March 27, 2024

The CannaBiz Success Show: Cannabis Marketing and Sales with Wendy Campbell

In this episode, Guillermo is joined by Wendy Campbell, VP of Sales at the premier cannabis event, MJ Unpacked. They discuss Wendy’s career path in the cannabis industry, the evolution of cannabis as a consumer packaged goods market, consumer behavior changes, and the significance of education and destigmatization. The conversation highlights the impact of regulation, the role of technology and data, and the importance of events like MJ Unpacked for industry networking. With MJ Unpacked approaching, Wendy offers tips for engaging at industry events and shares her vision for the future of the cannabis industry. Attending MJ Unpacked in April? Stop by booth 321 and check out Guillermo and the Virtual CFO team!

Check out the full transcript of the episode below.

Intro (00:00:00) – Welcome to the Cannabis Success Show. If you’re a cannabis company owner or operator who’s ready to scale your business, grow your profits, and plant the seeds to take your business to new heights. This show is for you. We’ll share expert insights, industry trends, and actionable strategies to help you blaze a trail of success in the cannabis industry.

Guillermo (00:00:25) – Well, welcome to the Cannabis Success Show. Today we’re talking about we’re going to get more into cannabis sales and marketing that side of the business. But really we’re talking about Wendy Campbell, Wendy, because we, we’re so thrilled when we saw that you we got you on the show., so everybody wants to know everything about you., you know, if you’ve been at a conference, I know I can speak for myself is like I try to track you down, but somebody’s always talking to you, so it’s just good to finally, capture you here.

Wendy (00:00:57) – I appreciate that it’s true. Nonstop. But those events.

Guillermo (00:01:02) – That’s your life. So, when you’re the sales director for MGM packed and we’re going to get into the conference itself, especially on the importance of, you know, relationships and staying connected in the industry and just more of the nuances around, the marketing.

Guillermo (00:01:20) – But before we get into that, can you just kind of tell us your background and how you got to where you are today in the cannabis world? Because many are new to the industry, but just looking at your background, you’ve really been around a long time. You’ve done a lot of different things, so we’d love to learn more about that.

Wendy (00:01:39) – Sure. I was introduced to the plant 30 or so years ago, and got in the distribution game in the unregulated illicit market., and, you know, I was the girl who got the tattoo in 1993, on my foot. So, when I got that corporate America job, I wouldn’t be judged for the tattoo. Right? And cannabis has been a part of my life ever since. But I did go that corporate route. Right. Fortune 50, fortune 500. Best in class startups and all. Mostly brands that were global brands. And so, I wore a marketing hat. I wore a sales hat. Whether it was brand marketing, product development, marketing, a combination of the things, sales, education, sales, leadership, sales, training.

Wendy (00:02:33) – And fast forward to moving to Seattle. Gosh, almost ten years ago now. And it was the first day of adult use sales in Seattle. Washing was the day that I drove into downtown Seattle, and that was a poignant place where my loved ones were like, you know, with your background you should really think about working in cannabis. And quite frankly, I was like, you know, how am I going to tell my parents that, I don’t know if it’s legit. Seems like there’s a gray area. So, I didn’t go that route. And about four year later, four years later, I should say, when we purchased our home, and we’re literally putting roots down, it was like, okay, I should probably get out of the house. I should probably go make some friends. I should get involved in community and a job at dope magazine came up. Now, this was 2018. I had a hard time explaining to my father that a publication, a printed publication in 2018 was a good idea, right? But…

Wendy (00:03:55) – And then let alone telling them that the company was Dope Media. Dope magazine. But I put on my MBA hat and shared with him the stats right of what the cannabis industry where it was, the trajectory of where it was going and that I would be a fool with my startup and emerging market industry experience not to get involved. So that’s when I started working at dope magazine in 2018 as their national sales director. And George, who is the one half of JD media, which is MJ unpacked, he had left MJ and he was hired dope to be the president and prep that company for sale and find an acquirer. And that’s when George hired me., so my first day in cannabis, I had lunch with Joe Hodas, who is now the CMO at Wana Brands, David Tran, who was one of the co-founders of dope magazine and now Fairchild Events, and George, he ran MJ biz and now MJ unpacked. So, I didn’t know who I was sitting down with that first day, but that’s kind of where it all came together.

