Marketing & Business Development Strategy for Successful Demand Generation

Higher Yields Consulting Marketing & Business Development Strategy for Successful Demand Generation

In both the cannabis industry and the business world at large, there seems to be much confusion over the difference between marketing and business development strategy. This confusion is the result of a fundamental breakdown in understanding what marketing actually is and how it functions.

Neither marketing nor business development strategy is strictly about sales (though both can and should work together) but rather demand generation. Demand generation is a process of turning strangers to your business into customers by establishing trust. Each part of the process is vital and plays its own unique role. 

Higher Yields Consulting Marketing & Business Development Strategy for Successful Demand Generation

Read on to learn more about the differences between marketing and business development strategy, and why you need both to create a successful demand generation process.

Marketing vs. Business Development Strategy

Marketing and business development strategy are not interchangeable, but they’re also not completely separate concepts. Instead, they’re two pieces of a larger process that must work together to accomplish the common goal of demand generation. 

What Is Marketing? 

Marketing is the first part in the overall demand generation process, and it’s all about creating demand for your product or services. As such, it overlaps with positioning  and messaging in function. 

If you don’t approach marketing with the understanding that you must create demand, you’re essentially throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. It requires a solid demand generation process and methodology; otherwise, you’re hurting not only your brand but also your business development strategy.

Of course, each business is unique, but demand generation does have a universal foundation. Once you lay that foundation, your brand’s uniqueness comes into play in how you address or approach key elements within the establishment of building trust.

What Is Business Development Strategy?

Business development strategy enters the stage after marketing has already created demand. Business development is not about selling — rather, it’s about solution design and engagement. 

Both marketing and business development strategy, then, are at their best when they work collaboratively to accomplish demand, gain permission and building of trust in your brand. 

6 Pillars of the Demand Generation Process

The demand generation process has six basic stages, or pillars, and involves both marketing and business development strategy. While marketing takes the forefront during the first three pillars, it pulls back some for the fourth and fifth and reemerges in the sixth. 

 

These are the six pillars of demand generation:

 

  • Pillar 1: Curiosity and Intrigue. Start by building brand awareness through positioning and messaging. Pillar 1 requires a one-to-many marketing strategy designed to reach a wide audience. 
  • Pillar 2: Targeted Awareness. Pillar 2 focuses on looking for a response to Pillar 1. Based on that response, you begin segmenting and changing the message according to each segment and building trust through dialogue and information sharing. 
  • Pillar 3: Acquisition. Acquisition is a one-to-one environment where you ask for consent to engage the client and discover the vision of the potential client in a new process. Here, marketing begins to hand off the reins to business development strategy. 
  • Pillar 4: Solution Design. In this stage, business development strategy is introduced and marketing takes a backseat. The two remain in communication as you analyze what’s working and what isn’t, apply that data to designing solutions, and mature the relationship with the client.
  • Pillar 5: Negotiation & Contract. With the client’s permission, you progress to a proposal and contract. We call this an assumed close because before offering the contract, you should have already done all the actual negotiating so all that’s left is to sign.
  • Pillar 6: Implementation. Finally, marketing comes back to the forefront to build the next awareness phase. Use successes from working with the current client either to generate future business with that client or to enhance your messaging to attract new ones. 

IMAGEHigher Yields Consulting Marketing & Business Development Strategy for Successful Demand Generation

Failing to complete one pillar before moving on to the next, or completing them out of order, will hinder the entire process in its effectiveness. 

Common Breakdowns in the Demand Generation Process

A number of factors can cause the demand generation process to break down. One of the biggest is failing to “slow down to go fast” — in other words, skipping straight to Pillar 5 when you get a lead instead of slowing down and making sure Pillars 2 to 4 are built first. Rushing the process risks misunderstandings and broken trust. 

 

Another breakdown occurs when you fail to understand the distinct purposes of marketing, business development strategy, and sales — and that all three must work together to move prospects through the demand generation process. 

