Hybrid Director of Strategy Johnathan McFarlane appears on Jason Swenk's Smart Agency Podcast


If you know agencies, you know Jason Swenk. Our very own Johnathan McFarlane joined him on his podcast recently to discuss email marketing, outbound strategy, and a few hilarious #agencylife stories you need to hear!

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The Top Five Reasons Cannabis and Hemp Industry Businesses Should Become cGMP Certified

There are many reasons your cannabis business should become cGMP certified; here are just five of them. 

By Kim Stuck, CEO and Founder, Allay Cannabis Consulting

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How to Find a Dispensary Marketing Agency

The cannabis industry is rapidly growing (despite this year’s pandemic). 

Projections estimate the global legal cannabis market will reach a value of nearly $74B by 2027. The North American legal cannabis market reached $12.9B in 2019, and by the close of 2020, experts expect the number to exceed $15B. We’re on the precipice of federal legalization (fingers crossed), and there’s a deluge of new dispensaries preparing to open. 

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Interior Design Can Be The Difference Between Dispensary Success and Failure

My first Colorado dispensary experience wasn’t positive - or comfortable. Let me explain.

Colorado’s legal recreational cannabis sales started on January 1, 2014. Lines wrapped around buildings state-wide, but Denver’s “Green Mile,” attracted crowds of stoners as far as the eye could see. The Green Mile is a stretch of South Broadway with dispensaries on every corner for those reading who are unfamiliar.

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Your Dispensary Needs a Customer Service Culture From the Start

Cannabis dispensaries consider every detail but too often miss the mark on creating a customer service culture. 

Customer service is everything. 

And customer service isn’t a department or set of rules and regulations (although guidelines are essential).

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The Rules of Content Marketing for Cannabis


Content marketing isn’t new. 

Brands have used content to tell their stories for hundreds of years, and storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication (cave drawings are content).  

But today, the word content isn’t just overused; it’s misused. Marketers aggressively use the phrase, “content is king,” like it’s going out of style. 

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The CRITICAL Reason That Every Cannabis Business NEEDS A Merchandise Line

Branded merchandise is the key to turning budtenders into brand ambassadors.

Regardless of what side of the cannabis industry you’re on, developing branded merchandise is critical. Why? Because in a saturated and competitive marketplace, merch is often the difference between success and failure. And while T-shirts and hats are perfect giveaways that make customers walking billboards, that’s not what makes merchandise critical. Like everything else in cannabis, it comes down to the budtenders. Here’s why:

[ut_custom_heading align="center" effect="none" color="#00bbb4"]Budtenders are the lynchpin of the cannabis industry.


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BEWARE: The OKannapocalypse is coming. Will you be ready?

It’s been said before that nothing is certain except for death and taxes. Well, in the case of the Oklahoma cannabis industry, here is what is certain...Read more

Concerts, weed, and food: 3 ways to make a difference in your community and your business

[ut_header style="pt-style-1" title_linebreak_mobile="on" spacing="custom" spacing_bottom="30" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" font_size="25" line_height="67" title_letter_spacing="0.03" title="that 'i-love-this-song' kinda high..." title_color="#40627c"][/ut_header]
50 free concerts were held at the Levitt Pavilion in Denver this summer, in addition to ticketed shows featuring the Third Eye Blind and Jimmy Eat World.

The community gigs were organized by the Levitt Pavilion Foundation, a non-profit that built the $4.8 million outdoor amphitheater in 2016 with the help of city bonds and charitable donations.Read more


[ut_header style="pt-style-7" align="center" title_linebreak_mobile="on" spacing="custom" spacing_bottom="2" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_accent_font_weight="bold" title="Mike Tyson is a heavy-hitter." lead_accent_color="#151515" effect="fadeIn" css=".vc_custom_1569771988203{margin-bottom: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}"][/ut_header]

The former heavyweight champion revealed in August that he smokes $40,000 of weed every month at his future cannabis resort, Tyson Ranch.

