In the most recent episode of the Cannacurio Podcast from Cannabiz Media, my co-host, Amanda Guerrero, and I talk about hemp license updates, Cannabiz Media’s annual point-of-sale software program survey, and extra. We additionally converse with Rachel Fournier, Director of Marketing at Agrify, which develops premium indoor develop options for the hashish and hemp industries.

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Cannacurio Podcast Episode 15 Transcript

Amanda Guerrero: Welcome to the Cannacurio podcast, hosted by Cannabiz Media. We’re your hosts, Amanda Guerrero and Ed Keating. On at present’s present, we’re joined by Rachel Fournier, the director of advertising at Agrify.

Rachel and the Agrify staff are some of Cannabiz Media’s energy customers, and we’re so excited to have her on the present. But as all the time, we’re going to examine in with Ed and see what he’s uncovered this week from the info vault. Ed?

Ed Keating: Hi, Amanda. So, we’ve been digging into hemp. Quite a bit of the licenses have now been issued, and one of the attention-grabbing issues that we’re seeing is that in some states, we’re really expiring some data out. So, individuals who could have participated in final yr’s program are usually not taking part presently.

So, in Colorado, it regarded like 1100 licenses that we had have been expired out. And in Tennessee, solely about 73, and in Illinois, 181. So, this type of suits with the theme that I’ve been studying about and in addition in speaking to individuals that claims that after a tough yr of 2019 with so much of hemp not being bought and nonetheless sitting in barns throughout the United States, of us determined to possibly sit a season out or possibly grasp it up all collectively for some time. So, we’ll see the way it performs out by means of the top of the yr and in addition into 2021.

Amanda Guerrero: Well, I hope that somebody is ready to assist them remedy that downside, or not less than they have been capable of get rid of some of their extra hemp earlier than they fully … Their license fully expired. But I don’t know. What do you suppose, Ed?

Ed Keating: Yeah, it’s been a problem for that market in some of the analysis that the staff did. We discovered that for some, it was such a brand new crop, they didn’t essentially suppose by means of all the best way to the top to, “Well, what do I do? Do I have contracts for people to buy this, to process it, et cetera, to get it to market?” And so much didn’t. I don’t know in the event that they took type of a laissez faire method, “let’s see what happens,” or if the market simply wasn’t there.

In one panel dialogue I participated in, the moderator identified that in 2014, ’15, ’16, ’17, ’18, individuals made good cash on hemp and it attracted so much of entry, as you see in just about any market and any economic system. And we most likely hit an oversupply scenario.

And now that it’s federally authorized, extra states are issuing licenses, licenses, licenses. So I believe it’s going to be tough, and over time, we’ll see a balancing out of provide and demand for certain. But there actually appears to be heaps of methods to make use of hemp, however I believe individuals are going to have to determine the markets for them as they do their planning.

Amanda Guerrero: Yeah, it undoubtedly sounds similar to the issues that we confronted within the Pacific Northwest just a few years again with their type of oversupply and beneath demand. So, curious to see how this shakes out in 2020 and shifting ahead. Looking forward, we can be talking with Rachel Fournier of Agrify, and we’re so excited. Ed, thanks for the replace. Stay tuned, all people.

Welcome again to the present. As I discussed, I’m presently joined by Rachel Fournier, Director of Marketing at Agrify. Rachel, welcome to the present. How are you?

Rachel Fournier: I’m doing properly, Amanda. Thank you for having me. How are you guys?

Amanda Guerrero: We are doing so properly. This morning, very excited to have you ever on the present. We know you as one of our energy customers, however why don’t you give our viewers some background. How lengthy have you ever been within the hashish trade?

Rachel Fournier: Yeah, so I’ve been within the hashish trade for about three years. It feels so much longer at this level, however three stable years working in hashish and loving each minute of it.

Amanda Guerrero: Well, they do say that working in hashish … A yr in hashish is a yr in canine years. So, that’s about seven years. So you’re a veteran now. Look at you.

Rachel Fournier: It feels prefer it. It undoubtedly … I’m all the time shocked once I say that to individuals and so they’re like, “Oh, okay. Yeah, you’ve been doing this for a while.”