 

Finally, breakdown occurs when you let sales resort to cold messaging, be it via phone, email, or social media. Cold messaging eliminates trust before you even begin establishing it. And in the cannabis industry, lack of trust is especially damaging.

Generate Demand Through Trust

Ultimately, the demand generation process hinges on trust between the prospects and your brand. Fail to establish trust — or break it at any stage in the process — and the whole process breaks down. 

 

Seamless collaboration between marketing, business development strategy, and sales ensures that trust is built carefully and steadily, guiding prospects into becoming clients instead of pushing them before they’re ready to give consent for the next stage. 

Ready to level up your marketing and business development strategy? Contact us to find out how Higher Yields Consulting can help you assess and implement a demand generation system that works for you.

The Heartland States: Virginia & Oklahoma Marijuana Opportunities

Higher Yields Consulting The Heartland States: Virginia & Oklahoma Marijuana Opportunities

The heartland states are slow moving in terms of cannabis legalization. While the Oklahoma marijuana market has become insanely oversaturated, and Virginia has legalized both adult and medical use, other states show little to no movement at all.

Heartland states are expansive and don’t see as much demand for cannabis as other areas. So while they aren’t necessarily against marijuana, they aren’t in a hurry to create their own booming cannabis industries, either.Higher Yields Consulting The Heartland States: Virginia & Oklahoma Marijuana Opportunities

Here’s what you need to know about cannabis regulations in the heartland states, from the oversaturated Oklahoma marijuana market to future opportunities opening up in Virginia.

Kansas 

Neither medical nor adult use is legal in Kansas, and there are no signs of that changing in the near future. 

There does seem to be some demand for cannabis — especially in Kansas City — but so far, the state doesn’t seem interested in capitalizing on that demand. 

Missouri 

Missouri is legalized for medical use only and does not have a competitive application at this time. The only two license types available are transportation and seed-to-sale, but the state has done a good job of communicating medical marijuana regulations and requirements. 

If demand increases, Missouri could potentially reassess and open up manufacturing, dispensary, or cultivation licenses at a later time. If you’re interested in establishing a cannabusiness in Missouri, keep an eye out for future developments. 

Oklahoma 

Although the Oklahoma marijuana program is medical only, the market is so saturated and in demand that it might as well be legal for adult use, as well. And with no official qualifying conditions, it’s very easy to get a medical card — in fact, about 10% of the population has one

Oklahoma also offers tons of licenses for cultivation and dispensaries and has no license caps. If you’re looking at getting into the Oklahoma marijuana market, your best bet will be in manufacturing, because that area isn’t nearly as saturated. 

Despite oversaturation, the Oklahoma marijuana market still holds a lot of opportunity. Because of the low barrier of entry, many Oklahoma marijuana businesses are poorly built and executed, and the market will weed them out in time. The old, underperforming business will fade out and give way to new ones. 

Higher Yields Consulting The Heartland States: Virginia & Oklahoma Marijuana Opportunities

If you can do things right — market your brand well, put good policies and procedures in place, train staff properly, and commit to superior quality — your cannabusiness can succeed in Oklahoma. 

Tennessee 

Although neither medical nor adult use marijuana is legal in Tennessee, the state has made some progress. Earlier this year, Tennessee followed Alabama’s suit and  passed a bill to create a study commission to consider medical marijuana and expand the state’s current CBD laws.  

Although the state likely isn’t moving anywhere quickly for medical cannabis, it is headed in the right direction. 

Virginia

Virginia has legalized marijuana for both medical and adult use. Applications will be competitive, but so far, no rules have been made, and applications won’t start being accepted until sometime in 2023. Following that, stores won’t start to open until 2024. 

As the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority sets up and regulates the industry, it will also establish the number of licenses, which cannot exceed 400 retailers, 25 wholesalers, 450 cultivators, and 60 product manufacturers. That said, it’s possible (but unlikely) that the board could decide to go way under those numbers.

Cultivation licenses will be divided into two types: Class A licenses will be capped at a certain number of square feet or plants. Class B licenses, on the other hand, will be limited to 1% THC — essentially a CBD-producer license. 

