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- EP 76: Cannabis and Product Placement Content Marketing Partnerships
- EP182: Legal Rules About Product Placement In The USA
- EP 97: Why Organic Product Placement Increases Brand Sales
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- Five Celebrities That Support Cannabis
- A Guide For Promoting Canadian Cannabis
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Transcript For This Episode:
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones, the founder of influencer marketing and branded content agency, Hollywood Branded. This podcast provides brand marketers a learning platform for topics for us to share their insights and knowledge on topics which make a direct impact on your business today. While it is impossible to be well versed on every topic and strategy that can improve bottom line results, my goal is to help you avoid making costly mistakes with time, energy or money, whether you’re doing a DIY approach or hiring an expert to help. Let’s begin today’s discussion.Announcer (00:31):
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them, here’s your host, Stacy Jones.Stacy Jones (00:36):
Welcome to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them. I’m Stacy Jones. I’m so happy to be here with you all today and I want to give a very warm welcome to Mike Pachan. Mike is the CEO of Mountain Made, a CBD and lifestyle brand out of Colorado and well as the founder of M Pachan Limited, a cannabis wholesale firm with over 65 million in product sales. For the last decade, Mike has been working in the cannabis and hemp space ranging from dispensaries to distribution centers to hemp product lines to creating for patient programs to help Colorado residents better understand cannabis therapy. Mike has led three successful startups and brought 12 products to market in both the hemp and cannabis spaces.Stacy Jones (01:14):
Today we’re going to talk about the hemp and cannabis industry can market themselves within the limited legal options available due to regulations. We’ll learn about works from Mike’s perspective, what should be avoided and how some people miss the mark. Mike, welcome. So happy to have you here today.MIke Pachan (01:28):
Yes Stacy, thank you so much for the great introduction. Looking forward to today’s conversation.Stacy Jones (01:35):
Of course, so I love starting off our podcast with what got you to here today. So you’re in an industry that used to be very illegal and it’s slowly become something, depending on your state, that is warmly embraced and other states that still don’t, but in Colorado you’re in a good place. Everyone loves you. Can you share with us what got you to where you’re here today where not only do you have brand lines, but you have a wholesale company and you’ve had massive success over the years.MIke Pachan (02:06):
Thank you so much, let’s jump right into it and it’s important to note because there’s probably so many up and coming entrepreneurs out there and folks looking to maybe branch out and do something of their own. I would agree with you, I’ve had some pretty good years. It’s important to note too I’ve had some pretty rough years as well. So in the realm of entrepreneurship, those bad years or those rough years has really gotten me to this point and that’s so important to note, especially in today’s realm with so much social media and how we can glaze over someone’s story and just get to that success, but if we reach way, way back, something I’ve always looked to do.MIke Pachan (02:55):
So when I was young growing up, a grandfather of mine had his own construction company, sold that to my uncle. It was always interesting to me to know that Uncle Vic made his own way and his own money and I always thought that was so cool. I entered the workforce when I was 15 years old and used to ride my bike down to a local greenhouse and it was owner operated as well and just saw how much passion he had for his own business. So since I’ve entered the workforce at 15 I’ve always made it a point to focus on working for small businesses. So when I literally tripped and fell into the cannabis space, not only did I see opportunity for small business, but the small industry.
MIke Pachan (03:41):
I’ve always been a little bit of a wild man, and back in my twenties I was a bit more wild than I am now in my late thirties, so it was a great fit. That fit for adventure, being wild, crazy, loving the small business and opportunity to really make it on your own all came together and melded into who I am today.
Stacy Jones (04:05):
Well it’s funny that you say that because of course when people think of cannabis and even hemp, they think that you have to be wild and crazy and very Wild West and that’s changed though in the last decade since you’ve been in this whole space.
MIke Pachan (04:19):
It has. Exactly, exactly. Nowadays it’s significantly more normalized. You’re seeing different people, different players, different companies get involved. For those of us that really paved the way and many people way before myself. So also too out of respect of the people who were doing it before. Legalization paved the way for someone like myself to start an illegal market 10 years ago. So thank you to those people who are even more wild than myself and some other people, but we had to get in and pave the way for normalization. So we had legalization and then we had to pave the way for normalization. 10 years ago from 2010 through probably ’14 to 2015, it was pretty common for friends and family to really coach me and tell me to get a real job and look down the line, what was I going to do with myself and this really can’t be real and in my gut as an entrepreneur I knew it was a little bit wild, a little edgy, a little risky, but my gut feeling said stick it out and it will really mature into a long term career path.
