Are cannabis consumers the most progressive consumers in today’s markets? The team at Fyllo certainly thinks so, and they have the data to prove it. Fyllo is an innovative cannabis compliance and marketing company leading the charge on the industry’s moves in data, and the staff are taking the opportunity afforded by their position and expertise to bridge a cultural moment that will have profound effects on the future of business.
About Fyllo: Data Marketplace, Regulatory Database, and Granting Mainstream Brands Access to Cannabis Consumer Data
As Fyllo’s Chief Commercial Officer Jeff Ragovin explains, the company offers a suite of software and services for businesses both within the cannabis sector and mainstream brands (such as food service, consumer packaged goods, entertainment and more). Cannabis brands can use Fyllo’s Data Marketplace and Regulatory Database – formerly CannaRegs, which Fyllo acquired in 2020 – to target customers while adhering to specific regulations for each state and municipality. Simultaneously, Fyllo grants mainstream brands access to cannabis and CBD purchase data that’s infused with information about many other purchasing categories and interests. For the first time in history, the power of cannabis as a marketing tool is being recognized by major industry players and could be the starting point to unify diverse groups in much larger ways.
“We’ve created this entire taxonomy all the way down to the product level,” says Ragovin. “Down to the transaction and state. We’ve gone to market not only with that, which is our secret sauce, but we’re also tying in enrichment partnerships with Fluent and Comscore and others who make our data valuable in that we can actually target very specific groups of people that no one else can. It’s not just about people transacting in cannabis. Everyone has different needs. [For example], I don’t smoke a lot, but I’ll purchase edibles or CBD or CBN for sleep. So if I was targeted to an ad for a cannabis sleep-related product, I probably would have ten times more conversion than a [general dispensary] ad.”
Reaching Today's Most Progressive Audiences: Why Is Fyllo's Cannabis Consumer Data So Valuable?
What makes cannabis consumers so attractive to mainstream brands? According to Fyllo’s data, accumulated in part from MRI-Simmons surveys, cannabis and CBD consumers comprise a market of approximately 65 million movers who share an enthusiasm for trying new things and communicating with others about their experiences. They are 25 percent more likely to seek out variety in their daily lives, 33 percent more likely to be new tech adopters, 25 percent more likely to be among the first trying just-released products, and 24 percent more likely to be influencers for fashion, health and food. That translates into an audience with exponential possibilities for businesses to reach, learn from, and sell to.
COVID-19 Pandemic Impact: How Did Businesses Change Their Minds About Cannabis?
Ragovin and Fyllo’s Chief Marketing Officer Conrad Lisco point out that the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the business world’s perception of cannabis on this front. When cannabis businesses were deemed essential services during lockdown, they saw growth that traditional sectors like alcohol didn’t.
“In , sales for beverages tanked because no one was going to bars and no one was buying enough products because no one was socializing,” Ragovin notes. “In some focus groups, 10 percent of the audience said they’re not drinking at all anymore because they’ve switched to [cannabis products]. [Alcohol companies] have to play defense because now they’re losing people to cannabis.” But, he adds, if a beverage company utilizes that knowledge by targeting a specific audience through Fyllo’s services, they can find many avenues to convert cannabis consumers to their own products by emphasizing other common interests.
Based on Fyllo's Data, Cannabis Consumers Are Good for Business
The same holds true outside of alcohol. Fyllo’s collaboration with Uber Eats, as reported in Bloomberg last April, worked successfully because Uber acknowledged cannabis consumers’ penchant for tech, new experiences, and greater access to disposable income. (Of course, the sway of the munchies doesn’t hurt either.) Companies in various sectors are reevaluating how they can reach people, from streaming services that may want to catch viewers during a smoke break to pharmaceutical brands that could be trying to reinvent themselves for a more health-conscious and environmentally friendly society.
“That’s the next step, that it will start to drive creative development,” Lisco predicts. “There’s a maturity curve in the industry. That’s what [the Weedmaps ad] ‘Brock Ollie’ is all about. It’s Cannes Lions award-winning quality that rivals anything you could get from today’s hottest ad agencies.”
“Brock Ollie” features an anthropomorphic broccoli stalk who bemoans his status as a stand-in for the word cannabis. Weedmaps submitted the educational ad to run during Super Bowl LVI, but NBC rejected it. Eventually, the spot went viral online.F
“At Fyllo, we sit in an interesting middle ground,” Lisco observes. “We’re going to help cannabis brands reach into the mainstream to further their ambition to normalize and destigmatize the category. And we’re going to help mainstream brands reach into cannabis, to help them discover and ally with this new, really progressive consumer group… While Fyllo audiences cover a wide range of demographics and lifestyles, they all share the progressive mindset and propensity to buy that make them a powerful growth audience for brand and response-driven marketers. And today, more than a thousand advertisers activate our data monthly to supercharge targeting for programmatic advertising. This helps them to ‘see around the corner’ and build new first-party data pools.”
Fyllo and the Future of Marketing: New Consumer Data Breaks Cannabis Stereotypes
What Lisco’s driving at is a vital issue: We must stop seeing cannabis consumers as Other.
“Today people of all lifestyles and life stages consume cannabis and CBD, making up one of the largest and fastest-growing consumer groups in the world,” Lisco states. “And yet, many people still view cannabis, and cannabis consumers, in the margins of culture.”
Often this is due to mainstream media portrayals, which perpetuate stereotypes like “the lazy stoner,” or that continue to ridicule cannabis through pot puns or other stigmatized language. We’re experiencing a cultural paradox where over 70 percent of Americans today are in favor of legalizing cannabis, yet the purveyors of popular culture who believe they are the arbiters of prescient consumer behavior are unwilling to acknowledge how much this is affecting our evolution. True, some signs of change are becoming more evident. South by Southwest, which has had its own Cannabis track for several years, hosted its largest number of cannabis programs in 2022 than ever before. A Super Bowl ad for Skechers featured cannabis icon Willie Nelson and the tagline “Legalized Comfort.” But until we see cannabis brands alongside designer fashions in Vogue, or accepted as TV commercials, or even reported on by major news outlets with dignity instead of skepticism, we remain stranded in a no man’s land of knowing, but never finding.
Accelerating the Economies of Tomorrow
“Our mission is to accelerate the economies of tomorrow,” Lisco asserts. “When cannabis realizes its true potential in the next five years, it’ll be massive. We’re here to help the pioneering brands on the front lines of the industry realize their vision. And to introduce today’s most progress consumer group to non-cannabis brands. And when cannabis wins, so do more players, more advocates, more leaders, everybody. The fact is, the world wins when we stop Othering each other.”
For more information about Fyllo, visit hellofyllo.com.
Featured image: An example of Fyllo's consumer data broken down by categories in the company's Data Marketplace for mainstream and cannabis brands alike (C) Fyllo
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A version of this article first appeared in Honeysuckle's 420 print edition, featuring Lil Wayne and Young Money.