11/25/18

MJBizCon 2018 Recap

Taylor West reveals what really happened in Vegas

As you all know, MJBizCon 2018 happened last week in Las Vegas. More than 25,000 cannabis professionals in attendance set an industry record—and it was the place for investors and entrepreneurs alike.

Our own Taylor West, Senior Communications Director, was one of the attendees and shares her experience post-conference.

“At an event the size of MJBizCon, it sometimes seems like a miracle when you run into the people you know,” Taylor explained. “But even in a hectic atmosphere like Las Vegas, face-to-face time is powerful and valuable for strengthening relationships.”

One instance of this was Taylor’s involvement in the “Marijuana Today” mega-podcast, where she sat along heavy hitters in the cannabis world. Being surrounded by both business professionals and advocates was a highlight of Taylor’s trip and something she finds contributes to the ongoing progress of the industry.

And one area where Taylor noticed major progress? Marketing.

With over 1,000 booths present at the expo it was critical that brands employ new ways of getting their product noticed, despite no actual cannabis being allowed on the floor. From 3-D video displays, ice cream and beer vendors, to customized ‘smell-stations’ there was an unlimited amount of creative effort for spectators to take in.

“One thing that stood out to me was the increasing number of businesses catering to very specific infused-product manufacturing needs,” said Taylor, comparing the booths to something out of a food science expo. “It says a lot about how far we’ve come from marijuana edibles being made in home kitchens.”

Several exhibitors were offering isolated or concentrated terpenes to be added into cannabis extracts to make them more flavorful. The aforementioned ‘smell stations’ let browsers sample the aromas associated with specific strains.

“It was a cool way to give attendees a hands-on (or noses-on?) experience,” Taylor joked.

The National Cannabis Industry Association even printed table tents with their logo on them, which they gave out to every exhibitor that was a member. Taylor saw this as a great example of brand engagement because it showed “their reach within the industry and got widespread visibility.”

Overall Taylor does see brand and marketing improving in the cannabis space, but concedes there is always room for improvement. Conversations about cannabis business were heavily divided with some claiming that if you’re not already in it the opportunity is over. Taylor, along with many other people, view it in much more of a transitional phase.

“Opportunities still abound, but you’ve got to be smart and realistic about what you can bring to the table that’s unique. And no one’s getting by on a shoestring anymore.”

We are so pleased when our COHNNABIS team can get first-hand insight on the trends and conversations that are about to revolutionize the industry.

Stay tuned for more insider knowledge on what’s to come in 2019!

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