Amanda Guerrero: Absolutely. Where did you’re employed earlier than?

Rachel Fournier: Yeah, so I spent a while doing freelance branding and advertising for a range of CBD and hashish manufacturers. And previous to that, my entry into the trade was with an MSO, Ascend Wellness. So, I’m undecided should you’re acquainted with them, however I used to be engaged on their advertising for some of their manufacturers.

Amanda Guerrero: Yeah. Quite acquainted with Ascend. They’re a reasonably well-known group. In my different life as a hashish recruiter, we really labored with the Ascend group and made some fairly large placements there. So, very excited to listen to that you simply’re from there as properly.

Rachel Fournier: Yeah. Yeah. I’ve had a very good run up to now within the trade and labored with some fairly superb individuals. So, fairly comfortable about it.

Ed Keating: Well, wonderful. Excellent. Well, now that you simply’re at Agrify, as we all the time attempt to do throughout the podcast, we like to search out out what makes these corporations distinctive. So, inform us somewhat bit extra about Agrify and your declare to fame.

Rachel Fournier: Yeah. So Agrify is a developer of premium cultivation options. And one of the explanations I jumped in with them and why I’m so excited is as a result of I actually really feel like, properly, they’re onto one thing.

I’ve been on the consumer aspect. So, I do know fairly properly, some of the, for lack of a greater phrase, some of the struggles that individuals moving into the house expertise, and what I really liked about Agrify and what I believe makes them distinctive is that they actually take a complete options method.

And on condition that so much of individuals which can be moving into hashish are new as a result of it’s a pretty new trade nonetheless, having a accomplice, and I say accomplice, as a result of I believe that that’s necessary, that actually understands your complete course of is simply so necessary.

And Agrify has finished such a pleasant job at actually, no pun supposed, however cultivating a collection of options in numerous varied sorts of gear and in addition providers that basically permits us to accomplice with our clients and get them arrange begin to end and serving to them put collectively a course of, a cultivation course of, that’s fairly streamlined and environment friendly and meets the calls for of the market and the place we additionally suppose the market goes.

Ed Keating: So in phrases of what you mentioned about new markets or new individuals in that house, does that have an effect on your go to market technique? Did you guys, for instance, wind up focusing so much on, let’s say, Missouri and Oklahoma, as a result of these have been kind of the most recent markets which have come on line most lately?

Rachel Fournier: Yeah. Yes and no. So in some methods, sure, as a result of it’s actually necessary, I believe, while you’re serving to any individual come up with what their rising system goes to seem like, you actually should be there proper in the beginning.

So, as soon as any individual will get that license, it’s essential to be a component of that course of. Quite a bit of states, they require what your architectural plans are going to seem like. They wish to know what the construct out is. And so, it’s actually necessary that we get in there early as a result of these issues all have a value related with them and never only a arduous value, but in addition a time value.

And I believe the most important factor for everyone is attending to market as quick as potential, particularly after what generally is a lengthy, grueling licensing course of.

So, it’s extraordinarily necessary that we get in with individuals when they’re actually in the beginning phases of planning out their cultivation. But it’s additionally attention-grabbing. So, with that being mentioned, sure, some of the newer markets, particularly as a result of we’re on the East coast, we focus so much on Massachusetts and surrounding states.

But additionally, we do have companions on the West coast which can be in additional mature markets, which is necessary, as a result of we wanted to get a foothold or moderately a foot in with those who have been skilled and type of knew what the downsides have been of their processes. And so, we do have clients on the West coast in mature markets, however I believe so much of our focus or the place I believe we’ll proceed to search out so much of success is, actually, within the newer markets.

Ed Keating: Yeah. It’s attention-grabbing. Especially your East versus West coast challenges, as a result of I’d think about that develop practices most likely do differ throughout these varieties of states. I do know right here on the East coast the place I’m, so much of the develop is remitted indoor. They desire a door, they need six partitions, they need a lock, et cetera, whereas elsewhere, it may be extra greenhouse or hoop home or open discipline. So I’m curious, from the place Agrify is, how do you see develop practices basically actually differ throughout state traces?