Wendy (00:05:10) – And the next thing I know, George facilitated the High Times acquisition of dope magazine. So, boom boom, right into like probably the oldest global recognized cannabis brand. High Times is, you know, in that step one., so a long story, but hopefully it gives some color to everyone who’s listening to kind of understand how I got to where I am today, because then George and I just stayed in connection with each other, and everything led us to MJ Unpacked about four years ago.

Guillermo (00:05:42) – Yeah. And when was that you know, did you still have some doubts or did it all come together in this, in this meeting of the minds that, you know, you were headed in the right direction and where you wanted to be.

Wendy (00:05:54) – I realized very quickly back then and, and, you know, don’t quote me out there. People are listening. But I think at that time in 2018, in August, there were maybe 4 or 5 adult use states and maybe another 2 or 3 that were additional.

Wendy (00:06:13) – So wow, to where we are today, right? And really a short period of time. But what I realized at that point, dope magazine had been around for eight years, High Times forever, that they had a combination trifecta, if you will. They had consumers, they had brands and retailers, and they had ancillary supply side companies all wanting to participate. Readership, sponsorship, event activation. They were a hub for education, marketing and sales for the entire industry, including the consumer. And that to me, spelt smelled consumer packaged goods, and I didn’t, and that’s where I came from. So, I saw a real applicable utilization of my skill set into a product or an industry category that I was passionate about.

Guillermo (00:07:12) – Yeah. So, you’ve been in the in the really corporate develop-matured CPG type of market. And now you’re in an emerging. And that was in 2018. And I think even today we’re talking about cannabis being a becoming a CPG market. I don’t know how you see that, but I hear that all the time.

Guillermo (00:07:36) – And yes, to some degree, it’s true. Right? We don’t have the standardization and the sophistication quite yet, but so we can get into that. But first just for, for listeners, I mean there’s some that are very familiar on what is a true CPG market, but can you just define like when you say CPG market? What is that? How do you define a CPG market. And then we’ll get into like how cannabis is getting there.

Wendy (00:08:01) – Yeah, we’ll keep it simple right cause consumer packaged good. Something that is packaged and put on a shelf available to the consumer. Typically, the end point is at a retail location. Of course there’s direct to consumer Right, which is not brick and mortar, but it’s an e-commerce., but anything that that is packaged as a finished good put on a shelf, and then sold to a consumer, usually through a retailer or a brand directly from that brand to the consumer.

Guillermo (00:08:39) – Yeah. And so, when we say that, you know, cannabis is headed there, what do we really mean when we say that, like, cannabis is maturing, and we’re headed towards more of a CPG industry.

Guillermo (00:08:54) – Do you agree with that or like, how can I have you seen that evolution?

Wendy (00:08:59) – Yeah. No, I mean, well, because I’m a flower girl, right? Back in 30 years ago, if you got your hands on some flower and if you’re lucky, when the hash guy came around. But that was about all you had, right? So, I remember when I started working at dope the Kids, my team showed me a video of flowers being compressed with a hot plate and then all the juices running out. I had no, I literally I think they had to pick my drawer up off the floor. So, the evolution of the product types, right. The product categories., and then. Applying those products and product types to a consumer, and then marketing to that consumer persona and really creating niche opportunities by category, by product category and by consumer type is where that evolution is moving. It’s going to happen. We are going to have federal legalization. We are going to have interstate commerce.

