S4 E6: How to create more branded moments & brand affinity with Luke Droulez (VP of Marketing, PAX)

S4 E6 PODCAST

On this episode of Retention Chronicles, we’re joined by Luke Droulez, VP of Marketing at PAX, a leading global cannabis brand on a mission to enhance consumers’ lives through exceptional cannabis experiences. Our host, Mariah Parsons, and Luke discuss:

  • regulation around restricted goods,
  • interstate commerce,
  • running ads on restricted goods,
  • branding around discretion for their customers,
  • launching their own products ,
  • hosting launch events,
  • working with celebrities on launch initiatives,
  • cannabis living at the intersection of art, music, and technology,
  • wholesale and direct sales,
  • using their website as top of the funnel interaction,
  • opening new markets,
  • setting up warranty to make sure care and maintenance are at the forefront of their products,
  • how to create more branded moments/brand affinity & more

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TRANSCRIPT

This transcript was completed by an automated system, please forgive any grammatical errors.

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

product, cannabis, people, brand, consumers, dispensary, industry, love, experience, online, retention, customer experience, market, pax, space, restrictions, work, great, dive, marketing

SPEAKERS

Luke Droulez, Mariah Parsons

Mariah Parsons 00:04

Hi there, I'm Mariah Parsons, your host of retention Chronicles, ecommerce brands are starting to shift their strategy to focus on retention in the customer experience. And so we've decided to reach out to top DC brands and dive deeper into their tactics and challenges. But here's the thing, we love going on tangents. And so with our guests, you'll often find us talking about the latest trends, as well as any and all things in the Shopify ecosystem. So go ahead and start that workout or go on that walk and tune in as we chat with the leading minds in the space retention Chronicles is sponsored by Malomo. A shipment in order tracking platform, improving the post purchase experience, be sure to subscribe and check out all of our other episodes at go malomo.com. Hello, everyone, it's Mariah here. Before we dive into this week's episode, I just wanted to share that we are officially announcing our hosting of our very first ever live podcast, it's going to be with some of the top players in the shop by ecosystem I couldn't be more excited for it. It's free, it's virtual. It's on September 7 at 3pm. Eastern. We'll be hearing from the assistant director of customer experience at brew mate, the director of E commerce at Rocher chocolates, director of customer experience at Mugsy, jeans and more. So if you want to join us had to go malomo.com To get your name on the list or click on the link in this episode's bio. That's go Malomo g o m a l o n o.com. Now let's roll with the show. Hello, everyone, and welcome back to retention Chronicles. I am so excited for our guests today. It is not lost on me that this is the first time that we're getting to talk to a cannabis brand. So Luke, thank you so much for being here. If you could start with your background, that'd be great. And then we'll dive into it.

Luke Droulez 02:09

Yeah, I'm Luke. I currently in the VP of Marketing here at PAX been in consumer product space for over a decade and then the last two years and then impacts within my role manage marketing, customer service, and then also our Eco experience.

Mariah Parsons 02:27

So not a lot. Not a lot going on at the moment.

Luke Droulez 02:31

Yeah, exactly.

Mariah Parsons 02:32

Yeah. Just a couple of hats you get to wear Yeah, that's that's

Luke Droulez 02:37

great to see the customer journey, especially online. Obviously, in cannabis, you know, so much of the business is done in in dispensaries and pen shops and vape shops. But this you saw people are still holding their phones, etc.

Mariah Parsons 02:54

Yes. Yeah. I mean, that's great for us because we're all about customer experience retention, e commerce all that good stuff. But we do you talk to a large chunk of brands who also have a lot of sales in their retail storefronts. Okay, so two years at PAX, I'm actually I just had my two year anniversary at Malomo. So did you start in June as well?

Luke Droulez 03:16

I started in September, so maybe I'm a couple months. Okay. Yeah, yeah. I guess I wanted to be happy. Yes, yes.

Mariah Parsons 03:27

Oh, that's so fun. Okay. Can you tell us a little bit more about Pax just in case our listeners aren't familiar with the brand?

Luke Droulez 03:34

Yeah, so Pax is a cannabis company, they you know, we've been in the space for close over a decade now. I think first coming to market with a word of warning why the devices, so drive the browser's concentrate vaporizers until use vaporizers. And then you know, within the last couple years have started there's the you know, a closed loop system, pods, oil extract pods and vape pens that we make all proprietary patented. Similarly award winning. And so, you know, through that is why we are able to be in both, you know, kind of headshots, smoke shops, vape shops and dispensaries. You know, we our mission is to create exceptional cannabis experiences and enhance people's lives. And I think what's been exciting in my time here is that we really lean into that identity.