Rachel Fournier: Yeah. So I believe, it’s humorous as a result of I’m within the East coast as properly. Our corporations right here, I’m from right here, I’ve all the time labored, for essentially the most half, most of the manufacturers and the MSO I labored with initially all reside right here on the East coast. So I believe in my thoughts, I simply robotically assumed all people was rising indoors, which is so foolish. And I didn’t come from … I used to be conscious of the cultivation course of, however I wasn’t actually, as educated in it as I’m now.

So, coming into this, it was once we first began utilizing hashish, I used to be like, “Yeah, let’s just look at all the cultivators. That’s all opportunity.” And then our gross sales staff was going by means of the leads and so they’re like, “A lot of these are … They say farm, which usually means they’re outdoor or their greenhouse.” And it was fairly attention-grabbing, somewhat bit of my thoughts blown second, like, “Oh, wow. Not everybody grows indoors.” But, yeah. I’d say that for us, and we’re a reasonably new firm, we undoubtedly attempt to not go after the outside grows as a result of, I imply, it’s simply not low hanging fruit.

The quantity of steps … It’s already such a brand new method of rising and our complete cultivation course of and what we’re pitching, it’s very unique. And so, I believe simply that extra hurdle of making an attempt to get any individual indoors can be a robust one.

I do suppose it’ll come with time. I believe so much of individuals are going to maneuver in direction of that, as a result of while you discuss heavy … Although individuals possibly earlier than issues have been authorized, they have been rising outdoors. But now with all of the heavy rules, it’s fairly arduous to develop open air and meet the necessities.

Ed Keating: No, that is sensible. One of the issues that I additionally simply wished to say is on the hemp aspect, we’ve been seeing so much of licenses are available in over the past six, seven months because the season has primarily began between licensing from the states and in addition rising from the farmers. And we’re seeing that individuals are performing some work indoors. I don’t know what meaning. I imply, are they rising the entire cycle indoors, are they beginning indoors, et cetera? So it’ll be attention-grabbing factor for us to see, however hemp hasn’t actually been a giant focus for Agrify. Has it?

Rachel Fournier: Not an enormous focus. We do have some partnerships and merchandise that will most likely be seen as actually nice options within the hemp house. But in my time … I’ve been with Agrify for six months and in my time, I’ve actually targeted most of our energies on hashish.

Our proprietary vertical farming unit is … What’s so spectacular about it’s simply having the ability to have consistency in your merchandise. And we’re actually targeted on the genetics within the strains and having the ability to replicate them again and again by having this managed atmosphere. And I don’t know that hemp is admittedly … Just given the fee of it and the decrease value, I simply don’t know if it will be value it to develop it in a vertical farming unit or not.

Ed Keating: Yeah, proper, proper.

Rachel Fournier: I imply, I simply don’t know that we’re there but the place individuals are targeted on the genetics of a hemp plant like they’re with hashish.

Ed Keating: Yeah. Well, one factor that we’ve seen from a license standpoint and from an information standpoint is Nevada is, I believe, the primary state we’ve seen that shares info as as to if a facility is licensed to develop each, and we’ve by no means seen that earlier than. So, that’s type of attention-grabbing. I imply, we’ve seen actually some corporations which have a hemp footprint and a hashish footprint, however right here they’re really saying, “Well, this facility or this license holder grows both at this location.” Which we predict is type of distinctive. I don’t know if we’ll see extra of that nationwide or if it’s simply kind of an information anomaly that one state is going on to serve up.

But it’s nice. I imply, it sounds such as you guys have an ideal product and an ideal path ahead. And kind of trying ahead, may you share with us kind of any new product launches, markets or initiatives you’ve bought developing?

Rachel Fournier: Yeah. So, I’m not fairly at liberty to say what the brand new product launches are. We do have one thing properly on its method that ought to be popping out fairly quickly. We are all the time wonderful tuning and dealing on discovering options that pair properly with our total resolution. And in order that continues to be up to date. And we’ve had just a few LED lights added to our repertoire, however yeah, nothing outdoors of that at this level.

And with regard to new markets, I imply, we’re all the time going after new markets. Like I mentioned, our candy spot is admittedly these cultivations that simply obtained their license and are within the course of of getting up and working. So we’re all the time taking a look at new states. -. Oklahoma, Missouri, Massachusetts, New England basically. And we’ll continue-

Ed Keating: And Michigan. Don’t overlook Michigan.