If you’re interested in Virginia’s marijuana programs, be sure to keep an eye on the development of their rules and regulations in 2022 so you’ll be prepared to meet the requirements. 

More About Virginia & Oklahoma Marijuana Opportunities  

Potential for cannabusinesses in the heartland states is hopeful but not concrete. The Oklahoma marijuana market might be a good place to start — but only if you really know what you’re doing and can beat out the competition. Virginia also holds a lot of promise, depending on how their rules and regulations shape up. 

Keep in mind that due to the smaller populations and dispersed rural areas, you won’t see as much profit as you would in other parts of the country. But there are a few opportunities that might be worth looking into to start — especially in the field of medical cannabis. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the Virginia and Oklahoma marijuana markets or opening up a cannabusiness in the heartland, schedule a consultation with us to discuss your options.

What to Expect From the Louisiana Marijuana Program & Other Southern States

Higher Yields Consulting What to Expect From the Louisiana Marijuana Program & Other Southern States

The Bible Belt certainly isn’t known for being particularly friendly to cannabis, but opportunities are slowly starting to open up in certain areas. The Louisiana marijuana program is one example of a small but promising start, and a few other Southern states show limited potential, as well. 

While as a whole, the Southern states are often slow to accept cannabis as anything other than a drug, there have been significant shifts. Florida, for instance, was the first to legalize medical marijuana and open up a cannabis program (albeit an extremely limited one). 

Higher Yields Consulting What to Expect From the Louisiana Marijuana Program & Other Southern States

Here’s what you need to know about the state of cannabis in this hold-out region of the U.S., from the bare-minimum Texas CBD allowances to the small-but-promising Louisiana marijuana program. 

Southern States With Little to No Movement

The Florida, Texas, and Mississippi marijuana programs may have had decent starts but have since stalled for the foreseeable future — or at least the next few years. We’re keeping an eye on them for future developments, but we don’t expect much movement at this time.

Florida 

True to the common conception of Florida as a separate entity from the rest of the South, Florida’s marijuana program is very different from what we see in other states.

Initially, Florida’s program issued only five licenses, though it later opened up a few more. However, Florida’s program is not an open application route, so no one is currently able to compete for licenses in the state. 

Although Florida’s legalization measures helped trigger a domino effect to get the other Southern states moving, it’s likely to be a few years before Florida’s own program picks up any further momentum.

Texas 

Texas does have a medical marijuana program, but the state allows only 1% THC in their medical marijuana products. At such a low THC rate, it’s essentially a CBD program. And it’s very minimal — just over 3,000 patients are registered, and there isn’t much movement happening in the state, overall. 

If you want to get into the Texas market, be prepared to work exclusively with CBD and CBD-adjacent products for a while. Cultivation is another option to consider, but the market is saturated. While we don’t recommend starting out in Texas at this time, if you’re so inclined, manufacturing will be your best bet. 

Mississippi 

In early 2021, Mississippi looked like it would follow in Oklahoma’s footsteps in terms of plentiful and accessible license availability. Unfortunately, however, government and legislative issues have put the program on hold for the next two or three years. 

If you want to build a cannabusiness in one of the Southern states, we’d suggest exploring opportunities in the Arkansas, Alabama, and Louisiana marijuana markets instead.

Southern States With Some Opportunities

The Arkansas, Alabama, and Louisiana marijuana programs offer a few more opportunities, especially if you establish the right connections prior to entering the market there. 

Arkansas 

Arkansas is currently legalized for medical cannabis, and the application window is open. However, the state also has a high barrier of entry. You’ll need expensive surety bonds and to meet strict zoning limits. Once a zone fills its allotted number of dispensaries, no more dispensaries will be allowed to open in that zone. 

Higher Yields Consulting What to Expect From the Louisiana Marijuana Program & Other Southern States

While you can certainly apply for a license in the Arkansas medical marijuana program, know that it will be an expensive endeavor and that you may have better luck with the Alabama or Louisiana marijuana markets. 