Stacy Jones (05:29):
It’s still an industry that’s maturing. Obviously with the fact that it’s not legal everywhere, there’s regulations in many places. That causes a lot of difficulties in trying to figure out how to make a brand and market it, right?
MIke Pachan (05:44):
Absolutely, and it’s heavily regulated and we can be thankful for that on one hand because it’s kept the Feds out. 2010 through 2013, there was less than 3000 of us employed in the legal medical cannabis space in Colorado. That’s not a whole lot of people to keep track of, to round up, to punish, to locate. So it was definitely risky because we were signing paperwork to get our licenses and our badges that went directly to the IRS and FBI. It was tough even just renting an apartment back then because they would Google and look at your social media profiles. We were getting our bank accounts shut down. So it was much, much different, but now it’s really came around and it’s blossoming into its own, but especially when you look at cannabis versus hemp.
MIke Pachan (06:44):
Cannabis still is slow motion as far as federalizing and state to state people bringing it in, I love that. Because that allows bigger gaps that need filled and a longer time to get in and find a program to fill those gaps. There’s a ton of opportunity left in cannabis and I’m hoping that maybe one person who’s listening to this gets some ideas stewing around because there’s plenty of opportunity. There’s states that are medical and say they won’t go rec. We can talk about that for a little while because it’s a joke, there’s no difference. But the opportunities are endless and you actually have more time to execute properly than a lot of folks allow themselves. Same with CBD and hemp, although it’s flooded right now. A lot of people are doing it wrong because they rushed to market rather than really sat back and took the time to learn the industry that they were entering.
Stacy Jones (07:42):
So when you’re talking about the CBD market, hemp market, the Farm Bill last year that was passed, that caused a lot of legalization and ability within that sector. That’s what has made hemp something now that you’re able to see in grocery stores, CVS, Walgreens, all these different places, but you’re right. It is absolutely flooded. We talk to so many different brands who are interested in leveraging pop culture with “How can we use music video artists? How can we use TV shows? Talk shows?” And it’s still an area that even though it’s legal, it’s hard to advertise in because the message hasn’t actually gotten out there yet that it truly is legal. So you have a lot of your traditional advertising opportunities that won’t allow it to happen still quite yet.
MIke Pachan (08:34):
It’s gray area legal. The Farm Bill passed, which really reduced the risk to ship CBD nationwide. People came to a handshake agreement as long as there was less than 0.3% active [inaudible 00:08:46]. CBD product, we’ll consider it legal but technically CBD is still not classified. So the FDA hasn’t stepped in and said, “Is it a drug? Is it a dietary supplement? Is it both?” So until that verbiage gets put down in legislation, the banks don’t get involved. If the banks aren’t involved, large advertising firms won’t touch it. So it’s gray area legal. It’s still maturing, same with cannabis. We’re protected by the constitution of Colorado, but that does nothing for us on a federal level. So bank accounts, loans, marketing, social media are still hands off to a lot of people, but for hungry entrepreneurs that’s where the risk brings reward and that’s why SCO companies that are stepping up and helping CBD and cannabis companies are doing really well.
MIke Pachan (09:45):
Packaging companies that have tailored lines towards child resistant containers for the cannabis space have been doing really well. So there’s people that are willing to get in in those ancillary senses and take a risk as well because technically they can get flagged too for even being ancillary help in the cannabis hemp space, but that risk is definitely bringing them a significant amount of reward.
Stacy Jones (10:11):
Even with the payroll protection program that the SBA and the federal government put out there, I know that you had to mark if you worked at all with cannabis brands. That was something you had to declare on that and that would actually eliminate your ability to get those federal funds.
MIke Pachan (10:29):
Stacy Jones (10:29):
So it is a lot of caution and concern for some companies out there still to work within this space.
MIke Pachan (10:36):
Absolutely, and that’s part of that risk reward. It’s one of those things where a year or two ago if you would have gotten in and started helping cannabis companies, you’d be like, “All right, I’m making out like a bandit,” and then something like COVID-19 happens and you have to apply for the PPP and all of a sudden that can create adherence to what you’re trying to do and you go, “Oh wow, the risk is real,” and those of us who have been doing this for a while understand that real risk when you get a letter back from an apartment or a mortgage or a bank loan and they say, “No, because we Googled your name and we know what you do,” the risk really sets in. But it’s just one of those things that if you really believe in it and you’re really passionate about the industries, you’ll find a way.