Mariah Parsons 04:31

Yeah, that's awesome. So one of the things that I was really excited about, and I mentioned it in the intro was this is the first time we're having a cannabis brand on the podcast. So I want to dive into just like all of the industry because Admittedly, I don't you know, I feel like it's one of those things where, unless you're working in the industry, you don't know a ton. So I will admit my ignorance there. Can you tell us more about just like the journey that Pax has gone through, like since being founded 10 years ago, and then also in the two years that You've been there because I would imagine just from what I know, there has been so much growth, just whether it's behind policy or just social movements and medicine kind of every little bit of life, can you kind of walk us through, like the growth you've seen? And maybe some of the challenges and some of the strengths of the industry?

Luke Droulez 05:22

Yeah. So at a high level, cannabis is still a schedule one narcotic. And so like, at a federal level, it's still illegal. And that has carry on effects in terms of banking financing. It's the reason why when you purchase cannabis products, you have to do so with like a cash or debit kind of transaction. And it also means that like in the States, where cannabis is either medically or recreationally legal, the states are kind of setting the laws for that area. And so it's like, you'll notice when you go from state to state, there are different rules and regulations that stipulate how many stores there are, and effectively control how many brands there are distributors, what kind of taxes you pay as a business as a consumer, etc. And so that's, that's very, that's a unique element of it. It also means that like, unlike a lot of products, there's no interstate commerce on cannabis. So you know, what you consume via legal distribution channels is coming from that state, you know, if I'm in Massachusetts, or California, or Colorado, the cannabis products I'm consuming or cultivated there. So that it's a, and I think we're still in a place where cannabis is a little stigmatized relative to other goods and products, even relatively newer things like crypto. And so that has carry on effects with advertising. You know, there's restrictions in terms of what platforms we can advertise on what partners we can work with. And it kind of trickles down from there terms of services. And so that also kind of weighs on what we're doing. And then I think, you know, from, from a policy perspective, there's still people who are incarcerated because of cannabis. So there is this juxtaposition between kind of startups and businesses that are entering into the market now. And people who were kind of the original entrepreneurs from the legacy market who are still potentially wrongfully incarcerated, are locked up for doing things that we are now doing in open sight. So it's like the industry saw as a ways to go, I think, not only from public perception, but from internal regulations. There's a lot of, there's just a lot that still needs to be done, so that it is kind of on an even playing playing field. So even something like alcohol. But I think we're closer, we're closer than we ever have. You know, this past week, Minnesota became one of the latest states to allow for recreational cannabis. So yeah, we're at a place where cannabis is recreationally legal in 23 states, and then medically legal in 38 states. So we are getting to a place where you know, it's like the legal cannabis market is over $30 billion. There's a ton of new brands entering into the space, new retailers make more and more consumers are gaining access and safe access to cannabis and legal markets. But we are not yet at 50 states, both medically and recreationally legal. We're not yet at like a policy commerce framework where it's easy for people to start businesses and grow them within the state and amongst states. So there's still things that to be there's work to be done on the policy side on the, you know, the commerce side, and then I think for consumers, hopefully, they just stand to benefit from all of us.

Mariah Parsons 08:50

Yeah, it's super, I could see, you know, just with the, like growth over the past couple of years. And like you said, was it 23 And then 38, for recreational medical. Just the growth there. And then like you said, there's still areas to grow into. And I I know, just because shipping is obviously Malomo. Focus in the post purchase experience, but I equate it to like alcohol. And you also made that comparison. And I know like shipping rules and regulations for alcohol is different state by state. And so I can imagine it gets very finicky very quickly, when you're in industries like this where it's not. Yeah, the the connections between states or just on a federal level are all different. And so I also wanted to ask because there's the distinction then with like medical cannabis and then recreational use. So for you all, is there any differences like would someone use packs, or one of your products for like medically and recreationally? or is it just one or the other?