The story came up in an episode of Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson, a podcast where “Iron” Mike sits down for a “performance-enhanced” conversation with celebrities, athletes and luminaries. Details on Tyson’s colossal cannabis consumption scored him a ton of earned media, with multiple news outlets and social media channels covering the story.

So what does this story teach us? 

Mike Tyson smokes a lot of weed. 

But what else?

Mike Tyson is a cannabis influencer at the top of his game.

He generated massive awareness for his resort, and he did it organically. He brought up his monumental weed consumption in conversation, tied it in to his new venture, and let the message spread digitally. Besides production costs, it cost him nothing. 

As an influencer in the weed game, Mike hits hard.


Relax. Despite all the hype, “influencer” is a relatively new word. Before 2016, it lacked a definition on Dictionary.com.


An influencer is someone who can change the way people think and behave.

Whether they’re writing an impassioned defense of universal basic income on their personal blog, or posting Instagram Stories of their Maldivian overwater villa, influencers create new thoughts, new desires, and new perspectives. 

And they’re persuasive. Influencers develop a unique bond with their followers, sharing regular, engaging content. They’re always on hand. They’re your five minutes at the bus stop. Your after-work wind-down.

Plus, they follow back. While traditional media is mostly limited to one-way conversation, social media allows influencers to communicate directly with their followers, sharing likes, posting comments, and responding to direct messages.

[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-7" align="center" text_transform="uppercase" effect="fadeIn" spacing="padding-bottom:0px"]Sounds groovy. But what makes Mike such a “heavy hitter” in the weed business?[/ut_title_divider_2]

He’s a problem solver.

Federal legislation makes it tough to promote your cannabis business, with social media companies like Twitter and Facebook banning weed advertisements.

By partnering with influencers, you can knock down these obstacles and get your brand off the canvas. Whether you’re sponsoring digital content, developing co-branded merchandise, or offering free bud for a review, influencers like Tyson can connect you to a new, engaged audience.

[ut_parallax_quote revealfx="on" revealfx_color="#ffffff"]ALRIGHT, I’M IN. BUT HOW DO I FIND AN INFLUENCER TO WORK WITH?[/ut_parallax_quote]

Work with an agency, like us

We’ll match you with influencers who are perfectly suited to promoting your business. We’ll manage the partnership and help you build the relationship. And we’ll take care of the paperwork.

Whether you work with an agency or go solo, start by asking yourself: who is my ideal influencer?

[ut_service_box icon="fa fa-handshake-o" headline="VALUES" imageicon="4081" effect="fadeInLeft"]What do you believe in? What’s important to you? Perhaps you’ve installed LED lighting, solar power and water reclamation systems to reduce your carbon footprint. Pick an influencer who shares your commitment to the environment. This is known as brand alignment. [/ut_service_box]
[ut_service_box icon="fa fa-handshake-o" headline="DEMOGRAPHICS" imageicon="4082" effect="fadeInRight"]Who buys your weed? Who orders your lighting systems? Your customers probably have some things in common. Do they tend to be old or young, male or female, professional or self-employed? If you want to hit your target market, you’ll want to find an influencer with an audience that shares key characteristics with your customer base.[/ut_service_box]

Once you’ve established the requirements, it’s time to find the candidate. This is the fun bit. Watch YouTube. Search Google for cannabis bloggers based in Denver. Scan Twitter with relevant hashtags. Make a note of the influencers who stand out and resonate with you and your business. 

Next, delve a little deeper into your influencer shortlist.

  • Is their content entertaining?
  • Could you get on with them?
  • Do they have a large following?
  • Is their audience engaged? Do they have a lot of likes and comments on their posts?
  • Are there any red flags? Could anything they’ve said cause negative controversy?