Stacy Jones (11:28):
Even large hemp and CBD companies know traceful amounts of cannabis, THC product in there, they’re still, they’re on the market. They are legal, but I know some of them still get flagged with their banks and they’re constantly trying to figure out how they can actually get paid by consumers from their online marketing. So it’s something that’s ongoing. It’ll be figured out because there’s money to be had and the government wants to have some of that money. So all of that will be figured out.
MIke Pachan (11:57):
Everyone wants some of the money, the banks, the government, all the ancillary work, Facebook would love our money. So it’s coming along. For me personally, what I’ve always done is really just block a lot of that out. We’ll look at what’s available, what the goal is, day to day, week to week, month to month with the companies, the brands and the products I work with and just push some of the noise away. People love to ask me, “What do you think about what’s going on in New York and Florida?” And if it’s not directly effecting my day to day or week to week, I just push it away. For me it’s what myself, my companies, my team members and my clients do on the day to day that will effect the outcome five, 10, 15 years down the road.
Stacy Jones (12:46):
So having been in this for the last decade, what are some of the ways you’ve been nimble about marketing? How have you gone about really a grass roots approach to growing your brand and the other brands you’ve worked with? What insights could you give to our listeners who are really interested in understanding what, not the limitations are in this space but what the opportunities are within the space?
MIke Pachan (13:10):
In cannabis especially, a lot of it is grass roots word on the street. Colorado’s a big state, but it’s a small fish bowl. If you have a good product and a good brand, the buzz and the word gets around pretty quickly. So I’ve always helped brands set up, first of all a great product. Gotten in helping them make tweaks to their products, created a strong brand message about it and then implemented strong sales and brand ambassador programs. In Colorado, they allow us to do what’s called pop ups. So if we’re a brand and Stacy you and I start a pre-roll company, Mike and Stacy’s Pre-Rolled Joints, we’re allowed to go onsite at a dispensary and run promotion and have someone from our team there promoting that product to the customers who come in to that dispensary.
MIke Pachan (14:10):
Now you and I as marketers will say, “Well that’s a no brainer.” You’d be surprised about how many brands do a really poor job at the pop ups. Their ambassadors will sit like this with their heads down, they don’t speak to anyone, they don’t engage. I’ve gone in and built teams to where you and I as a pre-roll company, we send them out in outfits. They go out dressed like a blunt, dressed like a joint. They high five, they hand out stickers, they talk the brand message, they include the buzz words that make us different and I sent a pre-roll from 700 units a month to 65000 a month in seven and a half months just by really being active in the field in front of the customers because we all have access to Facebook.
MIke Pachan (14:57):
We can’t go on the Facebook and say, “Every tourist from Texas that goes to Colorado yearly,” market them all through June. We don’t have that. So we have to be boots on the ground in the dispensary, at the strategic locations, in front of the in state people plus the out of state people and in front of the butt tenders which is the retail teams to promote the product and the brand and if you do that successfully and you get a really high octane, high energy team behind you, it’s pretty incredible to watch the rapid growth. Just from that boots on the ground, that’s stuff we’ve all grown up and seen in the grocery stores. We’re not reinventing the wheel, we’re just doing it better.
Stacy Jones (15:45):
Really what you’re talking about is making sure that these people who are your event marketers who are there, this level, are truly your brand ambassadors. They’re living, they’re breathing the culture of the brand. They’re demonstrating it through their dress, through their actions, how they’re interacting with people. Now do they have, with the retail locations, is that a point where they get overwhelmed with so many brands wanting to send out event activation teams or is it something still that not that many brands are doing where there’s a big opportunity?
MIke Pachan (16:20):
No, there’s plenty of opportunity in it. Like I say, I know I’ll go out and do the first couple of events or train team members and follow up on that team member and how well they did and it’s pretty incredible, the percentage, high percentage of the time where a manager from that retail location will say, “Man, those great team ambassadors who showed actually worked, actually do their job. Not just sit there on their cellphone.” What I tell people is their dispensary is seeing 100 people an hour. If you don’t walk out of that location in three hours and have them dangle and you’re sold out of products, you are not part of this team. You’re just not in it, and the other too, what I tell people is I’ve been in this 10 years. I own two small businesses, I do fairly fine for myself. I still go out and do these events because the incredible connection you can get from that vantage point as just an ambassador, interaction with three, four, 500 customers in three hours is invaluable.