Luke Droulez 10:02

Yeah, I think it's enter. So I think like the big differences between medical and recreational usage is like if it there's just different rules and restrictions that govern it, I think like, because people have seen the medicinal benefits of the planet. You know, for certain people, they can prescribe cannabis as a form of treatment. And so it's like the rules around like how much you can carry or where and how you can buy the products can be different. And so that's, but in terms of how people use cannabis, I'd say like, using cannabis to medicate or using cannabis in different kinds of environments for different reasons, you can still use the PACs to do both. I think like, the PACs line of devices are known for kind of their discretion. And then from a kind of a general, like purity safety perspective, it's heat not burn. So it's like it will raise the temperature of your oil extract or flour, or concentrate to a level where it'll create vapor, but it won't light it on fire. So there's none of the combustion byproducts or kind of harmful substances that you potentially could inhale. So in that regard, it's good for both regular consumers and also medical consumers.

Mariah Parsons 11:11

Okay, I'm glad you brought up that distinction with the heat and no burn, because that's that makes a lot of sense. And also, I think it's just fascinating that the branding, you also mentioned that it's like discretion is maybe what some of the your consumers are aiming for. And thank you for that background. Honestly, I feel like that was a quick 10 minute synopsis of the industry that I'm, I know is way more complicated than that. But I wanted to dive into perhaps more of the fun initiatives you all are working on in the marketing side, and dive into some of that customer experience retention that you are focusing on at PAX. So can you tell us? What are some of the fun things that you're working on? I'm always curious to hear you brought up like, there's only certain platforms that you can run ads on, or certain ways that you can showcase Pax products. So can you kind of dive into that aspect of the business a little bit more?

Luke Droulez 12:07

Yeah, I mean, I think like a big focus for us, which has been very interesting has been, you know, launching our first cannabis products. You know, up until that point, up until recently, we had worked with licensed brand partners to produce cannabis products that would go with our line of devices. And now we are becoming more plant touching in the way that we do things. And so you know, over the course of the last few years, we've launched products in California, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Canada, and then not only singular products, but also product lines. So you know, signature line and Paul's infused flour products are to name a few. And so that has been really enjoyable. We are really telling those products stories, getting into the details of cultivars, strains, you know, telling those stories based on canon and you know, seeing how consumers are interacting with the product, you know, IRL, whether it be launch events or dispensaries or through kind of sampling. So it's been a that's been a very enjoyable experience. I think we got some great positive validation. We won the one of the High Times SoCal awards are our Blue Dream cultivars. So that was, I think it's good to be known for, you know, we want to be known for the quality of both of the vaporizers, but also what you put in them. And so yeah, it was great for that. And then I think beyond that, it's like big things we've been focused on is finding ways to engage with consumers outside of your traditional mediums. So we had a Women's History Month campaign last year where we profiled women win win in the industry, and it tied into our broader campaign of more powerful, but was a really cool moment, in terms of the kind of content we were able to produce the kind of profiles we were able to share and think we got good press around and we ended up actually winning Cleo for the campaign, which was cool. We've, of late we've done more recently, we did a collaboration with Stan Burch, who goes by fluke customs on the internet, he makes kind of custom Nikes we made a custom pair of Nike dunks, and we showcase them recently actually at a fashion show during 420 in New York City. And like taking a step back, that fashion show was done in collaboration with Sunday School, which is kind of like a fashion and cannabis brand. You know, during the fashion show, one of the models walked the runway with a as the Statue of Liberty with like a crown made out of Pax eras, which Oh, that's awesome. Really enjoy. I love that. Yeah, we got coverage in vogue in a variety of other publications. So I think you know, where we like moments that are both endemic you very much within the space but also can have crossover appeal and can get, you know, people interested outside of the industry. And one of the we, we've been fortunate to work with a number of music artists like Tory MA and Munna in the past, the weekend thievery Corporation, Jenny Lewis, etc, to kind of, because cannabis lives at the intersection of art and music, and technology. And so, you know, being able to kind of show how it fits within people's lives by way of, you know, something as simple as a music, video inclusion, but also, in other like the content that can originate from that, like, behind the scenes or posts. So that that's kind of been what our focus has been. And then outside of it more tactically, it's like, we noticed that our people use our products in a variety of circumstances. And so we've been focused on developing more smoking and utility related accessories for like grinding your cannabis or prepping it or storing it or traveling with it. Because we know that, you know, for a lot of people, this is just a part of their life. You know, there's a lot of functional stoners in this world. And so we are trying to kind of support them, knowing that like, not everybody is using cannabis as partying. And not everybody is using cannabis as a by themselves, you know, there's kind of a pretty wide spectrum between the two. And the profile of a cannabis user is very different. Like while people can use people tend to use multiple products and multiple form factors in multiple circumstances. And so it's like, we want to be a part of that kind of daily experience.