[ut_parallax_quote revealfx="on" revealfx_color="#ffffff"]OK, I’VE FOUND MY MATCH. NOW HOW DO I REACH OUT?[/ut_parallax_quote]
[ut_simple_time_line animate="true" global_delay_animation="true" events="%5B%7B%22marker_size%22%3A%22small%22%2C%22marker_pulse%22%3A%22off%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22For%20the%20time%20being%2C%20e-mail%20reigns%20king%2C%20particularly%20if%20you%E2%80%99re%20reaching%20out%20to%20an%20influencer%20with%20a%20large%20following.%20Popular%20influencers%20are%20flooded%20with%20partnership%20requests%20every%20day%2C%20so%20it%E2%80%99s%20easy%20for%20yours%20to%20get%20lost%20in%20the%20pile%20of%20DMs%20and%20comments.%5Cn%22%7D%2C%7B%22marker_size%22%3A%22small%22%2C%22marker_pulse%22%3A%22off%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22If%20it%E2%80%99s%20a%20popular%20influencer%2C%20chances%20are%20they%E2%80%99ll%20have%20their%20own%20agent%20and%2For%20publicist%20too%2C%20and%20that%E2%80%99s%20who%20you%E2%80%99ll%20be%20writing%20to.%20Influencers%20often%20note%20their%20representation%20in%20their%20social%20media%20bio%2C%20or%20you%20can%20do%20a%20quick%20Google%20search%20to%20find%20who%20you%20should%20be%20emailing.%20Tools%20like%20hunter.io%20can%20help%20you%20scan%20websites%20to%20find%20the%20right%20email%20address.%5Cn%22%7D%2C%7B%22marker_size%22%3A%22small%22%2C%22marker_pulse%22%3A%22off%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22Write%20a%20%3Cins%3Epersonal%3C%2Fins%3E%20email%20that%20communicates%20what%20you%20like%20about%20your%20would-be%20influencer%20and%20why%20you%20think%20you%20should%20work%20together.%20Be%20%3Cins%3Especific%3C%2Fins%3E.%20%E2%80%9CI%20feel%20our%20brands%20align%20and%20I%20believe%20we%20share%20many%20similar%20values%E2%80%9D%20becomes%20%E2%80%9CWe%20share%20two%20loves.%20Weed%2C%20and%20the%20environment.%E2%80%9D%20%5Cn%22%7D%2C%7B%22marker_size%22%3A%22small%22%2C%22marker_pulse%22%3A%22off%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22Consider%20floating%20an%20idea%20for%20a%20partnership%20in%20your%20opening%20message.%20Your%20pitch%20for%20co-branded%20edibles%20might%20come%20to%20nothing%2C%20but%20it%20could%20give%20your%20influencer%20something%20to%20nibble%20on%20while%20you%20build%20out%20a%20partnership%20together.%5Cn%22%7D%2C%7B%22marker_size%22%3A%22small%22%2C%22marker_pulse%22%3A%22off%22%2C%22text%22%3A%22Keep%20in%20mind%20what%20kind%20of%20partnership%20you%20want%20to%20establish.%20Free%20or%20paid%3F%20Cash%2C%20contra%20(free%20products%20or%20services%20exchanged%20in%20place%20of%20cash)%2C%20or%20both%3F%20You%E2%80%99ll%20need%20to%20iron%20out%20these%20details%20eventually%2C%20including%20your%20expectations%2C%20and%20it%E2%80%99s%20best%20to%20write%20up%20a%20contract%20to%20make%20everything%20legal%20and%20concrete.%5Cn%22%7D%5D" time_line_dot_color="#00bbb4" animation_style_left="fadeIn" animation_style_right="fadeIn" global_delay_timer="200" delay_timer="200" delay_timer_marker="100" time_line_dot_inner_color="#00bbb4"]
[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-7" align="center" text_transform="uppercase" effect="fadeIn" spacing="padding-bottom:0px"]Let me guess. You can help with that too, right?[/ut_title_divider_2]

Indeed we can. We’ll take care of the legalities and make sure your business and your brand are protected.

That means you can focus on the fun part: building fun relationships with people who share your passions, your values, and your audience.

Influencers can connect you to new people and help you overcome bans on cannabis advertising. They promote your products or services by showing how your bud, bong or baked goods fit in with their lifestyle. They help you build your brand and they embody the values your business stands for.

That’s a combo “Iron” Mike would be proud of.

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