Wendy (00:09:59) – I’m not holding my breath and I’m not predicting to win. That’s going to be, but when that does happen, it’ll feel more like mainstream CPG. And the big guys we hear about the food, you know, tobacco, pharmaceutical and big alcohol, the others that are going to be our big box retailers and big, big box brands. Right, so there’s really for them to come into the space and they’re already here or on the outside looking in very closely. So, I think, there’s every state currently has brands. They have finished goods that go on a shelf that go to the retailer for the consumer to buy. But I don’t believe there’s a lot of niche consumer persona marketing yet, because if you build it, they will come. Right, and as we see the evolution of the industry and the road map for those long-standing markets that are older, more saturated, tired versus a new and emerging state, or even a collective regional space for those. It’s a different mindset.

Wendy (00:11:14) – It’s a different game play. So eventually they’re all going to go through that evolution. And that’s where we’re going to shake out those who have created the right marketing mix to work with the retailers and the distributors to get to that end user consumer, and they focus on B2B marketing and B to C marketing big. Two big components of the CPG world are those two different types of conversation, the B2B and B2C. So it’s coming, and there’ll be some that would argue that it’s a wellness product and not a CPG product, but there are many wellness products that are CPG. So…

Guillermo (00:11:54) – Yeah. You mentioned policy there. Right. Like the policy is going to help because standardization is a is a big part of it of a CPG industry. Right. And so interstate commerce will play a big role in that. But I know that you work with coaching individual clients. Do you think there’s also a big opportunity for, you know, individual brands operators to move into, more of this kind of like this niche side moving away from the flyer categories.

Guillermo (00:12:27) – There’s more opportunity. I think before we were talking on the show is, we were talking about the form factors. And, you know, you’ve had clients that have been successful in certain categories, but there still got to be a large portion of operators out there that aren’t really operating at optimal capacity, right? When it comes to product mix and pushing the other categories and really getting to know those consumers, would you is that kind of what you’ve seen?

Wendy (00:12:59) – Yeah. The sophistication level is different everywhere, right? And I also want to highlight efficiencies of scale and operations. So, when that legal industry and interstate commerce happens will be more mainstream CPG, because there’ll be flower coming from a certain region of the country that’s able to provide the supply and demand. Right, distribution hubs throughout the country, not in each state manufacturing will happen in certain parts of the country, not in each state for these brands. So, they have a lot of things that they’ll be able to streamline their operations, which should give them additional cash, which would should allow them to level up from a sophistication standpoint.

Wendy (00:13:43) – And I think some are going to end at the end of the day. If you’re getting into cannabis now as a brand or a retailer, what are you here for? You’re either here, because you have an exit strategy and you want to become the biggest or the most respected with the best product line, or the best customer service or the best real estate locations, so that when. Big money comes in, and those four categories of mainstream CPG come in that you’re the company. They see that they want to acquire you and you get to walk away. The other piece is you’re looking to be a product that they want to onboard into their product platform, right? Their product portfolio. And you walk away or you’re looking to be that standout brand or that standout retailer that is craft, if you will. You know, as like we’ve seen in the alcohol with beer, and you’ll have your niche and your footprint in a specific state or a specific region or with a specific type of consumer.

Wendy (00:14:54) – Right. That is looking for that craft. Local regional solvent lists, sun and Earth grown. Right. This is where we start getting into more of the I shop at Whole Foods, or I shop at Walmart for my groceries.

Guillermo (00:15:11) – Yeah, I’m trying to identify with that. And so, there’s, there’s those few, kind of categories that we’re talking about what about like what do you see in terms of the consumer changing, you know, because those are all the things that could help move towards, more CPG type industry. But, how do you see consumer shifting? Do you see that as like, more dramatic? Because you got to get ahead of that to be successful. Right. And how the consumer behavior might change preferences, do you see a more consumer shopping outside of the flower category? I know it’s just going to continue to shrink in terms of overall revenue, it’s just what we’re seeing in the trend. But, would you predict a very dramatic shift in consumers or a big inflow of new cannabis consumers over the next five years, particularly if we see a complete D scheduling way far in the future, who knows when?

Wendy (00:16:14) – Yeah, that’s a good question.

