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Cannadatacon Miami 2024

When I first heard about Cannadatacon being in Miami a couple things came to mind. First, I thought, I had to be there, Cannabis + Data = what Grass Goddess consulting is all about. Second, I thought, Florida?? Really?? I have to travel all the way across the country in a bad travel season to a state that I really don't want to spend any time in (sorry Florida friends). But I reached out to the organizers and they felt like my attendance made sense so Cannadatacon was happening!

I made it to Miami late the day before the conference and just wandered around a bit. The picture above is the pool at my hotel. It felt very Miami to me with the colored lights and palms. My hotel was less than a mile walk to the conference and I had a nice stroll over Thursday morning.

After breakfast I found one of my new canna sisters, Solonje Burnett, who I met just about 6 months ago at Benzinga in Chicago. She is the Weed Auntie and also started a tech company called Erven. Solonje is the real deal and I appreciate sharing time with her and also firmly believe we are going to collaborate in this wild industry. There were only about a dozen women at the conference out of the 150 attendees which was disappointing to see but also recognizing the caliber of the ones there was inspiring.

Talk about a couple heavy hitters on the first panel I attended with Yoko Miyashita from Leafly and Krista Raymer from the Vetrina Group. The panel was about driving the top of funnel for retail stores and also included Chris Violas from Blaze and Joe Khoury from Marimed and was moderated by Ian Dominquez from Delta Emerald Ventures (who also gave the opening remarks). It started off the day with a great discussion of different ways to 'fill your various funnels' in this challenging cannabis space we are living in. One of the key takeaways I want to bring to my clients is that brand searches are starting to become a main avenue that brings in new customers. If your shop isn't coming up when a brand that you carry is being searched in your area, let's talk. There are easy fixes that will increase your new customer flow.

Other panels I attended included discussions on retail models in different markets and expansion, emails vs. text messages for marketing, the keynote by Andrew Watson from Happy Cabbage Analytics, retail vs product brand value, recapturing lost customers, a new app for product recommendations and what discounts actually matter. Yeah, it was a lot of good stuff!

I'll say a few things here about it but I would love to talk to anyone that is interested more about it. What I do want to share is that the people at this conference know what they are talking about. Grass Goddess partners with most of the software providers that were represented on panels and if you are a struggling retailer, there are good options out there for tools that you can implement to grow your business and compete in a tough landscape.

One tip that I will share is that marketing in cannabis is tough, neither email nor texting is perfect and there were some assumptions made when tech products were created that this industry is testing. It will get better, eventually, and to position yourself for that time, do all the things now. Collect emails, phone numbers, get those opt ins, even if you don't see returns now, you will be glad you have collected that information in the future.

And lastly for day 1, a shoutout to a few of the panelists that stood out to me. Jeremy Johnson from Dispense is one of the smartest, most thoughtful people in our industry and I appreciate hearing him speak. Danny Gold and Andrew Watson from Happy Cabbage Analytics are also super smart and I've been incredibly impressed with what Happy Cabbage has done and what they are planning on doing. Last but not least, Jocelyn Sheltraw who has been around the industry and everyone knows from Headset but her new app Budist is going to be a game changer. It's clear she's done the work and is creating what will be the best-in-class review system for cannabis. Check it out if you haven't already!

After day 1 sessions concluded, there was a cocktail party and an afterparty. Since it was just a two night conference I went all out and went to both. I drank quite a bit of one of the THC syrups I got in the Beard Bros Live Sesh gift bag that I took with me and was feeling pretty good. So good I forgot to eat and ended up getting a slice after 9p on my walk back to my hotel. I'm so glad cannabis doesn't make me feel sick and make bad decisions. I was in bed by 11p and woke up feeling just fine for day 2!

Day 2 had more of a focus on inventory and I attended sessions about managing inventory, choosing between centralized and store-level inventory management, how to deal with aging inventory, purchasing the right inventory using demand planning and how to position accessories alongside inventory and create a brand. I really enjoyed the discussions and learned a lot. Was especially impressed with the discussion with Taylor Stafford from CASA about demand planning with a sweet case study showing how they can help dispensaries purchase the right inventory at the right time. Also really enjoyed the energy between Dave Daily from GRAV and Luna Stower from Ispire who engaged with the audience and talked about selling accessories and branding while incorporating cannabis culture and staying true to the plant.

The conference concluded with a panel led by my friend, Solonje, on simplifying the retail shop's tech stack, which was a highlight for sure. Two retailers, two tech companies, breaking it down and discussing what is necessary and what is not. Randy from Pleasantrees has strong data standards which I respect and wants his budtenders to stop messing it up. Oh I feel that and I can help implement standards and software that works best for your needs. But also I think Randy has it pretty locked down! Gregg from Happy Valley is clearly so methodical and I can't wait until my next trip to MA to visit one of his shops. I wish I had a recording of him when he said that his advice to retailers deciding on tech is to make sure they have people on their side that know cannabis tech (I'm paraphrasing). After the panel I went up to him and said, that's what Grass Goddess Consulting does! He is clearly already surrounded by people that know and he is deeply involved in the space as well which I really respect.

The conference concluded and the group took a walk over to the beach to sesh. Coolers of hemp derived THC drinks and other consumption methods were on display in South Beach Miami.

The last thing I want to share is the theme Ian from Delta Emerald Ventures shared at the start and finish of the conference and that is cooperation. I will continue to be grateful to be part of this new, wild industry that throws us curveballs everyday. One of the main reasons I love it so much is because of cooperation. The real people in this industry work together. We don't feel that we have to compete. We do what's right, we work hard and we work together. Cannabis still has so much against it and cooperation is what's going to keep us fighting the good fight. Every single person at the conference I could see cooperating with, not competing, there's room for all of us and together we can reach greater heights!


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