Mariah Parsons 16:42

Yeah, yeah. I love the way you summarize all of that. And I think there's so much truth to I feel like one of the things in E commerce or just in general, with business, and especially marketing is you're trying to nail down that like ICP, right? Like, who is how can we generalize such a, you know, all these different individuals that we serve, and it's a very hard task at hand to do. But I love that you brought it up that everyone can have their own usage or their own, you know, the way that they use packs, the way that it manifests in their life, and their cannabis use is unique to each person. And I also think, I don't hear it often on this podcast, where you're trying to meet customers outside of your typical, you know, marketing initiatives, like I think sometimes we've had brands have collaborations, but a lot of the times, it's like directly in their industry or something very similar, like where the two products go hand in hand together, or like a retail launch. So I think it's really cool. Like, I love what you said about the intersectionality between art music and technology. With

Luke Droulez 17:56

cannabis. Cannabis is a part of a lot of people's day. And it's like, some people use it to get focus. Some people use it to relax and unwind. Other people use it for energy. And it's just like, more it can be more uplifting, euphoric. And I think, you know, we're trying, we're very interested in those moments. And it's like, how do we capture them? How do we showcase them? Because I think that there's Yeah, the types of profiles and personas, I think it goes back to like, the way that the product has been stigmatized for so many years. So how do you counterbalance that without seeming corny?

Mariah Parsons 18:34

Yeah, very fine, fine line to draw or to try and make. And I think too, that's also part of I imagine like the cloud or I hate using that word, but it's just descriptive. The the doors that collaboration with all these different artists, or all these different names would help destigmatize how others who maybe don't use cannabis are looking at the industry, and help maybe propel some of those motions, and add to the momentum of those motions moving forward. And I know, I also saw and I think you mentioned that you all have like pop ups. And so is that the same thing with like, distilleries like trying out packs in distilleries? Or is that a completely different? Yeah,

Luke Droulez 19:26

there's, I mean, there's rules and regulations that govern it. I mean, I think there are ways you can give out samples and be discreet, because we want people to try the real thing and experience the real thing. So, like the venues where that happens, or maybe not always the same, but I think like product education is big. So it's like whether you're in a dispensary or at an event or at a space like you want people to know the product story and know what makes it unique, ideally in as few words as possible. And then you want them to be able to try to have a way of trying the product so that you can kind of back I like when you hear when you read about a specific cultural bar or string, like you want to see, like, oh are like the flavors and the aroma is the same or, you know, if I say that, you know, putting one of our devices up to four petals is gonna give you a ton of vapor, like a huge kind of big hit, you know, you have to experience that to know that like, kind of learn, like, what is how much of a pro do I want in my product to be producing, and therefore what kind of experience I want to have. So it's like, those are all kind of a part of the, but what the brain is trying to do, because it's like, you know, we roughly know where people are shopping and where they're going. And you have a sense of what they're doing outside of it. But like, we don't necessarily have the luxury of being able to interact with people in all places all the time.

Mariah Parsons 20:44

Yeah, yeah. And so do you happen to know it's okay, if you don't, but the breakdown between? Like, where most of your customers are shopping? Like is it mostly online? Is it mostly from distilleries? Is it do you?

Luke Droulez 20:57

Weren't you? There's no currently there's no, you can't ship cannabis products. You can ship hemp derived products, but not cannabis ones. So for that reason, it's like any time somebody wants a cannabis product, they're gonna go to a dispensary or you know, buy it from someone they know in the market. And then for like, you know, the devices themselves, you could go to online or head shop or vape shop or smoke shop or dispensary. So that's a little bit more open. That's, you know, like we it's more of your traditional ecommerce experience.

Mariah Parsons 21:31

Ah, okay. I see. I didn't even know that you couldn't ship cannabis.

Luke Droulez 21:35

Yeah. So that and because of that, you know, you have to go somewhere. We still do age verification online. And for certain products, we have a signature required. So it's like we do have those kind of regulations in place. But yeah, with the cannabis, it's kind of a nonstarters.

Mariah Parsons 21:52

Yeah. Okay. Okay. That makes a lot of sense. Okay. So, this is one of the questions that I love to ask brands, whenever they come on the podcast. What is like if someone comes and interacts with your brand? What message? Or what branding? Are you hoping to convey to them?