Wendy (00:16:16) – I don’t know about my answer. My prediction, radar, but what I think we’ll see is what we continue what we see today. And that is when a new market opens up. Medicinal. You see spikes in that, right? Consumers can finally go someplace that’s safe, convenient, easy. Not in the back alley or in, you know, a dark circle somewhere., and then. There is that can a curious customer who they may have smoked a joint 20 years ago in college, they haven’t touched it since, or their parents or even themselves have been, you know, taking medication, a pharmaceutical for X number of years for X problem. And it’s no longer working for them and they’re looking for an alternative solution. Their parents have cancer. And they you know; they’ve read things and now they want to introduce this product to their family member or themselves for utilization. So that’s going to bring the can of curious in and. De stigmatization. Right. That you don’t have to worry about your boss or your company finding out that you utilize cannabis, whether it’s for recreational adult use purposes or for medicinal purposes, so that federal legalization is going to remove that stigma and it is going to drive consumers.

Wendy (00:17:42) – Into retail stores. But I also think the retail stores are going to expand or who they are. And it won’t just be the dispensary right, it’ll be anywhere in everywhere where you can buy a CPG product on the shelf as a consumer is going to start out maybe with a small footprint or store within a store, if you will, destination within their store. Similar to like you find the natural products aisle in a store, right? You’re going to find the cannabis products aisle in a store. And that’s where we’re going to really start to see that adoption of the normalization of what cannabis is. Now, I don’t know the length of time that it’s going to take to that even when the light switch changes over to federal legalization. But yeah, the consumerism is going to adapt to that, and it will happen naturally. And then just like everybody CPG, you’ll be fighting for the attention of that consumer, right? Is it the Coke or is it the Pepsi? Is it the smart, you know, chocolate covered candies or is it M&Ms? And you’ll have that good, better, best kind of product differentiation.

Wendy (00:18:57) – Versus what we see now where, you know, THC often leads, you know, get the most THC for your dollar. But we’re going to have more refined consumer with the continued education of the difference between the distillate or rosin or resin, etc. So, the big piece about all that, honestly, is education.

Guillermo (00:19:22) – Oh, yeah. Yeah. And I think we have a lot of, a lot of work to do on that. And even for the, the operators themselves, like I, I walked into it, I always tell the story like I walked into a store and this was here in Texas. It’s obviously like an unlicensed store. And the the kid was just like, this is good stuff. It’s really high THC. And I was like, well, you obviously don’t know me as a consumer, and that just really may work for a certain demographic, to just try to sell someone on high THC, but that’s, that’s really not the path to, to grow your business or be more profitable long term.

Wendy (00:19:57) – What is the effect? Right? That’s a good question. What is the effect you’re after?

Guillermo (00:20:02) – How do you know he wouldn’t have been able to tell me or educate me or talk more on that, right. He was saying it works good. He might have said something like that. Right? But, we have a lot of work to do on on d stigmatization. And, you know, for some listening, it may be obvious, right? Why is cannabis, wellness? Many people still don’t see it that way., was there a point you have a long history with the plant? You may have not seen it as well, and it’s at the very beginning, but when was the point in in your journey where you start to see cannabis more as a, as a wellness or as medicine? Yeah, perhaps.

Wendy (00:20:43) – Great question. Because I, I will say every day, all day that I am a recreational user. That’s how I got started with cannabis., and I didn’t know it at the time.

Wendy (00:20:55) – And honestly, it probably was I know it was at least 20 plus years of using cannabis before I could say, oh, you know, what I do there are true, like, verbally say there are medicinal benefits to cannabis and I benefit from those. You know, I was utilizing cannabis when I was recreation, but if I wasn’t sick and I wasn’t feeling well, I was sad or I was discouraged, I was also turning to cannabis. And at that, in those instances, I may have been using it as recreational, but I was also bidding, fighting from the medicinal side and not truly being able to verbalize it. So, it took a very long time for me to realize like, oh gosh, there’s a reason why this plant is good morning, noon or night., and then I think just as a consumer or as a user, what do you do? How do you function? And I have to separate myself. And so, it still lives on that recreational user for me.