Rachel Fournier: And Michigan, sure.

Ed Keating: [crosstalk 00:14:45] They’ve been issuing so much of cultivation licenses.

Rachel Fournier: Yes, completely. Definitely Michigan. So, yeah.

Amanda Guerrero: Well talking of new markets and figuring out prospects, Rachel, I wished to convey it again to Cannabiz Media and discover out what are some of the ways in which you and your staff make the most of the Cannabiz Media platform?

Rachel Fournier: Yeah. So Cannabiz has been an incredible device for us, for advertising and for our gross sales staff. We just about have all people using it at this level. It’s most likely the one database that I’ve come throughout that basically has all of the contacts that we want in a central location.

And what else you guys have that I like is simply your totally different filters. They have been undoubtedly rigorously thought out, and so they permit us to be very particular in our messaging, which is so necessary. I believe simply the truth that you’ll be able to even dwindle right down to HPS versus LED lighting, or you’ll be able to see who’s had violations.

And I additionally love the e-mail updates. I’m always floating them across the firm like, “Hey, did you see this?” So, I simply admire how up-to-date it all the time is, and I really feel it’s limitless with information.

Amanda Guerrero: I like that. Yeah. The electronic mail updates are tremendous useful, particularly while you’re taking a look at that prospecting facet on your gross sales staff and figuring out licenses and new markets or who was simply granted a license. It may be tremendous, tremendous useful. Now, in phrases of the gross sales instruments that you simply guys have used earlier than, how does this device evaluate?

Rachel Fournier: I’d simply say that each time we’re on a name to have a look at different gross sales instruments and one, it’s by no means trade particular, and once we ask them to tug up our class, there’s like 10 contacts. So, it’s actually tough to search out different gross sales instruments which have this type of knowledge.

And even those which can be extra particular or catering in direction of our trade, I’ve discovered that it’s so much of generic contacts, and I can’t all the time get to a call maker. And I discover that the contacts that you simply guys have and the classes and the filters that you simply guys present are undoubtedly … it looks like whoever’s placing this collectively, has labored on the opposite aspect of issues. So, it’s extraordinarily useful.

Amanda Guerrero: Yeah. Well, I imply, to your level, the data that we’re monitoring, it’s not simply what you discover off of both the state web sites or what’s publicly obtainable. Our staff of 25 researchers that Ed oversees, they’re actually targeted and focused on discovering and verifying this info so that you simply and your staff are supplied with the perfect obtainable knowledge, in addition to info that can assist you guys prospect smarter. Right? Specifically with the violations, I used to be type of curious, how do you and your staff make the most of the violations facet?

Rachel Fournier: Yeah. So, like I mentioned, our vertical farming unit, what’s so interesting about it’s that it’s a totally enclosed rising unit. And so, it’s a managed atmosphere. So, while you discuss violations, properly, why do violations occur? And it’s actually necessary, I believe, once we discuss new markets, of course that’s nice, however then a possibility for us to interrupt into some of the extra mature markets are those who have had violations. They’ve had some points. Maybe they’ve had [inaudible 00:18:39] powdery mildew, no matter it may be. And once we current them with a managed atmosphere, it’s much more interesting. Until you’ve skilled the ache of crop devastation, you actually don’t know what you’re dealing with.

Amanda Guerrero: Yeah. 100%, as a result of the insurance coverage doesn’t all the time cowl it.

Rachel Fournier: No. And it’s additionally simply the time that’s misplaced. Right? The demand is there. So, you’re shedding that point.

Amanda Guerrero: 100%, 100%. Well, are there any suggestions or methods that you simply want to share with our present listeners?

Rachel Fournier: Yeah, I believe it’s actually necessary proper now, particularly simply given every little thing that’s happening on the planet, we’re not in entrance of our clients, so so much of individuals are doing issues digitally. It’s actually type of the one choice on the market. Right? So, I’d simply say it’s so necessary to be intentional in your messaging. Know what it’s you wish to get throughout, be very deliberate in who you’re reaching out to.