Luke Droulez 22:12

Yeah, I mean, I think for us, it's consistent quality. It's an experience, like when people see the Pax brand name, it's, you know, we've been in the business for more than a decade. So chances are people have experienced what one iteration of our product. And I think, like, the common theme is, you know, very sleek design, very discreet. And very generally, you know, easy use product that gives you what you asked for, you know, there's no leaking or clogged like, the less kind of clogging issues less just, every day, every day. Use works dependable. And I think that is may not seem like a lot, but it really is, it's something that's very key to our brand identity. And you'd be surprised within the space kind of what that is. And then I think, you know, we care about positive experiences, we know that, like, an experience is made of not only the context, but the content. So it's like, yeah, if we if we know that you're using, if we know that you have all the good stuff, then we can kind of make the most out of your experience.

Mariah Parsons 23:16

Mm hmm. I love that. Yeah. So by having the like, I'm because I'm trying to think through okay, if you're say you order online from PAX, and you've like interacted in person from it, right, like you've gone to a distillery whatever. Yeah. And is there any type of like, feedback form that you all are using, like surveys for online? Or like at those pop ups? Like, how are you trying to I guess my question is, how are you seeing like, how it lands? Because it seems like, like you said, yeah, for a while, like, confirming Yeah,

Luke Droulez 23:59

yeah, one of the strongest proof points is always like sales, and then also return like we have a very low return rate. So we know that people are liking our products when they go, yeah, that's both from like wholesale distribution, but also from like, direct sales. So I think that's useful. And then we also invest a lot in like surveys, focus groups, brand trackers, and then kind of collecting field information and directing it back to FAQ. Let me Sorry, it's back to HQ. So it's like when you have kind of a sales force and a field trip, you know, trade and feel on team that's out there, you can collect a lot of insights. And then we kind of got on our way to collect more information, both first and third party on top of that to kind of validate like, as we're developing a product, there's work that goes into it, once we launch a product that there's work that goes into it. And then there's kind of evergreen work that goes into like, who you know, ensuring brand affinity ensuring product affinity etc. Oh,

Mariah Parsons 25:00

yeah, yeah, that's okay. That's, that's helpful to know. And that's what I feel like most of the brands we've had come on that have both wholesale and direct sales. One of the caveats to being in wholesale, or just retail in general is not having as much customer data as an E commerce or DTC site would. So it's always I think that's why I'm surprised like, there's not more pop ups that brands are using, because I feel like that direct face to face interaction is where you can get a lot of that. A lot of that feedback from your consumers. So it makes sense that you share that with your team.

Luke Droulez 25:41

And then you also get to see like, what's the competition doing? Like? How are people moving through stores? What did they kind of questions? Are they asking? So it's, it's a big part of what we do?

Mariah Parsons 25:50

Yeah, yeah, that makes sense. I'm gonna pivot just real quick, and then we'll come back to the customer experience. So because there are different iterations of different products through PACs, what does like a product launch from the marketing perspective kind of look like? Like, I feel like that's one of the maybe the most exciting things that you could get to work on, because we talked about, like, collaborations, but the actual different products that they all are starting to release, what does that look like?

Luke Droulez 26:18

Yeah, I mean, I think we better work closely with the product team to get and get a sense of like, what are the features and benefits? What are the reasons to believe like, you know, why are people using this product? And then I think, you know, because we've been in the business for a minute, it's kind of like, how do these products compare to their precedents? Like, what's new? What's interesting, so that we can communicate to people who know about packs, and then like, what's generally interesting and new as it relates to the market. And I think, with cannabis products is maybe a little different, because it's like, we're not as immediately well known for our cannabis products. So it's kind of looking at like behaviors and trends. It's like, what are the most popular strains or cultivars and people are buying? Like, what are the form factors and making sure that we're like answering those needs in advance, and then telling those stories the right way? Um, and then I think as we get closer, it's kind of like, you know, how are we going to go to market obviously, go to market is usually going to include some kind of IRL, wholesale brick and mortar kind of experience. And then also kind of a digital experience like and, you know, hopefully, we can use our online touch points to funnel people into stores and help them find the places where they can buy the products. So that's kind of generally how things have gone. And then once a product launches, it's a little bit of a delayed feedback loop, because you have to kind of, you know, you sell products in retail, they sell them, they place repurchase orders, and then you kind of use that to inform, okay, what, which skews are doing better than others, etc.

Mariah Parsons 28:01

Okay, that's really interesting that you're kind of using the site as maybe like, top of the funnel.