Wendy (00:22:04) – But, if I’ve got a lot going on and I need to, like, take it a notch down to just be able to focus, then I know that I can take a five milligram mint Mister Moxie’s mint sitting here on my desk, and that just kind of chills me out a little bit, right? For another user, they might need, you know, 50mg. So and that’s where again, we’ll see that product shift over and proliferation to certain types of consumers over time, because they will have a need for different product category or a different mix of the product. 

Guillermo (00:22:42) – Yeah. It’s absolutely like a journey and getting to know that, because not everybody has the experience that you have to know exactly what they need, and especially if there’s not the access, you know, there’s so many people that are trying, you know, products when they’re visiting a, you know, when they go to Las Vegas or when they’re at a conference or something like that. And so that’s why I just think it’s so important to have the access so someone can start, you know, that journey of really learning, understanding what their relationship to the plant is.

Guillermo (00:23:14) – And yeah, I always share, you know, my story where I think I asked for a strain that would help me focus it. I ended up not reading it correctly. It was something for relaxing. And so I got home and it just like I could move and, but I think that helped me, like in my relationship to the plant and understanding that it was almost like the plant knew what I needed at the time. And I did really need a lot of rest. And so, I think there’s that kind of more also, spiritual, like just relationship with the plant that there’s just a, there’s just a connection there and that, that people learn over time. And it doesn’t happen quickly. And there’s like a lot of education that needs to happen so people can have a good experience and to learn from it and to really use it as a. Well, that’s the thing. Medicine.

Wendy (00:24:03) – Yeah. No. It’s true back in the day, I was benefiting from it, and it was giving me what I needed.

Wendy (00:24:11) – She worded that quite well. And the worst thing that can happen for us as an industry. Is if people are not buying because we have the opportunity right in these regulated states where you can buy regulated products, that’s a good thing. Right? I bought my weed from Sunshine in Central Park because he said, you know, I got I have weed, you can buy it for me, but I don’t need to go to him anymore. I can buy from folks, businesses, products, retailers that have this regulatory piece involved that makes me feel safe and then but where I was going with that is that touchpoint with the consumer and educating them. What the product can do is either going to keep someone as a cannabis consumer and sharing it with their friends and their family and their network about how it works and what it does for them, which is what we want and need, right on the whole as a society., or they’re going to have a bad experience and either tell nobody or tell everybody, but maybe never go back to that retailer, right? Or go back to cannabis.

Wendy (00:25:24) – So education going slow. You know, it’s I don’t think we’ll ever stop that educational piece to keep consumers aware and smart about what.

Guillermo (00:25:36) – And how do you how do you bridge that, that gap in the work that you do? Because brands are sometimes disconnected from the retail level, right? They don’t quite always know the very end, sometimes how the product is selling at the retail level, it takes time for that information to get back to them or the experiences that consumers are having. And so, what is the best way for brands to really connect to, to the consumer when they may not have control over, you know, how the bud tender is interacting with the end consumer? Is there any tips on how brands can get the feedback but also ensure that that their products are getting to the right people, the right demographics?

Wendy (00:26:21) – Yeah, that’s a good question. And I would yeah. I will be cautious because I have the opportunity to work with countless brands nationwide, single state and multi-state and ancillary service providers that have a technology or product or something they provide to a brand, to a retailer to be able to maximize that relationship, all the way.

Wendy (00:26:50) – And we call them around here at MJ Unpacked. The brands and the retailers we like to say are the heroes in the journey. They are the last touchpoint to that consumer. So, they carry all the weight, right? All the pressure of how’s that end user consumer going to feel? But they also have to have that relationship. So that’s one of the things about MGM packed are bringing those licensed operators and the best-in-class ancillary providers together because it’s a trifecta, if you will, right, of the ecosystem that. How was your relationship with that, that buyer? What technologies are you utilizing to capture the data? I mean, I’ve seen some pretty amazing stuff in the pipe that supports bond tenders, supports the consumer, supports the brand, the retailer AI transactional, AI picking up everything that’s being said and not necessarily attaching it to any particular human but an interaction. And then what can be learned from that data in those interactions to how better supply education to the consumer, or how better as a brand supply information to the retailer? The Bud tender.

