know, they'll have points already in that store and say, hey, you gotta use your points and you'll just, you know, I'll blow the shop somewhere I have points or it can get points over just a regular store. You know, I'm a sucker for those points. Um, so yeah, it's, it's really great kind of forming those relationships as well, you know.

Um, every time I get a text, I get excited. I don't care who it's from. I'm like, oh, someone wants to talk to me. And then when it's a dispensary, I'm like, okay, this is amazing. Um, so yeah, I mean it's, it's just, it's really great seeing, I mean we've heard responses from both consumers and from dispensaries and they've even just so positive. Um, it's really great. Yeah. And I'm not gonna, because I don't even know if they're on spring big, but my local in, uh, in Toronto, I do get text message from and it drives my behavior and I'm not like, I'm not analog to everybody else, but I like when I know they have certain products in stock when I know that they're sort of discounts or offers or even like an event, they put on an event like that. It feels like I'm directly connected with them and that feels something different than like seeing an email or something similar. Yeah, it feels more personal for sure. And you know, just if I get a text from like anyone, I'm like, all right, I want to see you. I want to go there. Yeah, no, it's great. And so kudos to you and the Spring Big team because I I love the idea, love the tech, love the people that you have sort of your building a team with.

Uh, it was nice meeting you. Uh, and we look forward to connecting with you down the road whether in florida, Maybe in New York, maybe in Toronto one day when everybody's allowed across the border. But I appreciate the time and kudos to you in the spring. Big Team. Thanks so much. I really appreciate your time. Yeah, that was nat shawl of Spring Big. If you like this program, please rate and review us on apple podcasts, Spotify or wherever you heard the show. It helps support the work we do. Mhm. We're able to do what we do because of our ongoing partners, including alternate savings, cannabis at work cannabis benchmarks. Can delta Gallagher headset and torque mate, find out all that we do at business of Canada's dot com. You you you're Mhm

Pod 301 - How to communicate directly with cannabis consumers to drive deeper relationships
Pod 301 - How to communicate directly with cannabis consumers to drive deeper relationships
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