If you’ll be able to … as a substitute of doing a mass electronic mail blast, possibly convey that in additional and have a look at it by state, by maturity degree available in the market house, and cater and tailor your language to these individuals as a result of we’re all getting inundated with electronic mail proper now. So, the extra particular and the extra customized and simply delicate too that we may be in our messaging, I believe the significantly better response we’re all going to have.

And on prime of that, little issues like utilizing individuals’s names, corporations’ names, I all the time discover that that helps. Having a conversion path in thoughts. If individuals are participating with your electronic mail, know what you need the next step to be earlier than you try this and have totally different subsequent steps based mostly off of the kinds of response.

And I’d say most significantly, offering worth. So one thing that Agrify has finished, and we’re not the one ones doing this proper now, however present worth proper now to your viewers. Create content material presents that matter.

Product brochures are nice. They’re clearly … you need to have them, however is there one thing else that you are able to do? Is there a video that talks about what your organization values, and what’s your social duty? How are you giving again? People wish to perceive manufacturers proper now and whereas they’re getting inundated, the extra private you may be, I believe the higher.

And if you may get different individuals in your staff to additionally spotlight who they’re and type of give a extra human factor to what you’re doing, the higher off I believe your organization can be.

And again to what I used to be saying with what we’re doing proper now, we’ve been doing a weekly dwell Zoom recording with our co-hosts from Agrify and in addition a visitor often in cultivation. And it’s actually simply … It’s not about pitching our merchandise. It’s nearly educating our viewers and in addition educating us. And that’s offering worth with out asking something in return. And I believe that that’s actually necessary proper now.

Ed Keating: Well, Rachel, you actually sound like a really advanced marketer. If we ever get to having a consumer convention, I’m most likely going to have you ever come and discuss that is how it’s essential to market. And right here’s why, as a result of too typically we see individuals on this house, hopefully not our clients, however who depend on the outdated spray and pray. Just give me a listing and I’m simply going to hit it as many occasions as I can and I don’t care what message it’s so long as I get it out, as a result of I simply wish to feed results in the Salesforce.

And we’ve got tried actually arduous on the info aspect to offer heaps of different info, heaps of methods to work together with the license holders that we’ve got as a result of they’re arduous to search out and so they do get a good quantity of messages. And I believe all these issues that you simply simply outlined actually articulate what an advanced marketer ought to be doing at the present time. So, kudos on that.

One of the questions I wished to ask is we did somewhat bit of the look ahead about new markets. I wished to do a glance again on largest achievement within the final 12 months? Could be company and or private. We simply love to listen to extra about you and Agrify and the story.

Rachel Fournier: Yeah. So I’ll offer you each. So, on a private degree, it is a rather more technical set of merchandise. I used to be used to engaged on a extra B to C, what our manufacturers have been going to be, whether or not it was CBD or hashish. And so, coming over to cultivation and dealing with this enterprise gear, I knew was going to be a problem, particularly with one thing that’s so fashionable and there’s software program concerned and a few of our growers are from a distinct time. And so it’s undoubtedly … I knew it was going to be a problem, nevertheless it’s a problem that I actually take pleasure in and cultivation is so attention-grabbing.

So, I believe for me personally, simply taking over this type of problem and increasing my data into the cultivation aspect is one thing that I’m actually proud of, and I’m persevering with to be taught day-after-day. And I’m so fortunate to have the staff that I’ve, and the individuals in horticulture which can be on our staff are simply limitless breaths of data, which is unimaginable to have at my fingertips.

And then from a enterprise standpoint, final quarter, we did exceed our targets and we’re coming to an in depth and have a extremely robust quarter once more. And with all issues thought of, we nonetheless have been capable of preserve the ball rolling.

The solely factor actually that I’d say set us again somewhat bit was simply, clearly, COVID had its results and our shoppers are going by means of the licensing course of. So, issues type of bought slowed down, however we haven’t misplaced anyone.

I believe the Agrify dwell movies we do weekly, we invite all of these clients to these movies, and I believe that they discover so much of worth in that and simply persevering with to obtain that training from us.