Luke Droulez 28:07

Yeah, it's, it's not uncommon for somebody to want to look at our website, and it's, we have a good, memorable name that's easy to find. And so we, yeah, yeah, exactly. You want to be doing double duty, right? Like, just as much as I want to sell somebody, someone online, I want to be able to get them to the right. Kind of end outcome.

Mariah Parsons 28:30

Yeah, yeah, that makes sense. I also as a consumer, which I'm curious if you do this at all, because I've had chats with my co workers, because they don't do them at all go on a brand's Instagram, and just like, look through to see if, especially if I'm shopping online. Or if I'm shopping on like, with a brand that's only online, I'm like, Okay, I want to make sure they're reputable. And, you know, like, see what they're all about. So I don't know if you do that. But that's what that reminds me of where I'm like, I will,

Luke Droulez 28:57

I mean, it's not uncommon, you know, you want the proof points, or it's like, you look for people's press, or you look for product reviews, like we we try to be thoughtful of like, where are the ways and places people can hear about us and making sure that we kind of cover off on them?

Mariah Parsons 29:12

Yeah, yeah. So one of the things I also typically ask on this podcast is to like walk through the customer experience. And that's typically if someone is buying online, but because your products are so unique, and just the legislation and not being able to ship the product, obviously, we've discussed that. Do you? Is it easy for you to kind of tell that story of what a typical customer experience might look like?

Luke Droulez 29:40

Um, it's not perfect. I mean, I think you kind of have like your best. Yeah. So like, you know, I think even you know, some people do pickup and delivery. So there is kind of like there's some subset of consumers that are doing things digitally, but then they end up physically out of space or the you know, they just show them at home and it's the Am I ordering like Uber Eats? Yeah, I think those decisions, I think it's fair to assume that a lot of people are coming to our website, whether it is to like, get more information about a product, or use the Store Locator or potentially buy it, or see if they can buy it online. Like we we try to answer those consumer needs. And then I think like, things like email signup and social follows are just like staying within the community. It's like, maybe you're not ready to buy right now. But you kind of want to stay up to date, or, honestly, in a lot of cases. You know, as I mentioned, at the beginning, we're opening markets one by one, you know, we recently opened New York City, sorry, New York, but most probably in New York City, as a market, and that was big news. You know, we have a lot of people on our email list on our social who are from NGO area, so you want to let them know, hey, you know, you can now find us a XYZ dispensary. And so we try to leverage, we try to incentivize people to stay in touch, because of the pace at which we are launching new products and new markets. You know, it's like you, we may not be able to serve you now. But in the future, if we can, we want you to kind of stay in touch. Yeah. And then you kind of your sprinkle in, like, you know, product education content, whether it be about the products themselves, or more informational. And I think that's kind of how we keep people in the loop. And then we try to be mindful of the fact that like, we don't want to inundate people with messaging, we don't want to overwhelm their feed. So I think that has been helpful for us.

Mariah Parsons 31:39

Yeah, I love the like, I love using email lists or social to keep people updated, as you said, you're launching these new marketplaces. So I imagine like location must be a really important data point for you all to capture with consumers because of just like, I mean, just the state by state. Yeah, different, like differing state by state regulation. So is there anything else that other than like, the restrictions, we talked like age and whatnot? Is there any other like, customer information that you all want to capture? That's industries specific?

Luke Droulez 32:20

I'm not Yeah, I think the it's, we like to keep things open ended, because of the fact that we're not, we don't have the full product portfolio out that we want to have out. Like, we have ambitions beyond what we're currently selling. And so we don't want to limit people by saying, like, when they first come in to interact with us, like, Oh, what are you interested in? Because I think, you know, people talk, people change their consumption behaviors, they change their preferences. And it's like, we try to like, keep for now keep that open. And I think as we get farther and farther down the line, potentially there's more legislative changes, potentially, there's more like finality with our product portfolio, it'll be easier to kind of send someone down a specific path. But I think we're kind of in that stage where we're still learning from people. And as I said, like, more often than not, people are engaging in multiple mediums. It's like, just because you use one product doesn't preclude you from another and vice versa. What we find is like, as somebody because like, becomes more interested in something they sometimes you want to have. It's like any, it's like, sometimes you want to have really nice wine and sometimes you just want to have an easy table line. That's yeah, yeah. And it kind of depends on the circumstance. And you know, we want to be able to satisfy those needs.

