Kristina Etter   |   July 13, 2020

Data-Driven Marketing in a Virtual World

As cannabis retail expands its digital footprint, data-driven marketing becomes increasingly critical.
Before becoming a freelance cannabis journalist, Kristina Etter spent 20 years in corporate IT with a niche in mobile technology. Today, she combines her love of technology with a passion for the cannabis industry as the Editorial Content…

Scott Berman has an eye for numbers. Whether he’s collecting stats on the courts, as the head statistician for all Philadelphia 76ers home games, or collecting digital data about politics, health care, or cannabis consumption, Berman knows that in any industry, data is king.

While the pandemic has altered cannabis consumer’s buying habits, an increase in online ordering and delivery means retailers have a wealth of information available about their consumers.

This week, at MJ Unpacked – California, Berman is speaking on a panel regarding Strategies for Customer Acquisition Using Technology. Cannabis Tech talked to Berman about the event, investing in cannabis, and the recent boom in cannabis data.

Investing in Cannabis Technology

Partnering with David Friedman, as well as Ramie and Jordan Tritt, Berman and the team brought their collective experience together to form the Panther Opportunity Fund in 2017. Combined with previous endeavors, today, the company has 35 investments in all. Berman stated, “We may not have the biggest check, but we take active roles: board positions, consulting, mergers and acquisitions. We get involved in strategically helping a company grow.”

Understanding that complex commercial cannabis operations are often outside the wheelhouse of traditional cannabis growers, Berman recognizes that it takes real-world business intelligence to succeed in this industry. “We look for those companies who are run by those who have been successful in other industries,” he included.

Berman also added that complicated taxes and regulations require robust inventory tracking and point of sale systems. Factor in a pandemic, and the need for new ordering platforms, there is an open door for technology companies to develop solutions for the rapidly evolving industry.

In his latest venture, Berman is also involved in Institutional Cannabis Consultants, an advisory firm that helps institutions navigate the nascent but emerging cannabis industry.

Never a Better Time for Data Analysis

Berman pointed out that as legalization continues to expand across the nation, more people have access to cannabis. As more states come on board, new stores open, and competition grows. “Today, there’s more brands, more ways to consume, and an explosion of products, thanks to the technology advancements around growing and extracting,” Berman said.

Add in the impact of a global pandemic and an essential designation, and the cannabis industry had to adapt quickly to new rules. “So, now we have this world where there’s more of everything – ordering online, digital marketing, delivery services, and you almost have to [upgrade] or risk losing market share,” Berman added.

Where buyers once visited dispensaries and had a personal interaction with their budtenders, now technology solutions like fancy digital menus, online ordering, and kiosks often replace the personal shopping experience. However, as Berman points out, this means a plethora of consumer data is also ripe for the harvest. Dispensaries didn’t know much about their clientele before, but with digital orders and data, he said, “You know where I live, what I buy, and how much I spend, but how do we take that information and expand it?”

Embracing a Virtual World

Appropriately, Berman and a panel of experts will be discussing the future of customer acquisition using technology at the upcoming MJ Unpacked – California. With a diverse cross-section of the industry, Berman said, “we’re all trying to acquire customers in different ways, and everything has changed because of COVID.”

“So how do we market in the new world? How do we get new customers? Is it through social media or influencer marketing? How does a dispensary get more customers,” Berman asked?

He then suggested, “Take the results you’re getting today, look at who’s buying what, and where, and look at it from a data science perspective. 90% of brands don’t know about their customer – they only know sales.”

Berman said he anticipates the MJ Unpacked event to be a great success. Built off the successful relationships and connections of George & Kim Jage, Berman stated, “We like this so much because it’s brands and retailers that are serious buyers, with real buying power and big brands.”

Still Time to Register

Learn more from Scott Berman, and the panel of experts at MJ Unpacked on Wednesday, July 15th at 10:00 am PDT. Click the image below to register now!

 

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