Alabama 

Alabama’s Compassion Act will likely resemble Florida’s cannabis program. Although there probably won’t be a low THC cap, it does appear as though operators will only be allowed to sell manufactured products — no raw plant, smoking or vaporization products, or baked goods.

The Act also has a large residency requirement — 51% of all license holders must be Alabama residents — as well as huge capital requirements, making the barrier of entry extremely high. 

If you’re looking at entering the Alabama marijuana market, you’ll want to get started as soon as possible finding real estate and establishing yourself as a local team. MSOs are already moving in, but they’re required to work with local teams, and it will take time to build up those connections. 

Louisiana 

The Louisiana marijuana program kicked off in 2018 with a total of nine licenses. But despite being a small program, it was set up well and there are many lobbying efforts to expand cannabis retail.

However, growth within the Louisiana marijuana program is still slow. Louisiana legislation only authorized the Louisiana State University and Southern University agriculture centers to grow medical cannabis, so you’ll have to contact the Board of Pharmacy regarding licensing to dispense any medical cannabis.

As is true of any Southern State, entering the Louisiana marijuana market is all about who you know and how you advocate locally for cannabis. You can’t just show up and submit an application; you have to play an active role in educating the community and helping write ordinances that simply don’t exist yet.

That’s where HYC comes in. We can help you make important local connections and develop the necessary knowledge base to educate your community. There will always be local political challenges, but with the right knowledge and connections — and an early start — you have the opportunity to impact change. 

Get Your Foot in the Door With Louisiana Marijuana

The Louisiana marijuana program offers a fairly typical example of what to expect in Southern states — slow movement, small programs, and the importance of making the right connections. But if you can get your foot in the door early and weather both political and local delays, opportunity is there. 

Working with an experienced cannabis consultant can give you the credibility, connections, and partners you need to be successful. Don’t miss your chance to get into the Louisiana marijuana market early! Get in touch today to schedule a consultation.

Ohio Marijuana: Your Best Option for Cannabis in the Midwest

Higher Yields Consulting Ohio Marijuana: Your Best Option for Cannabis in the Midwest

Marijuana programs in the Midwest aren’t much of an improvement on those in the South. While Illinois and Michigan have both legalized adult use — and the Ohio marijuana program seems poised to follow suit — other Midwestern states remain restrictive. 

Higher Yields Consulting Ohio Marijuana: Your Best Option for Cannabis in the Midwest

The Midwest is split pretty evenly between the restrictive states and the front-runners, but even many of the latter have fallen into disorder recently. With much of the region currently inaccessible, the greatest potential for cannabis success in the Midwest lies in Ohio. 

Here’s what you need to know about the state of cannabis regulations in the Midwest states and why the Ohio marijuana program might be your best option in this region. 

Restrictive States

The Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota marijuana programs are not very promising at this time. However, they are worth keeping in mind should things change in the future. 

Wisconsin & Iowa 

Both Wisconsin’s and Iowa’s medical marijuana programs are extremely restrictive. For instance, Iowa’s program isn’t even fully medical; rather, they call it a medical cannabidiol program, and it only allows a patient 4.5 grams of THC every 90 days. 

Unfortunately, these programs, especially in Iowa, are also very racially disproportionate. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, Black individuals are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis-related crimes than white individuals. 

Minnesota 

Minnesota has been a medical-only state since its first medical marijuana sale in 2015. Since then, there had been little to no movement on adult use until May of this year, when the Minnesota House of Representatives voted to legalize cannabis

However, the regular session was adjourned only two days later, stalling the senate bill in a committee. It’s unlikely that legislation will pick the bill back up until at least the second half of 2022, but Minnesota is taking steps to improve its restrictive medical marijuana program by increasing its nine qualifying conditions to 17

If you want to get into Minnesota’s market, the best thing you can do is to join local advocacy groups in their efforts to lobby for more reform. In the meantime, it may be well worth considering the less-restrictive Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio marijuana markets.