Mariah Parsons 33:44

Yeah, that I love. I love that point. Because I think a lot of the times we just all and it's like human nature, it's like we want the answers to everything. Like we just want every every customer to know everything about every customer, every person. But I love the intentionality behind trying not to pigeonhole people into different things just because, you know, you, you want to try something else or you want to, you know, from your all from your perspective, you want to be able to have customers that don't feel like okay, you're, you can only like this product, right? You want to have an array of products that hopefully someone would like. So I love that. I love that point. It also emphasizes or underlines that. There probably isn't a typical customer experience. Not really that there ever is.

Luke Droulez 34:34

Yeah, I mean, look at the end of the day if your product is not good, like everything is built on having a good product because like, you know, word of mouth, like I'm not going to tell my friends about something if I don't like it. The press is not going to cover something if they don't like it, it kind of like it starts with the product like any especially in an environment like you go into the dispensary, the bud tenders, they get a lot of kinds of the gatekeeper. So if the budtender doesn't like your stuff, they're not recommending it. And so I, you know, obviously get get having a good product and getting the product into people's hands, especially in those early days is super important. And then you kind of build off of that.

Mariah Parsons 35:10

Yeah, it's the stepping stone, I feel like you need.

Luke Droulez 35:13

Yeah, exactly. It's not like as great for you. In a lot of cases, people aren't picking things off of shelves, you know, sometimes items are behind glass cases, sometimes they're stored in a different location, like you really have to, you want people to come in and see a menu and ask for it or go online, see a menu and choose it, add it to their cart, and then choose it for delivery and pickup. It's like, there's some intentionality there. And you have to help foster that.

Mariah Parsons 35:39

Yeah, yeah, you mentioned educational content. And wanting to share that, and that I assume is perhaps more similar to other brands, just generally speaking, like outside of your specific industry. So I'd love to know more about that content. Because with the post purchase experience, that's a lot of what Malomo focuses on is making sure that when someone gets their product, they're educated about it. So they know how to use it. They know, you know, this is this strand, or this is what you bought, this is how you can like maximize the product that you're using. So you can you go into more details about that.

Luke Droulez 36:15

Yeah, I mean, I think for like the devices or vaporizers use is very important, especially the ones where you are, you know, grinding up flour, or taking like, solid waxy concentrate and putting it in there. Like if you don't clean maintain the product, it will not perform well, especially after repeated use. And so like care and maintenance is probably one of the most important things. So we build that into kind of our post purchase clothes for online. And we're looking we've we're really exploring ways to tie it to like setting up for warranty, etc. To make sure that like even if you don't buy with us, we're kind of keeping you in the loop. And then, you know, of course, there's blog articles on the website, there's FAQ articles on the help site. And then we have customer service team that can help you. So there's multiple touch points where you can learn how to use the products. Even you know, we're building FAQs in the product pages, category pages. So it's we're, we don't want to Hi, I think like the good news is our products are easy to use, and so especially on your products are very easy to use. So that helps for like the out of the box. Like every product comes with instructions, use instructions. Telephones are pretty straightforward. But if even if you throw those away, or throw the box away, like we got you covered. And then I'd say you know, the cannabis products are pretty straightforward. It's like what you what you see is kind of what you get. We try to outline what the experience will be like online. And we try to the kinds of cannabis products we're selling are generally available from other brands. So you have some baseline. And so there's maybe less product education there. Beyond kind of telling that strain or cultivars story. It's like what, why, you know, how did this come to be? What's you know, the what are the genetics story behind it? What's the, there's like a lot of a lot of the the, the strain cultivars have really interesting stories behind them. And so I'm sharing those stories with people. And then I think people that also worry about like, what are the effects? What are the aroma? What are the flavors? And that's what I talked about the experience? It's kind of like, it's similar to like, again, like wine. And it's like, what are the tasting notes? It's like, what do you what's the bouquet and people care about? As I said, the more you enjoy, cannabis is like any other kind of plant based item, it's like, you know, people really care about what is the product experience, like and so we try to set those expectations in advance so that a people can like fact, check us and be like, does that sound like something I've had before? Is that look like what I should be experiencing? But then also be like, Oh, that sounds like something you know, people have some people are still trying to have preferences. Like I want indica sativa hybrid. And so it's like, we need to make sure we have those products and the products aligned with what they're looking for.

Mariah Parsons 39:25

Okay, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So is it kind of like, there's like basics that pretty much anyone could expect?

