Competing in the L.A. cannabis market requires a mix of grit and innovation. We sit down with Kirstin Vogel, the Director of Marketing at MMD, a legacy Los Angeles retail chain, to talk about data and marketing in today's market. In operation since 2006, MMD has a long retail history in Southern California and has been at the forefront of advocating for safe and legal access to cannabis for over a decade. Kirstin chats with us about her background, her challenges within the cannabis industry in California retail, how data and Retailer Premium have helped solve problems in the store, and what the future holds for the California cannabis industry.
Jocelyn: Tell us about yourself and your experience in the cannabis industry.
Kirstin: Cannabis has always had a special place in my heart. I have been a strong advocate for medicinal cannabis since 2016 after suffering an accident resulting in a broken neck and back in New York. I was adamant to be taken off my prescription pain pills, due to the high percentage rate of addiction and overdose. While my surgeon sympathized and supported my decision, the laws in place prevented me from gaining access to the treatment I was seeking. Look at New York now!
Once recreational legalization passed in California, I immediately traveled to California with the sole goal of working in cannabis. I wanted to be a part of normalizing the conversation, looking at the science, and appreciating all that cannabis gave me in my recovery. It’s been a wild ride ever since. The landscape of this industry is forever changing, making it an unbelievable balance between understanding, patience, and wanting to throw your hands up and walk away (if only for a second).
Jocelyn: MMD opened its first store in North Hollywood back in 2006, tell us about MMD’s ethos and vision.
Kirstin: Starting as a medicinal dispensary, MMD’s ethos has always been about providing quality products at a fair price for their patients. They’re one of the few LA dispensaries I know of that doesn’t charge the customers excise tax at the register.
Jocelyn: As the Director of Marketing at MMD, what is your average day like?
Kirstin: Oh man. Every day is different. One day I will be planning high-level strategy campaigns and product launches with our team. Other days I’m working with contractors and electricians to level up our store's merchandising. I even hand-stitched cannabis decorations for 4/20 this year. If I ever see a felt cannabis leaf again... it will be too soon.
Jocelyn: You've been a big proponent of data and technology, what excites you so much about data and how has it helped in your job?
Kirstin: Yes, I am a huge fan of data. It helps to cut out the noise and emotions when making certain business decisions. It’s hard to ignore the numbers when they’re all laid out so beautifully on Headset's platform. Not to mention the incredible account executives who always find the time to get on a call to walk me through anything I have questions about. It has helped my job function by proving to both me and my boss that the strategies and concepts I’m coming up with are working and resonating with our customers.
Jocelyn: What challenge were you facing when you decided to use Retailer Premium?
Kirstin: DISCOUNT STRATEGY! We’re unlike our competitors in the sense that we don’t have themed daily deals every day, week, month. That strategy is easy for planning ahead of time and setting specific expectations, but our approach reduces margin loss and allows us to excite our customers when we launch new promotions and campaigns. I don’t want them to get bored!
Jocelyn: Can you share an example of how Retailer Premium has helped MMD?
Kirstin: Retailer Premium has allowed our General Managers at the store level to really get to know their clientele based on the RFM Customer Segmentation tool. They can reach out to their VIPs and loyal customers to offer personalized deals and really build that relationship with people who have been champions for MMD shops.
Jocelyn: What reports are used the most and what value do they provide your team?
Kirstin: I feel like I discover a new report each time I run a campaign. They help me prove their efficacy in so many different ways.
Jocelyn: If someone called you and said 'Why should I use Headset’s Retailer Premium software', what would you tell them?
Kirstin: If you like making educated decisions that require rational thought and strategy, you should use this platform. If you make choices based on feelings, I would not recommend it, because you might not like what you learn.
Jocelyn: What are you most excited about for the future of the California cannabis industry?
Kirstin: California has and still is setting the standard for how cultivation of cannabis flower should be done in the US and beyond. If federal legalization passes and we are able to open up our state's borders, I could see a lot of states looking to us for raw materials. I see it being a major challenge for states like Wyoming and Louisiana to cultivate outdoors in those extreme weather conditions. Their only option is likely indoor grows, which becomes costly, and unfortunately isn’t the best thing for our industry's environmental impact.
I also like seeing so many local municipalities, brands, and dispensaries with impactful social equity and community causes. We should be lifting up and giving back to the communities of people that cannabis prohibition fell hardest on.
At Headset, we love helping our retail partners solve challenges in their day-to-day operations and understand the benefits of data-driven decisions. If you're like Kirstin, one day might look very different from the next, and you might not have time to sit down and make effective decisions on your own without the help of data. Retailer Premium equips marketers with valuable tools like customer segmentation dashboards to identify and target specific segments of customers, dashboards that help you measure the success of your marketing campaigns, and maintain the perfect stock of inventory at the right prices to keep your customers happy. If you'd like to learn more about our Retailer tools, reach out to us for a demo.