This week’s Trailblazer is Walker Patton, Chief Commercial Officer of Woody Nelson, a licenced producer delivering world class cannabis from the heart of the Kootenays.
Questions with a Cannabis Industry Trailblazer
When did you first become involved in the cannabis industry and why?
2017. The banking industry and I had a difference of opinions and it left me looking for an industry that wasn’t so… established. The cannabis industry appealed to me for a variety of reasons, but what I always come back to is the history of the plant. When you look at what cannabis has had to go through to get to where we are today, it’s a story of resilience. From prohibition to the war on drugs, we found a way. And now that we’re in a regulated market, it’s great to see the smaller producers start to outcompete the big guys. When I think about the journey this plant has taken, it’s easy to feel inspired.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced when working with cannabis companies/brands?
Lots of folks who talk a big game but very few who can back it up. We enjoy working with the folks who can admit they’re making it up as they go because we’re doing it too.
If you could change one of the current Canadian or American marketing restrictions on cannabis, which would it be?
Lots to work with here but if we’re looking at low hanging fruit, let’s talk labels. We’d love to add things like harvest dates or a terp breakdown to our packaging but by the time we’ve included all the required bits, we only have a few small lines of text to work with.
In your observation, what marketing techniques or channels have been most effective for cannabis companies looking to connect with consumers?
We’ve had a fair bit of success through our social media channels like Reddit, Discord, LinkedIn and Instagram but I’d have to give most of that credit to the grow team for the incredible work they’ve done. For any brands looking to join Reddit, my best piece of advice is to be a real member of the community.
While not technically part of marketing, I think the cannabis industry has underestimated the role customer service plays in building a brand. Be the kinda customer service you wanna see in the world right?
Are there any other Trailblazers in the cannabis industry that you follow?
Caitlin, a co-founder of High Fidelity Solventless Extracts. They’re an independent brand under the Woody Nelson banner and absolutely crushing it in BC right now. Some of the nicest rosin on the market and they just dropped a solventless Diamonds & Sauce. Very exciting.
What is one tip or piece of advice you would give to marketers looking to enter the cannabis industry?
Curiosity is worth more than hype. Lots of marketers are happy to spend their time telling you about all the great things they’ve done and why you should be excited to work with them. In my experience, the best marketers are the ones who ask questions, are eager to learn, and quick to adapt.