At Foottraffik, the cannabis revolution starts with rebranding the industry as an innovative space for future-minded professionals. Foottraffik is an-ROI focused cannabis dispensary marketing agency based in San Francisco.
Foottraffik CEO Guillermo Bravo is a revolutionary first, and a cannabis marketer second. Foottraffik experts are working remotely from the West Coast to the East Coast, focused on content marketing, media buying, public relations, search engine optimization and social media.
The Sonoma, CA, native’s entry to the cannabis industry was right here on Cashinbis, which Bravo co-founded in 2014, as one of the first B2B publications for the nascent industry. He started by “interviewing CEOs, innovators, entrepreneurs – the movers and shakers in the industry,” he says.
Bravo spoke with Cashinbis about Foottraffik’s priorities in rebranding the cannabis industry.
Cashinbis: What’s your biggest takeaway from media involvement in the cannabis industry?
Guillermo Bravo: “From interviewing leaders you get to see how diverse the landscape is. This is controversial, but I’ll say it — you’re dealing with former drug dealers all the way up to venture capitalists. They’re passionate about the plant, whether they’re activists or investors. Everyone comes from a different background.”
you’re dealing with former drug dealers all the way up to venture capitalists
“It’s an exciting place to be. This is a once-in-a-generation movement, like prohibition. There are opportunities to get rich and build empires.”
What’s important to people who are looking for a dispensary?
“The product, price, location, and user experience: Do they have live menus and a welcoming environment? Are the budtenders educated? Are there short lines?
“Harvest in San Francisco has two stores that offer events like dabbing, and ‘bud & breakfast’ events that create a sense of community. There’s an abundance of dispensaries in San Francisco, and you tend to find where you’re comfortable and stick to that.”
What are the advantages of hiring a dispensary-focused marketing company?
“We are on the front lines. We have dedicated the last two years to learn the unique business practices, challenges, goals, legislation, and advertising limitations of dispensaries. For example, in any marketing efforts, don’t market to the stoners. Alcohol companies don’t market to alcoholics. Stoners are only 10 percent of potential customers. If you’re putting that in your brand, you’ll be missing out on the soccer moms, baby boomers, young professionals, etc. Not to mention, baby boomers spend three times as much money.”
How is mainstream culture getting the cannabis industry’s image wrong?
“It’s changing slowly. But Netflix with that new show Disjointed and other media companies are doing a disservice to the industry. Shows like Disjointed downplay the industry to present an unprofessional image, but if you go into a real dispensary, they are on point.
Sixty five percent of the public approve of medical marijuana. The culture is changing much faster than the politics.”
How can we contribute to a new image as an industry?
“When designing products and apparel, we need to grow up. A great example is the PAX Era vape pen; it’s small, sexy, discreet and efficient. It’s moving the industry forward and normalizing cannabis to be part of everyday life. You don’t have to smoke to get high. I use CBD for overall wellness. Like wine, you have lifestyle products and can find products that fit into your lifestyle.
Are companies still facing issues with having their social media accounts shut down?
“Yes, that’s going to be an issue until federal decriminalization. Social media organizations are public companies and cannot promote the sale or use of recreational drugs. In some cases, it’s not even companies like Facebook or Twitter shutting it down; it’s the competition reporting other cannabis businesses. If the competition sees a successful dispensary marketing campaign, they’re going to report it, so we have people within the industry reporting each other.
Then you have the catfishers — people creating a fake profile and threatening customers and abusing them verbally. We’re facing many challenges now that won’t go away.”
Where do dispensaries need to focus their marketing strategy?
“These are my three priorities:
- Customer database
You own these three. You can generate new customers using social media, but social media can get shut down anytime. For this point, it’s your responsibility as a dispensary owner to capture the customer’s information: phone number, email, and name.
If you have 3,000 people using search engines to request for directions to your store, at an average order value of $30, we can assume you’re generating $90,000 in revenue from this avenue alone. If you’re not investing in SEO you’ll get left behind, sayonara. As a starting point, we wrote a 60-page dispensary marketing eBook to help stores learn the basics of digital marketing, and take action.”
What’s in the future for Foottraffik?
“We’ll be at MJ Biz Con this week. We built a team of experts — the best in the industry — and we’re planning to provide educational resources to dispensaries, and expand nationwide. Our home base is in San Francisco, but we already opened new offices in San Diego and Seattle. I’m excited about the market to unfold here. California is the catalyst for the cannabis movement, and by 2020 we’ll see Texas and the international market grow exponentially.”