Front-Runner States 

The Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio marijuana programs were front-runners for legalization in the Midwest. While some problems and delays have since cropped up, opportunity remains — especially in Ohio. 

Illinois

In Illinois, adult use sales began in January of 2020, shortly after legalizing adult use. But what seemed a promising start turned into an absolute nightmare with delays, lawsuits, and scandals. 

Higher Yields Consulting Ohio Marijuana: Your Best Option for Cannabis in the Midwest

We’d advise staying out of Illinois until the state can get itself sorted out and instead focusing on the Michigan and Ohio marijuana markets.

Michigan 

Michigan is legalized for both medical and adult use. While overall, the state itself is not terribly competitive, that can depend on the region. Detroit, for example, took years to get their adult-use program off the ground but is now a highly competitive market. 

Michigan is a generally accessible state but leaves much of the regulating and restricting up to the municipalities. While the state has set certain limits on the total allotted number of cultivations or dispensaries, local levels set their own limits within their municipalities. 

If you’re looking to get started in Michigan, first ensure you meet the municipality requirements, as those will be harder to meet than state requirements. It’s best to start with a list of areas you don’t want to operate in, and then see which of the remaining counties have municipality requirements you can viably meet. 

Your facility must be ready for inspection within 60 days of submitting your second application, so you’ll need to be strategic in figuring out real estate and municipality limits ahead of time. Also, be open to considering areas in Michigan that might not seem ideal, because they may have more licenses available to you. 

Ohio

The Ohio marijuana program is currently medical only, but they did recently open up another round for dispensaries and will be awarding 130 licenses based on a lottery system. Licenses will be extremely difficult to win, and if you don’t already have everything prepared, you won’t likely have enough time to get into this round. 

However, it’s possible Ohio may legalize adult use in 2022. Legislators have been pushing for it, and they’ve been cleared to collect signatures and potentially get a bill passed. 

Two major fears keeping people from joining Ohio’s medical marijuana program may help push adult-use legalization through because these concerns would then become irrelevant:

  • Taking medical marijuana — even for legitimate reasons — could cause some people to forfeit access to their other medications.
  • In Ohio, it’s illegal to own both a gun and a medical marijuana card

If you’re interested in getting into the Ohio marijuana market, be sure to follow updates on the signature collection and get involved by helping collect signatures yourself.

Ohio Marijuana Programs: The Midwest’s Point of Access

Despite some promising starts, the Midwest as a whole is pretty inaccessible, with potential Ohio marijuana programs as the only glimmer of hope. But if the other states can get their acts together, the Midwest could be a huge market for cannabusinesses. 

If you’re interested in breaking into the Ohio marijuana market or other Midwest states, contact HYC for a feasibility study to explore your best options.

What Is a Consulting Company?

Higher Yields Consulting What Is a Consulting Company

There comes a time for any business owner when you realize that your ambition will only get you so far. In the cannabis industry, in particular, there are uncharted waters around every corner and it requires a team of experts — each contributing value in their own area of specialization — to steer the ship successfully towards the goal. 

As a leader in your business, it’s your responsibility to choose the team members who are going to get you there successfully, efficiently, and creatively so that you can stand out from the crowd and reap the rewards as a team. 

So how do you go about finding those team members? And how do you ensure that the people you’re choosing are indeed the most qualified to contribute to the success of your business?

One option is to recruit, vet, and hire your own team. However, this is by far the least efficient due to the vast time commitment required and, simultaneously, the most risky because you’re taking people at their word during the vetting and hiring processes. 

Alternatively, many forward-thinking cannabis businesses choose to work with a consulting company as their one-stop, trusted resource for guidance, industry knowledge, specialized expertise, staffing, and more. 

But what is a consulting company? And what factors do you need to be considering in order to find the right consulting company to advance your cannabis business? 

What a Consultant Is Not

Choosing a consulting company is not a decision to be taken lightly. You are trusting other people to provide you with information and direction; you are entrusting another established business with the success of your own budding business; and you are using your hard-earned dollars to indicate that trust. 