MIke Pachan (17:22):
It’s invaluable. The reason I am what I am today is I was always, I’ve had five years as boots on the ground and some of the less desirable positions in the industry, learning about product, people, customers, effect, lingo, language, all of these things that it takes to be successful, especially an entrepreneur, it starts, it’s what some folks see as the lowest level. You should be blessed to be a brand ambassador because you have a connection to the consumer, to the consumer. It’s incredible. You can pay me a $1000 an hour and it would pale in comparison to the value you get spending three hours of your time in front of 300 customers.
Stacy Jones (18:11):
You’re literally the face of the brand at that point and you’re hearing all the positives and the negatives as well.
MIke Pachan (18:17):
And saying your pitch. “Hey, did you know our [inaudible 00:18:20] are made with full flower?” “Oh man, sweet. You guys [inaudible 00:18:24]?” “Nope, we do full flower pre-rolls.” “Oh, I love that. I didn’t even know that was out there.” You say that message 300 times in three hours and you keep a tally how many people didn’t know there was full flower in pre-rolls and all of a sudden you just grabbed the golden nugget and now you can go on Instagram and know how to market even better. Now you can show up on 15 sales calls the next week and speak a direct message that the industry is begging to hear because you invested the time as a boots on the ground just an ambassador, and now you actually know what to market. You’re taking a shotgun approach and you’re taking a rifle approach.
Stacy Jones (19:03):
Then even with edibles it’s something that you can demo as long as there’s not any cannabis in it. So you’re able to do onsite. I’ve seen that happen frequently where someone will have, “Here’s my blueberry whatever, has no THC, try it,” and you try it and you’re like, “Oh, it actually tastes quite good.”
MIke Pachan (19:19):
Right, it actually tastes good. Now in Colorado you cannot on the rec side, on medical you can and I know in other states they do allow the non-medicated test and I agree. Any of that stuff, just [inaudible 00:19:34], immerse someone into the brand and the brand message and the brand lifestyle. I’m telling you, it’s mandatory for the ambassador teams that I help, I want to see 99% of the people that walk through that door to get a high five and a sticker. You get one percent that have to go to the bathroom or to have two or three people walk in at the same time or to need a drink of water, whatever those little, but you better just hammer because it’s missed opportunity. Especially if you can’t just reach out and follow back up through traditional marketing methods.
Stacy Jones (20:11):
So what beyond doing in store event sampling opportunities and those one and ones, what are other options? What are other ways that you’re getting brands marketed today?
MIke Pachan (20:24):
Instagram and Facebook, while they allow you some limited access can be really helpful, co-marketing with dispensaries because a brand a lot of time doesn’t have as much pull as the dispensaries. So when you drop off product, announcing product drops and just moving that network around and leveraging the power of everyone’s social media, the industry has been super helpful. Connecting with the butt tenders, which is like a bartender except you’re selling cannabis behind the retail space. Connecting with them, getting them swag, connecting them with a strong brand message so they have fun, really powerful words to say when they’re interacting with the customer.
MIke Pachan (21:17):
We do a lot of stuff where every order we have team samples connected to it to immerse them the product lines. It’s just a vibe and a frequency and you just have to keep that momentum going as many pathways as possible. That’s a big part of cannabis in what we have to do.
Stacy Jones (21:42):
When you talked about [inaudible 00:21:43] marketing and you mentioned Instagram, do you work a lot with Instagram influencers where you’ll have them talking about the brand, incorporating or creating content? Are you finding issues there as well with regulations?
MIke Pachan (21:57):
We don’t a whole lot, at least the brands that I’ve helped. Again, we’re a little limited in cannabis. CBD is a different story because you have people nationwide. So you take the amount of influencers in Colorado, it used to be a bit bigger thing especially in the female influencer space. It was a big thing for a couple of years to have females take pictures themselves smoking either their flower or concentrate and talking about the brand. It’s since ran its course and it’s not as popular, but in CBD Mountain Made we have 25 sponsored athletes, we call them the Mountain Made Mob and they make a huge impact for the company and they each individually have a large following, but they’re also nationwide.