Wendy (00:28:08) – There’s so many touch points that benefit from open conversation, dialogue and utilization of technology, touch points and data., and that takes all of them, working in sync. And I think it’s about picking the right choice for where you are in that ecosystem., so, I mean, that’s a that’s a…

Guillermo (00:28:31) – Yeah, I think you aren’t. Yeah. And I think you answered it in that there’s in a sense there’s a lot of technology. AI has to be a big part of it, today. But there’s no shortcut to relationships. Right. And that’s, that’s, that’s a big, important piece of it to connect the brand and retailer. And I think that’s a great segue into what you do with MJ unpacked. Right. And so, MJ’s been a great conference and a unique conference. And in that it really puts all the right people in a small room. Right, and I say small because for a conference, it’s, it’s a good size, but it’s not so argenteous that you get lost.

Guillermo (00:29:14) – And it’s also, I think all the decision makers are in 1 in 1 room, right in a great mix of people. So can you talk a little bit about MJ’s impact and what makes it unique from a conference standpoint and how you connect people?

Wendy (00:29:30) – Sure. Yeah. I mean, you did a great job. So, thanks for that setup with, you know, how you kind of see who we are and what we do. Impact is intimate for sure, and we’re always going to focus on the quality over the quantity. And we have our unique value proposition, which is we are the first and only national event in the cannabis industry that caters to the specific needs and some would call it an exclusivity to licensed operators that CPG brand, light asset model included. Right., a retailer, a vertical distributor delivery service we’ve added in, science and research professionals and accredited investors. And then we bring select best in class ancillary companies that provide services, technology products to those categories of business type.

Wendy (00:30:37) – And we qualify, so that there’s no other event doing that on the scale that we do it nationally in cannabis. So, by doing so, we’ve got to the point where if you’re not a manager or above from a licensed operator or an investment piece, you can’t buy a ticket, you can’t come in the front door and walk the show floor. Right? You need to qualify in one of those categories as a manager or above. We’re now at 61% of that intimate audience in that room that you can navigate. That’s not gigantic and overwhelming our C-suite executives. So, they’re decision makers with purchasing power that are there to move not only their businesses forward, but the industry forward. So, there’s, you know, the feedback we get is it’s a very curated audience. Every conversation has legs. And that is, you know, it’s really hard. I mean, how do you meet your next best client? Right? How long did it take for you and I to meet?

Wendy (00:31:45) – If we can.

Wendy (00:31:46) – Remove the number of steps it takes for cannabis companies to do, to meet, to spark that connection and create that environment where it’s comfortable, and it’s happening.

Wendy (00:32:01) – That’s what we want to do, because we know how many steps it takes to meet our clients. So eliminate the steps. Bring the right people into the room so they can have the right conversations that can lead to potentially a collaboration or a transactional revenue, you know, on on either side or both sides is. Where we are with the industry and, you know, CPG. If you look at mainstream CPG, the biggest events and any industry food, gift, toy, game, electronics, fashion are about brands and retailers., so we’re that of the cannabis industry.

Guillermo (00:32:39) – And I can tell you, like we we attended the last year and it’s not a, it’s not a small room, but it’s a, it is a room. It’s just you know, common sense the more reasonable the space is where people can actually bump into each other. The more conversations you’re going to have. And that does happen. But there are folks out there that are that are new to attending these kinds of things.

Guillermo (00:33:00) – I mean, not the C-suite level executives that you mentioned, but there’s a there’s still a wide range of folks that want to know how to best be successful at the conference. You know, what would you say is the best way to engage once you are at MJ Unpacked? I mean, there’s great., I want to say the topics are great and there’s a lot of talks and I think we’re talking about the right things, but also want to balance that time between learning and then making the connections. Right. Because after all, we’re all there to connect. And what’s the best way for those who attend the conference to make sure that they’re getting the most out of it and connecting with the right people? How to best approach attending the conference?