So yeah. I’d say simply final quarter and in addition simply in phrases of having the ability to preserve shifting the ball ahead with every little thing that’s been occurring, I’m fairly proud of that.

Ed Keating: Well, that’s nice. Congratulations.

Rachel Fournier: Thank you. Yeah. Yeah. It’s been a very good yr.

Amanda Guerrero: Well, thanks a lot, Rachel, for becoming a member of us on at present’s present. It has been so informative and to echo Ed’s statements, you might be so articulate. When you have been speaking in regards to the electronic mail advertising, I may’ve sworn you have been studying it immediately from one of our assist articles, since you nailed it. You nailed it. Great job, however thanks a lot for becoming a member of us on at present’s present.

Rachel Fournier: You bought it. Any time.

Amanda Guerrero: And we sit up for seeing what you and Agrify have up your sleeve within the coming months.

Rachel Fournier: Thank you guys for having me and thanks for Cannabiz. I truthfully … we couldn’t do it with out you guys.

Amanda Guerrero:

We love to listen to that. Thank you. Well, Ed, that was an ideal interview. So comfortable that we bought to talk with Rachel. Wanted to have a look forward and see what knowledge and license updates we’ve got to sit up for within the coming weeks.

Ed Keating: Yeah. So, we’ve been doing so much of cleanup work and we’ve been dealing with some of the challenges of three of the most important states have actually modified and decreased what they make obtainable because of kind of the riots that have been on the market. Quite a bit of the states have stopped publishing details about their licenses or they’ve drastically decreased the quantity of knowledge they share.

So that is California, Washington, and Colorado. Although Colorado appears to be possibly in a upkeep mode with their instruments. So, in some of the most important markets, there’s totally different knowledge obtainable. So, we’ve been reaching out to regulators, making an attempt to see what we will discover and work on. So, that’s undoubtedly been an attention-grabbing problem for us.

And then quantity two is we’re gearing up for our point-of-sale survey. So we’ve finished two point-of-sale software program surveys over the past couple of years, 2018 and ’19, the place we examine in with dispensers and retailers to search out out who’re they utilizing for that operate? And we’re going to begin that course of once more.

This yr, it’s going to be somewhat bit tougher as a result of there are such a lot of dispensaries in Oklahoma. I believe properly over 1,000, possibly 1,300, and that’s greater than a number of states mixed. So, it’ll be attention-grabbing to see what we study.

And we’re additionally going to attempt to do a extremely good job of making an attempt to trace if there’ve been many adjustments, like did any individual go from supplier A to supplier B? And we’ll see what that knowledge tells us as we transfer ahead on that over the following couple of months.

Amanda Guerrero: So thrilling, Ed. I all the time sit up for the point-of-sales survey as a result of it additionally offers us, from a gross sales perspective, a gross sales consultant perspective, a very good prospect checklist as properly. So, excited to get that.

And then, Ed, shortly, I wished to ask you, do you suppose that with COVID lingering and type of all of the issues which can be happening on the planet, do you suppose that the license holders or the states not placing up license holder info on their web sites goes to show right into a long-term downside?

Ed Keating: Oh, that’s a very good query. I’m undecided. I believe some may use it as an excuse to simply publish much less info, which I believe is somewhat bit robust while you’re making an attempt to make the trade clear. We’ve seen so many instances the place there’ve been shenanigans on the state degree and the way licenses are given out, and should you don’t know who’s successful these licenses or their relationship to the license issuers, that may be an issue.

So, I believe there’ll most likely be a push for it, nevertheless it’s actually going to be as much as every state and we’re simply doing our greatest to attempt to observe down no matter info we will. Sometimes the data should still be obtainable regionally, however then it’s a a lot slower course of. And you’re making an attempt to undergo zoning board minutes and agendas and whatnot, looking for out knowledge. And that’s simply not an environment friendly technique to preserve tabs on 100 thousand totally different licenses. So, I’m hoping it’s only a short-term blip and never a long-term headache.

Amanda Guerrero: Well, we’ll preserve our fingers and toes crossed right here that it’s a brief time period blip, however thanks everybody for becoming a member of us on at present’s podcast. We’re your hosts, Amanda Guerrero and Ed Keating. Stay tuned for extra updates from the info vault.

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