This week’s Trailblazer is Danya Dixon, CEO of O’Cannabiz, the producers of Conference Expos & Awards that have decades of experience producing national high-profile events, and creating global connections between business communities in the arts, broadcasting, media and technology industries.
Questions with a Cannabis Industry Trailblazer
When did you first become involved in the cannabis industry and why?
We saw the opportunity for Canada to lead the way as a G7 nation (before legalization in 2017).
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced when working with cannabis companies/brands?
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was felt across the industry. Conferences and expos were hit hard and restrictions brought with them many new challenges and obstacles for us.
After spending more than a year navigating the ‘new normal’ and lots of planning, it’s great to have in-person events back. We’re eager to have the community back together. For the industry, live events serve an important networking and education tool; and opportunity for brands to unveil their newest product additions and gain visibility. We’ve been making great strides over the past few years and it’s great to be able to resume business, almost as usual.
If you could change one of the current Canadian or American marketing restrictions on cannabis, which would it be?
The constant and ever-changing landscape of restrictions in Canada and across the border is a common challenge for the industry. For brands, It’s difficult to know and keep up with what falls within and out of the restrictions. With rules often being half-baked and cannabis still heavily regulated it has been an ongoing challenge for brands to make the consumer experience more appealing.
In your observation, what marketing techniques or channels have been most effective for cannabis companies looking to connect with consumers?
In my experience, ‘knowing your audience’ is still the most important technique. Understanding what consumers want and adapting to what is trending, popular and most importantly, informative.
Are there any other Trailblazers in the cannabis industry that you follow?
Yes, tons! One that comes to mind is Wanda James. She is a fierce advocate for social equity and justice within cannabis. As the First African American woman to own her own dispensary in the United States, she has made tremendous strides through her work and business. We’re thrilled to have her join us at this year’s conference.
What is one tip or piece of advice you would give to marketers looking to enter the cannabis industry?
Network! Network! Network! Having a strong professional and community network is so important in our industry. Meeting and connecting with other members of the industry can help strengthen and build relationships for business, brand and industry growth. Cannabis is a supportive space – it would be a shame not to take advantage of it!