Wendy (00:33:44) – Yeah, it’s a class in itself, right? It is, certainly there’s technique and strategy, because you want to optimize and maximize the time that you have and get that return on investment, return on the opportunity and even return on the experience.

Wendy (00:34:00) – So number one, be your authentic self. Right. I think that we’re still very lucky in the cannabis industry that relationships matter. And I want to know who you are. And like, we’re talking today, you know, when we got started with this. Before I decide if I like you, if I’m going to trust you, and I’m going to do business with you. So that’s still very much a part of the community feeling of the industry is be your authentic self. Map out who you’re there to see. It’s on our website, right. It’s in the, programming that we provide, figure out who you want to meet and then strategize that you’re going to meet them., and whether it’s visiting their booth or finding them in one of our, you know, comfortable seating areas that we have, or seeing them speak on the stage or joining a networking lunch or our opening night mixer or being at the after party, you know, all those touchpoints are where you’re going to be able to have those conversations that you need, prepare what you’re going to say authentically, right?

Wendy (00:35:10) – Have that 32nd to three-minute pitch of who you are and what and why you’re in the cannabis space, and why you’re at MJ Unpacked, what you’re looking to accomplish. One of my favorite questions that I was asked, and I’ve actually put it in my toolboxes. When you meet someone at a trade event and you’re talking to them, simply ask, how can I help you while you’re here? How can I help you while you’re here? Well, gee, that’s a big one. Like just that kindness and all. This entity goes a long way.

Guillermo (00:35:54) – And I’m going to take that one. That that is a great one. I mean, it could be. Can I help you? Because can I be can I help you find a local restaurant? You know, if you’re from, you know, the city, there’s so much you can do to help someone. I completely agree with that.

Wendy (00:36:09) – Yeah. And that’s where you build relationship, right?

Wendy (00:36:13) – And oftentimes the response to that is, oh, you’re so kind. Thank you. How can I help you? So then someone wants to help you too. So, scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours and then I think the other piece of it is the follow up. It’s in the details, you know, making sure that you follow up promptly, that you recall what the conversation was about, that you, you basically, do what you said you were going to do and, talking kind of about that sophistication level of the cannabis industry. There are expert networkers, there are expert follow uppers. Combine the two. And you’re ahead of the game. Right? And I think that, that’s the piece is executing on site, knowing who you want to talk to, be your authentic self., ask people how you can help them and then make sure that you’re executing on the follow up. And, you know, here’s the other thing. It’s okay to go to an event by yourself.

Wendy (00:37:19) – And if you notice yourself hanging around with the same people all day. Change it up. Shift your latitude. Right find. I think that’s the other thing about the cannabis industry is it’s very welcoming and inviting from a community piece. So, dare yourself to go to a different group of people that you haven’t talked to since you’ve been at the event, and just introduce yourself and see where that goes.

Guillermo (00:37:45) – Yeah, absolutely. Like I love where you start with it is that, you know, just in business general, you lead with the energy. Right. And people can sense the energy that you’re there for service. Right. You’re there to serve others. You know, from a business standpoint., and the other thing that I’ve found is clarity, right? You know, in those maybe five minutes, it’s like, why are you here? Well, we’re here to meet a vendor or we’re here to talk, share about our brand.

Guillermo (00:38:18) – And we’re hoping to make this connection and then understanding that, the whole conversation doesn’t have to happen there. There’s that what you mentioned, it’s you’re going to need the follow up and to schedule the follow up, the follow up meeting, once you get back and can have more of a 30 minute, hour long conversation, if you if you feel like that connection is something you want to pursue. And so those are those are some great, great tips., and so we’re getting close to the to the end here. I promised I’d, I’d have you out in 30 minutes., when is MJ unpacked and when do people need to, register because there’s a bit of a lead time, right, to get to the conference.

