This week’s Trailblazer is Shakir Tayabali, CEO of IRCC, a nationwide initiative created for independent retailers offering access to revenue opportunities, professional development and education to support business health and retail sustainability.
Questions with a Cannabis Industry Trailblazer
When did you first become involved in the cannabis industry and why?
I first became involved with the legal cannabis industry while being at Global Payments. I did the first integration of a cannabis software company (Ample Organics) to a payments system.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced when working with cannabis companies/brands?
In my opinion the biggest challenge has been how do you build consumer loyalty to a brand when the marketing restrictions are so heavy.
If you could change one of the current Canadian or American marketing restrictions on cannabis, which would it be?
Allow for marketing in the same way that Bev-Alc or other regulated industries are allowed.
In your observation, what marketing techniques or channels have been most effective for cannabis companies looking to connect with consumers?
Events such as Kind Summer Fair where consumers are able to attend. Pop ups at retail locations and some social media if you are able to navigate their rules.
Are there any other Trailblazers in the cannabis industry that you follow?
I follow Norton at AVANT, they are killing it and the team at Motif.
What is one tip or piece of advice you would give to marketers looking to enter the cannabis industry?
It is not the same as every other CPG or retail business, there are nuances that should be understood. As well be patient, this isn’t a short game.