Luke Droulez 39:33

Yeah, I mean, it's like, as I think we don't, we want to be experts, but we don't want to talk in the way the top 20 Right. Yeah, you kind of want to be someone when we say something. The heavier users the enthusiasts are like, Okay, what you're saying sounds right. And then for people who are newer, or like, just getting into different extraction methods, or different product types are like okay, I get this now. Thank you for listening. I mean, I've always wondered, you know, why, what is a live rosin? Or what is a resident or why, you know, what makes it special? And it's like, if we can answer that in a way that like, the expert is like, Yes, that's right. Then then the new person is like, yes, that's interesting, then I think we're happy.

Mariah Parsons 40:16

Yeah, yeah. Go. Yeah. Yeah. That makes it goes back to like branding, right? Like, what do you want your brand voice to be? And yeah,

Luke Droulez 40:25

it's like confident, direct, but also not like, over the top, you know? Yes.

Mariah Parsons 40:30

Like I know more than you type. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I get that. It's a fine. Another fine line. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. So that's awesome. So are you sending like, Are you a fan of using both email and SMS, this also comes up a lot with

Luke Droulez 40:48

SMS, we there are restrictions around it. So we are restricted with like, who we can work with and what we can do there. Um, I think we believe in SNS, but it's just like, there are some restrictions that are around it. It's kind of a similar thing where like, certain service providers won't work with us because of it. Oh,

Mariah Parsons 41:06

interesting. Okay. Yeah, even in this, like, 40 minutes, or however long we've been sitting here, it's like restrictions. You just have to find your way.

Luke Droulez 41:13

Yeah, it's a part of the, you know, obviously, we're fortunate and that, you know, between our legal team between our government relations team, like we, we were actively working to change some of these things. But you know, while the law is there, you kind of have to adhere to it.

Mariah Parsons 41:31

Yeah. Makes sense. Okay, so last question for you. And it's going to be around customer retention, because this is retention Chronicles. So we got to do it. How are you, as a VP of Marketing looking at customer retention? Like how are you measuring it? What incentives are you using to try and maximize it and grow customer retention? Super curious, because we haven't touched upon that specifically yet.

Luke Droulez 41:58

Yeah, yeah. I mean, I think the the biggest one for us has been the product experience, our retention is largely built on the product and the product experience, like our products lend themselves well to repeat purchase behavior. Because if you like, for the Pax era platform, if you like it, it's a closed system. So it's like, you'll continue to like it and will continue to offer you what you want. I guess it's not any different than like Nespresso, where it's like, if you like the Nespresso system for its quality, its ease of use, it's consistency, you're going to stay on the system. And so the product is like a big part of that. And then I think on the flip side, like, the packs, platform is more open ended, like I can take my favorite flower or concentrate and put it in there. So I'm not restricted. And so for that product, it's more about the accessories, and like, how do I accessorize it? How do I and so for us, it's like, how do we develop experiences that enhance it, and it's like, you sell someone an iPhone, but there's the case, there's the, you know, the popsocket, there's, there's a lot of things you can like, yeah. And then I think beyond that, it's just kind of how and where we show up, I think brand affinity is important. post purchase. And then I think like the product education piece is also important post purchase, like, if you can ensure that people enjoy their first time using the product, they're much more likely to want to come back. And it's like, anything that we can do to make that first experience as good as possible. Whether it be through email, science, social training, education, etc. That's good. And then anything, anything that we can do to make the brand stickier, you know, it's like, how do we create more branded moments following purchase so that if you see us, Adam, have a or if you see us on somebody, you want to like reach out? You know, we've heard of people getting tattoos of brands that they love. Yeah. We actually had an event recently where we were giving out tattoos and people, some people got tattoos. And it's like, I think there's there's levels to this. And I think we're we're always interested in like, how do you build affinity? Because it's like, if this is one of those things, where it's like, if you're trusted, then the behavior is very different than otherwise.

Mariah Parsons 44:20

Yeah. And what a better way then to get a tattoo to

Luke Droulez 44:24

this brand. Yeah, exactly.

Mariah Parsons 44:27

Yeah, I love that answer. And we haven't had anyone yet who has had a similar initiative that they're starting with offering free tattoos. So I love ending. This has been great. Luke, thank you so much for sharing your expertise and sharing about the industry. It's all super fascinating to me, so I know our listeners are really going to enjoy it.

Luke Droulez 44:47

Great. Well, thank you for having me.