Wendy (00:39:06) – Yes. Appreciate that. MJ unpacked, April 9th, ten and 11, Atlantic City, new Jersey, at the hard Rock hotel. And currently, if you are, if you are a retailer or a vertical right with a retail operation, registration is zero cost.

Wendy (00:39:29) – You can get an Expo pass for zero cost, but by the time this actually launches, that will not be true. So that’ll be the last year. So erase that. But retailers get in either free of charge or for 99 or $199. So it’s very affordable. Brands distributors also very affordable price We do take registration on site. Remember you’re going to have that qualification process. So, if you show up on site and you register on site you might have to wait. So, we do mail badges out to you. So, if you get registered early and you can get your badge mailed to you, go through that qualification process at home or at work and not have to stand in line and then get your badge in the mail and walk right into the event.

Guillermo (00:40:21) – All right. And, this is always going to be my wrap up question in 2024. But if you have your ideal scenario of what’s going to happen this year from a policy standpoint, you know, what do you hope to see for the industry in 2024? What kind of big things are you hoping for?

Wendy (00:40:44) – Well, I do hope that more states, either become medicinal or adult use.

Wendy (00:40:49) – I see some of that happening and, in the works, the more the better we’ll get there somehow, on a national level., there’s the big question of scheduling versus rescheduling. We both are good for the industry. I don’t know that either are going to happen this year, but one can hope and. The you know, it’s a growth industry. And we’ve been kind of going through the pain of a growth industry for the better part of 18 to 24 months., so I hope we get through the last 18 months relatively soon with this year being 12 of those months. So, we kind of see this cannabis 3.0, right, that people talk about., and mergers and acquisitions are a good thing and a growth industry, and that’s what’s going to happen., and we’re already seeing that we’re going to see a lot more of that in 2024.

Guillermo (00:41:42) – Yeah. The benefit being a little more scale, right? Sophistication and moving towards some of the things we talked about, you know, earlier in the conversation about, CPG.

Guillermo (00:41:54) – And so, yeah, we’ve talked a lot., I think our listeners are really going to benefit from this., there’s there’s so much we can we can talk on on sales and marketing, but I really think the punch line was the relationships, that we talked about and how to connect with people. And then you even shared some tips on, you know, how to be successful, that in person in a conference, because we’re moving more and more into a virtual world. I think, you know, we’re a Virtual CFO, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t connect in person. And we see each other often., and same thing in the cannabis space. A lot of virtual work going on, but it’s still so important to make those in-person connections. And I think that’s what in MJ Unpacked is all about. And so, Wendy, I think you’re a great connector and doing just a lot of good things for the industry. So, I thank you for your work.

Wendy (00:42:50) – Oh, you’re so kind.

Wendy (00:42:51) – Thank you. And when you’re at MJ Unpacked, whether it’s you, Guillermo, or anybody listening, if you need help and you want to meet somebody and you see Wendy, let me know, right? I’m there to help you spark those relationships. I’d be happy to do it.

Guillermo (00:43:06) – That’s if Wendy’s not if you can track tracker down I would say. And Wendy, where can people connect with you or find out more about what you do? What’s the best way to find you?

Wendy (00:43:23) – Yeah. Wendy Campbell, LinkedIn. You can schedule time to meet with me right there. You can direct message me, and our website, if you if you hit any button on there, it’s going to end up in my inbox. So, learn about MJ Unpacked and contact Wendy that way.

Guillermo (00:43:43) – All right. Well, it’s been a great, episode, and, the industry has just been challenging, you know, over the years. And so, success is possible.

Guillermo (00:43:53) – Connecting is a big part of that., Wendy, what you’ve done is, is a success story. And so I’m glad, I appreciate you sharing your journey, your career with us. And we’re here to help other people find their own success. And so, I think sharing what you shared with us today is a big part of that., I just want to thank everyone for joining us today, and we’ll see you next time on the Cannabis Success Show.

Wendy (00:44:19) – Thank you.

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