On January 6, 2021, Enlighten, the leading provider of technology solutions and marketing services to better understand, navigate and reach cannabis customers throughout the entire customer journey, announced the availability of AdSuite, a new self-service ad buying platform for SMBs.
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AUTHOR: Heather Allman
PUBLISHER: CANNABIS LAW REPORT
Enlighten CEO Jeremy Jacobs Discusses New AdSuite Cannabis Ad Buying Platform
AdSuite’s all-in-one cannabis-specific marketing platform makes it quick and easy to buy, manage, and measure advertising campaigns. Enlighten uses consumer and location data to seamlessly power campaigns across multiple advertising channels, unlocking new opportunities that increase profitability.
Large cannabis companies, as well as non-cannabis companies looking to reach cannabis consumers, use Enlighten’s enterprise-grade technology, trusted data, transparency and custom marketing solutions to influence and navigate the entire customer journey.
With this announcement, Enlighten is supporting small, midsize, and emerging brands in the cannabis space by offering a simple and effective self-service ad platform. On January 25, 2021, I had the opportunity to chat with Jeremy Jacobs, CEO of Enlighten, about the new platform, its creation in 100 days, and the challenges faced by the cannabis industry.
Cannabis Law Report: Why do you love your work? There are quite a few fast-growing markets currently, so why cannabis?
Jeremy Jacobs: I’ve been a cannabis advocate my entire life. I was even the Executive Director of the Kentucky NORML chapter for quite a while.
In addition to the passion for the plant I have, also enjoyed participating in pioneering new industries and technologies that drive them forward. With cannabis, I get to do both.
CLR: Why specifically do you think Enlighten AdSuite needed to be created and introduced?
JJ: The cannabis industry has been plagued from day one with little to no options for advertising. On top of that, companies that do offer it make it challenging to buy or the products aren’t very robust.
We saw a need for a robust platform that is easy to use that cuts through all the regulation surrounding cannabis advertising.
CLR: Why the need to create and release Enlighten now?
JJ: For businesses, the start of the new year has always been a time to evaluate how and where to spend marketing budgets to achieve optimal ROI.
Coupled with the challenges COVID presented last year –including budget cuts and changes in consumer purchasing behavior– cannabis companies had to adjust their marketing strategy to get their messages in front of the right audiences no matter where they were, whether in-store or online.
This meant cutting traditional ad spending and reallocating those funds to digital, which requires resources and creativity to get around the restrictive rules from digital platforms like Google and Facebook, while also maneuvering individual state laws regarding the marketing of cannabis.
CLR: Tell me about your past year, expanding on Enlighten AdSuite, 2020, and your place in the national cannabis landscape.
JJ: We are the largest provider of digital signage and TV menus in the industry. That business is continuing to grow now that most all MSO clients have adopted our platform.
Our advertising products like ADSuite are also catching on quickly. We expect by creating awareness and through our very strong affiliate program that we will take the top spot for all of cannabis advertising by year’s end in 2021.
CLR: How do your past professional experiences and successes help you today in the modern cannabis space?
JJ: The cannabis retail environment is remarkably similar to both CPG and the restaurant industry. My other company EYECONIC.TV is a leader in technology in both spaces.
CLR: Tell me about the features of Enlighten AdSuite and how cannabis businesses can use this platform.
JJ: AdSuite is the only platform that allows you to target a cannabis customer during their entire customer journey from at home, on the go, or even while they are in a cannabis dispensary.
Retailers can target consumers to drive traffic to their store. Brands can target consumers at Point of Purchase to drive adoption. All in an easy to manage place for any cannabis business.
CLR: How do you plan to fully leverage the connections and relationships that you’ve built through Enlighten AdSuite to add value to the cannabis sector?
JJ: The agencies that help design and create the brands and retailers have been seeing this product as a huge success in continuing their mission of making sure the brands they create are visible.
By creating tools they can use to see that mission to fruition,
we are lifting the entire industry up.
CLR: What are your foremost goals for Enlighten AdSuite and how do you plan to accomplish them?
JJ: We would like to have 100 monthly users by the end of Q1 so we can get real user feedback and modify the platform the way the industry wants it. That would be a huge win.
Another win would be to add even more data layers from various providers that have purchase-level consumer data. This type of data is already built in, but I would love to see more of it, and consequently, see these providers benefit from their data on our platform.
CLR: What is the mission statement of Enlighten AdSuite, so to speak?
JJ: To provide cutting edge tools that are easy to use, allowing you consistently access to your cannabis consumer at all points along their cannabis journey.
CLR: Generally speaking, what have been the biggest challenges to launching the service and “meeting” for Enlighten AdSuite, especially in the middle of a pandemic?
JJ: AdSuite is a massive technology undertaking. To add to that, we built it in around 100 days.
The amount of partners that we had to coordinate to make all of it work was daunting. For example, accessing ads on RollingStone.com for an edibles company to a known edibles customer, while making it all easy to use, while staying inbounds of the law was a massive challenge.
CLR: In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges cannabis as a whole faces or has faced?
JJ: Lack of banking and lack or advertising options. These two hurdles are what make the biggest difference regarding the cannabis space.
CLR: What Cannabis demand do you currently see trending, and what behaviors or shifts or patterns did you discover forming and creating Enlighten AdSuite?
JJ: The way people buy cannabis just evolved. Drive-thru, curbside pickup, and in store self checkout all became a thing overnight. When creating AdSuite, we got to discover ways that we can positively influence each of those buying paths.
CLR: What keeps you awake at night?
JJ: We have an ecosystem we are creating where retailers and brands can earn credit in our system and use those credits to buy things like advertising. It’s a massive project and on my mind quite a bit.
CLR: If you could plan your dream dinner party and invite five guests, who would they be and why these five guests?
JJ: Lenardo Da VInci, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and Sir Issac Newton. They are the greatest political and scientific minds the world has ever seen. I’m sure I would learn a few valuable things.
CLR: What advice can you offer to others in the cannabis space?
JJ: Leverage the tools and people around you. Cannabis is still young, Experts are still in short supply.
Enlighten provides technology solutions and marketing services to help clients identify, attract and retain new customers, and unlock new opportunities that will increase profitability and help clients gain competitive advantages in the market.
Enlighten is the only technology provider offering services that span the breadth of the customer journey and enable clients to reach and influence consumers both inside and outside of the retail environment.
They have a track record of supporting large, complex cannabis companies in their operations across the U.S., providing small and emerging companies with flexible and cost-effective options, and guiding non-cannabis companies looking to reach the cannabis consumer.