MIke Pachan (22:49):
They also can be out riding their downhill mountain bike or at the crossfit gym and hold up a bottle of CBD, where in Colorado if you take a product picture outside and that joint, that pre-roll is lit in a state park, you can get flagged for that. That’s illegal. You have to consume your cannabis at home. So the influencers in cannabis, it just depends on what program you’re looking for. It can be effective, but technically to date, outside of cookies, just hitting the Colorado market space, every single celebrity brand out here has failed save two, two.
Stacy Jones (23:27):
Really? All celebrity brands?
MIke Pachan (23:29):
Yeah, 311 tanked. Jimi Hendrix tanked. Cheech and Chong tanked. The Whoopie line tanked miserably. It was just really sad. Cookies is making a strong run, they’ll probably do really well. Willie’s had a really sad run for a while and they finally picked up steam, but they’re not a huge market player, but for the most part celebrity endorsed brands out here have just done really poorly.
Stacy Jones (23:58):
Is that because the celebrities themselves are using their name on a project and thinking that it’s going to sell? That whoever’s inventing the brand, they’re securing the celebrity and it’s, “Hey, we have your face,” and then nothing’s being done to support that or is it that these brands do have the celebrities all in promoting and talking about it and pushing or is there just a separation here-
MIke Pachan (24:22):
Stacy Jones (24:23):
… where it’s just face versus co-promotion?
MIke Pachan (24:28):
Even Snoop Dogg, that line did really poorly too. Snoop Dogg smokes weed and they launched a line of gummies, but I don’t get that. Why did Jimi Hendrix launch s’mores? What is the connection there? I don’t understand that. They were just trying to slap a name on a product. You see a lot of newbies in the industry get in and they don’t really get it and they’re telling themselves they do and they’re not humble enough to actually really sit down and listen to strong advisement and they pick really poor products, poor packaging. They don’t really understand the industry and what’s hot and they just fumble around and they think they’re just going to slap on this A list name and run away with the market.
MIke Pachan (25:12):
The Marley Brothers did really poorly out here too and then you get strong in state brands that know weed and know the process and know the language and really know what to do to create a strong showing in a somewhat saturated market and the celebrities have just never out competed the in state folk ever, ever.
Stacy Jones (25:39):
That’s great to say because I know with both CBD and with the hemp space and cannabis, we’re seeing so many different celebrities actively looking for partnership opportunities because they think it’s the coolest next great hot thing, easy money coming in, but with everything that you’re saying, that might be that the potential’s there, but if it’s not an authentic fit, if it’s not organic, if it’s off brand, it’s not actually going to fly.
MIke Pachan (26:10):
I love, you and I entered this conversation, it’s great because the [inaudible 00:26:15] was in my mind to bring out. Cannabis has a karma and energy to it where if you’re not authentic, it’s just going to eat you up and spit you out. I’ve seen so many people lose so much money quickly and they look back and you’re just like, “You were just never really in it to begin with. You just didn’t get it.” There’s nuances to this industry and to this product and to the market that if you just don’t get it, it just won’t come to you and that authenticity puts people off brand and they done even see it. They just don’t even see it.
Stacy Jones (26:55):
You mentioned you have 25 brand ambassadors for your brand of CBD=
MIke Pachan (27:00):
Stacy Jones (27:01):
… of your product line. What are you doing to incentivize them? Is it that you’re having put their logo on brand in different places? Is it that they’re doing social media posts for you? Is it that they are recording additional content for you to use and share? How are you leveraging these individuals?
MIke Pachan (27:25):
So a little bit of all of that. I’ll be honest, Mountain Made, I started the company in 2013 as a fitness brand, coached groups, fitness classes up through mid ’17 under the brand. Set it down to some of ’17 and into ’18 to focus energy into other areas. Regrouped a couple of partners and began relaunching it in ’18. This May was one year to market with our products. So we’re coming in to year two. Strategically we stayed underfunded. We’ve yet to take any invest up money and again we did that strategically because a lot of people run in, pull a ton of invest up money, spend a ton of money on inventory and a year later the market and the industry is totally different and they can’t pivot. They’re already too invested into that.
