Back-Alley Marketing: Differentiators


Facts & Tips from Hybrid’s Director of Strategy

Here we are, another episode of Back Alley Marketing. As you can see, we’re on a little bit of a field trip today. We are on the train tracks. It’s just (beep) cooking out here. This particular stretch is not super smelly, so that’s a nice change from the alley. But, a train might come by and kill me at any moment, so I guess that makes it a little more exciting. Today, I want to talk about a topic that needs to be a big part of your strategy from the very top, that’s of course, your differentiators. But, not just what they are, how to support them? Obviously, before you even start supporting differentiators, you need to make sure you define them. You can do that really pretty easily by asking yourself this question. Oh shit, that scared me.

Why would somebody patronize your business over your competitors? Oh, it’s making me nervous. But seriously, why would somebody come to your business or buy your products over anybody else that does the same or similar thing to you? In the cannabis industry, as the legalized market becomes more mature and more normalized, we see a lot of places really selling the same products or very similar products. And so you have to kind of ask yourself, “Well, why would somebody come to my dispensary, for example, compared to somebody else’s?” Once you define what your differentiators are, that’s really just the tip of the spear and that’s where most businesses stop. You need to continuously and loudly support, whatever it is that makes you different, whatever the reasoning is that somebody would buy from you versus your competitors.

When I say support, I’m really talking about communicating these things in an ongoing way. Let me give you an example that’s relevant to the cannabis industry. I was speaking to a dispensary. Their claim to fame was to be the friendliest dispensary in Oklahoma. And I love that. That’s where I want to go. If I know what I want and I know the price I’m going to pay, I would much rather go to a place that is really friendly and treats me right. I thought that was actually a really great differentiator. But when I asked, “What are you doing to support that?” There really wasn’t any good answer. I tried to think outside the box on this one. Well, what could they do to support their differentiator?

I keep hammering this thing, everybody I work with is going to laugh, but I’m trying to convince some client, any client that’s a dispensary, to send their management to Disney training. And that seemed a perfect fit for these guys. Send your managers all to Disney training and that’s one thing you can talk about to support the fact that you’re the friendliest dispensary in Oklahoma. But then don’t just stop there, you kind of always need to be thinking about, what are these things that can support this claim? How can we communicate them and where? If it’s email, fine, social, whatever, but you need to be putting that message out there all the time, if that’s what’s making you different. Another example in our industry as cultivators, so many of them claim to be producing a premium product. That’s fine, but what about your product makes it premium?

Is it, you have a novel growing method or you have really rare strains? Whatever it is, figure that out and then put that message out there all the time. So, if it’s a cool growing or a unique growing method, you can be constantly putting out photos and video of that method in action, to help support a premium price point. And that’s my action item for today. Ask yourself and your team, honestly, what makes you different? When you’ve answered that question, find ways you can back up that claim. If you do not have an answer to that question, then we’ve got some work to do. Send me a message and we’ll go for a stroll on the tracks, just like this. That’s it for now, Back Alley Marketing, I’m out.


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