At Higher Yields Consulting, we don’t take the significance of that gesture for granted. We respect how hard you’ve worked to reach this stage and we’re eager to take you the rest of the way. That’s why we want to ensure that as you’re shopping for a consulting company, you’re aware of what to look out for. 

A consulting company is not…

  • YouTube — Your business is unique. Be wary of implementing advice from a source that is not aware of your unique business, model, and goals. 
  • Cookie-Cutter — No two states have the same cannabis legislation, no two municipalities need the same strategy, and no two businesses are alike in the cannabis industry. Steer clear of templatized services that treat you and your business the same as the next. 
  • New — The truth is that you want a consulting company that has a proven history of growing cannabis companies with creative, innovative strategies. 
  • Multi-Disciplinary — The cannabis industry is unique and requires extensive knowledge of the complexities cannabis businesses face. Avoid working with consulting companies that cater to multiple different industries. Rather, choose a consulting company that specializes exclusively in cannabis.

Above all, trust your gut instincts. The best consulting company to help you grow and succeed is likely not the cheapest, and yet they must be the most well-informed, the most versatile, and the most committed to helping you achieve your goals. 

What to Look for in a Consulting Company

Good consultants know what they do best and have processes in place for getting to the root of what you need and how to get you there. Yet, they’re also willing to adapt and deploy flexible solutions as the situation requires. 

They also commit to a relationship of honesty because they know that hiding or minimizing the truth of the challenges ahead will not benefit you or your advancement in any way. 

Good consultants know that success in the cannabis industry is all about maximizing resources and efficiency. The company you choose should be experts in mitigating risk and maximizing investment.

Every step of the way, your consulting partners should be setting you up to achieve your end goal. They should possess knowledge and connections all the way through the supply chain, and they will give you access to multiple resources to fill the gaps in your business. 

Above all, great cannabis consultants have vast experience in multiple different cannabis businesses, including vertically integrated businesses and multi-state operators, and should have a proven pattern of success — not just a one-time wins. Yet, at the same time, they should be able to provide solutions that are custom to you rather than cookie-cutter solutions they have deployed with past clients. 

Ultimately, your consulting partner should be invested in your success and committed to co-creative action. At Higher Yields Consulting, we take a phased approach to build each layer strong on top of another strong layer, all while maximizing your budget and timeline, so you can create the business and impact of your dreams.

The Power of a Pre-Qualified Team

If you are considering working with a consulting company, you’re likely looking at a few potential options that vary in size. Many solo consultants pride themselves on being a one-stop shop for cannabis businesses to rely on, but the truth of the matter is that there are far too many layers of the cannabis industry for any one person to be an expert in them all. 

Frankly, if you’ve been burned by working with consultants in the past, it’s likely because the person or people you trusted tried to be experts in too many fields. As the old adage goes, “A jack of all trades is a master of none.” 

Rather, look for a consulting company that consists of a team of individuals who are each experts in their own lane. Consider the areas of your business that you know you’ll need help with — such as cultivation, design build, marketing and branding, and more — and ask which member of the consulting team is the head of each area and why. 

Also, be wary of a consulting company that takes the stance that they know everything there is to know. Rather, a consulting firm that has your best interests at heart will take a stance of learning and constantly improving their expertise in this ever-evolving industry. 

For example, at Higher Yields Consulting, we consider ourselves a learning organization. We do have our proven processes and track record of success in countless unique businesses, stages, and license types, but we also know that there is always more to learn and there are always new opportunities emerging in this industry.  

We believe in the cannabis industry and therefore we immerse ourselves as deeply as possible in every aspect. We are helping to craft the legislation in emerging markets. In established markets, we attend the city council meetings, we get involved in the lobbying efforts, and we are actively connected with the individuals who have the power to further shape the trajectory of our industry. 

If you would like to learn more about Higher Yields Consulting and how we can help your cannabis business achieve higher yields, book a discovery call with us today!