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FS15 – Cannabis product decision makers

By September 16, 2022No Comments

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Let’s waste no time and get directly into Free Smoke:

“It ain’t about who did it first,
it’s ’bout who did it right”
– Drake, Wu-Tang Forever

Is the customer always right?

In his 1910 book “Successful Salesmanship: Is the Customer Always Right?”, Frank Farrington posed a problem with the age old phrase in the title:

“If we adopt the policy of admitting whatever claims the customer makes to be proper, and if we always settle them at face value, we shall be subjected to inevitable losses.”

Frank was talking about dishonesty, but that’s not the only time blindly following the customer can kick your ass. While the customer knows best, they don’t always know what they want either. This is especially true in cannabis, which adds an interesting layer to an already complicated consumer product mix. The cannabis industry is built on education and for good reason: it’s all brand new and no one really knows how all this stuff works. It’s early, much is still unknown, and we’re not even close to knowing what we don’t know. This invites 2 predominant personalities to drive product decisions that aren’t in the best interest of the customer: The weed head and the CPG expert. Both are viciously susceptible to the Dunning-Kruger Effect: drastic over estimation of their own knowledge or competence relative to objective criteria.

Connoisseurs (do you realize how hard that word is to spell?) will use their knowledge of more than 5 terpenes and the technical term for making ice hash to convince you they’re god’s gift to the cannabis consumer. For them it’s death to distillate, artisanal fruit leathers instead of gummies, rosin chewy blunts, free range pre-rolls and terpene profiles optimized for your genome.

(This week a guy in my LinkedIn comments twisted a conversation about terpene profiles into one about the human genome. I don’t think he was qualified to speak on the subject.)

On the flip side CPG veterans show up every day to tell us how this $33 billion dollar industry of ours actually works. Yes, they’ve been in dispensaries, it’s all wrong, and the soccer moms are drastically underserved.

In the end there will be a product for everyone, even those dorks, but black and white opinions don’t push anything forward in the meantime. What the consumer wants is what matters and the customer is always right. If the customer uses THC level as a quality indicator you can educate and maybe even influence their decision, but you don’t tell them they’re wrong. You don’t wellactually them. Not while they’re desperately trying to understand our world and how it can benefit them. Consumer perception is our reality and our business. Embrace it instead of attacking.

Some issues of Free Smoke end with a coherent conclusion or insight you hadn’t thought of before. Not this one, I’m just ranting, but I’m gonna leave you with some hot takes as long as you remember one thing: my opinion doesn’t matter.

Botanical terp carts will come roaring back in the vape segment

Drinks are a small category no matter how many pitch decks they’re in

I’m still basically the only one who wants to buy low dose products

Long flower, flower forever

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