MIke Pachan (28:15):
So we’ve kept it light and nimble, so to date over the past year, we’ve offered our Monster Team entry level fee reimbursement for our professional athletes to enter competitions. We send them monthly allocation of CBD product. We send them company swag as we roll out swag and we ask for them to begin to build a community, to mention us in their feeds and their stories, to where the branded products when they’re out at the gym or at the bike race and then coming into year two and solidifying some bigger contracts with some bigger buyers, we’re really looking to leverage a lot of what they do and what they have a passion for.
MIke Pachan (29:06):
So our professional bike riders, we want to wrap the bikes. We want jerseys, we want helmets. In our professional volleyball player, we want her decked out in an outfit. We can really go big with vehicle wraps and flags at races and really, really enter the market strongly. So right now it’s a bit grass roots, but it’s been a fairly strong program. It’s been fairly effective and we also did just locate this really incredible SCO company that’s nothing but stoked to work with CBD and cannabis.
Stacy Jones (29:46):
That’s awesome. Now are you primarily driving your sales online or are you through retail fronts?
MIke Pachan (29:53):
So we have a mix obviously with the current situation in the country we focus more online. We love to sell online. There’s definitely value to the wholesale space as well, but CBD a year ago, it was right in the heart of being too saturated. The same products, the same white labeled junky product that consumers had gotten on the CBD hype, but then were asking themselves if they felt it, if it actually works. So now we’re in this reinventing of the marketplace and a lot of people that got into capital intensively have fallen out and there’s big gaps in the market right now for good product that work with strong messaging and that again is why we’ve taken our time to test the waters on what people are saying and what works and now that we’re rolling into year two it’s just invest heavily, invest heavily, invest heavily.
Stacy Jones (30:53):
When you’re going into stores, knocking on doors and trying to open opportunities for new retailers, do you find that having your brand ambassadors and saying this, we have a marketing program, helps set you apart from your competitors? Is it helping you get shelf space?
MIke Pachan (31:10):
Yeah, and we do it uniquely and authentically as well. There’s not a whole lot of CBD companies out there doing it exactly like Mountain Made is. Again, coming into year two we’d like to do some co-marketing with them, some different ideas to collaborate with them and get eyes looking at their space and feet walking through the door, and then again being able to leverage a budget with some of these athletes to show up on site. If we have an athlete in Iowa and we lay in a claim in Iowa, we’d love the athlete, to be able to pay the athlete to hang out for a couple of hours in the store and do that cross promotion and bring that attention to that athlete, to that Mobster to help grow their personal community as well. That’s a very important part to us.
Stacy Jones (32:01):
So what is additional advice you would have for listeners today who are thinking of or who are already within this space, either cannabis or hemp?
MIke Pachan (32:12):
For me it’s just all about hustle. Fall down seven, stand up eight, it’s not an easy space. What I do in wholesaling is chaotic to say the best. I’ll land a deal today and it’ll fall apart tomorrow and then I patch it up the next day and we all move on down the road. Focus on what you want to become professionally because every single day this industry is going to grind away at you like a gem. It’s got to tumble around before it shines bright and that tumbling is okay. You’ve just got to really stick it out and know that a week, a month, a year down the road you’re not going to be the same professional. You’ll probably be more polished and a better industry actor.
MIke Pachan (32:56):
So there’s a ton of opportunity to learn, you’ve just got to stay super humble and know that you’re not going to come out of the gate and just crush. There’s going to be a massive learning curve to getting it right.
Stacy Jones (33:09):
I love that metaphor that you’re using with being a gem that’s polished and you’re coming out even brighter and shinier and more valuable at the end of the day. That’s something that could apply to a lot of industries, including Hollywood by the way.
MIke Pachan (33:24):
Yeah, like that.
Stacy Jones (33:24):
We’re in it with you on that. Any other insights that you would want to share on ways you could approach marketing? Or mistakes not to make?
MIke Pachan (33:41):
Sure, mistakes are just throwing a bunch of cash into another person. I’ve worked with a brand that had an NFL football player and it just crashed hard. Put that money into yourself in the company and what you really, really, really stand for and build that authenticity first and then bring outsiders in and have that authenticity and that desire and passion for your company reflect out to them and have them carry that into the market. An outside person will never be as passionate about your project as you are and it’s got to start with you. It has to really come from you especially if you’re the owner operator and project outwards. Other people will not make your business, you’ll make the business.
