This week’s Trailblazer is Kerri Michell, President of Farmer Jane, a chain of cannabis retail stores in SK and MB offering big city selection with small town hospitality.
Questions with a Cannabis Industry Trailblazer
When did you first become involved in the cannabis industry and why?
I would consider myself a newcomer to cannabis. My passion to build community and focus on developing leaders brought me to the industry in 2021, after establishing a successful career in marketing.
One of the reasons I am so enthusiastic about the cannabis industry is the quality and values of the people involved. I believe this industry has massive potential to make a positive impact on people’s lives and the broader community. My ‘why’ is to foster a culture of growth that inspires and influences others to reach their full potential, both personally and professionally.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced when working with cannabis companies/brands?
One of the biggest marketing challenges is the silos between our technology platforms. I’m anxious for innovations that will streamline processes and coordinate communication. Finding the right tool will greatly improve the customer experience and help companies build brand loyalty.
If you could change one of the current Canadian or American marketing restrictions on cannabis, which would it be?
First off, I love seeing so many creative marketing strategies being executed across the industry in response to the restrictions. Undoubtedly, the current regulations present significant obstacles for cannabis companies looking to establish distinctive brand identities. Kudos to the teams rising to the challenge!
While lifting marketing restrictions would certainly aid in reducing the stigma associated with cannabis, I think it’s more important to loosen restrictions on educational resources that allow consumers to better understand the benefits of cannabis. With so much misinformation and confusion surrounding the plant, it is crucial that we make accurate and accessible information readily available. By doing so, we can not only break down stigmas but also help consumers make informed decisions about their health and wellness.
In your observation, what marketing techniques or channels have been most effective for cannabis companies looking to connect with consumers?
I believe a brand is created at every interaction between a company and its customers so it’s important to understand the entire customer journey and create an exceptional customer experience at each of these touchpoints.
Ultimately, our employees are the Farmer Jane brand, and their actions and behaviors have the most significant impact on customer experience, growth, and success. As a result, we prioritize creating an exceptional employee experience to ensure they can provide our customers with the same level of excellence. We provide some unique benefits including providing cannabis products at cost to all employees.
In an industry as highly regulated as ours, traditional marketing channels are limited. Therefore, we have found the most effective way to reach consumers and create awareness is through a strong community engagement strategy. By building relationships with our community, we can make meaningful connections with our customers and build a loyal following.
Are there any other Trailblazers in the cannabis industry that you follow?
I’ve had the privilege to meet and work alongside so many passionate trailblazers from across Canada that are propelling the industry forward. You can find them everywhere – behind the counter serving customers, in an office purchasing products or on the road visiting retailers. I MUST recognize my team of trailblazers that bring so much experience, passion & joy to Farmer Jane. I’m grateful to be on this journey with them.
What is one tip or piece of advice you would give to marketers looking to enter the cannabis industry?
Build community! Don’t forget that being a great marketer is not just about promoting products or services, but also about building meaningful connections – with customers, the industry and with communities in which you operate. Marketers have an incredible responsibility and opportunity to build a strong and loyal customer base that supports and advocates for their brand.