This week’s Trailblazer is Zach Santasierso, VP of Digital Marketing at CannaPlanners, an American cannabis website design and marketing agency helping cannabis businesses tell their story and reach new customers.
Questions with a Cannabis Industry Trailblazer
When did you first become involved in the cannabis industry and why?
My first official involvement in the industry was working for Green State Gardener as an eCommerce specialist in 2015. I worked there for about 2 years while also volunteering for the Vermont Cannabis Collaborative.
From there I built up my digital marketing chops working for two non-cannabis-related marketing agencies. Then I made my return to the industry in 2018 when I developed the digital marketing department for CannaPlanners where I am now the VP of Digital Marketing.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced when working with cannabis companies/brands?
The lack of consistency with advertising regulations across platforms. It’s why SEO and email marketing have been so big for our clients at CannaPlanners.
If you could change one of the current Canadian or American marketing restrictions on cannabis, which would it be?
The level of ambiguity that is necessary in order to get ads approved on platforms Facebook and Instagram is incredibly frustrating. Same goes for the restrictions on keywords in Google AdWords. It’s possible to find a way to skirt the guidelines and get ads approved, sure, but it can feel disingenuous to leave out certain words or phrases from a brand’s marketing. So it’s a tough battle.
In your observation, what marketing techniques or channels have been most effective for cannabis companies looking to connect with consumers?
Brand strategy first & foremost. Know your demographic. Eat, breathe, sleep your target audience and the information they want to learn. From there, SEO & email should be your best friend.
Are there any other Trailblazers in the cannabis industry that you follow?
Not necessarily cannabis-specific but some awesome SEO resources include Mark Williams-Cook and Brendan Hufford. Those guys consistently put out awesome, actionable tips and insights that are super digestible.
What is one tip or piece of advice you would give to people looking to enter the cannabis industry?
Utilize the skills that you’ve learned in other industries and find a way to make them translate to cannabis. Network as much as possible.
A big thank you to Zach for participating as this week’s Trailblazer! Stay tuned for another interview with a cannabis marketing Trailblazer next Thursday in the ADCANN blog.
Interested in working with one of these talented cannabis marketers? Check out our Agency Directory for a list of all the agencies that specialize in working with cannabis companies.