Stacy Jones (34:35):
I 100% agree and what you’re touching on there also is make sure you build your story. Have your story of your brand, why you matter, how you’re differentiated and know it backwards and forwards, and like you suggested, going into the retail center and setting and actually being able to be an ambassador and listen to what people say that you can continue to fine tune that story before you start trying to have third parties, like influencers or celebrities become that voice. Because they’re not going to be able to share what that story is if you haven’t figured it out.
MIke Pachan (35:06):
Right, yeah. It will look fake, it will look false, it will looked pushed and you’ll just get blown right past. Someone will blow right past you with a more authentic brand message or a story or both. It’s a combination of the two, absolutely.
Stacy Jones (35:23):
I know a lot of the things we’re asked about when we’re talking to a TV show or a film or we’re talking with a music video or a music artist or celebrity or influencer, especially within the cannabis or hemp space, is what makes your brand different, and then do you have any case studies or medical studies that show proof that it’s not that you’re just one of these hemp products that is white labeled from the same line as 30 other hemp bottles and it’s all the same thing. What actually is the convincing reason why people should trust in your brand? And you have to have that prepared.
MIke Pachan (36:03):
Yeah, absolutely and again, there’s just so many people just jumped in and went, “Oh my gosh, I can run down to XYZ company and they’ll slap CBD oil in a [inaudible 00:36:13] bottle and I’ll put my label on it. Man, I can’t wait to buy my yacht,” and man did it just not work out for a lot of people. Still it’s get out there and put the proof in the pudding. My first five years in the cannabis space, I just went to work 80 hours a week and just hustled and observed and took notes. I got stacks of notebooks. I would write down what customers are saying, what brands are saying, what owners are doing, just collecting data. It took me five years of observation before I saw the niche in wholesaling that I wanted to get into and over those five years I’ve seen good brand, bad brand, mistakes on just a different layer and then now I’m applying that to my own brand in my own company.
MIke Pachan (36:57):
The best way you can get started in especially this space, is go get the lowest level job you can possibly get, even if it’s part time and just start putting in the work. Just start learning at a humble level and you’ll be blown away how much valuable information you can gather so quickly from scrubbing floors in a grow warehouse and talking to the grower for 30 minutes because they appreciate you cleaning their equipment for them and then five years later that conversation that you had about genetics allows you to wholesale at record levels because you paid attention and you didn’t see it as just a job. You saw it as an opportunity to learn and how many times I’ve monetized that base level work down the road, that’s a golden nugget. That’s it, that’s all of it.
Stacy Jones (37:52):
Well that’s why you’ve said, you opened up a wholesale company. So for people who are interested in getting involved in this space, you do offer a wholesale company. And you said that you have been able to secure over 65 million in sales of the product lines you’re working with.
MIke Pachan (38:10):
Yeah, yeah. So-
Stacy Jones (38:11):
So you obviously know something that you’re doing right.
MIke Pachan (38:15):
I know a little bit. This year I launched officially the M Pachan LTD business development line. So I’m taking on clients for advisement and I’d like to get with more companies and more products and just help them get the base building blocks to really sore forward and be successful because I’ve seen the errors, I’ve been part of winning and losing teams and 10 years of experience is valuable and I want to help people accelerate growth and get over those learning curves quickly. So mpachanltd.com and look into getting in to more of the advisory work this year because I love seeing small businesses become successful.
Stacy Jones (39:01):
All of that will be available in the show notes on this podcast on our home page at our website, so they’ll be able to contact you or visit your website as you just mentioned and then if they want to learn more about Mountain Made where do they go?
MIke Pachan (39:15):
Mountain Made and that’s M-A-D-E, like made in the mountains, not like cleaning the mountains, mountainmade.life. Mountainmade.life, started a fitness program in 2013, it’s all about the activated lifestyle. So folks that just like chasing down their passions in life. That could be gardening, walking your dog, cross fitting, downhill mountain biking, life coaching, it’s for passionate people, the activated lifestyle. We’ve got some great CBD products up there. They are very authentic. They’re unique to us. We have [inaudible 00:39:53] that will continue to expand in the coming years and we love building our community. So if anyone’s listening and wants to check us out, we love bringing in new people into our community.
Stacy Jones (40:04):
Awesome Mike, thank you so much for joining us today and all of your helpful advice.
MIke Pachan (40:08):
Absolutely, it’s my pleasure. Thanks for everyone’s time.
Stacy Jones (40:10):
Of course, and to all of our listeners, thank you for tuning in to Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them today. I look forward to chatting with you on our next podcast.
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